Subject: Re: raw 3.1 professional custom profiles for highend digital cameras
I can already see that there will be no substitute for lots of practice and field notes (is there ever a substitute?).
Yesterday I spent some time in the late afternoon in a park with lots of big trees. It was a sunny day, with the sun getting lower in the sky, so the scenes had a lot of dynamic range. Most of the subjects were in at least partial shadow. Using just the on-board spot meter of my D70, I metered the highlights, then bracketed from that point up to two full stops over, in 1/3 increments.
The best results came at 1 to 1 1/3 stops over the reading for the highlights. These exposures produced histograms in ACR that were slightly blown on the right, with much more of the shadow info moved to the right than it would have been otherwise. I dialed down the Exposure in ACR, sometimes by .50, and reduced Contrast to lighten the shadows a bit, then added a little Shadow. Sometimes I tweaked the ACR Curve, but my skill level with that leaves a lot to be desired. These steps produced very pleasing results. The shadows were neither blocked nor noisy, and they retained much detail.
I posted some samples here:
These are not intended to be works of art, so ignore composition, crooked lines, etc. I was only going for exposure. By and large, I am pleased with the manner in which this technique held the shadow detail. (These images, obviously, are reduced and in sRGB, so a lot has been lost in the conversion, but you should be able to see the point.) I included a comment under the images to indicate where I metered.
The built-in spot has limitations, of course, including an angle of coverage wider than what a handheld could offer, and I had to move the camera closer to the highlights in some cases to get the reading, but this system seems to work well enough for the average photographer (such as me).
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