View of the Drew | Andrew Halpern Photography

Skylines

Dynamic Range

IMG_4019-3

1/200″ / F6.3/ iso100 / 55mm (88mm equiv)

Manhattan View from Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass

Dynamic range sounds like something complicated. It isn’t. Basically, it refers to the ratio of light intensities the camera is able to capture. The human eye is usually quite adept at rapid adjustments and the brain puts the image together. We “see” the scene in all its glory, from the brightest bits to the darkest details in the shadows.

The camera isn’t as clever. You’ll often find the dynamic range of a scene exceeds your camera’s ability to capture it. You’ll try to shoot a particular scene and straight of the camera, either the shadows will be too dark, or the highlights will be blown out.

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Sunset

IMG_4296-2

1/80″ / F13 / ISO3200 / 163mm

So Friday was supposed to be “Manhattanhenge.” Manhattanhenge refers to the phenomenon where the sun sets along Manhattan’s street grid.  Unfortunately, things were a bit cloudy and I could not get the shot I wanted. I thought this shot came out interesting though.

I used my telephoto lens here which gave a nice telephoto compression effect.

The Selfie

1/200" / F8 / iso 100/ 55mm (88mm equiv)

Girl on Brooklyn Bridge

1/200″ / F8 / iso 100/ 55mm (88mm equiv)

I don’t do it. Nor should you. —

Just kidding. There is nothing wrong with “the selfie.” I’m actually not sure why people disparage it so much. This actually isn’t a new thing, people taking photographs of themselves. People have always done this. Always.

1920s dudes taking a selfie. Click the pic to go to Gothamist.

The only reason it’s increased so much is that every new phone camera comes with a front-facing camera.  And phone cameras have gotten quite good.

Back to the shot. This photograph is actually a very tight crop of a much larger shot. What’s interesting is how much resolution I’m able to get from this small crop. The original shots out of my camera weigh in at 18 megapixels, while this crop uses only about 30% of those pixels. But that’s still 5.4 megapixels and that’s nothing to sneeze at.  Despite all the whinging about the uselessness of high pixel counts, they still can make a difference.

If I had to do it again, I would have used a longer lens, and a shallower depth of field. But we don’t always have time to pick the exact settings on grab-shots like this. Since the subject wasn’t very isolated, I chose to add a small amount of whitish , post-crop vignette around the shot to emphasize the girl.

If you are using Lightroom, there are actually two types of vignetting you can play with. The first type is pre-crop vignetting which applies to the entire shot. This is usually used to correct lens issues but it can be used to achieve a post-processing effect. The second type of vignetting is called post-crop, and this type is usually the one we use to achieve special effects. You’ll often see the white version in wedding photography. There are also different settings for the post-crop vignetting, but I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Lucerne Skyline

Lucerne, Switzerland skyline

1/400s . f/10.0 . ISO 200 . 79 mm

Here is a skyline of Lucerne, Switzerland.  What I like most about this shot is the many layers all smashed together in by my telephoto lens.

It’s important to close-down the aperture for such a shot in order to maintain sharpness throughout the whole image.  As you can probably tell, in order to get the shading exactly right, this shot had to be highly post-processed.  The nice thing is that I was able to do the entire thing within Lightroom using the adjustment brush functionality along with the gradient filter effects.

Sunset between 2 buildings

1/200s . f/10.0 . ISO 200 . 35 mm

I highly recommend taking the sunset harbor cruise by Circle Line.  You can get some beautiful shots like this one.  I spent a good amount of time in Lightroom recovering some of the lost detail in the original image.  With a jpeg file this would have been image would be a no-go, but the raw file saved the day.  This is where having an advanced camera will truly come in handy.

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