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02-15-2010, 12:30 PM   #1
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flower looks cartoonish? What's wrong?

Hi,

I am a novice when it comes to fully manual mode using a tripod (which is what I was doing here). And I'm also a novice when it comes to posting photos on the forum, so let's see if I get it right after reading the various stickies ...

Now, with all that out of the way, what went wrong in this photo and the little flower? Is it a focus problem, an exposure problem or ???

I had attempted to meter off some of the dark green foliage in the shot, then recomposed ... not practicing a winning photo composition here, but trying to play around with manual settings.

Hopefully if I did this right, full EXIF should be on the flickr site. I did have a circular polarizer on the lens.






Thanks in advance,

TJ

02-15-2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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Well, I'm no pro, but it looks like the camera did indeed meter off the darker
foliage, and then the brighter flower got over-exposed, or oversaturated.

If you dial back the exposure a bit (faster shutter speed, smaller aperture)
you may capture the detail in the flower, and still be able to "push" the
darker areas to bring out detail there.

This is a common problem when some areas of a photo are bright, and
some are dark.
02-15-2010, 02:42 PM   #3
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Why did you use spot metering, anyways? The only reason to use spot metering is because you have an 18% gray (or equivalent) source to meter from.

The flower is viciously over-exposed in 1 of the channels, hence the cartoonish look.
02-15-2010, 03:33 PM   #4
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I'd be tempted to try a polariser to take the shine off the leaves.

Other than that a little PSE "lighten shadows" and darken highlights".

02-15-2010, 06:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input ... I suspected over exposure. When I was using the manual settings, I was playing around with checking histogram and also looking for "blinkies" for blown highlights, but I guess what I've learned is that you can have overexposure in just one of the channels (like red) and when I look at the image in RAW in PSE, I can see the red highlight warnings.

I had mistakenly thought that as long as I didn't see blinkies or clipped histogram on camera LCD, I was good to go in terms of exposure.

Feel free to tell me that I've got it all wrong, I'm only learning about the manual settings on the camera.

TJ

PS: As for the question about why was I spot-metering ... I was trying to use the "dark green grass" rule to take the place of a grey card and trying to get accurate light reading from that, then re-compose ... this was all for trial-n-learn, not artistic quality
02-15-2010, 06:15 PM   #6
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I always bracket shots like this to the dark side: -1 EV, -0.5 EV, 0EV.
It is very difficult if not impossible to see on the monitor if one channel is clipping. So better safe than sorry, and unlike with film, bracketing is free!
02-15-2010, 08:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
Why did you use spot metering, anyways? The only reason to use spot metering is because you have an 18% gray (or equivalent) source to meter from.
look.
Not true. I use nothing But spot metering. It allows me to expose for the part of the frame I want. Especially in Manual exposure where I want to control detail in the photo.

QuoteOriginally posted by rfmf23a Quote
Thanks for the input ... I suspected over exposure. When I was using the manual settings, I was playing around with checking histogram and also looking for "blinkies" for blown highlights, but I guess what I've learned is that you can have overexposure in just one of the channels (like red) and when I look at the image in RAW in PSE, I can see the red highlight warnings.

I had mistakenly thought that as long as I didn't see blinkies or clipped histogram on camera LCD, I was good to go in terms of exposure.

Feel free to tell me that I've got it all wrong, I'm only learning about the manual settings on the camera.

TJ

PS: As for the question about why was I spot-metering ... I was trying to use the "dark green grass" rule to take the place of a grey card and trying to get accurate light reading from that, then re-compose ... this was all for trial-n-learn, not artistic quality
Forget about the Blinkies. Set your camera to RAW+ and to show you a Black and White image on the screen in review. If you wish to use spot metering, then meter the flower. Take your shot and evaluate it for loss of detail (blown highlights) and adjust your exposure accordingly. One thing all plant life has in common, is that it has texture. Once you've blown out the highlights, the texture is gone, hence the cartoonish look. Dial the exposure back some by closing down the aperture or speeding up the shutter or both. Push your exposure as far to the right as you can without loosing detail. The blinkies may be helpful for some situations but nothing can substitute for knowing exactly what your meter is telling you. If you think you've lost too much detail in the darker areas, you can regain a lot of it in post processing. Setting the camera to show you a B&W image can go a LONG way in getting it right.

This photo was done that way..



Here's the color version produced from a RAW file..



This may help you to get a better understanding of what I'm talking about..

02-15-2010, 10:51 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfmf23a Quote
Thanks for the input ... I suspected over exposure. When I was using the manual settings, I was playing around with checking histogram and also looking for "blinkies" for blown highlights, but I guess what I've learned is that you can have overexposure in just one of the channels (like red) and when I look at the image in RAW in PSE, I can see the red highlight warnings.
I don't like the "blinkies", I keep those turned off. I do use the histogram a lot to see if anything was blown, though. I don't know if the K100D Super has this feature, but on my K-7, when reviewing a picture, I can view it with either a luminance histogram (white curve) or a triple histogram that shows a separate curve for each channel. To get to this display, I press the "Down" direction button when the luminance histogram is displayed. Sometimes the luminance histogram doesn't show the whole story.

QuoteOriginally posted by rfmf23a Quote
Feel free to tell me that I've got it all wrong, I'm only learning about the manual settings on the camera.
I think you're experimenting very well, it's just a matter of getting to know the tools at your disposal and remembering to use them.

02-15-2010, 10:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
Not true. I use nothing But spot metering. It allows me to expose for the part of the frame I want. Especially in Manual exposure where I want to control detail in the photo.
I wouldn't know, I never meter at all anymore. It doesn't really matter if I have the camera set to spot, matrix or anything else. I just try to guess how much exposure I need, and if I get it wrong, I adjust settings and re-shoot. I've been getting it right on the first try more and more lately.
02-16-2010, 11:31 AM   #10
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This is one of those occassions where the morons who say they can do everything in camera and never, ever need pping are shown as the liars they are.

To me, the exposure is correct, the greenery dominates the image and the greenery looks fine.

Now the little over saturated and channel blown pink flower needs some work. I'd select the floer in your pping software of choice and reduce the exposure a little, maybe reduce the saturation a little but most of all i'd be reducng the luminance in the red/magenta channels.

Takes about 3 seconds and you're done
02-16-2010, 12:36 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
This is one of those occassions where the morons who say they can do everything in camera and never, ever need pping are shown as the liars they are.
hmm, I think you missed the point. No-one said that post-processing should never be necessary. But getting the picture right minimizes the need for post-processing, and if it's not possible to get the picture right, then it's better to expose for easier post-processing. In addition, the OP was asking about what went wrong with the exposure.

QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
To me, the exposure is correct, the greenery dominates the image and the greenery looks fine.
Yes, the greenery is exposed fine. The problem is with the flower.

QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
Now the little over saturated and channel blown pink flower needs some work. I'd select the floer in your pping software of choice and reduce the exposure a little, maybe reduce the saturation a little but most of all i'd be reducng the luminance in the red/magenta channels.
A blown channel is a blown channel, end of story. If a whole area of pixels has a blown channel, no amount of PP'ing will get it back. The only thing reducing red luminance would do is make the flower look uniformly drab rather than uniformly cartoonish. It would also affect the rest of the image.

Here's an example. In this picture, I completely blew the red channel. The rest of channels are fine.


In this one, I tried to reduce luminance to restore the red. But it's solidly blown, all I'm doing is uniformly making the picture the wrong colour. I'm regaining no detail.


In this one, I under-exposed the shot on purpose.


But because none of the pixels were clipped in the shadow range, I was able to bring their luminance up and restore the red to its natural colour while preserving detail.


In both cases, I used post processing. In the latter, I purposely under-exposed because I knew I could bring back the under-exposure while retaining detail.

It's not necessarily about getting perfect pictures with the camera every time. That's physically impossible in many cases because of the sensor's limited dynamic range. The trick is to know which details are recoverable in PP and which aren't, and exposing the picture with that in mind.
02-16-2010, 01:26 PM   #12
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We've had a few pople saying it can all be done in camera or you're not worthy. See any RAW V JPG discussion.

'Blown' is a broad word, if you're just tipped over the edge you can pull it back in post, if you've gone right off the chart, yeah you're a dead fish.
02-16-2010, 01:28 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
A blown channel is a blown channel, end of story. If a whole area of pixels has a blown channel, no amount of PP'ing will get it back. The only thing reducing red luminance would do is make the flower look uniformly drab rather than uniformly cartoonish. It would also affect the rest of the image.

It's not necessarily about getting perfect pictures with the camera every time. That's physically impossible in many cases because of the sensor's limited dynamic range. The trick is to know which details are recoverable in PP and which aren't, and exposing the picture with that in mind.
Absolutely correct, think back to the reversal image days, we always underexposed so the repo boys could "pull out" the highlights details as they required. the same applies to digital except that it is more susceptible to what is now called blown pixels [read overexposed] a overexposed pixel is a white or nearly white pixel and no post processing soft ware can ever recover that lost colour pixel/s
.
02-16-2010, 01:38 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
We've had a few pople saying it can all be done in camera or you're not worthy. See any RAW V JPG discussion.
Oh I agree to a certain extent. There are some high-horse photographers out there who frown on anyone who needs to use post processing to get his pictures right. But in this case, the OP was asking what went wrong with the exposure. He specifically mentioned manual mode and a tripod, among other things. So my advice was geared towards that.

I don't know about the K100D Super, but in the case of my K-7, I can recover some surprising amount of detail from under-exposed pictures. Sometimes there's detail I didn't even know was in there...
02-16-2010, 03:10 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the help and input folks, I do appreciate it and I've also learned something from your comments. And learning by playing around in manual mode with a tripod was the whole point of my little excercise, so mission accomplished!

To answer this question ...
QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
I don't know if the K100D Super has this feature, but on my K-7, when reviewing a picture, I can view it with either a luminance histogram (white curve) or a triple histogram that shows a separate curve for each channel. To get to this display, I press the "Down" direction button when the luminance histogram is displayed. Sometimes the luminance histogram doesn't show the whole story.
Unfortunately, my little K100D Super doesn't show the triple histogram ... only the white curve, so what I learned here is that the overall can be ok, but one of the channels could still be awry. This was new information for me, so thanks for pointing that out. If I look at it in PSE 7, I can see the red highlight warnings when I open the picture.

I did also fiddle around in PSE 7 and found that I could have the software fix the flower a bit.

From some other reading I did, I wished I would have taken the same picture in "natural" image tone to compare the to the "bright" setting that I had on my camera.

Thanks again.

TJ
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