Posts Tagged ‘ canon ’

Hard light portraits


I’ve been thinking about some Yousuf Karsh pictures lately. He has amazing portraits done with hard light. I know that we’re “supposed” to use soft light, but I think that some hard light portraits might be a nice change.

In order to kind of dip my feet in the hard light water, we quickly got some pictures of Norah. This was taken outside on a partly cloudy day. The sun was moving in and out of the clouds, and judging by the shadows in the picture, it was probably overcast when the picture was taken. I used a small speed light on a light stand, camera right, as my main light. If I remember correctly it was set for 1/4 power. I shot at f/5.6 @ 1/100 sec.

Aesthetically, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. You can see the hard line of the shadows under Norah’s arms and on her legs. I’d say the she could be sharper, but she was very antsy, so I was lucky to get what I got.


Turning around, we decided to put Norah on our wooden bench. The light is now camera left, and behind Norah. You can just see a bit of rim light on her right side. It’s a bit of a deviation from what I had originally set out to do, but not too bad. I wish that I had thought to bring another light with me in order to get a catch light.

Overall not too bad. I’ll have to try some more standard portrait work with the hard lights and see what I can do with that.


In recent discussions with a friend, we challenged each other. I had to take at least 5 pictures every day by Monday and self-edit down to my choice of the best 5. Hence 5 by 5 by Monday or 5x5xMonday. His challenge was to draw 5 sketches per day and cull to the 5 best for Monday. There was also a loose theme of fun (maybe it was funny; I don’t remember though).

Here are my 5. They’re all centered around kids, as that’s a major part of my life right now. Plus, who best do define “fun?”

Here I come!

_MG_5393 - Version 2
Not Happy!


Fighting Gravity

Spinning with Ceila

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Keyboard Reflections

Keyboard reflections
Keyboard reflections, alternate

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ADC response of a Canon 40D

This past Thursday I upgraded my camera. I had been shooting with a Canon Digital Rebel XT for the past two years, and while it’s served me well, I had an itch and decided to get the 40D.

While I was cruising around the web, drooling at different cameras, I ran into a web page (I can’t remember how I got there) that suggested a method to determine (in a somewhat crude fashion) the dynamic range of the sensor in a digital SLR.

The technique suggested is really simple. Using your fastest lens, take a picture of a neutral subject (white, grey, etc). Keep the aperture at wide open and set the shutter speed such that you are exposed as bright as possible without an overexposure warning. Then, keeping the same shutter speed, stop down by full stops. The histograms will show where the camera is digitizing the luminosity info from the sensor.

I did this for my new camera and found the results rather interesting. Note that the “highlight tone priority” was turned off, and ISO 100 was used for all exposures.


Composite histogram for exposures with an aperture ranging from f/32 to f/2.8

The sensor / ADC is not linear.

If it were linear, then you would see (within whatever standard deviation) a histogram value step down by half for every stop of down of the aperture.

The histogram counts for the given aperture values:
(F-stop :: Histogram Median)

f/32  :: 7
f/22  :: 15
f/16  :: 31
f/11  :: 55
f/8   :: 109
f/5.6 :: 153
f/4.0 :: 206
f/2.8 :: 241

While the first few lower entries appear to be linear, the higher values are decidedly not.

Using Excel, I plotted the median values and then did a trend line to approximate the type of curve that would best fit these results.

Picture 1.png

Curve fit of the observed histogram median results

While the curve fit shows a power based curve seems to fit, it sort of appears to be two different linear lines to me. But, it’s hard to say just looking at it.

Certainly from a technical standpoint, there’s no reason why the ADC has to be linear. While most are linear, having programmable reference levels wouldn’t be that hard to do.

My conclusion: I’m not sure. I believe that the composite histogram itself is telling. The “Expose To The Right” idea does not seem to be correct. The original idea was that the linear ADC (sensor + ADC, of course) would mean that after the highlights, you would immediately lose half the information. The histogram seems to say otherwise.

Does this mean that the end results from the ETTR are bunk? Probably not. But, it does seem to indicate that there isn’t nearly as much to be gained from the approach of controlled over-exposure.

Though I have not collated results for the “highlight tone priority,” I can say that there seems to be a shifting of the “sample points” from these results.

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