Brightness problems... How can I even this out?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by SPL Tech1, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. SPL Tech1

    SPL Tech1 TPF Noob!

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    Today I went to take some practice shoots of one of the areas I go rock climbing at. Well I was finding that when I took pictures that included both the rock and the sky, the rock was overly bright and the brightness across the picture was not even. Here are examples of some of the pictures I took that exhibit this problem:

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    Not all pictures exhibit this problem. SOME do actually come out right. However 90%o f the pictures that show the sky and the rock in the same pictures come out like those above. I am using a Canon 40D on the "sports mode" setting with the stock 28 - 135mm lenses and a UV filter. I started to use a polarizer but the pictures were too dark so I took it off. If I set the camera to the "M" mode to choose my own aperture and shutter speeds so I could reduce the shutter time the picture came out too dark. I could not find a happy medium. As soon as the picture was bright enough the "uneven light distribution" problem started to show up:


    1/500 shutter and 5.6 aperture:

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    1/250 shutter speed with 5.6 aperture:


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    1/160 shutter speed with 5.6 aperture:



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    1/125 shutter speed with 5.6 aperture:



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    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What you really need is the polarizer for the sky and a flash for the rock face and also to use maual mode. What is basically happening is the camera is looking to find a point at which there are no underexposed parts of the photo - and doing so with the dark rock means that the sky blowsout - manual mode and reading the meter will help you reduce this effect considerably. The polarizer is good for dealing with the sky, but you need flash to really get the rockface exposed right. (also look to a diffuser for the flash light - either a few folds of toiletpaper held on with elastic or something like a softbox.
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Interesting images. While I agree with Overread that fill light would have helped the situation, the scene in your images is "too large", that is too much area and too far away from the subjects for a flash to be effective. A polarizer (CPOL) would have helped, but not at the time you took these images.

    The main problem is that you're dealing with a slightly over-cast sky and the sun directly overhead. In fact, shooting into the sun (Images 1,2, 3, 5) is the cause of the haze that you're seeing. That can be cleaned up somewhat by a levels adjustment in your image-editor, but the best solution of all would have been to shoot at a different time of day.
    A CPOL will definitely help with the sky, but remember to get the maximum effect, the sun needs to be low in the sky (early morning/evening) and as close to 90 deg to the axis of the lens as possible. The higher the sun gets, and narrow the angle between it and your subject, the less effect it will have.

    It's an unfortunate fact of life that the image we want to get isn't always the one we can capture. Sometimes we have to settle for second best, and depending on the geography in the area that you're shooting, you may not be able to improve much over what you already have.
    Good luck.
     
  4. Samriel

    Samriel TPF Noob!

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    You could always try shooting in RAW and processing it with a graduated filter effect, since using a Graduated ND filter while shooting would probably prove too troublesome in this situation. I hope you don't mind, but I took your photo, put a filter on it, added some saturation and contrast and got the following:

    [​IMG]

    I know, not the best there is, but I think it is an improvement, which required about 30 seconds in Lightroom. One more thing, if you're not doing it already, I suggest using the histogram in these kind of difficult situations to get a better exposure. A good histogram with some good PP will usually at least give you average shots. Not to much, but a beginning. Good luck!
     
  5. joecoulsonphotography

    joecoulsonphotography TPF Noob!

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    Control points on Nikon Capture NX would help in this situation also.
     
  6. SPL Tech1

    SPL Tech1 TPF Noob!

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    Whats a histrogram and PP? Sorry. :( I would image the word refers to a history of something in a graph format but I am unsure. :S
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    PP is post production - in other words everything you do to the shot after you have taken it - so any editing, cropping etc....

    As for the histogram there shouldbe a bit in your manual about how to activate and see it - basically when you look at the histogram a perfect shot should have all the bars in the middle with non out at the furthest sides = an overexposed shot will shot a lot of bars on the righthand side of the graph - showing that these pixels are overexposed; underexposure (black areas) are the opposite - all bunched up on the left. Now of course there are times when you want dark or bright areas the choice is yours.
    Now this lets you get an idea of how well the shot is exposure wise after taking a shot - allowing you to adjust settings and shoot again to improve the exposure
     

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