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01-26-2010, 09:28 PM   #1
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Need some help with my K100D and shadows

I shoot in my back yard a lot. My back yard is shaded because of the large trees (over 50ft) at nearly every corner. Some of my shots come out great, but a lot of them come out darker than I want. White balance is set for shade. F-stop usually f8-f11. Shutter speed at least 1/500s because I shoot birds. Sensitivity 400-800. Metering set at Spot. Below is a a photo I took yesterday and I'm real unhappy with the out come. Tell me what I'm doing wrong?



Mods if this belongs some where else, you feel free to move it. I didn't think Photo Critique was right because I know there is something wrong, I just don't know what.

01-26-2010, 09:48 PM   #2
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I would try center or matrix metering. Spot is pretty selective and too variable. I don't know if the image has been cropped, but I wonder if one of the background highlights fooled the spot meter?
01-26-2010, 09:51 PM   #3
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sounds like you are using M mode - the picture is way under-exposed; because in M mode it will allow you to do that. Try using the A mode with f4 or 5.6, or better yet, use the TAv mode if you want to make sure you don't get shaky hands; also try using matrix metering to start with as SpecialK suggested.
01-26-2010, 10:12 PM   #4
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I'll try matrix metering tomorrow.

aleonx, I don't like those other modes, that's why I shoot all manual. I know it can be done right this way. Because I have been shooting this way since I got the camera and these shots are the first ones I have had that came out this under exposed.

About spot metering, I was told this was the way to shoot birds, so that's what I was using. But it makes sense that it is metering too much of the background and surrounding area.

And thanks.

01-26-2010, 10:19 PM   #5
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Oops, sorry, I didn't realize that you want to do that on purpose (under-exposed). In that case, there is nothing wrong with the picture..
01-26-2010, 10:30 PM   #6
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Like I said, not all my shots come out like this one did. Here's one I posted in PYP.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/87743-nature-can-you-identify.html

And that is my backyard also.

I understand what you think I should do aleon but I know this camera can handle all manual controls and work like I had it do in the bird in PYP. And if I understand this correctly, I can set exposure also. So if I'm shooting underexposed, there should be a setting in the camera to allow me to adjust this, right?

Well, I checked the manual again and I can't adjust exposure while in M mode. Crap!! LOL Btw, the K100D as far as I can see doesn't have Tav mode, only Tv or Av.

Last edited by photolady95; 01-26-2010 at 10:58 PM.
01-27-2010, 12:13 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady Quote
I shoot in my back yard a lot. My back yard is shaded because of the large trees (over 50ft) at nearly every corner. Some of my shots come out great, but a lot of them come out darker than I want.
Are you by any chance shooting through glass?

I ask because when I tried manipulating the photo - there seem to be a feint slightly slanted horizontal band of reflection going across the bird's head.....
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01-27-2010, 05:20 AM   #8
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The spot metering is causing you problems. Either go to center weighted (my personal choice), or learn what your spot meter is doing and learn what you have to do to get correct exposures with it.

01-27-2010, 07:54 AM   #9
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UnknownVT, I didn't need it fixed. I already tried that and as you found out it's completely worthless even fixed.

Wheatfield, I know, but I don't know how to find out what the spot metering is not doing right. The bird in the link is also spot metered. Anyway, I've changed the settings in the camera to "center-weighted" metering for now, and I'll see how that goes.
01-27-2010, 10:22 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady Quote
About spot metering, I was told this was the way to shoot birds
It's a way, but it requires you do it very carefully deliberately. Spot metering requires you find a subject that is 18% and to be sure to meter off that, not whatever your camera happens to be point at when you hit the metering button. Or, if you know your subject is *not* 18% gray, you have to know how much it is off and in which direction and dial in the compensation yourself.

The other metering mdoes also require you know how to use them to best effect. Matrix metering is *supposed* to be smart, but realistically, it's still going to be fooled by bright backgrounds.

I like to meter by a far more basic method: I use center weighted metering, and do almost all my metering off the ground. If I intend to shoot a subject that is in shadow, I meter off a part of the ground that is in shadow. If I intend to shoot a subject that is in sun, I meter off a part of the ground that is in sun. And I make a mental note of what shutter speeds I needed in each case, so for subsequent shots I can simply adjust the shutter speed directly as necessary.

Because this discussion isn't really specific to the K100D or DSLR's in general but is a pretty basic question about metering, I'm moving it to the Beginner's forum.
01-27-2010, 10:56 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady Quote
UnknownVT, I didn't need it fixed. I already tried that and as you found out it's completely worthless even fixed.
I wasn't trying to fix it - but trying to "see" the elements in the photo when I saw that slanted horizontal reflection - kind of like the reflection of a fluorescent bar?

I only posted the (downsized) photo to show what I thought was a reflection.

So were you by any chance shooting through (double glazed) glass?
01-27-2010, 11:59 AM   #12
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Marc, thanks for the tips, and for moving the thread. When I posted I wasn't sure if it belonged in DSLR forum because I thought it might be the camera settings problem, or my settings.

And I used to have grey card but that was long ago when I first started shooting film. Guess now would a good time to get another. One of the problems I have with shooting manual is, the f stop doesn't show in the list of settings. Should I try setting this on all autofocus and then metering the ground?

UnknownVT No glass. I don't even have fluorescents in my house, nor any double glazed glass. I was outside in my backyard.
01-27-2010, 02:51 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady Quote
UnknownVT No glass. I don't even have fluorescents in my house, nor any double glazed glass. I was outside in my backyard.
OK...
A kind of an attempt at explanation.

If one looks at the manipulated image there are two very bright spots over the back and behind the head of the bird.

So both these could have fooled the metering system - if the spot area encompassed them - which then would assume the scene was brighter than it was, and therefore underexposed the overall shot.

Rather than trying to find an AE setting that would cope with this, and matrix probably would be better - but also Pentax do have a tendency to underexpose protecting the highlights - so, instead try this -

Since you are already using M(anual) take trial shots, adjusting your settings to get the exposure you want - it is kind of trial and error - but that's probably the better way to get the exposure you want, for the conditions - once you have found that, then shoot away on that setting, only change or go through the sequence when you find shots that look off.

This of course requires you do go through this sequence for every session - but you are then more likely to get the exposures you want - rather than rely on the camera which is more likely to get it wrong - as those highlight spots are likely to be in different parts of the frame when you see a bird to take a photo of.....
01-27-2010, 03:12 PM   #14
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Just to clarify, are you using the little exposure guide inside the viewfinder?

If so, then spot is your issue for sure, i never uyse it as it's designed to be very specific. Use centre weighted, if there is back lighting yiou may still need to increase exposure comp a little.
01-27-2010, 04:09 PM   #15
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Here are two approaches to the conditions - I think my situation here may be similar in that there was a lot of bright spots in the background where the K100D would ahev underexposed for the overall shot.

1) Manual exposure - set by trial and error until I got the compromise I wanted - and it was a compromise between not blowing all the scene out and capturing enough detail ion the subject - in this case it probably would have been foolish for me to try and use spot metering.....

I set the exposure to get the red "petals" of the water-feeder about right - nevertheless the overall shot would be considered underexposed - I just brought it up in my photo editor.

light was relatively steady -
overall shot -


Cropped shot
(EXIF attached - caveat PhotoBucket can mysteriously drop metadata) -

K100D ISO800, Manual, f/5.6, 1/800, pre-focused manual.

2) Av (Aperture Priority) with Patterned metering

On another day when the light was changing, so I used Av (near max aperture to get near max shutter speed for the conditions) and Patterned metering - again the overall shot would be considered underexposed - as I would expect from Pentax K100D - so I brought it up in my photo editor -
overall shot -


Cropped (EXIF attached - PhotoBucket caveat)

K100D ISO800, Av, Patterned, f/6.3, 1/800, pre-focused manual
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