Top 10 Photos of 2014 - Photo #7: “Overtaken”
For photo #7 I chose "Overtaken", taken on 23 September 2014. This is of an old railway bridge in the mountains on the border of Nagano and Gunma Prefectures in central Japan. It is nicknamed the "eyeglass bridge (Meganebashi)" because of the arches. The bridge is now part of a hiking trail and people can walk across it and through the eerie tunnels on both sides.
Another reason I wanted to get a shot of this bridge is that brick structures are quite rare in japan (brick is not the best material in earthquake prone areas I'm guessing). So, anytime I see a brick building or bridge, I feel like I need to capture it due to its rarity..thus, beauty.
This photo is a high dynamic range (HDR) image, which involves taking several photos (in this case 3) at different exposure levels (normal, lighter, and darker) then combining them in special software to get details in both the shadows and highlights. I decided to do this because the way I was facing, the scene was high contrast; the sky was really bright and back-lighting the bridge; meaning that the bridge was very dark. If I took only one photo, I would either end up with a normally exposed sky and totally black bridge or a normally exposed bridge and a sky that is way too bright (blown out). By taking at least three photos at different exposures, I could the best of both worlds into one photo.
I do not do much HDR anymore. I used to a lot; taking three photos of everything just in case I decided to make an HDR of it. This got tedious and the more I learned about photography, the more I found that I did not need to do it. Today's cameras have a pretty high dynamic range built in, so it is only in extreme contrast situations (and if you do not want a silhouette) that HDR may be necessary.