Tag Archives: POTN

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

Scenes with very high dynamic range (containing very bright and very dark sections) are difficult to capture in a single shot without either blowing out the highlights or underexposing the shadows. Although common sensors in current DSLRs have 7 to 8 stops of dynamic range, many natural scenes would normally have a much greater dynamic range, too large to be captured accurately, even though they would look perfectly normal to our eyes. This is because each photoreceptor in the retina can adjust its gain independently (or almost independently) of each other, while an ISO setting in the camera applies equally to all pixels in the sensor. HDR imaging is a way to extend the dynamic range of a capture by taking sequential exposures of the same scene with bracketed settings. High-end DSLR cameras can do this automatically after dialing in the desired bracketing sequence and interval. Typically one shot is taken at the “correct” exposure indicated by the metring system, while additional shots are taken above (say +1, +2 or +3 EV) and below (say -1, -2 or -3 EV). The trick is to get all highlights and shadows correctly exposed in at least one of the exposures in the series. The images in the series are then combined to generate an HDR image using specialized software. Later editions of Adobe Photoshop can do this. Dedicated HDR software, such as Photomatix, is however easier to handle and yields very nice results. Read more...

Another Raw conversion: Pompei

Here is one classic Pompei shot with Vesuvius in the back. Midday sun, crowds all over the place, too bright sky, poor contrast:

Cropping (in Camera Raw) allows focusing on the center temple and eliminates the worst part of the crowd:

Here is the Raw conversion: mainly tone curve for added contrast, graduated filter to pull back the sky and adjustment brush to bring back top of the building and columns that were too dark after the grad filter:

Here are the histograms before (left) and after (right):

One final clone tool in Photoshop removes the unwanted visitors. Voilá:

Posted in POTN here.

Capturing RAW

I am often asked why I shoot my photographs in RAW format. RAW capture refers to the direct transfer of the information acquired by the sensor of a digital camera to the memory card without any in-camera processing. In the 18-megapixel Canon EOS 7D, this translates into files of 25MB, compared to the 6MB of a high-resolution JPG-compressed file. Why would one like to shoot RAW files? The RAW format contains all the information captured by the sensor and is therefore most amenable to corrections of exposure, saturation, chromatic aberrations and noise during post-processing. Compressed JPG files contain a reduced amount of information and so are much more limited to adjust during post-processing. Why would someone want to adjust a photograph? Shown below are three examples taken during a recent trip to the Otavalo valley in Northern Ecuador. In all cases, the top image is straight-out-of-camera, while the lower image is after conversion in Adobe CS4 Camera Raw (no Photoshop in any of these examples!). Read more...

Food Photography II: L’Accanto Gourmet Restaurant, Seiano, Italy

Food photography is a challenging photography genre wiht many books and articles written about it. Lighting, framing angle, arrangement, freshness, speed are some of the most important elements to consider. A recent meeting of our Molpark EU research network took us to Seiano, Italy where we enjoyed a few days of great science amid magnificent views of the bay of Naples and stunningly crafted meals.

Here are some dishes from our stay at the Grand Hotel Angiolieri in Seiano, spectacularly located on the northern coast of the Sorrento peninsula. The L’Accanto Gourmet Restaurant is the “hotel’s temple of flavor”. Recently awarded its first Michelin star, the restautrant serves amazingly creative dishes based on local products and firmly rooted in the Mediterranean tradition. Read more...

Adam Nussbaum & BANN


Adam Nussbaum & Bann performed at Jazzklubb Fasching in Stockholm on March 5, 2009, with Seamus Blake on saxophone, Oz Noy on guitar, Jay Anderson on bass and Nussbaum at the drum kit. Amazing concert, specially Seamus. He is a formidable player. With Noy imparting some rock-inspired guitar influences. Picture was taken with the Canon EOS 40D and the 24-105L zoom lens wide open at 24mm. More photographs from this concert can be seen at the Photo Gallery on the left side bar or else HERE.