Mathew the Impossible!

Our two-and-a-half year old Mathew Gabriel was sitting on the living room couch with hair backlit by the sun and face in deep shadow. This would have been an impossible situation in color film photography. Exposing for the highlights would have plunged his face in shadow, exposing for his face would have blown out the highlights, and averaging the exposure wouldn’t have produced good results anywhere.

In traditional portrait photography, an answer would have been to provide fill lighting for Mathew’s face. But Mathew doesn’t sit still. Long before I could have organized the proper lighting he would have found a new activity.

There are a number of ways to fix this exposure problem using digital post-processing. My technique in this case was to combine various different exposures based on the range available in the RAW capture. (The original RAW exposure was biased towards underexposure, because the highlights are the hardest to revive once they’ve been blown.)

Another impossibility: Mathew had a noodle on his nose. No problem at all to de-noodle his nose using Photoshop’s Clone Tool.

Bravo for digital photography!

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