Adirondack Leaves - Exposure/Color Questions

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jbetz, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. jbetz

    jbetz TPF Noob!

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    This is my first image post, and I'm fairly new to photography. I am a videographer and am interested in learning more about photography so that I can pursue both. I seem to be having some problems with exposure, and I hope that I can get some advice about how to take better pictures. I am used to using a video camera that previews exposure on the LCD or viewfinder, and so adjusting for correct exposure is fairly simple, especially using tools like zebra stripes.

    I am using a D90, and as far as I can tell there is no way to preview exposure (the image on the LCD in live mode appear to be the same as through the viewfinder, and doesn't seem to adjust to show changes in settings, which I guess makes sense for a SLR-style digital camera).

    Anyway, I'm wondering about tips for exposure, and if anyone can tell me why my images seem so oversaturated. Does this have to do with exposure or are there color settings in the camera that are causing this? Any help and pointers to good books or online resources to learn more about exposure would be appreciated.

    Do you generally use external light meters to help with exposure, or do you rely on rules like the Zone System? Or do you use the camera's light meter and adjust from there? What are some common methods for anticipating correct exposure on DSLRs?

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    Thanks for the help!

    Also, any additional comments or criticism welcome
     
  2. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    ive never used a D90 but on the D40 the lightmeter is in the eyepiece.

    in #3 in particular it looks like you are also trying to take pictures of too wide a range of light and the camera just can't capture it. the sky and tree tops look fine but the shadowy trees are too dark for the camera to reach down to when exposing for the sky properly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2009
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hmm an intesting and imporatant question here. I know that there are newer cameras released now which do have a live display of the histogram of light entering the camera and the effect the settings you select will have on that view - its mostly technology based around the liveview feature in DSLRs - so its more present in the newer cameras than the older models.

    regardless all DSLRs (far as I know) do have a way of viewing the histogram of a photo after it is taken and I make extensive use of this feature when taking my shots. Firstly I will use the cameras built in meter to set the settings on the camera, or let semi auto modes (like aperture and shutter priority) set those settings, again based on the info from the camera meter. I then take the shot and - conditions permitting - will review the histogram to see if I might be able to push for more exposure or if I am getting overexposure problems and need to underexpose in the lighting conditions.

    As you can see by this method you do have to go through a phase of calibrating yourself to the cameras built in meter - understanding what it is giving you and also when it might be tricked into giving you incorrect settings. A good example of this is the moon - metering at the moon in the nights sky will normally make the camera exposure give you a very overexposed moon as the dark surroundings make the meter think you need more light - whilst in actual fact you need far less. In those cases both exposure compensation (when in the semi auto modes) and full manual mode come to the fore to help make those corrections.

    There are also the rules, like sunny 16 and such to also give you aid in selecting the right settings for a scene - they can give you a good place to start setting for the shot and then metering and correcting as well as histogram review and retaking the shot take over. The beauty of digital being that each shot costs you nothing and camera memory is very cheap.
     
  4. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    Do you generally use external light meters to help with exposure, or do you rely on rules like the Zone System? Or do you use the camera's light meter and adjust from there? What are some common methods for anticipating correct exposure on DSLRs?


    ---- i rely on experience, and in camera meter, i konw how objects should meter to come out correct, and its easy to figure out with digital. bracket and see what looks best on the pc, you'll figure out how to meter pretty well off of that. the zone system is cool . . . but doesn't seem necessary to my process, but it can't hurt for you to learn it! i enjoyed learning it.
     
  5. jbetz

    jbetz TPF Noob!

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    jnm, thanks for the advice on my photos. I guess I can try to consider balancing bright/dark areas better when framing my shots.

    Overread, I really appreciate the advice. I will try this method of checking the histogram and reshooting when necessary.

    newrmdmike, you're right, experience is always the best tool. I'll just try to take as many pictures as I can and try to learn as much along the way as possible.

    Any additional comments on how I might have improved these pictures, or advice on resources for learning more?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well your shots don't look too oversaturated on my computer - there are a few things that might be giving you this view:

    1) Moniter calibration - you say you do a fair bit of video work so you might already have this, but if not I can strongly recomend looking at something like a Spyder 3 or Spyder 2 screen calibrator.

    2) In camera settings - this could very certainly be a factor and there are 2 things you can use to help this.
    1) is you can use the cameras built in menu options to lessen the saturation it applies to the JPEG shots - or you could lower saturation of colours in editing. Even the cheaper editing packages will have this feature.
    2) (this is my prefered method) start to shoot in RAW mode. That will give you a digital negative shot from the camera instead of a JPEG - the RAW has to be processed before it can be used as an image though. There is more info here: Why Raw -- Part I

    Note that you don't have to jump into RAW first off - infact many people shoot RAW+JPEG mode for a good while so that they have both - the only thing it costs you is memory card space
     

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