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Friday, 07 July 2017


I recall experiencing the same problem a year or so ago, when I walked the Samaria Gorge in Crete. Very bright sunlight bouncing of very light-coloured rock, deep shadows, and not much vegetation in parts of the gorge to soften things. It was a challenge to get the images. (Actually it was a challenge to do the walk, let alone take the pictures....)

Except; except.... I could argue that bright and glare-y was how it was. There were times when I had to squint and cover my eyes to see where I was going, it was so bright, even with sun-glasses; and looking into the shadows required that I take the sunglasses off. If that's how my eyes saw it then perhaps the camera was right. Certainly, I think an HDR-style composite image that carefully preserved everything would not be a true reflection of how I saw it that day. What do you think? The subjective view, or the objective?

Nice shots Mike, whatever happened to the guy who only liked to shoot b/w ?.

Is it cheating to pick an overcast day?

[Not at all; I think it would make it easier for the camera to "see" the place like we do. --Mike]

Was there again in mid May this year. I lucked in to a lightly-overcast day so the dynamic range was compressed for me. There's a nice long "glide" in the stream in the west end that is overhung with branches and leaves. I'll bet it's good with autumn colors. I agree this would make an excellent field trip, maybe assign a five-shot story challenge. Last, when you're finished in the gorge head down to the ice cream parlor on the south end of town. Great gelato!

I most recently experienced wide dynamic range last week while shooting in a lesser-known slot canyon** in the southwest. Deep shadows in the interior were punctuated by brilliant swathes of light.

But sometimes the light in these slots is amazing.

**I know—many readers here think slot canyons are a cliche. See #13

I would like to second what commenter 'Nigli' said, based on first-hand experience. I recently finished the picture-making part of a project, which is photographing a disused railroad track in a terrain cut. It's an artificial landscape, but the topography is comparable to a gorge, and it's overgrown by trees and shrubs, so the lighting conditions are probably comparable. In my opinion, sunny conditions just don't work - you may be able to tame the contrast, but the pictures tend to look 'nervous'. Overcast sky, in contrast, is just right. Due to the tree canopy, there are nice chiaroscuro effects, and the contrast is still challenging even for my D800. Even better is a slight drizzle, which brings rock faces and foliage to life. A tripod is absolutely necessary, since at ISO 100 and medium apertures, exposure is usually several seconds.

Best, Thomas

Isn't dynamic range defined by the output? Squeezing a camera's large DR into a low DR output results in artificial images. Used to be that prints were worse than slides, and I still don't think monitors or TVs have very good DR. Of course, if you start with a high DR you have more options for the output.

By the way. Also recommended if you're driving through the middle of NY State: the gorge trails all around Ithaca. Very much in the mode of Watkins Glen (which I've never visited) and just stunningly beautiful. "Over 150 waterfalls within 10 square miles." As they say.

[It's what got me hooked on the Finger Lakes many years ago. My little brother was doing an internship year in Rochester and I drove up from D.C. to visit him, and spent three days meandering home again. Happened to intersect with just gorgeous weather. Shot lots of pictures with a Canon EOS RT, an EF 35mm ƒ/2 and a cheap 35-70mm zoom, and Ilford XP1. --Mike]

This post reminds me that although I spent the first 55 years of my life in Upstate NY, I haven't visited the Glen itself in probably 30 years. Every time I've been nearby, it's been up the hill to the race course. Oh well! Obviously I need to take that hike... your suggestion of the Glen as a photo assignment is absolutely brilliant. A challenge for all of us!

First is Best !
I mean the 1st photo is best IM(not so)HO :-)


Perhaps the exam could include the requirement that any submitted picture has to invoke an emotional response (autosuggest replaced "emotional" with "aneurysm" but I don't think you need go that far).

Similar challenge near my home turf is Hocking Hills State Park, near Logan, OH.

Similar gorges and waterfalls with extreme lighting, depending on the time of day. I've been there twice, once in the fall and once in the spring, and it truly is a challenge to get reasonable shots on non-overcast days.

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