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on Jun 4, 2008 in Random Thoughts, Wildlife Photography

Hard Light Spring?

I’ve received a whole lot of emails of late in regards to holding details in highlights / whites. It would seem it’s a hard light spring out there. Let me see if the answer to this current common question helps you.

This is an American White Pelican in FL photographed with a 600mm. As you can see even in this small file that the highlight detail is still intact. But rather than look at the highligths/whites, look at the shadows because there’s the key to the answer. Notice how you can see detail in the shadow area to the right of the wing? This is due in part because of the light bouncing off other parts of the pelicans body. But the BIG reason why there is shadow detail is because of the quality of the light and there lies the answer to the problem.

The photo was taken bloody early in the morning, 05:20 to be exact. Why is that so important? The sun is not high in the sky blasting away with all its might on the scene. Holding highlight detail is directly dependent on the quality of the light. Not the exposure, not the camera, not the post processing but on the quality of the light. If you’re having problems holding highlight detail, you need to examine the light you’re shooting in.

Most cameras have a tool to help you learn light, what manufactures call Highlight Warning, what I call Blinkies. These show you exactly where in the photo you have lost highlight detail. It’s then upon you the photographer to decide if that’s a good or bad thing and if it is a bad thing, you, the photographer must make the decision how to deal with it.

Light is everything and is the answer to this common question. Hope that helps.

PS…another common question is where is Base Camp going in 2009? At this time, we’ve not decided the locales so you’ll just have to be patient.