Reality bites

I’m still thinking about Wired’s top ten photo peeves and I have to admit the actual list has emerged as my top photo  peeve. Dissing high dynamic range images, for example, is a little  like complaining about images produced during the  hour before sunset. I think the real problem with HDR capture (for some people) is the perception that it in some way distorts reality.

If the argument is that HDR captures distort reality,  wouldn’t the clipping of dark and light image areas in a low dynamic range capture be far more distortion? It’s not like the camera is showing us something we couldn’t see if we were there looking over the photographer’s shoulder. However, it IS rendering a scene in a way that we’re not accustomed to seeing rendered by a camera.

Essentially, cameras are increasingly able to show us things in ways we aren’t accustomed to cameras showing us (at least consumer cameras operated by non-professional shooters). Many observers believe that HDR capabilities will be standard in all future consumer cameras. Multiple exposure capture will be seamlessly integrated into the camera’s function to the extent that it won’t be a special technique. Even now some FX sensor SLRs have enough dynamic range to capture in one exposure what many would classify as HDR.

The sea change, IMHO, is really our expectations about photography. Most people on the planet have attained a level of visual and technology sophistication unthought of a couple of decades ago. The ability to distribute images world-wide is every man’s tool. The majority of people on the planet will in the near future (if not already) carry a camera with them 24/7 in the form of a high resolution cell phone (camera).

Let the discussion continue…


~ by keithphilpott on August 26, 2009.

4 Responses to “Reality bites”

  1. I’m not a photographer, but I’m a big fan of HDR imagery. The Stuck in Customs blog is one of my favorites:

  2. Yes, jane thanks for bringing up StuckinCustoms. I’m a fan, too. It’s still puzzling to me why someone would NOT like these images.

  3. Phil: Wonderful work. I have a nephew who spent a year in China teaching ESL. Now, he works for University of FL and owns his own photo business. Here is the URL of his pixs from travels in China. Thought that you may find them interesting.

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