Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Contrast of an image

I took this image with a small Panasonic GF-1 camera, with a small pancake 20mm/1,7 lens, quite handy, while walking inside the beautiful Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiangmai.  This is am image taken right around the main entrance gate, here you have a splendid view of the property, a calm sanctuary inside a becoming-modern Chiangmai city, the tourism and business hub of northern Thailand.
Contrast is a subject I discussed often.  Yes, the modern optical design has the goal inching toward higher contrast, sharpness, definition,......they are all good.  While modern digital photography also gives you choices that back in those days - film can't. With a film, the photography is pretty much done after the exposure is taken;  with digital, depend on where you go, you go whereever!  Of course this is base on the same token that the knowledge and skill and vision is the same while the shutter is pressed, with film - you stay there, with digital capture, you have the option to go further.  Certainly further does not means better, further is an option. And to have options is not a bad idea.
Here with this image, in early January, Thailand is still in the middle of its winter season, although it can well around 30 C, or higher, in mid afternoon - when I took this image. Since I always shoot RAW, I am familair with the range the RAW file can provide.  My preference on this image is not to make it sharp, high contrast, vibrant color.  Rather, I want the image to be subtle, suggesting an image could have been taken century ago, soft, very low contrast - this way the leaves, branches, vague texture of the tree, building, the sky.....are all visible, and with harmony, rather than leaving all these element to fight for attention.  And the color, pull it back to make it a more softer tone, of more vintage view.  This can be quite subjective, and everyone can be right.  RAW image processed with Capture One Pro 5.x. Highly rcommended.

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