It was a beautiful evening yesterday, with a hint of the day’s fog still in the atmosphere. I had my eye on a house about half a mile up the hill from us that looked like it would have a wonderful view of the Golden Gate and the rest of the San Francisco Bay. They’d recently under-grounded all the power and phone wires in the area, so this view was newly unobstructed.
I drove up to this house, parked my car, and rang the bell. They were very gracious about letting me set up my tripod, stay as long as I liked, and take as many pictures as I liked.
The view of the Golden Gate was great, but I also liked sunset towards Richmond and Mount Tamalpais (above).
I was getting ready to pack up when I turned around and noticed a great big moon rising over the Berkeley hills (below).
Both images show a range from dark to light far greater than could have been recorded on film. The so-called dynamic range is also greater than that possible from a single RAW capture. The sunset over Mount Tamalpais comes from three different RAW captures, and the moonrise comes from four different RAW captures.
Within a single RAW capture, there’s a five f/stop range from dark to light, depending on how you do the conversion from RAW. That 5 f/stop range translates to 2 to the 5th power, or 32: there is a 32X possible exposure range within a single RAW capture.
The sunset used seven different RAW conversions from the three (differently exposed) RAW captures, and the moonrise used eight different RAW captures (from the four RAW captures involved).
Each RAW capture was incorporated in the image in Photoshop as a layer. I used layer masks and a Photoshop Paintbrush to blend the various layers of the image to get the effect I wanted.
All in all, the end results are closer to the way things appeared to me than any single capture would have been, however well processed. I think you’ll really be able to see the increased exposure range in these images if you look at each in their larger size.
View this image larger.