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Cambridge in Colour
August 1, 2005 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Cambridge in Colour... long exposures during twilight or moonlit conditions can produce other-worldly images. Be sure to check out the digital photo tutorials, too.
posted by crunchland (35 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

The photos and the techniques described are fantastic. Thanks, crunchland.
posted by tcp at 3:14 PM on August 1, 2005

Woh... Gorgeous. Takes me back to my college days...
posted by benzo8 at 3:20 PM on August 1, 2005

Just beautiful. I may have to order a print.
posted by frykitty at 3:28 PM on August 1, 2005

Nice photos, but I hate people who "disable" right clicking.
posted by knave at 3:31 PM on August 1, 2005

Beautiful, thanks!
posted by carter at 3:33 PM on August 1, 2005

Wonderful post! Thanks!
posted by Moral Animal at 3:39 PM on August 1, 2005

So that's not retouched at all?
posted by funambulist at 3:41 PM on August 1, 2005

funambulist writes "So that's not retouched at all?"

Yeah - read the Techniques section, which shows how it's done - mixing multiple shots to get a wider depth of field and dynamic range, and increase the field of view... Still, very nice stuff indeed.
posted by benzo8 at 3:48 PM on August 1, 2005

I'd just like to affirm that:

a) These are absolutely stunning shots, amongst the best I've ever seen of this type, and this is a magnificent post;

b) Cambridge actually really does often look like this - the early morning mists, or the nights when it's all lit up, or the simple quality of light in autumn, they all mingle with the different styles of architecture for a truly amazing effect. Especially if you've had a few jars beforehand;


c) You can totally see my old room in a couple of these pictures.
posted by flashboy at 3:55 PM on August 1, 2005

No Gate of Honour, no Caius. :-(
posted by caderoux at 4:00 PM on August 1, 2005

Great post.
posted by fatllama at 4:16 PM on August 1, 2005

Lovely pictures, for sure, but alas, a technique I could never use at my job since it's ethically unsound. How many of you were under the impression that each of those images represented a single image? Yeah. Post-processing is great, but these are not photographs, they're photo-illustrations.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 4:24 PM on August 1, 2005

I should add that the tutorials do a great job of explaining the technical stuff.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 4:27 PM on August 1, 2005

Is that really the case - ethically unsound? Surely even with conventional film, people will dodge and burn, crop and tease, and otherwise manipulate the final result on the enlarger? Why is this any different because it's been done inside a computer?
posted by benzo8 at 4:28 PM on August 1, 2005

ethically unsound. Good one, TheGoldenOne, you had me going there for a moment.
posted by Nelson at 4:31 PM on August 1, 2005

Lovely pictures, for sure, but alas, a technique I could never use at my job since it's ethically unsound.

Ethically unsound would be photoshopping the Queen Mum into the photo with her britches down. Using darkroom techniques to make a photo look like reality is standard practice.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:35 PM on August 1, 2005

So that's not retouched at all?

Heavily retouched, but beautiful nonetheless. And that's all that matters. "Ethics" be damned.

Anyway, the techniques of expanding dynamic range are only necessary because of limitations of technology, thus compensating for them should not be considered "cheating." There are inherit limitations (moving objects, for instance) to the technique, but you can't beat it for still-life.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:36 PM on August 1, 2005

Because it takes three separate images to create the finished product. Unless this is clearly labeled, beautiful pictures like these have no place in the field of photojournalism. For artistic purposes, it's a lovely technique.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 4:42 PM on August 1, 2005

wow, i can't believe that i was actually moved emotionally looking at these pictures of a place i've never been. i guess it's the colors and scenes mostly devoid of people that really captures the lonely feeling one can get at twilight moments. impressive to say the least.
posted by garethspor at 4:47 PM on August 1, 2005

Yeah, uh, about those colors. Real life isn't that saturated.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:53 PM on August 1, 2005

Kinda Storm Thorgerson-ish
posted by punkfloyd at 5:05 PM on August 1, 2005

Extraordinary! Thanks, Crunchland.
posted by leapingsheep at 5:06 PM on August 1, 2005

posted by benzo8 at 5:32 PM on August 1, 2005 [14 favorites]

Goodness me. So it is.
posted by flashboy at 5:35 PM on August 1, 2005

This is what high dynamic range (HDR) will get you. Photoshop CS2 will make HDR pictures for you from multiple pictures of the same scene taken with bracketed under/overexposure. When HDR digital cameras come in the future, you can get images like this, but be "ethically sound," as they'll come from the camera looking like this. HDR is almost an inevitability -- these days, we pretty much have enough resolution, so more improvement will come in the areas of sensitivity (less noise at high ISOs) and higher dynamic range.
posted by zsazsa at 5:45 PM on August 1, 2005

That's cool stuff zsazsa. I guess, from TheGoldenOne's perspective (assuming I've gathered correctly that he's a photojournalist), as soon as you start playing with an image in any way, you've started to sow a seed of doubt as to the authenticity of the whole image. And so, as you say, if these things are done in camera - well, maybe that'll be acceptable. Still, most of us I'm sure are already aware that photographs are no-longer the unimpeachable proof of something that they once were - and I tend to view all pictures with that in mind these days - be they art, or journalism...
posted by benzo8 at 5:57 PM on August 1, 2005

Absolutely the best. I'm so awed by these pics. I must get to England. Top notch, crunchland.
posted by moonbird at 6:51 PM on August 1, 2005

Great photos.
posted by caddis at 8:36 PM on August 1, 2005

Good lord that's some good wallpaper fodder.
posted by blendor at 9:01 PM on August 1, 2005

I love taking shots like this, my old camera had a 30 second exposure setting, which I used all the time. Not quite as sharp as these, though.
posted by delmoi at 10:03 PM on August 1, 2005

Wow, the colours man, the colours! Strangely psychedelic.
posted by Onanist at 10:10 PM on August 1, 2005

Great stuff crunchland. Very appreciated since you are a self confessed part time malcontent. Thank you.
posted by adamvasco at 12:24 AM on August 2, 2005

Having looked through these pictures again this morning, one of the things that really strikes me is the resemblance to raytracing a lot of the time. I often feel the one thing that great CGI doesn't do properly these days is depth of field, and so here, by intentionally elongating that depth of field, these images strike those same cues with me... Stil gorgeous though, even in the cold light of day!
posted by benzo8 at 12:32 AM on August 2, 2005

Thanks for the answer to my question, I'd gone to the tutorials section but missed the "Techniques" part so I hadn't really grasped how he did it!

Unless this is clearly labeled, beautiful pictures like these have no place in the field of photojournalism.

Well I don't think he's claiming it's photojournalism, it is obviously artistic. This one with the snow could even be mistaken for a painting.

I do find the sharpness and colours a bit too much, it is almost unsettling to the eye. They are undeniably beautiful though.
posted by funambulist at 1:50 AM on August 2, 2005


The problem with gazing at beautiful photographs like these is feeling like one is missing out on a lot from not being in those places.
posted by Lush at 11:26 PM on August 2, 2005

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