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12-11-2011, 06:50 PM   #1
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Dark photos

Like to take nature and landscape photos. Own a 20D camera. Still new to DSLR's.
Question is why in the green mode do my pictures come out dark? Took some pics yesterday about three oclock. Shot them in a high ISO . It was overcast but I think my pics came out sort of dark. Used a Pentax DA 55-300mm lense Any thoughts?

12-11-2011, 07:04 PM   #2
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Depends on what metering mode you're using among other things. Green mode has a tendency to not blow highlights; my guess is that you metered off the sky inadvertently. If you put the camera in matrix metering mode (it's the green square on the bottom switch for the left dial), it should meter a little more evenly.

Another approach is to use P mode and use spot metering mode (the box with a single dot in the center on the bottom switch for the left dial) to set the midpoint that you want to capture at +0.5 by pressing the AE-L button on the right before taking the photo.
12-11-2011, 07:12 PM   #3
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Probably the sky caused it. The camera tries to darken the whitish sky to a medium gray. Clear blue sky is already the medium tone, so the camera does not try to underexpose it.
12-11-2011, 07:49 PM   #4
Brooke Meyer

Meters Get Fooled

You have to lie to your meter and the best way is to ignore it and shoot manual exposure. Borrow or buy a copy of Bryan Petersens "Understanding Exposure" or read this (free) Ultimate Exposure Computer and get familiar with the Sunny 16 Rule. It isn't complicated but takes a little study and practice. Once you've got it, you will like your photographs a lot more.

12-11-2011, 08:41 PM   #5
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You have to lie to your meter and the best way is to ignore it and shoot manual exposure.
Ignoring the meter and shooting in manual does not solve the issue. Knowing how the meter works is a far better long-term option. You can use EV compensation in non-manual modes.
12-11-2011, 09:11 PM   #6
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I support Brooke Meyer, get the books understanding exposure. You will never use the Green mode again
12-11-2011, 10:15 PM   #7
Brooke Meyer

Here's an example

This studio was an Exposure Value between 7 & 8 of ambient light. That's all you need to know. The windows were probably 14 or 15. I wanted to expose for the dancers so forget about the windows. The fluorescent lights show red & blue shift at any shutter speed above 1/120, making it hard to stop action without a lot of color bleed. I had to find 8 stops from an anchor point of EV15, aka Sunny16 Rule. ISO 1600, 1/160 & f4 was pretty close. Shooting raw gives some leeway. The DA12-24 solved my depth of field and I tracked the center dancer with the rear AF button.

The windows would've drive the meter crazy which is why all the Mom & Dad photos here come out dull & gray. I knew the EV from experience but I also carry a little Digisix meter to measure ambient light, a far different thing than the reflected light the meter sees. That's why Bryan Petersen will tell you to meter blue sky with your camera to get the clouds white. Or use the palm of your hand +2/3 stop which is about the same as a gray card. I know a number of very experienced newspaper photographers and they all shoot manual with their newspaper issued Canon gear because meters get fooled. If you expose for the ambient light you'll be very close. After awhile, you'll use the meter less as you gain experience. The histogram is today's Polaroid and is a wonderful tool.
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