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09-08-2010, 08:32 AM   #1
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Snowboarding: What went wrong?
Lens: DA 18-55 WR Camera: K7 Photo Location: Timberline, Or ISO: 100 Shutter Speed: 1/1000s Aperture: F3.5 

More preparation for winter:

This was my first time taking pictures on the mountain, the conditions were blinding direct sunlight (taking this picture opposite of the sun, with it a little over and behind the camera in the sky)

I was shooting Tv @ 1/1000th, auto ISO, 4 star JPEG, and for my metering, instead of adding exposure compensation I pointed the camera at an empty patch of sky and hit exposure lock - with my dark goggles and the blinding sun it seemed better than taking test pictures to check exposure

Most of my pictures taken towards the sun turned out okay, pretty natural and well exposed, but most of the ones taken away from the sun like this one turned out like this, sort of unnatural color, gradient in the sky, and really over exposed (the snow definitely wasn't that white), it's given me a terrible time in post

what went wrong?



09-08-2010, 08:59 AM   #2
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Is there any detail in the snow? On my screen the whole thing looks burnt out... which makes sense, the snow in this case reflecting the sun back at you would be brighter than the sky... vs when you faced the sun, the sky would be brighter than the snow because, well the sun is bright...

I will point out this is a very tough shot without a huge DR. The matte black pants vs the bright snow... HUGE range...
09-08-2010, 09:10 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by icywarm Quote
Is there any detail in the snow? On my screen the whole thing looks burnt out... which makes sense, the snow in this case reflecting the sun back at you would be brighter than the sky... vs when you faced the sun, the sky would be brighter than the snow because, well the sun is bright...

I will point out this is a very tough shot without a huge DR. The matte black pants vs the bright snow... HUGE range...
Should I have underexposed and pulled out the shadows in post?

And yes the snow is blown out like crazy, most of the snow was a pretty dirty since it was during the summer, here's a pretty natural reproduction of the scene that was taken facing the sun, it's probably a little underexposed but probably the most natural reproduction out of all the pictures that day

09-08-2010, 09:19 AM   #4
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again... huge range... face is a little under... snow is still warm, but not as hot...

I would tend to under expose, because you CAN sometime gets detail out of shadows... but you CANNOT get details out of burnt areas...

Don't think sun front and back... if you can help it... if you are doing a portrait, you would never put the only light source right in front or right behind your subject....

rather angles are you friend... also with snow for me... I like to shot with filters.. about the only time in digital I find I really need a good pol filter...

I found this... sums up everything...

Digital Camera How-To: Shooting Snowy Scenes | CreativePro.com

09-08-2010, 09:20 AM   #5
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Snow shots are never easy. The sky and boarders clothes seem to be right on. In this shot, all the reflected sunlight has caused the snow and white surfaces of the snowboard to be blown out. It's stated often to add a +1 exposure in snow because meters tend to average. I don't know if you added exposure comp or not. The guys who mention this also assume you are shooting winter snow when the sun is at a low angle in the sky, not snow in the bright midday summer sun. It might be a little safer to underexpose a 1/2 stop or more. This is one of the big problems in photography. Sometimes the the camera just isn't capable of getting the exposure just right which is why HDR has become so popular. That won't work for sports shots or other moving targets.

Nice shot BTW. My daughter is a freeskier and spent many summers on Mt. Hood although this year she stayed in Colorado. When she heads east for some competitions, I try to catch them.
09-08-2010, 09:26 AM   #6
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I didn't add exposure compensation but I spot metered of the sky thinking it would give me a similar result, as for the sun being low, I'll have to try that this winter, timberline in the summer is open from 7:30-1:30 so I didn't have as much flexibility but this winter I'll see what the different lighting yields
09-08-2010, 11:05 AM   #7
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These look pretty good to me. As noted above, it is very difficult to meter for such a huge dynamic range. One thing to try in the future is to shoot in M mode and use a gray card for metering. Alternatively, you could use an hand-held incident light meter. The result is that your exposure would then be based on the light striking the subject rather than that which is bounced off. You will still probably get blown highlights in the snow, but your subject (the boarder) will always be properly exposed.

To use a gray card:
  1. Get a good size card...at least 5x7
  2. Camera in M mode
  3. Place the card in the same light as your subject and meter with the card filling as much of the frame as possible. It does not need to be in focus. Angle the card so that the camera is not metering an obvious reflection off the card surface.
  4. Shoot
BTW...don't worry about exposure changing for each shot. Unless the light is changing a lot (sunrise, sunset, partly cloudy) and until you change your location, you should not have to re-figure your settings.


Steve


(P.S. Nice work at Timberline...I was up there in early June shooting film with a meterless camera http://www.flickr.com/photos/28796087@N02/4681512022/)


Last edited by stevebrot; 09-08-2010 at 11:13 AM.
09-08-2010, 11:09 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
These look pretty good to me. As noted above, it is very difficult to meter for such a huge dynamic range. One thing to try in the future is to shoot in M mode and use a gray card for metering. Alternatively, you could use an hand-held incident light meter. The result is that you are exposure would then be based on the light striking the subject rather than that which is bounced off. You will still probably get blown highlights in the snow, but your subject (the boarder) will always be properly exposed.

To use a gray card:
  1. Get a good size card...at least 5x7
  2. Camera in M mode
  3. Place the card in the same light as your subject and meter with the card filling as much of the frame as possible. It does not need to be in focus. Angle the card so that the camera is not metering an obvious reflection off the card surface.
  4. Shoot
BTW...don't worry about exposure changing for each shot. Unless the light is changing a lot (sunrise, sunset, partly cloudy) and until you change your location, you should not have to re-figure your settings.


Steve


(P.S. Nice work at Timberline...)
Thanks for the words and the advice, at least once this year I'll [annoy all my friends] and take some time to set up a real shoot, find the right angle and possibly set up a slave (as long as the lighting is low enough), these one's though were pretty quick and dirty, taken on the fly, ect. When I take a little more time to set up I'll make sure a grey card is in the bag, I hadn't thought of that and sounds like a great idea
09-08-2010, 12:35 PM   #9
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Metering off the dark blue sky is fine with no need for special metering. However, I'm guessing the reflected light from the snow does not affect the sky, but does affect the subject, so it was overexposed.

You can also meter the palm of your hand and +1.
09-08-2010, 12:48 PM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
What went wrong?
Aperture: F3.5

The kit lens wide open is not a stellar performer. With that much light you should have easily been able to stop down to a more usable aperture like f8. The pictures would be sharper.
09-08-2010, 12:53 PM   #11
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Yes, 1/500 is plenty fast to freeze this kind of action, and ISO could have been set to 200 or even 400 without appreciable loss of quality, so you had the leeway to stop down to f/8 and get the shot right - of course it would have helped to move in closer to the action and pan.
09-08-2010, 06:24 PM   #12
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hmm I never even though of stopping down, I guess I could try

I was talking more about the color, exposure and gradient in the first shot but any advice helps, thanks!

Last edited by future_retro; 09-08-2010 at 07:06 PM.
09-08-2010, 07:46 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by future_retro Quote
hmm I never even though of stopping down, I guess I could try

I was talking more about the color, exposure and gradient in the first shot but any advice helps, thanks!
The blue sky looks pretty sweet on my screen, and the detail in the black snow pants is quite nice. If you reduced the exposure to prevent blowout of the snow (i.e., 1/2000 or 1/4000) you'd begin to underexpose the sky and/or sacrifice some detail in the pants.

At the end of the day, you've got to choose what's well-exposed in a situation like this and what is over/under.

IMO there are two options

1 - Crop out most of the snow. The story is about the boarder catching air, after all, not the dirty snow, so keep enough in to keep the context, but not so much that your eye gets drawn the snow. You could also apply a gradient ND filter in LR to pull the snow exposure back a little

2 - Maybe try using fill-flash on the boarder. That way you can reduce the exposure to pull back the snow a little while at the same time maintaining some detail in the boarder. Cycling photogs use fill-flash frequently because the rider's face is often it their own shadow. It might work here.

At the end of the day, you snapped the photo at a good moment and have him and the sky well exposed. So good on that.
09-19-2010, 03:18 PM   #14
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There is a natural gradient in any sun-filled sky and it is captured faithfully here. I'm in the incident metering camp: meter off palm of hand and +1 stop exposure.

Jack
09-19-2010, 03:23 PM   #15
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If i were you i would crop the picture so just the sky and snowboarder mid-air are in the frame
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