While I write this blog post, I am on the train back to Vienna, I see an incredibly beautiful full moon and its reflection in Wörthersee, Carinthia’s largest lake, and although I know I can’t take an image of the scene, it doesn’t make me sad at all. It’s an image that can’t be taken with today’s technology.
I could strongly underexpose for the texture of the moon’s surface, and then perhaps merge that image with a second, longer exposure, overexposed for everything else. This would give me a hint of the moonlit landscape and maybe some clouds in the sky. That leaves us only with the problem of the multi-faceted reflections of the bright moon on the ever moving surface of the lake. Together those three targets, moon, landscape and water, pose a problem with no solution so far. The only solution would be a sensor with much higher sensitivity and – equally important – much higher dynamic range.
How much we would need? Well, I guess we’re talking about something like noise-free ISO 51,200, exposed at at least 1/60s and with a dynamic range of at least 16 bit. Starting from there we could talk about tone mapping strategies. Don’t forget: HDR is hard to get free of halo effects even if we disregard the problem of moving water 🙂
You see, even if I were not in a moving train with dirty windows, I couldn’t show you what I see. Maybe a lot more years need to pass, maybe I’ll live to see it, maybe this is left for future generations of photographers, at a time when I’ve long been dust n’bones.
The Song of the Day is “Dust N’ Bones” from the Guns N’ Roses album “Use Your Illusion I”. Hear it on YouTube.