Monday, November 05, 2007

Capturing What the Eye Saw

One of the limitations of low-light photography is that the eye/brain combination does a much better job of adjusting than does film or even today’s computerized digital cameras.

Below you will see the original version of a photograph I took in the hugely romantic border-town of Bitche, France, in 1971. Walking the cobblestoned streets in the late evening searching for red wine and fine dining, I looked up in time to see a French “gendarme” peddling by on his nightly rounds. The picture was taken on Ektachrome 200 slide film, with a TTL metered Nikon F2 Photomic that despite its advances still relied on good reflexes to match the exposure controls and operate the focus. I felt lucky, upon viewing the slide, to catch the motion of the bicyclist and the glow of the lights from within the café. But I was extremely disappointed with the general “muddiness” of the picture.

Enter Photoshop CS3.

The next image, a screen capture, shows the controls I used to produce a new version of this picture, one that captures in its true form the image that I saw in my mind when I took this picture.


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