Monday, January 9, 2012

Observations on the fish

If I thought that using a fisheye lens was simply a case of, “it’s just another lens,” then I was mistaken. There are, it seems, new compositional factors to discover and learn and there are technical challenges to address. The compositional aspects I am still working through, but one technical aspect is that, in an outdoor environment, almost every shot will have a high dynamic range and will need to be treated with whatever technique you use for HDR.
The reason for the high dynamic range is the field of view; it is so large that the chances of including both very bright and very dark parts in the subject are greatly increased – even compared to something like a 10mm rectilinear lens. To combat this, I have found that +2/-2 bracketed shooting is the new ‘normal’ for the fisheye and that in some cases I need to bracket out to +4/-4 or further, to cover the range.
The following shot of our school observatory was taken on a cloudy/bright day, facing away from the sun and required a +2/-2 treatment. With other shots taken towards the cloud covered sun, +2/-2 was not enough and the sky was badly burnt out.

Nikon D80, with Samyang 8mm fisheye, f11 (3 exposures).

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