Kagga Kamma – high dynamic ranges

This is the second post in a series of three from our recent trip to Kagga Kamma in the Swartruggens region in the south eastern Cederberg in the Western Cape. It shows two sets of images. This was a CNP workshop designed to expose wildlife photographers to new aspects of outdoor photography and new techniques.

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”

Aldous Huxley

This first set of six images shows a single exposure and deep depth of field format. The second set of six images show the High Dynamic Range (HDR) technique where multiple exposures are combined into one resultant image.

The area has the typical reddish brown weathered sandstone formations of the Cederberg area, as well as its plant cover, a drier mountain fynbos. It is largely treeless and is dominated by a variety of shrubs with interesting local names such as kakiebos, klaaslouwbos, koringbos, renosterbos, sneeubos, wolwedoring, taaibos and skilpadbessie – See more at: http://www.leisurewheels.co.za/4×4-news/cave-dwellers-and-bushman-paintings/#sthash.QsKpvVWp.dpuf

Single exposures

The weathered sandstone rock formations make perfect landscape subjects.

Falcon Old Boys weekend

The Swartruggens area is characterised by its reddish brown, weathered sandstone formations, typical of the Cederberg region. Its flora tends to be the drier mountain fynbos. It is largely treeless and is dominated by a variety of shrubs with interesting local names such as kakiebos, klaaslouwbos, koringbos, renosterbos, sneeubos, wolwedoring, taaibos and skilpadbessie

Falcon Old Boys weekend

The mountains in the area comprise almost entirely of sedimentary Table Mountain Sandstone. The Swartruggens region,  of the Cederberg mountains, sustains an arid type of fynbos–karroid scrub type of flora.

The area has the typical reddish brown weathered sandstone formations of the Cederberg area, as well as its plant cover, a drier mountain fynbos. It is largely treeless and is dominated by a variety of shrubs with interesting local names such as kakiebos, klaaslouwbos, koringbos, renosterbos, sneeubos, wolwedoring, taaibos and skilpadbessie – See more at: http://www.leisurewheels.co.za/4×4-news/cave-dwellers-and-bushman-paintings/#sthash.QsKpvVWp.dpuf

Falcon Old Boys weekend

The remarkable variation in underlying soil structure and rainfall, leads to an extremely diverse flora, which varies from mountain fynbos to succulents you would expect to see in the Karoo. The climate is one of extremes, with temperatures range from –6°C, with snow and ice on some high-altitude peaks in winter, to over 46°C on the karroid plains in summer.

Falcon Old Boys weekend

When you walk around the rock formations you cannot help but get the sense you are walking on the seabed. Even the dry fynbos and some of the succulents look like they belong on the seabed.

The area has the typical reddish brown weathered sandstone formations of the Cederberg area, as well as its plant cover, a drier mountain fynbos. It is largely treeless and is dominated by a variety of shrubs with interesting local names such as kakiebos, klaaslouwbos, koringbos, renosterbos, sneeubos, wolwedoring, taaibos and skilpadbessie – See more at: http://www.leisurewheels.co.za/4×4-news/cave-dwellers-and-bushman-paintings/#sthash.QsKpvVWp.dpuf

Falcon Old Boys weekend

In 2005, University of Stellenbosch scientists found a 450-million-year-old fossil of a fish in the Cederberg, the oldest fish fossil yet found in Africa.The fish lived at a time when there was life only in the oceans, when Africa, India, South America and Antarctica were joined in the single land mass of Gondwanaland. At that time the Cederberg area would have been under the sea.

Falcon Old Boys weekend

Multiple exposures

We now move to the High Dynamic Range (HDR) set of images. HDR is a set of techniques used in photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible using standard single exposure photographic techniques. HDR images can represent more accurately the range of intensity levels found in real scenes.

These are the first HDRs I have taken and I am ‘tickled pink’ with the effect. To achieve the effect, five images were taken in the bracket group. The exposure in each bracket is progressively incremented by one F stop. We used the Nik HDR software to combine the images. The process is simple.

The first HDR was of our cave at the Lodge. Kagga Kamma offers accommodation in 15 caves and four huts. The caves blend in superbly with the surrounding rock. The walls and roof of the cave are all man-made but well shaped and painted to match the surrounding rock.

Falcon Old Boys weekend

I was amazed at the detail the HDR technique produces. The greater exposure range gives improved definition even though all the images were taken at an F22 aperture. Just double click on the image to see a larger, more detailed version.

Falcon Old Boys weekend

The mid-image in the five image bracket group must be as close to the correct exposure as you can get.

Falcon Old Boys weekend

Obviously, when you are going to bracket five images, you must be sure the clouds are not moving too fast otherwise the software algorithm will not be able to effectively combine the images.

“Distance lends enchantment to the view.”

Mark Twain

Falcon Old Boys weekend

The clouds really helped provide a more interesting sky.

Falcon Old Boys weekend

I am really impressed with the software technology used to combine the images into a single HDR image. Once my excitement over the newly used software technologies has abated, I will concentrate more on my composition. Landscapes are a wonderful medium to draw photographer’s attention to composition.

In next week’s post, I will show six panoramic images. Again, the software technology used to stitch the images together is mind-blowing – there are some clever people in this world!!!!

“To learn to see- accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and allow things to come up to it; defer judgment, and acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.”

Friedrich Nietzsche,

Seek to understand nature, marvel at its interconnectedness and then let it be.

Have fun,

Mike

The area has the typical reddish brown weathered sandstone formations of the Cederberg area, as well as its plant cover, a drier mountain fynbos. It is largely treeless and is dominated by a variety of shrubs with interesting local names such as kakiebos, klaaslouwbos, koringbos, renosterbos, sneeubos, wolwedoring, taaibos and skilpadbessie – See more at: http://www.leisurewheels.co.za/4×4-news/cave-dwellers-and-bushman-paintings/#sthash.QsKpvVWp.dpuf

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