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Merging Images

Digital photography makes it easier than ever to blend different images together. An obvious use for this is in the creation of multi-image collages. Although such collages are certainly fun to make, and in the right hands the results can be truly stunning, in this section we're going to concentrate on a couple of techniques that are less flashy, but from a photographer's standpoint the results can be just as satisfying.

Combining Exposures to Extend Dynamic Range

In some situations, the range of contrast in the scene exceeds what the camera's CCD or CMOS image sensor is able to capture in a single exposure. This is not a problem exclusive to digital cameras; the exposure latitude of film also exhibits the same limitations under extremely bright lighting conditions. Fortunately, digital cameras provide an elegant way to solve this problem by using two exposures to artificially extend the camera's contrast range. In one exposure, the camera is set to record good detail in the highlights, while the second exposure is used to capture detail and a good tonal range in the midtones and shadows.


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