Monday, June 2, 2014

Then there is the easy way -- a final redo of the 911 Memorial Park image with the 12-24mm Sigma full frame zoom

Ever since I did the first two versions of this image with the Fuji X-T1 and 10-24mm lens -- first as a single shot and then as a composite -- I have been wondering if a 12mm focal length on a full frame camera would have done the same thing. So back I went -- this time with a Nikon D600 and a Sigma 12-24mm zoom and caught the whole scene in one shot. I still like the one I did in my former blog post combining multiple images from the Fuji 10-14mm zoom. Plus, it still  gave a slightly wider scene than the 12mm was able to capture. Nonetheless, there is something to be said about the ease of capturing the entire scene in one take.

A 12mm focal length is currently the widest rectilinear wide angle lens available for a full frame camera, and the Sigma 12-24mm zoom is the only lens available other than a Voigtlander 12mm, which introduces many other complications in its own right.  This is a really fine, reasonably priced lens. I plan to do a full hands-on blog review of it soon.

I have been photographing this scene in the morning when there is a bright light on the background scene and part of the memorial, but deep shadows in the foreground area. This is where the extensive dynamic range of good digital cameras comes into play, and one of the main reasons I always shoot in 16-bit RAW. 

Below is a representation of this scene with no post processing done to it to demonstrate the highlight to shadow range the camera must capture. So long as there is detail in all the areas the scene can be massaged into an even-toned image by darkening the highlights and opening the shadows. In the days of shooting transparency film with a 1, or at most 2, stop dynamic range, a scene like this would have required something like a split ND filters and a dead-on exposure to even come close to pulling it off. Today, with dynamic ranges having a 14-stop latitude in a camera like the D600, accomplishing this is a snap during post processing. 

This image, right out of the camera with no retouching, shows the lighting disparity of the scene with strong highlights and deep shadows. So long as an image is captured that retains full detail in both highlights and shadows, post-processing correction in Photoshop -- mostly in Adobe Bridge -- is easily done.

The Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5/6 lens can be seen or ordered here:  BH-Photo  Amazon   

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