Dragon mask
Originally uploaded by mjm1138.

Well, I’m shooting with a DSLR now. So far I haven’t gotten out to do any actual creative work, I’ve just been getting accustomed to the controls and getting a feel for how it shoots. This dragon mask hangs in the hallway of my friend Chris’s house; this is really just a snapshot. But it does good justice to the sharpness of the lens and the quality of the output from the camera.

There are three primary challenges to digital photography, now that I’ve been doing some research, resolution, noise and the lack of dynamic range. Resolution just means that, at the present time, you’re not going to get as many pixels of information out of a digital image shot with a consumer SLR than you can get with a 35mm negative (shot in ideal conditions). For that, it is simply to wait until improvements in technology make superior resolution more affordable.

Turns out that you can do something about the noise and dynamic range situations today though. There are lots of good products out there for reducing sensor noise on shots taken at high ISO, or long exposures. Noise Ninja seems to do the trick, and is likely what I’ll use when I find myself needing that. Since I prefer to shoot with available light whenever possible, I expect this to be quite a bit.

For dynamic range, the emerging technique is to make multiple exposures using the camera’s auto-bracketing function, and combine the images in such a way that you’re rendering the shadow detail from the longer exposure and the highlight detail from the shorter exposure. There are various techniques for doing this, and software to automate the process. I’m hoping to shoot for HDR this weekend and try out Photomatix for this. They have a free edition of their product that can do some of the simpler techniques. More posts to come.


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