Wednesday, September 17, 2008

High Dynamic Range Photography

The Future

"Computer graphics has achieved the goal of photorealism. Now the goal is to go beyond simply matching paper and silver halide - to create display technologies which can present any visual stimuli our eyes are capable of seeing. One area of rapid development is in dynamic range. A new crop of technologies using High Dynamic Range imaging (HDR or HDRI) aim to extend the dynamic range of digital imaging technologies way beyond traditional media."

The Future of Digital Imaging - High Dynamic Range Photography

Jon Meyer, Feb 2004

Meyer discusses how dynamic range has been dealt with through other media (i.e. traditional conventions in painting) and how photography has in the past come up short, with the ability only to represent a 300:1 dynamic range when 50,000:1 is present in real-world scenes. He considers changes in technology that will be made in each step of the imaging process: capture(quality over quantity of pixels; merging multiple images), storage(higher-bit storage formats), editing(software supports for higher bit-per-channel), output(increased dynamic range of displays).

The author of this article seems optimistic about the new digital technology. According to him, professional photographers will benefit from HDR technologies, with the ability to really 'push the creative envelope, exploring the extremes of high-key and low-key effects.' As someone who still likes to play with the limited dynamic ranges of film and especially lower end cameras (i.e. the Holga, Diana, etc), I'm really interested to see how a technology aimed at capturing an even more life-like image can be manipulated to artistic ends. If I'm lucky, Paul, I can get this technology installed in my hypothetical future camera glasses.


   mmm, the elite

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