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Re: [The-Complete-Photographer] Chinese Lantern Festival

From: Guy H.
Sent on: Saturday, October 20, 2012 6:07 AM
They are all HDR spaced 1 to 2 EV apart, some are 2, 3, 5, and 7 exposure.  There is a lot of trial and error to get the bracket range right.  I deleted the errors.

The ISO ranged from 50 where I was going for long exposures to smooth the ripples to 1250 when I wanted everything crisp and sharp.  

At ISO 50 the shutter speeds ranged from 15 sec @ f/8 to 1/40 sec.  At ISO 1250 the shutter speeds ranged from 1/2 sec to 1/1000.

HDR photography is required for these pictures.  The problem is if the image is exposed for the art to capture the subtle and not so subtle colors then the background goes to black.  If the background is exposed to bring out the ambience then the art is blown out.  

Our sensor sensitivity is capable of capturing 12 EV or stops at ISO 400 or less.  Sensor sensitivity drops as the ISO rises as documented on the DXO Mark web site.

The range for these lantern images is between 18 to 21 EV.  You can't get there from here with only one exposure.

Most of the newer cameras allow 3 AEB images at up to +- 3 EV.  My experience with night shots is don't go over +- 2EV.  And +-1 EV is better.  The scheme I use with my 7D is set the AEB to +- 3 EV.  Verify the shadow (or highlight) detail.  Then increase the exposure up (or down) 1 EV for another sequence.  Repeat once more to fill in the last gap then check to make certain all the Highlight (or shadow) detail is captured.  Then don't forget to ratchet the exposure down (or up) to prepare for the next scene.

Use the RGB histogram to verify good exposure.  This is particularly important with all the reds in the Chinese art.

Assuming a 12 EV baseline sensor capability, +-3 EV adds 6 EV for 18 EV.  Going up (or down) in 1 EV increments adds another 2 EV for a total of 20 EV.  

If more than 20 EV is required than  then use +- 1 1/3 EV sequence and increase the exposures 4 EV for the next sequence.  ETC.  

Don't worry if you don't exactly the same spacing.  The HDR software will take whatever you give it as long as there are not identical exposures.

NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 did the best job for these images.  Check the Lewis Kemper site for discounts.

That's the long story.


------ Original Message ------
Received: 06:25 PM CDT, 10/19/2012
From: Pam McGraw <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [The-Complete-Photographer] Chinese Lantern Festival

Absolutely beautiful!  I know that a tripod is a must.  Would you please tell me your settings on your camera?  I have a Canon 60D.
On 10/19/12, Guy Huntley<[address removed]> wrote:

Wednesday evening I went to the Chinese Lantern Festival at the Texas State Fair.  I figured I would have no problem seeing everything between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM.  The next time I looked at my watch was when the lights went out at 11:30 PM.  I totally lost track of time.


It is huge and there is a lot to see.   These are not your Grandma's chinese lanterns!  Some of the pictures are posted here. There are even some reflections!


If you haven't been to the state fair yet I recommend you make time to tour the exhibit.  It is amazing!


Thanks . . . Guy


Below is a track of where I took pictures.

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