Using the camera’s highlight clipping to find the exposure which just captures the brightest highlight.
Scene: distinctly high dynamic range
- bright sunlight
- at least one brightly reflecting surface
- an area of deep shadow with a dark surface
- Place white paper near the dark shadow.
- Make sure the ISO is at it’s lowest. Turn off any noise reduction.
- Set the exposure and shoot so that there is just no highlight clipping of the white paper.
- Measure and make notes of the brightness of the white card and of two or three of the darkest shadow areas.
- Make a written note of the aperture / shutter speed combinations, and note exactly which areas were measured.
On a bright sunny day I chose my garden shed for this exercise, attaching a white piece of card to the side so that I could compare it to the shadow in the window and underneath the roof. After making sure that my camera was set to ISO 100 I found that an aperture of f/3.5 and shutter speed of 1/60 produced an image that had the least amount of highlight clipping. Then I used spot metering t record the aperture and shutter speed for each feature. See the image below for my results.
On first glance the brightest area has a fast shutter speed and the shadows require a much slower shutter speed in order to record the necessary image detail.With a shutter speed of 1/30 in the shadow of the window and a fast shutter speed of 1/350, my Canon 7D would have a dynamic range of approximately 2 full stops for this image.