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10-13-2010, 08:25 AM   #1
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Novice need help.


Firstly thankyou for taking the time to look at this.

I am a complete novice to dslr and have purchased a KX, i am really enjoying the Kx and so far i have taken some great shots, close ups, portraits but so far i am having trouble with landscapes.
When i take the photo of either in the day or sunset no matter what i do i seem to get the landscape really dark, the sky looks amazing but the landscape is dark with no detail at all.
Now there maybe a simple solution to this but i am a novice and i am not sure what im doing.
I have tried various apertures and shutter speeds and also different metering methods but to no avail.
I tried metering the landscape in case that was the problem but that just blew out the sky.
Sorry if this is a simple problem but i just cant seem to get them right. As i said portraits and close up work have come out perfect so far.
Thanks in advance for the help.


10-13-2010, 08:52 AM   #2

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It would be a good idea to post some sample shots (complete with exif data).

At the moment, and despite the fact that you say you've tried different metering methods, it looks like it's a metering issue.

You can adust the exposure in-camera; look in your manual for 'EV Compensation'.

In my experience Pentax cameras do tend to under expose, hence the dark landscape.
10-13-2010, 08:53 AM   #3
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One way to avoid your problem is to aim the camera down, use the AE-L button to lock the exposure, then recompose and shoot. But the sky might be washed out because the sensor DR is not large enough to capture bright spot and shadow area at once.

You could also use a tripod and use exposure bracketing to take more than one picture at different EV and composite them in a program like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or the like.
10-13-2010, 08:53 AM   #4
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Read up on exposure compensation (Ev). I suggest you set your exposure for like a +1Ev and see how you like it. All my Pentax's tend to underexpose landscape stuff and adding a +1Ev usually fixes it. You can also learn to shoot in Raw format and fix this in post processing.

10-13-2010, 08:58 AM   #5
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Everything you have tried gave exactly the results they should. The best you can do in a Single shot, is to meter both the landscape and the sky and set your exposure about in the middle, perhaps slightly favoring the sky. Then in post processing use some curves adjustments and masks to bring out more of the landscape detail and color.

That said, you can do other things like use a graduated ND filter. Meter for your landscape and the filter will keep the sky from blowing out. You can take two or more shots (A tripod is best for this) and combine them in post processing. You can set your camera on a tripod (or other support) and try the HDR function of your camera.

It's a learning process and I'd say you're well on your way to mastering it. Just keep trying and learn some new tricks and you'll get there.

10-14-2010, 06:39 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscopecotrain Quote
When i take the photo of either in the day or sunset no matter what i do i seem to get the landscape really dark, the sky looks amazing but the landscape is dark with no detail at all.
I tried metering the landscape in case that was the problem but that just blew out the sky.
I think that JeffJS is right on the money on this. It's not a pure exposure error - the camera simply can't record such a wide span of light and dark. A neutral density filter made for such landscape shots will, with practice, keep you from having to jump through hoops in Photoshop. If you can find a square of filter material, you can hold it over the top half of your lens and play around. Since you can't brighten much of the land, the goal is to darken the sky and take your shot. Have fun!
10-14-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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Maybe also check you're not using spot metering. Center-weighted or multi-segment metering would be better suited for landscapes.

10-14-2010, 09:26 PM   #8
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Yes, take heed to Jeff's suggestions. And if you're going to get an ND filter for this purpose, shooting daytime landscapes, be sure it is graduated, to dampen the light intensity of the sky whilst keeping the landscape as is.

HDR is an option, but in general shooting landscapes with such huge variance in lighting is not easy, nor optimal. Consider shooting your landscapes at dusk or in the late afternoon as the colours of the sky are muted and the land is still decently illuminated.
10-18-2010, 12:40 AM   #9
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I'm having the same problem too...would adobeRGB help this problem abit?
10-18-2010, 01:01 AM   #10

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I have had some experiences also with plown out skye and in other variant dark scenery. I have noted that you should be careful with direction of the sun. If it's behind you, or at sideways to cam. it is easyer to have bright sky and scenery.
10-18-2010, 01:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
You could also use a tripod and use exposure bracketing to take more than one picture at different EV and composite them in a program like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or the like.
With the newer types of exposure blending software, a tripod is not even necessary anymore. A built-in alignment routine will make sure the three (or more) bracketed exposures will align perfectly and account for any small movements in between shots. This used to be only for lateral movements but the newest (and smartest) routines take even rotational movement into account.

I'm quite sure there is Windows and MAC software available as well, but I have described this on another forum on the basis of software available for Linux. The principle should not be any different on any OS:

As an explanation of the exposure blending technique (which is often incorrectly confused with HDR), see the below example on a very sunny late afternoon with the camera pointed in the direction of the lightest portion of the sky. The subject is the ruines of an old castle with its moat and behind it the last remaining (and restored) piece of the castle complex: the chapel.

The light from the low sun around the bridge over the moat is amazing, emphasizing textures and depth, but a normal exposure shows washed-out skies and a blacked-out treeline.

There are basically three choices here: either expose for the beautiful blue sky, the church and the bridge or the treeline and foliage. The dynamic range of any camera sensor can just not do all three at the same time. A graduated ND is out of the question because there really is no uniform transition zone.

The following images show the exposure choices one by one:

Chapel and bridge correctly exposed:
Date/Time 17-Oct-2010 16:27:34
Focal Length 50 mm
Exposure Time 1/350 sec
Aperture f/8
ISO Equivalent 400

Sky correctly exposed:
Date/Time 17-Oct-2010 16:27:35
Exposure Time 1/1500 sec
Aperture f/8
ISO Equivalent 400
Exposure Bias -2

Treeline correctly exposed (maybe slighly over):
Date/Time 17-Oct-2010 16:27:35
Exposure Time 1/90 sec
Aperture f/8
ISO Equivalent 400
Exposure Bias +2

With the exposure blending technique, software will select the properly exposed sections of each images of a series of bracketed exposures and "blend" them seamlessly into a new image that encompasses the broad dynamic range. Obviously TANSTAAFL so something else has to give and, in some images, this is an unnatural result. This image is a typical example of a good result but one can produce horrible stuff when used under the wrong circumstances. Try keeping it as natural looking usually involves touching up levels and curves slightly afterwards.

I use Open Source tools, or rather a combination of different tools such as align_image_stack to align images so that a tripod is unnecessary and enfuse to blend the exposures. Here, both programs are joined into a plugin for DigiKam, an image-management program for the Linux platform. (Windows versions are on the way, but not yet stable IMHO)

The result, based on the three handheld bracketed shots above:

I hope this helps.
10-18-2010, 07:55 AM   #12
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Ditto on Jeff's post. Your problem is a common one inherent to the dynamic range of digital. It's about the only thing I really don't like about digital compared to film.
A GND is the best option to get it right in the camera. Good ones, like Lee, are expensive, and cheap ones, like Cokin, will degrade image quality and mess up colors. I've tried a few, and the best for the money from my experience are High-tech Filters, at about half the price of Lees.
You can buy a set of three, with a holder. But you can save a bunch of money by just getting a .06 (which you will use most from a kit anyway) and simply hand hold it in front of the lens.
For scenic shots, always use a good tripod and use a remote or 2 sec. delay for mirror-up function. This also automatically disables SR function, so you don't have to remember to turn it off and back on again.

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