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08-05-2010, 02:12 AM   #1
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Help with exposure

First day of taking my camera out and thought a quick picture of the houses of parliament would be a good starting point. I had already decided on the shots i wanted to take today but the sun was behind the subject so my ideal shot has been put off till this afternoon if the weather holds out so i took a couple of other shots in AV mode framed everything up and all looked good in the view finder but since i have uploaded them on my laptop the picture has been exposed for the sky.

Is this a situation where i should change metering modes as i have left them on the default settings or do i need to half press the shutter at the base of the building to expose for that then frame up again and take the shot or is there anything else i should try to avoid this in the future




08-05-2010, 02:19 AM   #2
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In this situation, you are better off to have the sky exposed correctly (sans clipping in the clouds) and you can adjust the target in PP. The other scenario would have the subject in correct exposure and a huge blown out sky which you can not recover so well in PP.

Aiming into the sun or toward the sun like this will be problematic in most cases...if you shoot this same scene a few hours later, you may find it the perfect time as the sun may be at your back and the subject and sky perfectly in harmony.

Jason
08-05-2010, 02:28 AM   #3
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Excellent thanks Jason i will try playing a bit in Photoshop tonight and i will also try taking the same shot with different lighting.

Kind of glad in a way that it is more of a lighting issue than anything else
08-05-2010, 02:41 AM   #4
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Taking photos against the light is always a difficult task.
In some situations it can create nice effects (like a sillouette, not here and now though).

Personally I find the house of parliament more interesting than the sky.
To expose the building right, you have 3 options:

1. Use Auto Exposure Lock.
- Point the camera down, maybe zoom in a little, then focus.
- With only the building in sight, then press the AEL button (wait for the beep).
- Recompose as you like and take the photo.

2. Compensate for the extra light.
- Push the Ev compensation button (+/-), while using the rear dial.
- Change the Ev setting (see top display of your camera) to + 1 or even up to +1.7 Ev.
- Take the picture.

3. High Dynamic Range picture.
- Either use the in-camera HDR function, or
- Better, use exposure bracketing to collect 3 or 5 photos with different exposures. Apply HDR software.

For subjects in close proximity you can fill in with the flash, that would not help here.

My preference is not to do this in post processing, although Lightroom (what I use) is an excellent tool for filling in shadows.
It does however also increase the noise a lot.

- Bert


Last edited by bymy141; 08-05-2010 at 02:54 AM.
08-05-2010, 02:47 AM   #5
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The scene is front/side lit, which means that much of the building is in shadow on a bright sunny day. That means the dynamic range is too great for the camera. Which means you need to choose between exposing for the building or exposing for the sky. To solve that dilemma, take one exposure of each, and blend the exosures in post. This works best when using a tripod.

You might be able to improve the building's exposure relative to the rest of the scene by masking out the sky and other brighter areas, then with the building only layer change the blending mode to screen and adjust the opacity. I don't have time to play with it this morning, but maybe later today or tomorrow I can show you what I mean.
08-05-2010, 03:05 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bymy141 Quote
Taking photos against the light is always a difficult task.
In some situations it can create nice effects (like a sillouette, not here and now though).

Personally I find the house of parliament more interesting than the sky.
To expose the building right, you have 3 options:

1. Use Auto Exposure Lock.
- Point the camera down, maybe zoom in a little, then focus.
- With only the building in sight, then press the AEL button (wait for the beep).
- Recompose as you like and take the photo.

2. Compensate for the extra light.
- Push the Ev compensation button (+/-), while using the rear dial.
- Change the Ev setting (see top display of your camera) to + 1 or even up to +1.7 Ev.
- Take the picture.

3. High Dynamic Range picture.
- Either use the in-camera HDR function, or
- Better, use exposure bracketing to collect 3 or 5 photos with different exposures. Apply HDR software.

For subjects in close proximity you can fill in with the flash, that would not help here.

My preference is not to do this in post processing, although Lightroom (what I use) is an excellent tool for filling in shadows.
It does however also increase the noise a lot.

- Bert
Thanx Bert i will definately try thes tips out, i may also post the results with a before and after so if any other beginners are following this thread they can see the difference aswell


QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
The scene is front/side lit, which means that much of the building is in shadow on a bright sunny day. That means the dynamic range is too great for the camera. Which means you need to choose between exposing for the building or exposing for the sky. To solve that dilemma, take one exposure of each, and blend the exosures in post. This works best when using a tripod.

You might be able to improve the building's exposure relative to the rest of the scene by masking out the sky and other brighter areas, then with the building only layer change the blending mode to screen and adjust the opacity. I don't have time to play with it this morning, but maybe later today or tomorrow I can show you what I mean.
I will try this technique in Photoshop tonight.

My main priority in learning is to take the best shots i can but then when things go wrong instead of having to delete the shot i would also love to be able to do this kind of thing to save the shot
08-05-2010, 03:31 AM   #7
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There is a grate technique related to Ansel Adams zone system - measure in M mode the most lightest part of picture and then correct exposure by some value.
For example for snow +1.0...+2.0 EV
For such sky I would raise expo for +1.0 EV.
etc.
08-05-2010, 04:51 AM   #8
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You didn't mention your meter setting, did you?

Was it Multi-Segment, or Center Weighted? (I'll assume it wasn't Spot.) Chances are since it was your first day with the camera, it was the default, Multi-Segment, which takes an average of the entire scene.

This is why so many of us prefer Center Weighted (for MOST situations), which would have better exposed for the building itself and more or less ignored the sky.

If you're doing Multi-Segment, no matter where you point the camera or how you use your AE lock button, that bright sun is going to affect the main read, and everything else will be underexposed.

Mind you, Center-Weighted by itself isn't inherently better than Multi for most scenes, but properly combined with AE Lock when necessary, it is.

08-05-2010, 09:05 AM   #9
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Many good suggestions above. Your basic problem is: too much dynamic range for the sensor. Some ways to approach that (sorry if I plagiarize some of the above):

* Wait for the light to change; or...
* Take bracketed center-weighted exposures
* Expose for sky, turn the building into a silhouette
* Expose for the building, totally wash-out the sky -- shoop-in a fake cloudscape later
* Spot-read the darkest point, then the brightest -- set your exposure midway between
* Use a REALLY big flash
* Shoot HDR
* Fix it in PP
08-05-2010, 01:47 PM   #10
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This was taken later in the day with better lighting conditions after exposing for the bottom of the building.

The sky is washed out but i guess that is to be expected.

I definately need to work more on framing my shotsin the view finder it looked alot better, How do you guys work with composition do you get that perfect composition everytime with practice or do you crop the shots after

08-05-2010, 02:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Grazy81 Quote
do you get that perfect composition everytime
Yep, every time....

Lots of times it's too perfect and I'll touch it up in Elements, though :-)

Speaking of which, I don't know what you use, but Elements 6 (a couple versions back) is light years ahead of the older Pentax Photo Browser/Photo Lab (but then, what isn't?). You can lighten just the darkest areas and leave the sky. Just a thought. It also has a nice horizon leveling function (draw a line, it will rotate the image to make the line horizontal) which I use in just about every shot (thank you Pentax), and other niceties for not too much $. Have to practice the layers thing, though...

Last edited by SpecialK; 08-05-2010 at 02:23 PM.
08-05-2010, 03:08 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Grazy81 Quote
How do you guys work with composition do you get that perfect composition everytime with practice or do you crop the shots after
You asked an intelligent question, and there's a thread somewhere about it from a few months ago.

It's pretty much split down the middle, and although many people claim to get their composition in camera, and I guess I can sort of believe them because that's how it was done with film, sort of again, I'm from the other camp:

For the better final shot, 9 times out of 10, I crop in post.

And it's not a crime or lazy to work this way. Digital offers tons of advantages over film, and this is one of the big ones.

Especially for web viewing, where the printed sizes and size ratios of (in U.S. Standards) of 5" by 7" or 8" by 10" don't really mean a thing.

You can crop it any damn way you want.
08-05-2010, 08:42 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Digital offers tons of advantages over film, and this is one of the big ones.
We must have used different darkrooms, Ira. For me, many many prints I made from negs larger than 135/HF (and even many of those smaller formats) were crops, and probably rotations too. That's a major gripe I have with PP warez, that rotating the image isn't as easy as just nudging the paper-holder a little.

But the ethics of cropping? Ha. Yes, crop we must. Unless shooting 'chrome or polarroids [sic] or daguerreotypes, images are cropped for use. And even 'chromes can be masked. We can make a game (or a holy quest) of composing in-camera -- call it pre-cropping, which means allowing less margin of error. Oops...

I'll even argue that cropping is VITAL to good photography, the subtractive art, where photographers must eliminate trivia until only the essential remains. Maybe we can move or zoom into perfect position for a tight shot, and maybe not; and if not, it's time to slice away the excess. Scissors are an editor's best friend.
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