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High Contrast... how to get it.

Lu Mu , Jun 20, 2008; 02:40 a.m.

Hi, Since its my first post here: I'm really just starting to be a little more ambitious about takeing pictures. After shooting with my fathers ol' olympus pen ft for a year I recently (well,... yesterday) acquired a ricoh gx100, which ,as some might not know, has a 24mm wide angle lens! so that's all i have for equipment, and i know its nothing fancy, but I think the ricoh is a camera I really have space to grow into. Right now, I'm nowhere near pushing the cam to its limits...

my question: how do people get pictures with a sharpness and contrast and overall quality as this: http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6091052

I know there's a lot to it, but if you could give me some (basic) hints into the right direction (maybe literatue tips) - that would be really helpfull!

Thanks for your help, and greetings from germany! Lu


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Stefan T. , Jun 20, 2008; 03:02 a.m.

Low ISO and learn to play with photoshop. And watch the highlights. In high contrast scenes they tend to be blown out and you might want to compensate by adjusting exposure (-0.3 to -1.0, depends on your camera).

Diese Seite k�nnte vielleicht hilfreich f�r dich sein, Lu.


Viele Gruesse aus Lueneburg, Stefan

Lu Mu , Jun 20, 2008; 03:23 a.m.

Danke Stefan!

Colin Carron , Jun 20, 2008; 03:55 a.m.

Getting good sharpness is a matter of either using a tripod or, if the camera is hand held, setting a high enough shutter speed to eliminate camera shake. With a wide angle lens you van probably 'get away with' 1/25 second but sharpness would be improved if you shot at 1/250 second or thereabouts. The aperture needs to be in the f5.6 to f11 range as this is where most lenses are at their sharpest (unless you are specifically trying to maximise depth of field.when you might set f16 or f22.)

Light is important for good contrast. With the light in the right direction the shadows are darker and the highlights are brighter.

However in the case of the shot you refer to above I think quite a bit of Photoshop has been used to enhance the contrast. There is no substitute here but to learn how to do this yourself and the above post points to one of many tutorials on the subject.

Colin Carron , Jun 20, 2008; 04:03 a.m.

Incidentally you would not need the full version of Photoshop to achieve the look in the photo. I use Photoshop Elements 2.0 which does everything I need in it.

Lu Mu , Jun 20, 2008; 12:07 p.m.

Colin, thanks for your hints.

Hm... I hoped to get into this area without photoshop. I will try to get there as far as I can without it. Neither do I have the budget nor the time to get into software picture editing right now. maybe later. gonna go and enjoy the camera now. again thanks for your insight.


Daniel Finch-McCaffrey , Jun 20, 2008; 12:50 p.m.

One way to put more contrast in your B+W photos is to use a set of B+W filters. They come in many different colors. Just remember if you use these filters it will need a tripod. You can loose up to two stops with them. Give it a try.

David Henderson , Jun 20, 2008; 01:09 p.m.

If you want contrasty photographs without significant manipulation in post then you need to shoot contrasty subjects. This is what the chap with the picture of Moraine Lake has done. Then if you're going to operate at the edge in contrast terms you need to learn a lot about the dynamic range of your medium and how you might assess scene brightness to fit onto it.

Sharpness with a given digital camera is more about simply keeping the camera still than it is with film, where both film and processing choices can also affect sharpness greatly. Even depth of field is unlikely to be much of an issue with a small sensor and wide lens- unless of course you're taking extreme close ups- in which case it gets important real fast. For infinity focus landscapes however its pretty much down to keeping the camera still , and even if a shot looks sharp handheld, you can bet that you can mostly make it still sharper on a tripod.

Peter Langfelder , Jun 21, 2008; 04:58 p.m.

If you don't want to pay for photoshop, use gimp - not as full-featured, but should be more than enough, and it's free.

Dirk Dom , Jun 23, 2008; 07:13 a.m.

I see no difficulties in enlarging the shot shown in a B&W darkroom as it looks, if the negative is decent.

I'd use multigrade paper, and set it to contrast grade 4 or 5. No photoshopping is needed.

To get the sky as it looks, (The blue grey, and the clouds white) you'd probably have to use a yellow filter when shooting.

Possibly you'd have to "hold" the sky (overexpose it selectively a bit on your print) to give it texture, but that's basic darkroom practice.

Also, because of the snow, when you make the shot and you measure your light on the snow, overexpose 2 stops (open up 2 stops). If you measure light on the rocks or the trees, take that measurement and don't correct.


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