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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 8:54 am
Posts: 9
Location: london, uk
Hi

I've been having problems in dealing with high contrast scenes in low light: for example when taking a photograph of the sun setting, the image has pixels with relativly high magnitudes of brightness alongside pixels with relativly high magnitudes of darkness. I've tried playing with the different metering modes, so if I spot meter the sky for example, everything else is completly over-exposed and if I spot meter everything else, the sky is burnt out... suffice it to say, the digital photographs are very different to the images, the way I remember them.

Is there any particular combination of ISO, shutter speed, aperature and white balance (am I excluding any other important parameters?) that will give a more even spread of brightness, or, is there any way of making the very dark pixels less dark and the very bright pixels less bright by adjusting the camera's settings?

Thanks,

Ibrahim


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 8:54 am
Posts: 9
Location: london, uk
I should really post an example of what I'm talking about. Please click on the following link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10960558@N02/1011757060/

The nuances in the sky's colour also is a pain to deal with. I put the WB to "cloudy" to replicate that warm crimson colour, but the clouds come out black:(

I've tried many, many different settings and I can always get one part of the photograph to look the way I want it to look, but I can never get the whole photograph to look the way I want it to look:(


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9952
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi Vertices, there's always going to be some compromise when shooting directly at the Sun even when it's very low, because it's simply so much brighter than anything else in your scene.

I've had some success shooting in either hazier conditions (Asia can be great for sunsets!) or when the Sun really is virtually touching the horizon. See examples below, both taken at an effective focal length of 300mm.

Image

Image

Otherwise you could try HDR - I've not tried this for sunset shots, but it could allow you to capture the wide dynamic range you're talking about - see this thread about HDR for more info...

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=781

Gordon


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:40 am
Posts: 1330
Location: Scotland
Hi Vertices. You've said it yourself, the contrast in that scene is never going to work. Ideally what you need in that situation is an ND grad filter. Darker at the top and lighter at the bottom it would have toned down the sky yet still retained the saturated colours you're after. I only read this stuff, I don't actually own one of these filters, but it's on my list. Put it on yours too.

Alternatively, this is what Photoshop was made for - not really, I just said that for effect. You could have exposed for the sky and used software after the fact to retrieve some of the detail in the shadows. It doesn't work every time and it never works perfectly, but it does help in most situations. If you're doing this I think it's important to expose for the brightest part of the image. It's easier to retrieve details from shadow areas than it is from overblown highlights.

Zorro 8)

PS - Vertices (cool name) It would be handy if you could include the equipment you're using in either your profile, your signature or the thread itself. Are you shooting RAW? I made the assumption you were but I may be wrong.

_________________
http://zorrofox4.deviantart.com/

Image

Various lenses, SB800 & Manfrotto 190 with 460MG head


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 4:53 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:08 pm
Posts: 7896
Location: Germany
Gordon+Zorro="nothing more to say":
- expose for the sky!
- shoot RAW!
- try "curves" in postprocessing
- or go the full distance with HDR
----------------
Congrats Zorro n your 300th post.
Very valuable, to have you here at the Camera Labs forum
You herewith earn the title of "Dark Lord of HDR" 8)

_________________
Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:45 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Belgium
When i shoot scenery with high contrast i tend to use multiple exposures to get one good photo. If you are shooting landscapes with a almost straight horizon you can use a gradient filter(hard or soft) to darken the brighter parts (usually the sky) in your photograph.Than you can get a perfect exposure in just one shot. However when the the transition zone between bright sky and dark foreground is curved or oneven the use of a gradient filter is not a very good solution. When you use these filters not only the sky gets darker but also the mountain or treetops wil be partially covered by the filter. A better way to do this is; if you expose one photo for the sky and one for the foreground you can always combine both photographs into one perfect exposed photo. The only thing that you need is a good tripod to avoid movement between two or more exposures from the same scene. The photo's are best taken in RAW , because you can further adjust the exposure by two stops in both directions without loosing to much info.

Here's a link to a very good and simple tutorial on how to blend two exposures into one using photoshop. I use the second workflow described in this tutorial a lot.....and it work very good. http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/neutral-density/neutral-density.htm


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