Highlight clipping

26 Sep

As the dynamic range in comparison to the human eye is reduced significantly there are problems with both clipping I shadows but even more in the highlights.

That means that it from very, very light just goes over to white only, meaning loosing information in that area. That could be absolutely normal like when taking picture of something very bright like the sun or a lightbulb but is not desirable otherwise.

When shooting RAW you have some chances of getting back information in those areas because not all the colourchannels are clipped at the same time. That can on the other hand give some strange effects.

We were asked to take a high contrast scene and take a picture with the exposure just avoiding highlight clipping. From there on it was +1, -1, -2, -3 EV also. I took also the +1 picture and via lightroom get +2 and +3 EV in order to see a wider range of exposure.

The highlight in this picture is the right hand side of the car and to a lesser extend the sky. The car is light gray and the sun just blows out the highlight. Even when going down a few f-stops it still is very bright and without much structure or that you can see the gray colour. First when getting really dark is it possible to see those things.

On the other hand when overexposing it abruptly turns from structure to blank white. The sky is a better example even if the picture was exposed for the highlights on the car. You see in the first picture clear sky with some light clouds. In the lighter version you just can imagine that there are clouds and if you get even lighter the whole sky and parts of the car are just white, no texture or colour. It looks as if someone has punched out the sky from the picture. No smooth gradation from light to white but abruptly.

When looking at other pictures I think it looks almost digital and not natural, meaning that the punched out parts are very edgy.

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