We took St Ruth for a day out at Wycrail yesterday - actually a day and a night because we set up on the Friday evening, having previously discovered that trying to do a one day show in one day is a fairly stressful experience.
All in all a very enjoyable show although I'm puzzled why it's not a 2 day affair - it certainly justifies it on the basis of size and quality. We had Missy Julia with a demo table next to us so it was great to have a catch up. Several other folks popped in to say hello too.
I took my DSLR and tripod along to do a bit of experimentation once the punters had thinned out towards the end of the day. It's fairly well established that St Ruth's lighting rig produces an illumination that cameras find rather challenging so photos taken at shows wind up looking, well... not great. Very noticeable areas of light and dark between the areas in the middle of the spot beams and those less well lit are the usual issue so I thought that I'd have a bit of a play. I'm not sure that my efforts were very scientific and artistic merit wasn't something that I was aiming for but here they are anyway.
What I wanted to try was using 'High Dynamic Range' processing to see whether it would help. This is a technique that tries to overcome the weakness of all cameras (compared to the Mark 1 eyeball) in handling scenes containing both strong light and dark areas. The trick is to take several photos at different exposures and them combine them using software.
My efforts were fairly conservative - in each case I took 3 shots - one with what the camera judged to be the correct exposure, one overexposed by 1 stop and one underexposed by one stop. I trawled the net and found some software called Fusion F2 that can be had for no money and can be used to experiment with HDR. Other options are available - some free and some... well... quite pricey.
In both cases I've posted the middle 'normal' exposure followed by the HDR processed version. I used the 'sum' method in Fusion because the results from the 'HDR' method looked pretty awful. I also needed to tweak the colour saturation because the default setting seemed to reduce this quite a lot compared to the original image. I tried to get back to something comparable with the original but I may not have got this quite right.
I'll let you judge whether or not the HDR versions are an improvement over the 'normal' exposures.
First a shot of the station area.
Then a shot from the 'up' end of the layout. The sea wall is very close to the front edge of the layout here and is in fairly deep shade.