Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 52, Learning 52: Eye vs Camera

The human eye is an amazing thing.  At the center of it focal area it equals a 52MP camera in terms of resolution (this lessens as it moves to peripheral vision); it has an astounding 24 f stops of dynamic range-- compared the 12-13 stops of a high end DSLR or mid-range medium format camera.  It's ISO goes down to 1. It auto white-balances to perfection every time.  It's roughly the equivalent of a 50mm lens.  And, of course, it naturally captures images in 3D.

The dynamic range, in reality, is actually closer to 12-14 stops.  The eye reaches 24 by quickly adjusting.  At any given fraction of a second it only spans the lesser range.

When you're photographing them, it's best practice to keep them in the upper 2/3rds of the frame, focus on the nearer eye, and catch-lights (the tiny reflection of your light source) give them the appearance of "life."  If the eyes appear dull, there's a Photoshop trick for giving them depth and bringing out the color range.  Select just the eyes using with the Quick Select tool or some other; Feather the edge so it's not hard; copy into a new layer; then set the Blend Mode to "Color Dodge."  They'll really pop.  You can adjust the opacity to reduce the effect, and I sometimes apply a mask and hide the catch light because it sometimes turns too white.

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