Hipstaclass 009 – 005: Manipulating light levels

By on April 6, 2013

The act of merging exposures inevitably increases the light exposure, overexposing and washing out the image if countermeasures are not taken.

To counter this, embrace the darkness. Filming in very low light conditions, can normalize the final image's exposure level. Some of our photographers acheived fairly good results filming at night with little exterior lighting.

Examples, Countering Overexposure Techniques
Left: Jane / W40 / Off (Low Ambient Light Level)
Right: Watts / Float / Jolly Rainbo 2x (Standard Lighting, (Underexposing Filters)
Photo by Fiona Christian

Also consider your filter choices: Hipstamatic filters known for darkening an image include Tejas, John S, Wonder lenses; Float, Cano Cafenol, and W40 films; and Jolly Rainbo 2x, Cadet Blue Gel, or DreamPop flashes. Filters that typically overexpose (such as Susie, Mabel, Bettie, or Adler lenses) will only compound the problem.

Overexposure can also be used to an advantage. For example, the black slogans of RTV SHOUT! can be easily lost against a composition with dark elements. Combining it with a white surface (wall, floor, etc) the image is lightened to make the slogan more discernable. This technique of an intervening blank exposure can also be used to brighten a subject in a dark environment.

Example, Using a Light Intervening Exposure for Legibility
Foxy / RTV SHOUT! / Standard
Tom Choinski, Hipstamatic New England

Example, Stationary Camera Technique
John S / Blanko / Off
Tom Choinski, Hipstamatic New England

Another interesting experiment done by Hipstamatic Sardinia's Simone Muresu uses a stationary camera to simulate High Dynamic Range (HDR) photographs. Exposing a dark baseline image 5, 10, even 30 times gave the illusion of intense lighting.

Example, Boosting Exposure in Very Low Light with Many Exposures
Wonder / Blanko Freedom 13 / Jolly Rainbo 2X
Photo By Simone Muresu, Hipstamatic Sardinia

Example, Boosting Exposure in Standard Light with Many Exposures
Hornbecker / Blanko Freedom 13 / Jolly Rainbo 2X
Photo By Simone Muresu, Hipstamatic Sardinia

Last chapter (tomorrow): Be creative

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This post is also available in: French

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