maersk oil

Is this an Impossible Photo from Maersk Oil?

Rob Almeida
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June 22, 2012

Image: Maersk Oil

I just noticed that Maersk Oil updated their Facebook “cover photo” with this fantastic image this morning.

Do you notice anything odd about it though?  Hint: Look at where the light is coming from…

The sun is setting behind the platform, yet the front of the platform is fully lit up.

From a photography standpoint, a single exposure would not have been able to capture this image without either overexposing the sky and exposing the platform properly, or exposing the sky properly and making the platform a dark outline.

Here’s what I think the photographer did:

4 or 5 images at a fairly high ISO in quick sequence all at different shutter speeds while maintaining a focal length of F/8 or F/11 or so.  The reason for the high ISO is to keep shutter speeds quick to ensure that the images weren’t blurry from the movement of whatever the platform he or she was shooting from, and keeping a constant focal length would keep the image in proper focus throughout the range of different exposed images.

Using Adobe CS5, or perhaps some other program, the photographer then merged the images together using High Dynamic Range or HDR which spliced all the properly exposed areas of the sequence together.

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