Hid and Peek

While driving tonight around sunset we were treated to yet another amazing sky where the clouds were lit with oranges and yellows and the vineyards glowed red in the sunset drenched Barossa Valley landscape. With no opportunity to stop we simply enjoyed the show as we headed on to our destination.

Later that evening I looked up into the evening sky and caught sight of the moon peeking through rent in the clouds. Well that was all it took to send me straight back to the car, grab my camera and capture this image.

This kind of image presents an interesting technical challenge where our eyes trick us into believing we can see the the moon’s detail as well as the moonlit highlights in the clouds.

What our eyes and brain are really doing here is switching back and forth between the elements of the image. One moment we capture the details in the moon’s brightly lit surface while the sky around is black. The next moment our attention picks out the dim highlights in the clouds while the moon, now just a bright white blob at the periphery of our attentions is ignored.

Just like the HDR processing in a modern camera phone, our brain captures all these elements and combines them into a single seamless image full of detail.

This image on the other hand relied on the moon being partially obscured by cloud to compress the dynamic range and let me capture it in a single handheld shot. A few moments later the moon was hidden again and I when back inside.

Photo: Robert Rath, ‘Hide and Peek’, 1/32s f2.8 ISO1000 200mm

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