Monthly Archives: April 2005

Off The Road to Escalante


Off The Road to Escalante
Originally uploaded by mjm1138.

Another of the shots from Utah. If you look at the previous post you can see this range of hills in the corner. The photo is trying to capture the atmospheric perspective brought on by the haze that day.

Scanning negatives winds up being a real challenge. You have to play with the exposure on the scanner quite bit to maximize the dynamic range of the image information. In particular this image took several exposures, with early attempts losing a great deal of shadow detail and creating a distracting drop-out effect in shadow areas.

The trick is in noticing the color outside the frame of the image in the raw scan. The film base has a color to it; it’s not fully transparent (unless you’re dealing with slide film). So theoretically if you set your white point to the film base color, your exposure will be spot-on, right? At least, you don’t want to underexpose and waste dynamic range on the grey of the film.

In reality, my finding was that when I exposed like that, I lost shadow detail. The tradeoff for protecting that detail, then is a loss of a few grey levels. Since I’m scanning at 16 bits per channel anyway, I really have some wiggle room there before I start losing information. Anyway it’s a cheap flatbed, so let’s not fool ourselves too much.

This image was shot with the Nikon, obviously much better landscape camera than the XA.

Coming soon: just got back from a trip to Vancouver, so hopefully there’ll be some shots from that. I didn’t shoot as much as I wanted to, but did run some color film through the XA and I have some digital snaps of the city that are kind of nice.

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