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Author Topic: Midtones and tonal range  (Read 6596 times)
Randy Carone
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« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2012, 07:01:46 AM »
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Jeff, you may have won, but I'll never get back the 6 minutes it took me to read this thread. Now, back to the real world. Roll Eyes
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2012, 11:30:19 AM »
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Here is a magic ideal model link that has given me some valuable insight:
http://photo.tutsplus.com/articles/theory/light-photography-exposure-and-tonal-range-considerations/

Notably that article and the one on zone system on same website contain numerous errors. The zone system per Ansel Adams is not mere applying 10 zones, which was what he did for B&W photography. The scale contain a certain number of even stops, and the number of stops in the scale was dependent on the media he used (B&W, slides vs Polaroid Land Prints all were able to capture differing contrast range, or DR). He differentiated zones in the scene, the negative and the print, and applied the zone system there different depending on the media used. There are in fact many articles and books published that do not speak of the zone system correctly, and in particular in relation to digital photography. The Negative is the original source and the very best I have read on tonal values and zone system. Going into that literature though is an advanced step.

In essence, the author thus is even not quite correct on the visualization part... Notably the one thing that matters most in digital photography is where we place our highlight end, including (if there is) a transition into highlights before clipping. At same time what we have on our opposing end to make sure we capture the scene within the DR of the sensor. We can always move all rest around in post per say.

And, no... contrary to the article all digital cameras are not limited to 5 stops of DR nowadays... no. Technology has advanced over the last ten years... thereby - depending on DR of a scene vs. latitude of sensor - the need for ETTR can at times nowadays be questioned.


...just sayin' Ya might wanna learn how to use ACR 7.x and LR 4.x to get the best end result.

All respect, but I would instead highly recommend Capture One Pro. I prior used Camara RAW and found that and Photoshop made me think too much technical, as opposed to photographically when processing an image. The choice of RAW processor is of course an individual choice. Personally I do find Capture One Pro far superior, not only in because it maintain my brain photographic but because I reach far better results with my pictures.  Wink

Best regards,
Anders
« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 11:50:58 AM by Anders_HK » Logged
NikoJorj
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« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2012, 01:10:52 PM »
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And, no... contrary to the article all digital cameras are not limited to 5 stops of DR nowadays... no.
That reminds me of something, but what?   Huh  Roll Eyes Undecided Tongue Wink Lips sealed


Quote
All respect, but I would instead highly recommend Capture One Pro. I prior used Camara RAW and found that and Photoshop made me think too much technical, as opposed to photographically when processing an image.
Matter of tastes somehow, but things are not the same since ACR7/LR4 : the basic controls act quite differently from the previous versions, and perhaps you could say more "photographically" ; you should give it a try if you hadn't already.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2012, 03:06:54 PM »
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you should give it a try if you hadn't already.

I already have the tool I feel comfortable with.  Wink
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stamper
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« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2012, 04:20:44 AM »
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Quote Anders

Notably the one thing that matters most in digital photography is where we place our highlight end, including (if there is) a transition into highlights before clipping.
 
Unquote

That is correct but has nothing to do with the zone system imo. My understanding is that you pick out the area of interest  - usually the focal point - and make a judgement as to the light falling on it and use the EV up or down to make it a new midtone. It could be 1,2 or 3 steps. What you are saying is you spot meter for the highlight. lock exposure and usually dial in +2 - or maybe +3 if you are feeling brave - and this means the whole scene is lightened by two or three stops. Two different ideas. Smiley
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2012, 08:59:06 AM »
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Hi,

The way I see it you would try to reach maximum exposure without clipping (that is saturating any channel of the sensor). Having maximum exposure reduces shot noise. If you call ETTR or not doesn't really matter.

Best regards
Erik


Quote Anders

Notably the one thing that matters most in digital photography is where we place our highlight end, including (if there is) a transition into highlights before clipping.
 
Unquote

That is correct but has nothing to do with the zone system imo. My understanding is that you pick out the area of interest  - usually the focal point - and make a judgement as to the light falling on it and use the EV up or down to make it a new midtone. It could be 1,2 or 3 steps. What you are saying is you spot meter for the highlight. lock exposure and usually dial in +2 - or maybe +3 if you are feeling brave - and this means the whole scene is lightened by two or three stops. Two different ideas. Smiley
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2012, 04:28:01 PM »
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Quote Anders

Notably the one thing that matters most in digital photography is where we place our highlight end, including (if there is) a transition into highlights before clipping.
 
Unquote

That is correct but has nothing to do with the zone system imo. My understanding is that you pick out the area of interest  - usually the focal point - and make a judgement as to the light falling on it and use the EV up or down to make it a new midtone. It could be 1,2 or 3 steps. What you are saying is you spot meter for the highlight. lock exposure and usually dial in +2 - or maybe +3 if you are feeling brave - and this means the whole scene is lightened by two or three stops. Two different ideas. Smiley

The zone system can be used to precise explain what you quoted from me. With zone system you can of course pick any shade in the scene to base the exposure upon, but similar to that you base metering for B&W on the shadows you should base metering for digital on the highlight region, which may or may not mean ETTR. That also depends on the DR of the scene.

The way I see it you would try to reach maximum exposure without clipping (that is saturating any channel of the sensor). Having maximum exposure reduces shot noise. If you call ETTR or not doesn't really matter.

Depends on if you want saturated white in any part of the image, and/or if you want to capture part of the highlight transition by recovery of one or two channels.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2012, 04:50:45 PM »
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Hi,

I would add avoid clipping nonspecular highlights.

I very seldom see an advantage in having blown out white, but that is just me. Highlight recovery is pretty good in LR 4 with the new processing pipeline, but I still feel that reconstructing highlights from a clipped channel is a necessary evil at best.

The way I see it we have ample DR in todays cameras so I seldom found any issue with adjusting shadows without clipping highlights.

Specular highlights is something else.

The way to have maximum DR is of course to use base ISO.

Best regards
Erik



Depends on if you want saturated white in any part of the image, and/or if you want to capture part of the highlight transition by recovery of one or two channels.
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #48 on: October 14, 2012, 04:59:00 PM »
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I very seldom see an advantage in having blown out white

Studio portrait, if want complete white background.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #49 on: October 14, 2012, 07:18:30 PM »
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If it looks good to your eye and looks good in the viewfinder, snap it.  Who cares how many pixels fit into mid-range?  Even if you could arrive at some formula for best number of pixels in mid-range, there are too many other elements that go into a good shot such as composition, compelling subject, framing, etc.   
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #50 on: October 15, 2012, 12:28:31 AM »
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Hi,

I don't think rules make for a compelling image. On the other hand, rules may help in achieving a compelling image.

The way I see it, it is a very good idea to maximize DR in capture. Than you can remap tones essentially at vill in raw processing.

I don't think there is a golden standard for tonal rendition. Different pictures demand different tonal renditions and different photographers see things differently. Color and tonality arises in the brain.

I recall a discussion between Andy Biggs and Michael Reichmann, they shot the same animal in the same savanna the same day about the same time but came home with two very different renditions, one was deep saturated green the other yellowish green. The guys were really astonished when comparing images. (I don't know how many retakes it took for Chris ;-)

Best regards
Erik


If it looks good to your eye and looks good in the viewfinder, snap it.  Who cares how many pixels fit into mid-range?  Even if you could arrive at some formula for best number of pixels in mid-range, there are too many other elements that go into a good shot such as composition, compelling subject, framing, etc.   
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #51 on: October 18, 2012, 09:30:38 PM »
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Erik:  I looked at your portfolio and I really like it.  Your pictures seem to have nice contrast and good color.  They also have good composition but may main point about contrast and lighting is I doubt that the mid-range pixels match among the various shots.   I think we all have to shoot a picture that looks compelling to us first.  Then damn where the pixels wind up.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #52 on: October 19, 2012, 12:30:53 AM »
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Alan,

Thanks for the nice comments.

I don't disagree with you. On the contrary.

What I try to say is that we have often to much discussion about "rules". I don't think that a picture is better if it follows as many rules as possible. I see the rules as a help to achieve good pictures.

Regarding composition I think that we develop a way of seeing.

On where the pixels fall, I see it like that is determined in postprocessing. When you shoot raw you try to optimize capture.

The picture I enclose is carefully composed, which doesn't necessarily mean it is well composed. I tried to position my tripod where I wanted. Moved around 10-20cm to have what I regarded the best composition. I didn't really want the vegetation at lower right, but decided I can probably remove it in post if it is disturbing.

Than I just waited for light, for two hours. I don't do that often. By the way, light never really came. There were a lot of wildfires in the region and there was a constant smog.

Later I took another picture with the Grand Teton rising above the smog.

Best regards
Erik



Erik:  I looked at your portfolio and I really like it.  Your pictures seem to have nice contrast and good color.  They also have good composition but may main point about contrast and lighting is I doubt that the mid-range pixels match among the various shots.   I think we all have to shoot a picture that looks compelling to us first.  Then damn where the pixels wind up.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2012, 12:36:57 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Alan Klein
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« Reply #53 on: October 19, 2012, 04:12:58 PM »
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Nice shots.  The composition does follow the rules of thirds- naturally.  This rule just follows what our brain considers pleasant design.  It's really a statement of how our brain operates not really a rule.  The same with focus, contrast, mid tones, highlights, etc.  If it looks good to the brain, we can write a rule about it.  "People's faces look better in focus than out"  "Provide higher contrast pictures - low contrast flat pictures are boring to our brain"  etc.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #54 on: October 19, 2012, 04:41:53 PM »
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Hi,

When I composed the picture I didn't really think about rule of thirds or diagonals. I went to place the evening before and checked out the reflections of threes and the mountains. On earlier occasions i was shooting almost standing in the river, but this time I wanted something different. So I decided where to put my tripod the evening before. The idea was to get reflections of the trees and the mountains. I also looked to find some crop so I would not clip any mountain peak.

So the composition was given by the spot I choose. There were some variations. I enclose three pictures with 50, 100, and 160 mm, the longer two taken without moving the camera.

Obviously, I applied some processing on the raw file. This is one of the nice things shooting raw. You can do an awful lot of manipulation to everything. Another photographer, or myself another night, may arrive at an entirely different picture an other night of processing.

Best regards
Erik


Nice shots.  The composition does follow the rules of thirds- naturally.  This rule just follows what our brain considers pleasant design.  It's really a statement of how our brain operates not really a rule.  The same with focus, contrast, mid tones, highlights, etc.  If it looks good to the brain, we can write a rule about it.  "People's faces look better in focus than out"  "Provide higher contrast pictures - low contrast flat pictures are boring to our brain"  etc.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #55 on: October 19, 2012, 09:05:51 PM »
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All three shots have balanced elements to one another.  That's your brain selecting the best arrangement. It comes naturally for you. You don't need to be told a rule or how to apply it.  Your brain is doing it naturally.  Like I said, the rules only reflect what our brain already know the best way to arrange it.  Some people like you do it innately.  Other don't see it so easily so the "rule" helps them to "see" better. 


I could nevunderstandtnd why in most other things we do, there are rules and suggestions and practices we follow to improve what we do.  But when it comes to [photography, photographers think these things are just plain silly.  Oh well.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #56 on: October 20, 2012, 02:59:28 AM »
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Alan,

I really appreciate your comments and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Best regards
Erik

All three shots have balanced elements to one another.  That's your brain selecting the best arrangement. It comes naturally for you. You don't need to be told a rule or how to apply it.  Your brain is doing it naturally.  Like I said, the rules only reflect what our brain already know the best way to arrange it.  Some people like you do it innately.  Other don't see it so easily so the "rule" helps them to "see" better. 


I could nevunderstandtnd why in most other things we do, there are rules and suggestions and practices we follow to improve what we do.  But when it comes to [photography, photographers think these things are just plain silly.  Oh well.
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