Dynamic Range: Less is (Sometimes) More

I’m fresh out of chemistry to process the rolls I’ve shot in the last little while, so this morning I wanted to go through some older work and see if I had overlooked anything.  A few shots from a late-afternoon pub visit got me thinking about Dynamic Range and its use in the modern world of electron-based photography. 

We see many photos these days where nothing is off the histogram; every tone is represented and accounted for. There’s a place for this sort of work, but it can make for a flatter, less pointed image. In certain circumstances it’s nice to be able to select a segment of the tonal scale (I hesitate to use the term “Zone”, may they all rest in peace) and let the remainder go all to hell. Blown highlights and bulletproof blacks can have their place, especially if you can defend their inclusion to your peers.

In these cases, metering only for the subject and abandoning the rest make for a point of interest akin to precise focal length or shallow depth of field. High contrast doesn’t necessarily preclude photography on film.

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3 Replies to “Dynamic Range: Less is (Sometimes) More”

      1. Oh it’s alright. It is (or was) a bit wordy but what you’ve said there, the idea in it, is what’s important: isolating a specific zone/tone with exposure is no different from isolating a specific slice of space with DOF or a specific moment of time with shutter speed, or a specific frame with focal length &etc &etc.

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