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10-09-2009, 12:32 AM   #1
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Shooting into sun?
Lens: 18mm Camera: K10D ISO: 400 Shutter Speed: 1/90s Aperture: F4 

I've been trying to shoot into light to expand my horizons a bit--I've never been much of a risk taker, but know that's where the improvement is, so I'm trying. The background in this isn't great (our front yard is practically a parking lot) and the focus is a bit of a miss, but I did manage to catch the sun at the angle I wanted. I only played with levels very briefly.

I like the shot, but I think that mine is mostly a sentimental reaction, considering the subject is my 2 year old. Is there anything good about the shot or just mommy pride? How can I improve on using sun in my shots?
Thanks in advance for any constructive criticism!


10-09-2009, 12:57 AM   #2
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I don't know why you needed ISO 400, while shooting into the bright sun.
I'm honestly surprised that you didn't blow the image right out, looking at the data

If I was to try a shot like that I'd probably use a low ISO, and much higher f-stop, along with some (intense) fill in flash on your daughters back.
This will allow you to still expose your daughter properly, and will tone down the sun so it hopefully doesn't look like a nasty glare

If you have access to it a remote flash system closer to your daughter will be better than a hotshoe or popup flash.

just a quick edit... I don't recommend shooting into the sun at any time. If you have to please do yourself a huge favor, and use Auto Focus, and somehow compose the shot without looking through the view finder.
If you MUST use the viewfinder please use something like a welders mask, with the darkest screen possible.
Sunglasses WILL NOT protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.

Last edited by little laker; 10-09-2009 at 01:03 AM.
10-09-2009, 01:22 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
I don't know why you needed ISO 400, while shooting into the bright sun.
I'm honestly surprised that you didn't blow the image right out, looking at the data

If I was to try a shot like that I'd probably use a low ISO, and much higher f-stop, along with some (intense) fill in flash on your daughters back.
This will allow you to still expose your daughter properly, and will tone down the sun so it hopefully doesn't look like a nasty glare

If you have access to it a remote flash system closer to your daughter will be better than a hotshoe or popup flash.

just a quick edit... I don't recommend shooting into the sun at any time. If you have to please do yourself a huge favor, and use Auto Focus, and somehow compose the shot without looking through the view finder.
If you MUST use the viewfinder please use something like a welders mask, with the darkest screen possible.
Sunglasses WILL NOT protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.
Thanks for weighing in. I'm going to show my ignorance here...I still cannot figure out how to get my stupid K10D to quit choosing a higher ISO for me than I want it to. I was really surprised when looking at my data and seeing ISO 400 as well.

No flash used on this. It was around sunset, but lots of ambient light. I could try an off camera flash set up--but it would have to be with a still subject. My daughter is anything but cooperative.

And thanks on the advice about the sun--I know better, I really do. It looks significantly brighter than it was. And I try to just catch the light in the viewfinder as I am hitting the shutter, not focusing on it or staring at it by any means.
10-09-2009, 01:24 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by KierraElizabeth Quote
Thanks for weighing in. I'm going to show my ignorance here...I still cannot figure out how to get my stupid K10D to quit choosing a higher ISO for me than I want it to. I was really surprised when looking at my data and seeing ISO 400 as well.

No flash used on this. It was around sunset, but lots of ambient light. I could try an off camera flash set up--but it would have to be with a still subject. My daughter is anything but cooperative.

And thanks on the advice about the sun--I know better, I really do. It looks significantly brighter than it was. And I try to just catch the light in the viewfinder as I am hitting the shutter, not focusing on it or staring at it by any means.
Ok. Forgive me...maybe I have rabies or something. I typed that out, walked over and picked up the camera, and voila! figured out my ISO settings. I SWEAR I have tried to select just one a million times, but was always only getting the option to choose a range. ??? At any rate, ISO will be set correctly for the next time. Check.

10-09-2009, 01:27 AM   #5
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Sometimes, flare caused from shooting into the light source may be creatively acceptable. Here I think it's OK too, and I think the K10D did well to expose for the rest of the image well.

You didn't need a flash here - it's fine as it is, although sometimes it does prove necessary to fill the subject with flash against a bright sun.
10-09-2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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Compositionally I think the shot works pretty well. Seems a little crooked. But the intense glare of the sun kinda spoils it for me. Using the earlier suggestions for toning down the sun's intensity I think would have made it a very good image.
10-11-2009, 02:01 PM   #7
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There's a bit too much glare in this for me, I don't think the subject adds enough to shoot into into the sunlight.

Nice one on trying this out though. I also disgree that you needed flash. Don't listen to the 'rule' that you can't shoot into bright light, with the right subject and composition I think it can be very effective (if you are OK with losing detail in your shadows).
10-22-2009, 10:30 AM   #8
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Thanks, everyone! I can see that you are right and I will keep on playing!

10-31-2009, 10:13 AM   #9
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I dont really know what to say about this shot. Although crooked I like the orientation as your daughter appears straight which, to me, is the main subject. I think if the only blown part was the sun it would be more appealing. I think the blown highlights on the bottom of the tree close to the carport roof as well as the part of the carport roof blown out are a bit distracting. I am by no means a PP guru so I couldnt begin to tell you how to fix it but those are just my sentiments. Overall I like the shot and I dont even like kids!
10-31-2009, 10:58 PM   #10
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I LOVE shooting into the sun and I never use my lens hoods partly because I like the look of flare, so beware! These might be considered highly controversial "tips"

Here are some tips you might find useful:
1) The camera has lots of trouble focusing when the sun is within the frame, so either manually focus while you're shooting, or lock focus on a point where you know your daughter will hit (like a break in the pavement) or (my favorite) hold your hand up so that the shadow falls over the camera and then use focus points to pick and lock your focus (I don't have the K10D, so someone else might have to talk you through how to do that if you don't already know).
2) Use a low ISO, but I think you've already picked up on that
3) Use spot metering
4) If the K10D has this option in the menu (and I'm almost sure it does), try tying your AF point to the AE (auto-exposure) point. That means (if I understand this right) that if you choose the bottom right hand auto-focus point, then the camera will choose the settings you need to expose THAT POINT correctly (and not that bright sunlit area!). Otherwise you might end up with deep shadows or silhouettes.
5) I don't use flash for my shots. Instead, I overexpose like mad - sometimes up to +1.7. Of course, if you find settings that work under those lighting conditions, go ahead and switch to Manual mode and put those settings in yourself. Then you only have to worry about getting the focus right.
6) The smaller the aperture, the more star-like the sun will look. For instance, this shot was taken at f/11:

Still, your primary concern should always be getting the exposure you want and getting the shot in focus. For a small child, you will almost definitely need a shutterspeed of at least 1/125th. If you have to decide between dropping below that or using a larger aperture, I'd choose the larger aperture.


I'm afraid that I very rarely post pictures of other people's kids online, but I do have this one to indicate the technique:


If you have any other questions you think I might be able to you with, please feel free to drop me a line!
11-03-2009, 11:58 PM   #11
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WOW! Thanks, Keitha! That is a huge help! I can't wait to go out and try again!
(I so love your stuff BTW--it inspired my first ever self-portrait attempt a while back. )
11-05-2009, 11:06 PM   #12
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Glad I could bring someone else into the self-portrait fold! It gets lonely out there when you're the only one shooting yourself

I hope this works for you, and if you figure out a way to do it better, I for one am all ears!
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