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09-10-2009, 06:26 PM   #1
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Overexposed pictures - K10D ?

I have a Pentax K10D . The K10D's pictures seem to expose the subject...say a dark coloured car fine, but the background..sky...pavement , etc. seems to be over exposed.

I take pictures at car shows which take place either around noon to mid afternoon, or a couple of hours before the Sun sets.

Again the subject always seems well exposed, but the backgound...overexposed, washed out.

Any suggestions about what maybe causing this ?

09-10-2009, 06:32 PM   #2
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You have explained your own problem.
You're taking photos of a dark subject in a bright environment/background. Having the background included in your shots, the camera has to know what to meter its photo on - and it will choose the dark subject that fills the majority of the frame, leaving the sky to be blown out. Regardless of your metering settings, the camera can only expose for the entire frame, so either overexposing the bright areas (sky) to get the dark car exposed right or underexposing the dark areas (car) to get the bright sky exposed right.

It's just a fact of photography that you must grasp to get the best possible results.
Either isolate your subject from the bright background or compensate by having an external light source illuminate your dark subject to a similar or greater intensity of the background light (almost impossible in broad daylight) to get better results.

You're going to have to shoot at dusk, with supplemental lighting on your subject to really bring out the best in your results, though...
09-10-2009, 06:55 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
You have explained your own problem.
You're taking photos of a dark subject in a bright environment/background. Having the background included in your shots, the camera has to know what to meter its photo on - and it will choose the dark subject that fills the majority of the frame, leaving the sky to be blown out. Regardless of your metering settings, the camera can only expose for the entire frame, so either overexposing the bright areas (sky) to get the dark car exposed right or underexposing the dark areas (car) to get the bright sky exposed right.

It's just a fact of photography that you must grasp to get the best possible results.
Either isolate your subject from the bright background or compensate by having an external light source illuminate your dark subject to a similar or greater intensity of the background light (almost impossible in broad daylight) to get better results.

You're going to have to shoot at dusk, with supplemental lighting on your subject to really bring out the best in your results, though...
Thanks for the advice. I was kind of thinking that, hoping that would be the problem. I think it may well be, but I am also wondering if it may be because I've left the white balance on AWB. Tonight (have to wait till morning to try out) I was thinking I would try using different white balance settings like sunny or shade, depending on the outside conditions. I don't know if this will make a difference.
I note that my KM (k2000) seems to expose a bit better than my K10D. But I'm also thinking that it may be that with the K10D, there are so many different settings that I may have made some bad settings over the time I've had the K10D without knowing any better.

I wonder if there are some internal settings, I may have screwed up, unbeknownst to me, that are causing over exposure..or it may just be as you have said.

I have the contrast, sharpness, saturation, etc., all set to the max. I should check out my EV setting...any other settings I should be aware of?

Even though the K10D offers so much 'customizable' features, sometimes for photographers like myself, who may have a background of 40 + years...it can be a doubled edged sword, for in my case, I may have experience, but I'm hopeless at computer settings.
09-11-2009, 02:30 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I have the contrast, sharpness, saturation, etc., all set to the max. I should check out my EV setting...any other settings I should be aware of?
Setting contrast to the max will be making the problem worse, so back it off. But you are always up against the fundamental problem described by Ash - the sensor (just like film) has a limit range of light values it can record and you are pushing it too far with a dark car and bright sky.
Shooting in Raw will improve your chances of getting some detail in the sky, or think about a grad filter to tone it down a bit.

09-11-2009, 09:23 AM   #5
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White balance has nothing to do with exposure, so put white balance out of your mind and concentrate on exposure - and that means metering.

Normally, the camera uses multi-segment metering, where it tries to take in the whole scene and make an "intelligent" choice as to what exposure you want. This is supposed to be designed to prevent what you are talking about - it usually tries to expose so as to *not* blow out a bright background, but this usually has the effect of making the foreground object way too dark in cases like this. Meaning you'd need to dial in positive compensation to get the subject well-exposed (and this would blow out the background - that's simply unavoidable in photographing high contrast subjects). Since you didn't mention using exposure compensation, I'm guessing you have either changed your metering from the default multi-egment to something like spot - and therefore are getting the center of the frame well exposed, with everything else relative to that - or else maybe you have positive exposure compensation dialed in accidentally. Posting an image with EXIF information intact might help figure out what happened.
09-11-2009, 09:32 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I am also wondering if it may be because I've left the white balance on AWB. Tonight (have to wait till morning to try out) I was thinking I would try using different white balance settings like sunny or shade, depending on the outside conditions. I don't know if this will make a difference.
.
White balance will have no effect on trying to capture a scene that exceeds the dynamic range of the sensor.
09-11-2009, 09:33 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
Again the subject always seems well exposed, but the backgound...overexposed, washed out.
Obviously the background is much brighter than the subject

Best solution is to either come back at another time when the background isn't so bright, or make (fill) flash your friend.
09-11-2009, 11:16 AM   #8
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^^^ Underexpose and add fill flash ...

09-11-2009, 01:39 PM   #9
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I've been reading the advice from the various posters and I first off, would like to thank all of you. I appreciate all the info., I find that the combined knowledge and experience of the different posters is very helpful

I've worked away this afternoon (retired) trying different things, made a lot of adjustments as per your recommendations.

Some of the advice also made me think about basic photography and basic metering, which was also very helpful in making me think, retrace what I was doing (wrong) and also reinforcing to me, the idea that although the Pentax K10D is an extremely sophisticated camera, with many options to customize photographic desires, it in the end is still a machine that requires a photographer to think about what photo he/she wants and then to make adjustments.

I think I had sort of forgotten to do that ...so I went back to my old Pentax S1a with it's hand held meter and started to think about what it is that I want to photograph.

It's a dreary, rainy, dull day out here in the Canadian West...so I wasn't able to replicate the conditions I'm having difficulty with, but with the adjustments (thanks) I made today, I note that the pictures aren't looking over exposed.

Again thanks, it was very good brainstorming via email and I think may have resolved my exposure concern.

I know other issues will develop and I will be back with additional questions.

For an old guy (60) who has been photographing since '68, I think the internet and websites are a tremendous resource.

I just wish it was available back 40 + years ago.
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