Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-18-2018, 09:03 AM   #1
New Member




Join Date: Feb 2016
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 21
Exposing for the highlights

Hi folks!

I'm doing a lot of street fotography, and usually work with the P mode. Both K-1 and K-3 do exposure pretty well, without blown highlights because the whole DR of a street easily fits into their DR.
However, I'm really struggling with my cameras when a piece of sky comes into the composition - it's almost always overexposed if there's a small patch of it or under-exposed if it's a major element in composition.
So whenever there's a sky in a shot, my steps are as following:
  • set metering mode to spot
  • set exposure compensation to +2
  • point center of a camera to a sky
  • press the AE-L button to lock the exposure
  • recompose
  • focus & shoot
This workflow has two downsides:
  • cumbersome
  • if I want to review a taken shot - pressing the Playback button re-sets the locked exposure and I have to remember to meter the sky again and lock it
  • if my next shot is just a street, I have to reset metering mode and exposure compensation
The second downside is really painful.

So I want to ask you experienced guys on how to improve this workflow?

09-18-2018, 09:39 AM - 1 Like   #2
Pentaxian
CarlJF's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Quebec City
Posts: 977
I would just use matric metering and set exposure compensation at something like -2 and use Av, Tv or TAv mode. If there's no sky in the frame, just set it back to 0. The most convenient is to use Av and set one wheel to control the aperture and the other one to set exposure compensation. It makes it very quick to control the depth of field and correct the compensation if needed

With a bit of practice, you will be able to judge when you need to apply EC and by how much.
09-18-2018, 09:53 AM   #3
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,890
QuoteOriginally posted by kislotiq Quote
So I want to ask you experienced guys on how to improve this workflow?
If the ambient light isn't changing, using full manual mode and metering for the ambient light with ISO set according to sunny 16 rule. Usually, if using a 24-70 lens, set the shutter speed to 1/100 it will work regardless of if you zoom in or out. Then meter the sky with +2 exp. compensation to adjust aperture, you can adjust aperture by looking at the exposure bar at bottom of the viewfinder. Then you can keep that setting as long as the light isn't changing usually good enough for a few hours. I've tried that a couple of times, and I was positively surprised that my shoots where exposed correctly regardless is there was a bit of sky in the frame or not.
09-18-2018, 09:59 AM   #4
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
pschlute's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Surrey, UK
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,398
The other things I can suggest is to use exposure bracketing which can be combined with EC.

09-18-2018, 10:29 AM   #5
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 14,216
They covered this well. I would take a spot meter of the sky - record the exposure info so you know what that is and then take a matrix exposure of the street. How many f/stops are between them? Then shoot with EV at the ready - dial in the EV you think you need based on the sky. Personally in street shooting I rarely see much sky and B&W tends to not care if the sky is blown out but you mentioned that in some cases it is a big part of the composition so I assume you need it to be right.

Do you turn on highlight protection? If so that gives you a bit of leeway already that you can play with.
09-18-2018, 11:37 AM   #6
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 47,764
QuoteOriginally posted by kislotiq Quote
Hi folks!

I'm doing a lot of street fotography, and usually work with the P mode. Both K-1 and K-3 do exposure pretty well, without blown highlights because the whole DR of a street easily fits into their DR.
However, I'm really struggling with my cameras when a piece of sky comes into the composition - it's almost always overexposed if there's a small patch of it or under-exposed if it's a major element in composition.
So whenever there's a sky in a shot, my steps are as following:
  • set metering mode to spot
  • set exposure compensation to +2
  • point center of a camera to a sky
  • press the AE-L button to lock the exposure
  • recompose
  • focus & shoot
This workflow has two downsides:
  • cumbersome
  • if I want to review a taken shot - pressing the Playback button re-sets the locked exposure and I have to remember to meter the sky again and lock it
  • if my next shot is just a street, I have to reset metering mode and exposure compensation
The second downside is really painful.

So I want to ask you experienced guys on how to improve this workflow?
As it's much easier to recover shadows that highlights, I would just stick to matrix metering and enable highlight correction. This should allow you to get well-exposed shots straight out of camera, with the flexibility to fix anything up in post should the need arise. Exposure compensation can be applied on top of that should the need arise.

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover these costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

09-18-2018, 12:00 PM   #7
Senior Member
runswithsizzers's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 175
You are talking about RAW and not JPEGs, right? And when you say the patch of sky is overexposed that means you have tried to recover highlights using a capable RAW editor, but were unsuccessful?
09-18-2018, 05:35 PM   #8
dms
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,769
1. What CarlJF said. Just set the exposure adjustment for the scene as you plan to take it--using average or matrix metering. If the scene has sky set it to -2ev CORRECTION I meant + 2 e.v., or whatever. if not then no adjustment. Look at results as you do it and after a while you will be good at estimating the e.v. adjustment to the exposure.
2. If metering in M mode w/ green button, and a lens w/ aperture ring, meter as you do now and close CORRECTION I meant open aperture 2 stops after pushing green button, if you have sky to adjust for.
3. If blue sky and you want sky to be correct, just meter the blue sky--away from clouds and away from sun. Again in M mode w/ green button.


Last edited by dms; 09-18-2018 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Fix Typo - e.v. should be + e.v. ditto close should be open
09-19-2018, 01:22 AM - 1 Like   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Rome, Italy
Posts: 368
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
As it's much easier to recover shadows that highlights, I would just stick to matrix metering and enable highlight correction. This should allow you to get well-exposed shots straight out of camera, with the flexibility to fix anything up in post should the need arise. Exposure compensation can be applied on top of that should the need arise.
The purpose to expose for the highlights is that in the shadows there is the greatest amount of noise, then "build" shadows from highlights creates a less noisy picture. Obviously this works without burning the highlights.
09-19-2018, 04:05 AM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,890
Exposing for the high lights give the best image quality, but is not free of work anyway, because a photograph exposed to the high light doesn't necessarily render the best looking image, may have to be underxposed in post and darken shadows, this is not free of effort. Relying on camera automation doesn't always give the best results, but is effortless.
09-19-2018, 05:51 AM   #11
New Member




Join Date: Feb 2016
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 21
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
I would just use matric metering and set exposure compensation at something like -2 and use Av, Tv or TAv mode. If there's no sky in the frame, just set it back to 0. The most convenient is to use Av and set one wheel to control the aperture and the other one to set exposure compensation.
Thank you for the response, but I'm afraid that amount of scrolling I'll need to do on the exposure compensation wheel will depend on how much sky there's in a frame, that adds some cognitive load to an already brain-heavy task! But I will try mapping EC to one of the wheels, sounds interesting!

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
If the ambient light isn't changing, using full manual mode and metering for the ambient light with ISO set according to sunny 16 rule.
Previously I was shooting only in M with the green button, but I have gone full P because I've f***** up too many shots =)

QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
The other things I can suggest is to use exposure bracketing which can be combined with EC.
Thank you very much, this is indeed a simple solution, will definitely try it!

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I would take a spot meter of the sky - record the exposure info so you know what that is and then take a matrix exposure of the street. How many f/stops are between them? Then shoot with EV at the ready - dial in the EV you think you need based on the sky.

Do you turn on highlight protection? If so that gives you a bit of leeway already that you can play with.
Thank you, will try to play around with EC only, instead of EC + spot metering + AE-L

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
As it's much easier to recover shadows that highlights, I would just stick to matrix metering and enable highlight correction.
After short googling I can see that highlight correction is just a metadata that is saved along with the RAW and is utilized in the raw converter later a-la curves, it does not modify the RAW data which might be blown out. Correct me if I'm wrong please.

QuoteOriginally posted by runswithsizzers Quote
You are talking about RAW and not JPEGs, right? And when you say the patch of sky is overexposed that means you have tried to recover highlights using a capable RAW editor, but were unsuccessful?
Correct, I'm talking about RGB 255, 255, 255 in some patches of a sky in a raw file.

QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
1. What CarlJF said. Just set the exposure adjustment for the scene as you plan to take it--using average or matrix metering. If the scene has sky set it to -2ev CORRECTION I meant + 2 e.v., or whatever. if not then no adjustment. Look at results as you do it and after a while you will be good at estimating the e.v. adjustment to the exposure.
There's a trick I use to get correct exposure - I've mapped "digital preview" to the preview dial, that shows me the histogram right away. Cumbersome because I don't like looking at the screen, a matter of last resort. /me Looks at mirrorless offerings with histogram in viewfinder...

QuoteOriginally posted by Andrea K Quote
The purpose to expose for the highlights is that in the shadows there is the greatest amount of noise, then "build" shadows from highlights creates a less noisy picture. Obviously this works without burning the highlights.
+1, we lose the whole bit of information per pixel should an image be underexposed by one stop, that one bit is not critical in highlights, but might be a changer in shadows.

---------- Post added 09-19-18 at 05:52 AM ----------

Thank you all for your suggestions, I'll try a couple of things pointed out to me and will be back with results!
09-19-2018, 06:09 AM   #12
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 14,216
Highlight correction actually changes the exposure. It underexposes on purpose to ensure more protection against lost highlights.
Highlight and shadow correction usage - Page 3 - PentaxForums.com
Its a hot mess of a thread but talks about it in detail. Essentially by underexposing a tad it helps preserve highlights.
09-19-2018, 09:34 AM   #13
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 47,764
Indeed, as UncleVanya said, highlight correction automatically underexposes by one stop, then lifts the shadows.

It is equivalent to shooting with an exposure compensation of -1 and doing some PP in RAW, i.e. it does affect the exposure parameters.

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover these costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

09-19-2018, 11:45 AM   #14
dms
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,769
You mentioned: "Cumbersome because I don't like looking at the screen, a matter of last resort"

But if you want to learn about exposure (e.g., be able to judge how much exposure adjustment to make) looking at the screen after every shot is a godsend--as it gives us instant feedback. Pre-digital we took notes of the shots, and then weeks later saw the developed film, but (except for a Polaroid camera/back) that was the way to get the most complete feedback.

Actually rereading your post, I think you meant you are doing it, but would prefer to see it in the viewfinder. I agree the screen can be problematic, especially so if it is sunny.
09-20-2018, 07:38 AM   #15
Senior Member
runswithsizzers's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 175
QuoteOriginally posted by kislotiq Quote
Correct, I'm talking about RGB 255, 255, 255 in some patches of a sky in a raw file.
kislotiq, Where are you seeing those numbers when looking at a raw file? Your '255, 255, 255' represents the maximum brightness for JPEG or TIFF files which are 8-bit - but a raw file should be 12 or 14-bit. Which have much higher levels of maximum brightness, right?

What raw editor are you using to recover your highlights and/or boost the shadows when post processing?

The reason I ask is: I almost never see an exposure from my K3 which has highlights which cannot be recovered in Lightroom. And I am a lazy photographer who does not spend a lot of time checking spot exposures; I usually shoot aperture preferred auto, and I go with whatever matrixed meter exposure the camera gives me.

The scene shown below had a very high dynamic range. In the first screen shot you can see the "blown" highlights shown in red by Lightroom. After a few adjustments to Lightroom's Highlight and Shadows sliders, I was easily able to recover the highlights while still preserving most shadow detail, as shown in the second photo.





It's hard for me to imagine a street scene which has more dynamic range than this one, but if I'm wrong, please post an example.

Last edited by runswithsizzers; 09-20-2018 at 07:45 AM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
adjustment, bit, brightness, button, camera, compensation, composition, correction, dr, ec, exposure, feedback, matrix, mode, photography, post, scene, screen, shadows, shot, sky, street, technique, viewfinder, workflow
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
K-50 under exposing. skid2964 Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10 06-28-2018 10:33 AM
double exposing Jool Pentax K-3 8 10-31-2016 04:41 AM
Pentax AF540FGZII flash under exposing on K-3 gosman Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 21 04-19-2014 05:21 PM
Pentax Da*16-50 over exposing tunarudi Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 2 03-24-2010 08:27 AM
70mm Limited over-exposing Talisman39 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 12-23-2008 11:11 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:09 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top