Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Canticle from Leibowitz

The National Kidney Foundation hosted its annual Authors' Luncheon, with featured speaker Annie Leibowitz. (Actually, I was only vaguely aware that there were five other speakers, because all the buzz among the local camera club members was about Annie and her new book.)

I did learn a number of things -- some contradictory -- from the other authors. From flipping through the Annie Leibowitz book, I got some ideas about portraiture (always more to learn there) and black and white. Now digital cameras are still weak when it comes to dynamic range, making for less overall contrast in black-and-white shots. But my impression, which goes against the conventional wisdom, is that when taking a single exposure, it's better to underexpose a little rather than try to get the histogram concentrated in the brighter part of the range. The photos in he book seemed to bear this out (despite being shot on regular film rather than digital) -- the brightest parts were well short of being blown out, and some of the darker parts seemed solid black.

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