« on: March 14, 2013, 05:01:52 PM »
...I don't know the neuroscience of human vision, but my experience tells me that the brain does a lot of processing to create a virtual dynamic range much greater than what the eye is capable of seeing. For example, in the photo of the alley, the cobblestones in the sunlight are much brighter than those in the shadows. Possibly by 7 or 8 EV, I don't know. When a human focuses on the stones in the light, it sees detail, but does not simultaneously see detail in the shadows, as the eye is not focused there. When the eye moves to focus on the shadow, the human adjusts to see detail there, but again, not simultaneously focusing on the highlighted stones. The brain processes these local contrast elements of the scene with detail. When looking at the scene as a whole, the brain now combines the global scene with the details of the highlights and shadows and creates a clear "picture" in the viewer's mind. But this is not a print, or anything equivalent to a print. Or even a scene in a movie or video. It's some image in a person's mind. I've concluded that it can't actually be recreated in the physical world via print or video. I also believe that the reason some people like HDR images is because they try to reproduce the "wider DR" we see in our minds, with both highlight detail and shadow detail.
What would be great is if cameras and media could match the DR of human vision, and clipping black or white was a creative choice, not a technological necessity.
Is my brain doing some sort of sampling? Maybe. But whatever the mechanisms at play, I see what I see. We may never get there with imaging technology, but it's a worthy goal.