FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Human Eye vs. Digital Sensor or Film?
Dark to Light Dynamic Range
The human eye can see about 14-15 f/stops of light gradation from black to white which is huge. By comparison, camera sensors or film, can only capture about half of that range in a single exposure - losing a lot of detail in very dark shadows, and bright burnouts.
This is why many photographer's have begun shooting High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography which captures multiple images and exposures of a single subject to match the dynamic range that the human eye can see. These images are then blended with HDR software.
Accumulation of Light
The human eye cannot accumulate light, digital sensors and film can. This can be used to capture sunrise colors before sunrise, sunset colors after sunset, or accumulate color from the Milky Way during astrophotography.
JPEG vs. RAW Image Capture Files?
Raw is the digital image file as captured by the digital sensor with little or no automatic internal processing by the camera. It is the highest possible image quality captured and is what you must use to capture that.
JPEG files are similar to Raw but usually smaller in size and of lower quality, but they do contain some automatic processing by the camera.
An unedited JPEG looks much better than an unedited Raw file. But Raw is what you should use for the highest possible quality - but you will have to edit the file - you don't really have a choice.
Why Use HDR?
A lot of my photography is done on week long backpacking or backcountry ski trips where I have to go from point A to point B every day, completing the route by the end of the trip. I frequently don't have time to wait around for perfect light.
While travelling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains in CA, or the Wind River Range in WY, you get hammered by the sun from 7:00AM to 8:00PM nearly every day unless there is a storm. This results in extremely bright sunlit areas, and very dark shadows which are very difficult to capture with traditional single exposure photography with acceptable quality. Indeed there are many photographers who say they don't even take photos in between the magic hours of sunrise and sunset unless it's an overcast day.
I'm traveling through some of the most spectacularly beautiful, pristine, and remote wilderness areas on the planet; and I may never be there again. So I'm shooting these wonderful areas but using techniques that need high contrast to work well: HDR, and Black & White.
HDR is the closest you can get to capturing what the human eye can see. How far you choose to push the HDR processing; from realistic, through interesting, to surreal is up to you, all are possible.
Archival vs. Non-Archival Prints?
See the "Print Methods, Mediums, & Care" site page