Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
02-09-2011, 11:41 AM   #1
Pentaxian
mgvh's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: MD
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 855
How do you take a pic like this? (How do I fix what I did?)

It was late in the day, and the sun was down enough so that the bottom part of these hills was in the shade and rather dark, but the high clouds were still brilliant white.
As you can see in the pic I took, the center cloud is completely blown out.

So, what should I have done to get this pic in the first place?

I don't use RAW, so that may be one problem, but given that I just use JPEG...
I think the EXIF is intact, but if not, I was using my K-x w/ a 16-45mm:
F4.5 - ISO200 - 1/200 - Auto WB - 45mm

I probably should have had a higher F-stop for a landscape, but it seems to me that would have increased exposure time and blown out the cloud more. True?

Is this a case where I should have used the EV compensation and allowed for a darker picture?

As I'm thinking in retrospect, is this an occasion where I should have enabled the Highlight Correction?

I was using P mode, but is this a case where I have to go all M?

At the time, I didn't realize the problem, and so I didn't think to experiment, and now I'm trying to anticipate should I have a similar situation in the future.

Thanks for any help!

BTW, no processing I can figure out how to do in PSElements9 can seem to fix it without making the cloud look strange. (Of course, I can basically remove the whole sky and replace it with a chunk from the pic that looks okay...) I've tried using AutoHDR which does punch up the rest of the pic, but it doesn't do anything for the cloud...
If I'm missing some good way of fixing this pic in PSElements9, that would be appreciated too!


Last edited by mgvh; 01-11-2017 at 01:58 PM.
02-09-2011, 12:07 PM   #2
Junior Member
trojancast's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 34
I think that this is a very nice photograph that captures the scene late in the day. I enjoy the mood it creates. You could have opened up a stop or so to lighten the lower part of the scene, but as you stated your sky would have been over-exposed, creating a different mood. My suggestion, always, is to concentrate on what you are trying to say with your photograph, rather than the technical excellence of it. Many here may disagree, and I am sure you will hear from them.
02-09-2011, 12:15 PM   #3
Inactive Account




Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Michigan, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,484
I 'personally' would go full manual and spot meter for something like this. I would also shoot RAW as it is more forgiving to corrections in post processing.

If you want FULL detail in the clouds, meter them and then expose for about 1.5 - 2 stops Over what the meter says (press the green button and adjust from there). I would also boost the ISO a little bit so you can stop the lens down some from nearly wide open. In Post, especially if you are using ACR, you can do a graduated filter to keep the sky where it is and brighten the detail on the lower 2/3s of the photo.

My methods seem to upset a lot of people, especially when I tell someone to use Spot metering and shoot manual, but they work for me. It's all a matter of getting the right exposure. A blown highlight is gone forever.

02-09-2011, 02:24 PM - 1 Like   #4
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Lyngby, Copenhagen
Photos: Albums
Posts: 742
QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
It was late in the day, and the sun was down enough so that the bottom part of these hills was in the shade and rather dark, but the high clouds were still brilliant white.
As you can see in the pic I took, the center cloud is completely blown out.

So, what should I have done to get this pic in the first place?
The burnt-out cloud doesn't ruin the shot for me. But since the scene doesn't have any really dark parts, you could have turned down the exposure a tad (negative EV comp) and saved the cloud without losing detail in the black.
But that would probably make the sky the center of attention instead of the ground. Either is good, it's your choice.

QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I don't use RAW, so that may be one problem, but given that I just use JPEG...
I think the EXIF is intact, but if not, I was using my K-x w/ a 16-45mm:
F4.5 - ISO200 - 1/200 - Auto WB - 45mm
JPG is fine, especially if you get it right in the camera the first time.

QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I probably should have had a higher F-stop for a landscape, but it seems to me that would have increased exposure time and blown out the cloud more. True?
No, I think you're confusing some concepts here. Unless you're in M, upping the f number (done either in A mode or in P with the scroll wheel) will make the camera compensate on shutter or ISO and give you an equivalent exposure. Adjusting the exposure in A, T or P is done with EV compensation.

QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
As I'm thinking in retrospect, is this an occasion where I should have enabled the Highlight Correction?
YES! Highlight correction is invented for exactly this kind of situation. I use it a lot when light is plentyful and it's great. Indoors it saves my sunny windows and outdoors it saves my skies and white walls. It does what RAW shooters do manually by underexposing and "lifting" in post.

QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I was using P mode, but is this a case where I have to go all M?
No. The important thing is that you recognise the situation as a possible burnt-out cloud and decide whether to compensate. I'm a P man too, by the way.

QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
At the time, I didn't realize the problem, and so I didn't think to experiment, and now I'm trying to anticipate should I have a similar situation in the future.
You can also use bracketing when facing a tricky exposure.

Sincerely,
--Anders.

02-09-2011, 03:06 PM   #5
Site Supporter




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: WV
Posts: 1,495
IMO, the best way to handle scenes like this is exposure bracketing, then blending in post-process. Here's one way to do it.

Digital Blending
02-09-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
Site Supporter
SpecialK's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: So California
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 14,901
QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I probably should have had a higher F-stop for a landscape, but it seems to me that would have increased exposure time and blown out the cloud more. True?
No, you would still get the same overall exposure.

QuoteQuote:
I was using P mode, but is this a case where I have to go all M?
No, the mode is immaterial - it's understanding the meter and using exposure compensation when necessary that is important.

You might try a graduated neutral density filter. It is darker at the top so it will darken the sky (but also tall mountains). Some systems, like Cokin, allows a movable placement of the filter in a holder to allow some adjustment. Screw on types are not adjustable.

You can try to use the magnetic lasso in Elements go along the mountain top and around the sky. You can then go to the enhance menu and choose brightness/contrast, and darken the sky. You could also darken the highlights/lighten shadows.

Last edited by SpecialK; 02-09-2011 at 03:56 PM.
02-09-2011, 04:10 PM   #7
Veteran Member
mysticcowboy's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: port townsend, wa
Photos: Albums
Posts: 968
Yes, shooting in raw probably would have given you some room in the highlights, possibly up to a full EV, certainly a half. It would also have allowed you to shoot a bit darker and pull more detail out of the shadows in post processing. In good light, jpeg is good enough when you need to capture a wider exposure range, raw will expand the data you end up with.

Another useful tool is your histogram. With that and either exposure compensation or manual mode, you could have known if you were going to blow out the highlights. Checking your shot with highlight warning turned on would have also shown you that your first shot was burned out.

And, in high contrast situations, exposure bracketing does offer either the possibility of choosing the best shot or using exposure blending or HDR in post to combine photos into one image that displays the whole range of light. HDR can look quite natural if you want it to.
02-09-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
Veteran Member
mysticcowboy's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: port townsend, wa
Photos: Albums
Posts: 968
QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
No, you would still get the same overall exposure.
You can try to use the magnetic lasso in Elements go along the mountain top and around the sky. You can then go to the enhance menu and choose brightness/contrast, and darken the sky. You could also darken the highlights/lighten shadows.
That's not going to return the missing information in the blown out area. If it's gone, it's gone.

02-09-2011, 04:18 PM   #9
Site Supporter
SpecialK's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: So California
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 14,901
QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
That's not going to return the missing information in the blown out area. If it's gone, it's gone.
Of course, but it will help with the shot already taken :-) He would have to severely underexpose the original shot to keep the highlights.
02-09-2011, 04:57 PM   #10
Pentaxian
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,400
On my K7 I would use shadow detail protect and highlight protection or I would bracket and do an HDR image in post processing or let the k7 do the HDR for me

Either approach for HDR needs a tripod
02-09-2011, 07:20 PM   #11
Site Supporter




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Minneapolis
Photos: Albums
Posts: 588
No matter how you slice it, it is overexposed. I checked the levels in PSE8, and the shadows are well above minimum levels of detail.

Learn to understand the histogram and blinkies, and make decisions regarding exposure compensation accordingly. If nothing else, adjust contrast down in your custom JPG settings to preserve some highlight and shadow detail.
02-09-2011, 07:44 PM   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Oklahoma USA
Posts: 1,502
Too much is often made of what mode you're using. What matters is that there is usually at least one parameter - shutter speed or aperture or iso - that's critical, and sometimes two or even all three are especially important. You can get to a good combination of parameters using any of the modes.

For example, if you shot this from a tripod and there's wasn't much movement (wind), shutter speed might not have mattered much. But you would have wanted low iso (for good quality), and a smallish aperture (for good depth of field and resolution.)

I wouldn't worry about spot metering with digital, the way I might have with film, particularly with a static scene. You can take a picture (or preview), and see where the curves fall. Basically I try to set the exposure to just barely avoid blowing out highlights, then I bracket by 1/2 stop, because I don't always notice a tiny sliver at the extreme of the histogram, or a tiny blinking area on the lcd.

I would suggest always shooting in raw, because you get the most information, and you never know what you might be able to do with that information, if you have better software/skills in the future. I wouldn't do that for a "commodity" picture (such as for an internet ad), or fast action (where the write speed to the card might matter), but I'd do it for most applications.

Paulf
02-09-2011, 08:30 PM   #13
Site Supporter
BigDave's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,627
This may sound simplistic, but what about using a polarizing filter? Based on the perceived direction (light coming from the right, sundown) the polarizer would probably have pulled more detail out of the cloud. It would have popped the cliffs some too!
02-10-2011, 05:28 AM   #14
Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 16,217
When taking the photo, you should do one of two things -- take a couple of different exposures, one exposing for the sky, one for the ground or, the other option would be to use a graduated neutral density filter. Either way, you are trying to get more dynamic range than would normally be present into your photo.

I personally find that once highlights (like the clouds) are blown, there isn't much to do to get them back. If your underexpose, you can bring up the shadows to a certain extent. RAW is a little more tolerant of these adjustments than jpeg, but you can do them in jpeg too.
02-10-2011, 09:50 AM   #15
Pentaxian
mgvh's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: MD
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 855
Original Poster
Excellent! Thank you all!
Let me summarize what I've learned from you about ways to get this pic without blowing out the cloud.
When taking the pic, in terms of what I have available and what can be done most quickly and efficiently, this is what to do:
  1. Check the histogram before taking the shot
  2. Use EV compensation and knock it down a few steps
  3. Enable the Highlight Correction
  4. Use a polarizing filter
  5. Shooting in RAW will give more post-processing capabilities
  6. Adjust contrast settings down in JPG setup
  7. Shoot using Exposure Bracketing (should use tripod)
  8. Use HDR capture (should use tripod)
  9. Use a graduated neutral density filter
In post-processing:
  1. Use a graduated tint filter
  2. Select the sky and adjust levels separately
  3. If #4 above used, then blend or use HDR techniques
  4. Remove the sky and replace it with other sky
I tried 1 and 2, but could never get anything to look very good. I couldn't do #3, but I did find a different pic I took a bit later than my original. I removed the sky from the original, and copied in the other, tidied things up a bit, and then ran it through AutoHDR. Of course, if you look closely, you can see that clearly the image has been manipulated...
In any case, I'm better prepared for getting a shot like this next time. Thanks again.

Last edited by mgvh; 01-19-2017 at 12:22 PM.
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!
camera, cloud, pentax help, photography, pic, time
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
POST A PIC TO OWN THE PIC ABOVE! (Game) ll_coffee_lP Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 788 08-01-2015 01:01 AM
K-x Q: Light profile varies from pic to pic msharma Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 4 12-10-2010 02:19 PM
Ok, so what is this and how do I fix it? RickL Pentax DSLR Discussion 31 05-23-2009 08:27 PM
Can I fix this with PP MaKettle Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 8 04-29-2009 06:18 AM
Iso 1600 pic and a Butterfly Pic... Eastern Shore Charlie Post Your Photos! 5 07-06-2008 10:27 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:25 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