Monthly Archives: July 2014

Measuring Exposure (TAoP)

For this part of the exercise produce 4 – 6 photographs which are deliberately lighter or darker than average and say why. Original pictures are shown below commentary.

safety ring 

The shot above has been lightened somewhat due to the camera angle being in the direction of the sunlight. In the original picture there is a great deal of ‘darkness’ on both the ring and the rope (this is to be expected due to the positioning of the camera – shooting into the natural light). By raising the exposure it makes these different colours stand out more and makes the shot my pleasing to the eye. However, the change in exposure has made the sky appear to light for my liking, but it is fairly light in the original picture also. This could be avoided by changing the camera angle.

safety ring under exposed


rose under exposed

I decided on darkening this image as I felt that the hue of pink in the shot below looked too saturated. However, it could be argued that I have in fact darkened it slightly too much, as the green now appears significantly darker especially in the top left corner. Depending on the viewer either picture is acceptable, but from a technical point a view I think the original needs to be altered slightly to make the pink less bright.




This picture required minimal tweaking in regards to exposure. The main areas that I felt should be darkened slightly were the reflections in the water and the dry mud patch to the far right corner. The middle ducks grey feathers have also darkened slightly resulting in a more pleasing exposure.


ducks over exposed



Again very similar to the picture above – this required minimal adjusting. The original picture gets its brightness from the strong midday sun – the main area affected is the white of the boat cabin, and the willow tree to a certain extent. It could again be argued that I have darkened it slightly too much, however I think the cabin now represents a white that is more as the eye would see it.

boat over exposed

This was a relatively simple and straightforward exercise, but i did find that the more I looked at the different pictures the more I questioned my decisions. when glancing at an over exposed image it is instantly obvious that it needs the exposure bringing down, but to what extent? What is pleasing for me may not be fore someone else – but this is a constant throughout the world of photography, and there is no ‘right or wrong’ so to speak, but the application of technique and knowledge can result in pictures not requiring any post production adjustment.

For part two, produce five or six photographs, of any subject, but for each one make five exposures arranged around what you have measured as the best exposure.  The first should be one stop darker, the second half a stop darker, the third average, the fourth half a stop lighter and the fifth one stop lighter.  Say whether or not the average image appears as expected and are any of the other four exposures also acceptable?



This picture was taken at exposure measure -1.0 and it is far too dark. Even the lighter tones of the brick work are too dark. This is not how the eye would see the the image, and is therefore unsatisfactory.



This image at -0.5 is marginally better, but still feels too dark.



This image is at the recommended exposure. It is a very accurate representation of what my eye saw. It is therefore acceptable. It was however a fairly over cast day, so i would not rule out lightening it somewhat.

arch +0.5

This is +0.5 exposure and i think it is acceptable, and generally feels like it may have been taken in direct sunlight, or on a sunny day. I do not think it looks over exposed.



At +1.0 it is definitely over-exposed and feels far too bleached out. The stone immediately surrounding the window is very washed out, and the green leaves at the bottom of the image are barely visible.

bug -0.1

Again, this picture shot at -1.0 is far too dark. The detail on the bug is hard to distinguish and i think anyone who viewed this would say it is too dark.

bug -0.5

Slightly better at -0.5 but still not great. The detail is more visible and the stem seems to have a bit more detail.

bug 00

This shot taken at the average exposure (0.0) is much better. It was taken on a very bright day and i think this becomes visible at this exposure. The sun bounces of part of the bugs ‘shell’ and there is a nice reflective element of sunshine on the grass stem. At this exposure the hue of pink is now starting to represent how it looks to the naked eye.

bug 0.5

At +0.5 it is starting to get too bright. the glimmer coming off the top bit of grass is not very aesthetically pleasing, and the sunshine bouncing around the image is also starting to become too much. However, i would not say that it is unacceptable, but compared to the other exposures it feel weak. If one was not offered to see the other images it may be perfectly acceptable.

bug 1.0

The same cannot be said for this image. It is far too washed out. The white coming off the bugs shell is too much.

pb -1.0

This set of pictures was more interesting for me than the previous two. Perhaps because there is more going on, and more areas of colour and shadow. This image taken at -1.0 is fairly dark, but i don’t think it would be deemed unacceptable. It could appear to be late in the evening, or taken on an overcast day.


pb -0.5

This one at -0.5 is very acceptable i think. The hues are saturated nicely and the background movement is still evident.

pb 0.0

This was taken at 0.0 and again is acceptable.

pb 0.5


At +0.5 its starting to get some what lighter – mainly evident in the grey paving, yet it is still largely acceptable. It appears like it could be midday/sunny/bright light.

pb 1.0


At +1.0 the grey paving is now too over exposed. The guitar players grey jumper is also. Overall i feel the majority of this set of images have been acceptable, which is a contrast to the other sets. Is this due to it being more zoomed out? Because it was taken in a fairly open area?

glasses -1.0

This image taken at -1.0 is, you guessed it, far too under exposed. It’s too dark and lacks detail and different colours within the objects.

glasses -0.5

At -0.5 its starting to improve. The main difference is the lightening of the frames. The Hues of the towel remain fairly constant.

glasses 0.0

At the recommended level (0.0) we are starting to see indirect sunlight, a hint of greenery in the background and the colours of the towel are becoming more evident. The reflection in the lens also appears to be getting slightly bigger.

glasses 0.5


At +0.5 the image appears to have been taken in direct sunlight. Still acceptable, although another step up and i think it will be too over exposed.

glasses 1.0

At +1.0 it is slightly over exposed. Not by miles, but the grey of the rim now appears pinkish. The reflection has continued to become more evident. I would not say this is way too over exposed, but marginally.

So with the last two exercises, both taken in open areas with bright day light, the options of acceptable exposure levels was much higher than those of a closer object, and those taken using lower light levels. This is something to bare in mind when shooting in different light settings.


Henri Cartier-Bresson

I have been researching influential street photographers and Henri Cartier – Bresson immediately popped up all over the place. I found this interesting article written by Eric Kim. HCB almost strips photography of all of it’s technology add ons i.e wide angle lenses, tripods etc and focusses purely on simplicity. The basics. Location, timing and patience – the three things I feel are essential in photography.

HDR (High dynamic range) photography

Having recently joined a photography company I am sifting through archives on a daily basis. I have noticed the influx of HDR images.

High-dynamic-range imaging (HDRI or HDR) is a set of techniques used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than possible using standard digital imaging or photographic techniques.

HDR images can represent a greater range of luminance levels found in real-world scenes, from direct sunlight to faint nebula. It is often achieved by capturing and then combining different exposures of the same subject matter.

Below are some typical examples of HDR images:

hdr 1

hdr 2

hdr 3Personally, i’m not a great fan of this post processing phenomenon. It has an almost comic book like feel, and just looks too fake. There seems to be a lot of debate as to whether HDR photography is a type of art – as it goes beyond re creating something that the eye naturally sees.

We need to bear in mind however, that the images I have used to demonstrate are heavily saturated and take HDR photography to the outer limits. They hardly retain any of the actual image colours, light levels, shadows and highlights.

When done subtly i really think HDR can work. These 2 pictures below have captured the subject as you would imagine seeing it with the human eye, only it has been tweaked here and there to create an all round aesthetically pleasing image. It is a great tool for advertising companies.

hdr 4

hdr 5


HDR photography is something that I want to experiment with, especially with city landscapes. I will not be using such levels as shown in the first 3 pictures, but try to find a subtle balance more like the pictures above.

Some DSLRs come with a HDR function (the camera creates this effect for you) but it can be done manually by taking the exact same shot with different exposures.