My Picture-of-the-Month for September was taken on a recent walk in a small wood near the Pacific ocean coast – a place that was once home to the Miwok people long before settlers arrived here. Late afternoon light from the California blue sky filtered through the canopy and picked out the many possible pathways through the maze of trees, giving the place a sense of spirituality and infinite possibilities that I wanted to capture.
There was just one problem: The scene – as my eyes and brain saw it – was impossible for my camera (in fact ANY camera) to record. This is because the “dynamic range” (the difference between the light and dark parts of the image) was simply too much for the technology to cope with.
One way around this problem is to take multiple exposures using different settings and later combine them digitally in a computer – a technique called HDR (for High Dynamic Range). Unfortunately, HDR has developed a bad reputation in the photo world recently because it has become overused and synonymous with a certain effect, or look, which is unnatural or “hyper-real”.
However if HDR is used carefully and subtly, it can instead be used to overcome the limits of our technology and convey what our eyes really see – and to share that magic with others – as I have tried to do here.
Click to see the larger image and look deep into the shadows. All the detail is there and you can enjoy following the winding pathways back into the darkness and becoming lost in the wood.
As always, comments welcome!