Shooting High Contrast Scenes on Your Digital Camera

By Robert Correll

High contrast scenes are normally an anathema to digital cameras. It’s exceedingly hard if not impossible to capture a scene’s deepest darks and the brightest brights in one photo if the contrast ratio (how far apart the darks and brights are from each other) is out of control. This is why HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography has taken off the last several years.

Rather than fight it, you can sometimes take advantage of a scene with too much contrast artistically. The photographer took the shown photo at one end of a tunnel that allows people to go from one side of camp to the other without having to cross the road (this is really helpful when you’re dealing with a lot of kids).

In this case, high contrast between the dark sides and the light at the end of the tunnel (had to say it!) makes the scene.

slrphoto-high-contrast
It’s possible to photograph some high-contrast scenes very creatively.

If you’re after a creative shot like this, you may have to switch metering modes from multi-zone or pattern to spot or center-weighted to get the camera to meter the scene the way you want it.