The DaVinci Gallery: a Study in High Dynamic Range

Lately I’m working not only on my actual camera ability, but also on better understanding the technology of processing images. Friday I spent a couple of hours in the DaVinci Machines Exhibit in Denver working on both composition and technical skills (shooting in lower light, for instance) and doing so with an eye toward how I’d be outputting the images later. Interesting results.

I bracketed everything I shot (three exposures: -3, 0 and +3) to enable composite High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing. For those who don’t know these terms (an audience that included me three months ago), bracketing is a process where the camera takes three (usually) exposures – with one slightly overexposed and one underexposed – so that the images can then be composited using image processing software (in this case, Photomatix). The result: “a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods.”

The sequence below comprises five different takes on the same raw image of DaVinci’s inclinometer. First, the basic shot, fine tuned a bit in Photoshop.

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we most often think of urban decay in terms of blocks, buildings, streets. there are other, smaller things we can look to, to see what is happening. it may not be urban decay per se, but it is interesting how those smaller things can show us change. this composite is of a 2007 shot, and one done yesterday. it was not planned to do this in 2007, so it’s not perfect. it’s a bike and rider suspended on an exterior air-conditioner two stories up.

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2012 Labor Day Milonga, Cheesman Park (Denver, Colorado)

While I wish the tent was not in the background (behind the dancers) I still like this shot – the space around them, the texture of her dress and the texture of the marble floor. Just kind of like it.

Found treasure

1909-1915 the fire screen from the Nippon Kan theatre, Seattle, WA

After decades of being lost this 15 by 30 foot screen is one of the treasures displayed at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle. The scrim was an extra large yellow pages for local Japanese-American companies. If you failed to pay your bill they painted over your spot. The restoration was guided by the asbestos content of the material – a clear resin-based product holds the pigments in place. The screen now graces the 59 seat Tateuchi Story Theatre at the Wing museum.