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Portrait of a young man, Old Delhi, India

From my April,  2010, trip to India.   I was walking through the small streets and lane-ways of Old Delhi when I managed to get this portrait of a young man working in a bakery.   As is customary in Old Delhi,  the shop opened directly onto the street and I managed to get a couple of shots of this young man and his colleagues as they worked,  kneading bread and placing it into an oven.    Whilst that was interesting enough,  it was as I walked a few paces further along the footpath that I looked back and saw the light streaming in and highlighting his face.

Exposure bracketing.

I quickly took a couple of bracketed exposures given that the contrast in the scene was beyond the dynamic range of the digital sensor.    This turned out to be a good policy as the contrast range was such that no single exposure was going to get both the shadows and highlights acceptably.   The final image is the result of some careful compositing work,  essentially to replace the highlights on the timber beam which were blown out in the primary image.   The exposure difference between acceptable (well lit) skin tones and the highlights on the timber beam was over 4 stops.

When bracketing exposures in this way there are several things to be mindful of.     Firstly you need to ensure, as far as possible, that the framing of the successive images is the same.   Secondly you need to ensure that focusing and aperture remain the same so that only the shutter speed changes.

A young man pauses from his work. Bakery, Old Delhi.
A young man pauses from his work. Bakery, Old Delhi.

Canon 5D Mark 2 with 24-105mm zoom at 84mm f5.6,  shutter speed 1/500 second at ISO 6400 (for the primary or base shot)