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Better Available Light Digital Photography

237 Pages · 2008 · 8.55 MB · English

  • Better Available Light Digital Photography

    Better Available Light


    Digital Photography This page intentionally left blank Better Available


    Light Digital


    Photography


    How to Make the Most of Your


    Night and Low-Light Shots


    Second Edition


    Joe Farace


    Barry Staver


    AMSTERDAM • BOSTON • HEIDELBERG • LONDON


    NEW YORK • OXFORD • PARIS • SAN DIEGO


    SAN FRANCISCO • SINGAPORE • SYDNEY • TOKYO


    Focal Press is an imprint of Elsevier Associate Acquisitions Editor: Valerie Geary


    Publishing Services Manager: George Morrison


    Project Manager: Mónica González de Mendoza


    Marketing Manager: Kate lanotti


    Cover Design: Eric DeCicco


    Cover image: © Joe Farace


    Focal Press is an imprint of Elsevier


    30 Corporate Drive, Suite 400, Burlington, MA 01803, USA


    Linacre House, Jordan Hill, Oxford OX2 8DP, UK


    © 2009 Joe Farace and Barry Staver. Published by Elsevier, Inc. All


    rights reserved.


    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval


    system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,


    mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior


    written permission of the publisher.


    Permissions may be sought directly from Elsevier’s Science &


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    Technology Rights Department in Oxford, UK: phone: ( 44) 1865


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    843830, fax: ( 44) 1865 853333, E-mail: [email protected]


    You may also complete your request online via the Elsevier homepage


    (http://elsevier.com), by selecting “Support & Contact” then “Copy-


    right and Permission” and then “Obtaining Permissions.”


    Recognizing the importance of preserving what has been written,


    Elsevier prints its books on acid-free paper whenever possible.


    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


    Farace, Joe.


    Better available light digital photography : how to make the most of


    your night and low-light shots / Joe Farace, Barry Staver.


    p. cm.


    Includes index.


    ISBN 978-0-240-80999-1 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Available light


    photography. 2. Photography–Digital techniques. I. Staver, Barry,


    1948– II. Title.


    TR590.F367 2008


    778.7’6—dc22


    2008009894


    British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data


    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


    ISBN: 978-0-240-80999-1


    For information on all Focal Press publications


    visit our website at www.books.elsevier.com


    08 09 10 11 12 5 4 3 2 1


    Printed in China


    Working together to grow


    libraries in developing countries


    www.elsevier.com | www.bookaid.org | www.sabre.org Contents


    Introduction ix


    The “gasp factor” ix


    This one’s for you xi


    It’s all about the photographs xii


    What’s new xii


    Chapter 1 What is available light? 1


    The golden hour 2


    Zap! 7


    Weather tips from Barry 7


    Light is light 8


    What is exif and what is it good for? 13


    Artifi cial light 15


    Painting with light 19


    Artifi cial natural light 21


    The philadelphia story 22


    Out of the past: fi lm noir 23


    Moulin rouge! 24


    Flash in the pan 26


    Chapter 2 Basic exposure 29


    The age of aquarius 31


    Light and color 37


    Meet the histogram 40


    The perfect exposure 42


    Really available light 43


    Creating high dynamic range images 45


    HDR in Photoshop 47


    Other HDR software 49


    HDR fi les from scanned fi lm 51


    What does it all mean? 53


    Chapter 3 Digital noise: What it is and how to


    deal with it 55


    Noise comes from many sources 57


    Chip size vs. Noise 58


    Shutter speed vs. ISO speed 59 vi Contents


    Do a noise test 60


    Built-in noise suppression 60


    Noise-reduction software 63


    Got noise? 64


    Picture code 66


    Keepin’ it neat 67


    Visual infi nity 68


    Applied science fi ction 69


    The imaging factory 70


    Stoic STOIK 71


    Noise in motion 72


    Taking action against noise 74


    Noise in print 77


    Our take on noise 78


    Chapter 4 White balance techniques 81


    Light is light? 82


    Real-world color balance 84


    AWB: color-temperature range of approximately


    4000–8000 k 86


    Daylight: approximately 5200 K 87


    Shade: approximately 8000 K 88


    Cloudy: approximately 6000 K 89


    Fluorescent light 90


    Tungsten light: approximately 3200 K 91


    Flash: approximately 5400 K 92


    Manual 94


    Facing lighting challenges indoors 95


    On location 99


    Black and white? 102


    In-camera monochrome color effects 106


    No more fi lm storage 109


    Chapter 5 Fast lenses 111


    Zoom vs. prime lenses 114


    Case study: canon’s 85 mm f/1.2 L lens 117


    One more time, boys 122


    Image-stabilization lenses 124


    Case study: fun in acapulco 124


    In-body stabilization 130


    Does it matter? 132


    What about depth of fi eld? 132


    Chapter 6 Tripods and other camera supports 137


    Standing on three legs 138


    It’s made of what? 142


    Carbon-fi ber choices 143 Contents vii


    Legs and feet 146


    Heads and columns 147


    The tripod bottom line 150


    Monopods 151


    Panorama heads 155


    Alternate supports 159


    Chapter 7 Available light photography at weddings 161


    The new wedding photography 165


    New technology = new opportunities 170


    Wedding-day coverage 170


    Off to the reception 176


    Chapter 8 RAW-image-fi le capture 181


    Paper or plastic? 181


    What’s behind door no. 1 184


    Making the decision 186


    Pros and cons 188


    JPEG advantages 188


    JPEG disadvantages 188


    RAW advantages 189


    RAW disadvantages 189


    Digital fi lm? 189


    Raw software 192


    Adobe camera raw 194


    Workfl ow: pictures, you’ve got pictures 195


    Sort ’em out 196


    Did somebody say distribution? 198


    Embed copyright with your fi les 199


    Glossary 203


    Index 217 This page intentionally left blank Introduction


    When making photographs, never forget the “Gasp Factor.”


    —Dick Stolley, former Time-Life managing editor


    When learning and refi ning their skills, most photographers


    progress through three distinct phases. The fi rst stage occurs


    immediately after they get their fi rst “good” camera and begin


    discovering the potential of the medium. During this time, novice


    shooters photographically explore their world with a high level


    of enthusiasm. Every new batch of images they examine con-


    tains photographs that look much better than the photographer


    ever imagined they could. Unfortunately, this blissful period


    doesn’t last long and is quickly replaced by the next period.


    In phase two, the shooter’s level of enthusiasm is still high,


    but is diminished when reviewing his or her newest captures


    only to discover that they are much worse than expected. As


    photographers continue to improve their skills by reading pub-


    lications such as Digital Photographer and Shutterbug, attend-


    ing workshops and seminars, and practicing their art, they


    eventually reach the fi nal phase.


    At this level, the image that photographers see in their camera’s


    viewfi nder is exactly the same thing that appears on the camera’s


    LCD screen or computer monitor. Although reaching this phase


    can be fulfi lling, some of the magic is gone. If you would like


    to experience some of the same thrill of discovery that occurred


    during the fi rst phase of your photographic education, we would


    like to suggest that you photograph when the available light may


    not be so available.


    The “Gasp Factor”


    When you turn the pages of magazines, books, and newspapers,


    do you ever notice how some images just grab you? These great


    photographs are unique; they are different. They literally force


    you to stop and take a second look at them. When confronted


    by this kind of photograph, do you sometimes wonder, “How


    was that taken?” Perhaps you just think, “I wish I could do that.”


    The goal of this book is to answer both the question and the


    wish. We will take you behind the scenes and show you how


    many different kinds of available light photographs were made


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