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Overlooking Flats
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tower-bw-d.jpg
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ylw-text.gif Overlooking Flats Several techniques are demonstrated in this image. In order to optimize depth of field, a small aperture is used, so the nuts and bolts in the foreground are in focus as is the building in the background. Also the strong light from under the bridge causes high contrast, making it difficult to keep detail in the both the highlights and shadows. The camera can only capture accurate detail in one or two stops of light above and below the "metered value", so if the light is too bright or too dark in some areas, detail is lost.

To balance the light, I did two things. First, I used no red filter or polarizer, which can both add contrast in cases like this. (I could have used other filters to help reduce contrast, but I didn't want their undesirable side effects.) Second, I used my on-camera fill-flash to light the foregound. It's still a long exposure, but the flash is only an instant, and is just enough to bring up the shadows closer to the highlights created by the bright light from down below. How did I know how much flash to use? I didn't. However, the camera can figure it out if I tell it the brightness I need to match by metering on the bright area itself. This tells the camera that it needs to power the flash enough to light everything in the foreground. The background building is lit by ambient light alone as a consequence of having a longer exposure. Note: experimentation is necessary, but that doesn't take much more effort than just taking several pictures at different exposure times and seeing which one comes out best.

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Credit: Dan Heller
Object Name: tower-bw-d.jpg
By-line: Dan Heller
Copyright Notice: Photo (c) www.danheller.com
Keywords: black and white, tech, tower, tower bridge
Location: Unknown
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