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02-12-2010, 02:18 AM   #1
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How do you manage too much light?

I got my K-x a few weeks ago and am having a blast but I have come across a major issue. I live in Hawaii where there is insane sunshine year round and I cant seem to get good pictures in the middle of the day. Is there something that I can do or something I can buy that will help me out?


I sat my camera on my tripod for about an hour using all sorts of different settings but everything seemed washed out. Could I be metering wrong? I pointed it at the clear blue sky like many suggest but nothing. Any help at all would be a huge help.

02-12-2010, 02:38 AM   #2
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Depends on what you are shooting but Polarizer filters and ND filters will help. And the main thing about lots of sunshine, don't shoot in-between 11am and 1pm. Too harsh of light at that time of day. Try for before that first hour or after the second hour. I've even gone as far as stopping at 10am and waiting until after 2pm to shoot.

What setting do you use for metering?

The polarizer will deepen blue skys. Cuts glare also.
02-12-2010, 02:39 AM   #3
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Did you try using the auto mode? With min shutter at 1/6000, I don't think things should be washed in most cases unless you are pointing directly towards the sun.
First of all, it's important to understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and iso. If at lowest iso, shutter is at 1/6000 already, then you need to close the aperture (large f number). If you still desire wider aperture, then a ND filter would help.
02-12-2010, 02:58 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by photolady Quote
What setting do you use for metering?
whatever the default setting is. I wasnt aware of different metering modes, I'm a very very new to all of this. Got any suggestions? Is it normal for the camera to underexpose every picture when the meter is spot on?

02-12-2010, 03:17 AM   #5
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google something called Sunny 16... you'll learn heaps!
02-12-2010, 07:12 AM   #6
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If your camera came with a manual you should benefit greatly by reading it.
If you are able to go to a library or thrift store you will be able to find any book dealing with basic photography that it seems may help you further.
And like others have suggested, unless you are facing the sun at noon with no hood on the lens in a manual mode, even in an automatic default setting there must be something you have missed.
02-12-2010, 07:49 AM   #7
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sunny 16 link...Sunny 16 rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tips > Exposure > Sunny 16 Rule
..... i even printed, cut out, put on cardboard, now in my camera bag(s)...
02-12-2010, 08:14 AM   #8
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in my view it is rare that you ever have too much light.

Aside from your manual, which some have suggested you read, you should also get a good book on general photography.

Read the book, read your manual or have it side by side with the book, so you can read how to make each adjustment discussed in the book, and go out and start shooting.

then look at your shots, re-read the book, and go back out and shoot, after you figure out some of the things you may have done wrong, or did not consider the first time through.

this is a learning process, and you will learn the basics quickly. the finer points can take a lifetime

02-12-2010, 08:28 AM   #9
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Basically, the Sunny-16 rule that everyone is referring to says that in bright sun, the exposure should be f/16 and a shutter speed of the reciprocal of the ISO setting. That means that, if your camera is set at ISO 100, you should start at f/16 at 1/100 second (or as close as you can get).

In very, very bright sun, such as Hawaii or the Caribbean, you might need one stop faster shutter speed. Since the K-x has a top shutter speed of (I think), 1/6000 second, its hard to conceive of any light so bright that your camera couldn't handle it, unless you're standing on the surface of the sun.

One problem that comes up in extremely bright sunshine is that it also creates very deep shadows. This may be throwing your meter off. If the camera is trying to average the light across the entire image, taking into account the deep shadows, it would tend to wash out the sunny parts of the scene. When you look at the scene, you may not notice this effect, because the human eye has a much greater dynamic range than any camera or film.

Because our cameras have less dynamic range than our eyes, we all too often are left to choose between the highlights or the shadow. You may be able to control the light to some extent, by using reflectors to bounce sunlight into the shadows, or use fill flash to create light in the shadow areas. Sometimes, just moving to another position to take the picture, or cropping the shadows out of the image can reduce the problem.

If this is what is happening, ND filters or polarizers aren't going to help much, because they will reduce the light in the shadows just as much as they reduce the sunny areas. You're left with the same problem; the difference in light levels.

You can try using spot metering to measure the light only in the bright areas, but then you will probably lose the shadows. This will make the image appear less washed out, because the highlights will not be blown out, but the shadows will be almost black.
02-12-2010, 10:16 AM   #10
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I second a polarizer.

Also, read this...
Mark David | Why do your photos turn out looking washed out or grey?
02-12-2010, 10:57 AM   #11
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I thin you need a good basic book on photography to learn about exposure and metering. That is, what aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are, what they control, how they combine to create exposur, and how to control those settings from any given exposure mode. That information will answer all your questions here.
02-12-2010, 11:21 AM   #12
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awesome help guys, I have "understanding exposure" but I read it months before I got my camera. I'll re-read it and maybe I should throw it in my camera bag for reference. Thanx a bunch guys!
02-12-2010, 11:24 AM   #13
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Post a photo or two with exif in tact...the guesses could be endless.

Jason
02-12-2010, 02:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digital Dustin Quote
I got my K-x a few weeks ago and am having a blast but I have come across a major issue. I live in Hawaii where there is insane sunshine year round and I cant seem to get good pictures in the middle of the day. Is there something that I can do or something I can buy that will help me out?
Move to Hilo. Always raining, and housing is cheaper.

I had this problem in Hawai'i a few times. Once I was testing a Fujica ST605 film camera for my brother. I had a roll of ISO 400 film so I used that because I wanted to see if my seal installation worked. I went out at noon on a sunny day, and I wanted to use a Takumar 50mm f1.4 screw-mount lens that I had just received. The camera had a top shutter speed of 1/700s and the lens only closed to f16. It was pretty easy to pin the exposure meter, but I found working exposures too.

While telling this fascinating story, I wonder if your ISO setting was changed to something like ISO 3200. The kit lens can stop down to f38 sometimes so unless it's broken, it should be capable of exposing even tourist skin at Waikiki.
02-12-2010, 04:09 PM   #15
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Back in the day, my cure for too much light was using ASA-25 or -32 film, f/22, and a dark filter. Too bad we can't get very low digital ISO now. The cure on digicams involves dark filters and small apertures. With a filter of welding glass, or a small pinhole, a tripod-mounted camera won't see anything that moves during the multi-minute exposure. That's great if you want empty city streets at midday. A 1000nm IR filter on an unmodified camera is nearly as effective.
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