Good filter for keeping skies from being over exposed?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by inTempus, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,692
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Indiana
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I've noticed that I'm getting a lot of over exposure from the bight (non-cloudy) skies in my city shots lately. I've been trying to get some shots of the skyscrapers in downtown Chicago but it always seems no matter how hard I try I get blown out skies.

    I assume I need a filter. If so, what filter do I need?
     
  2. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,825
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    The Magic Kingdom
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Try a graduated Neutral Density filter - easily obtainable and are designed to do exactly the job you describe.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Yes, typically you would use a split or graduated ND filter. The problem is that these filters have a straight line transition from light to dark...and if you are shooting a skyline type image, the filter might darken other parts of the image, besides the sky.

    Having blown out skies is often a result when the difference between the fore/mid-ground and the sky is too great for a camera to capture with one exposure. Usually it's up to the photographer to decide what parts of the image are most important and expose for that.

    There are a few tricks you can do though.
    You could selectively edit the image (mask of parts of it to edit the other parts).
    You could take two different exposures and combine them.
    You could take multiple exposures and use software for tone mapping or HDR etc.
     
  4. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,562
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Oahu
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
  5. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,692
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Indiana
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks guys.

    So, about HDR... does anyone know of a good application for doing HDR on a Mac?

    I have regular tools already (CS3, Lightroom 2, Aperture 2)... I assume there's some specialized application(s) for HDR work.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
  7. Judge Sharpe

    Judge Sharpe TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    birmingham alabama usa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If you will excuse advise from an old time film guy, you need to play with your exposure in a manual exposure mode. What is happening is that your in camera exposure meter is taking a reading from the general area and is averaging the reading. Most likely, it is too much for sky and too little for the building.
    So here's what I would do-
    1. See if you have a spot meter function on your camera.
    2. If not- see if you can take discrete readings from the sky and the subject. Decide which will give you what you want; or.
    3. If this is your field of endeavor, invest in a spot meter about $100.00;or,
    4. Take a reading from an 18% gray card and use that as a starting point. The exposure where you are will be about what it is on your subject unless you are in a shadow;or,
    5. Bracket your shots- One at the exposure suggested by the camera, 3 at shorter exposures separated by 1/2 to 1 stop and the same thing on the other side. Film is cheap so waste a little to get the shot you want.
    6. Think about adjusting exposure/contrast with selective printing.
    7. A polarizing filter does wonders for darkening the sky as it cuts the light scatter that causes glare. It does wonders for a cloud picture.
    Good luch and good shooting
    Judge Sharpe
     
  8. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    3
    Circular polarizers can be used for this purpose, though they can be a little finicky, especially when you can't change your angle to the sun. It will work in some situations though, and will also be handy for cutting glare on glass windows. It will also cost you some light (probably 2 stops), so plan accordingly.

    It's not a cure-all, but in a shot that happens to line up the right way it could wotk wonders.
     
  9. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,692
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Indiana
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have a Canon 40D and I do have spot metering. I was trying all metering modes with varying levels of success, but still getting blown out skies downtown. I think it was because shooting up at tall buildings while in their shadows towards a bright blue sky is probably more than a camera can compensate for. I make this assessment based upon me trying multiple different methods (in manual mode and P mode) and still getting either too dark of an exposure on the building or a blown out sky.

    I'll give the HDR and bracketing a shot, and I will probably check out a filter if they are reasonably priced to see if that helps me get where I want to be.
     
  10. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,692
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Indiana
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
  11. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,240
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    yeah... well, I will say that with lightroom2 it is rather simple to bring in sky that is normally blown out in similar situations to that. The only problem you'll run into is if you have to work around trees and the like, but with a rather large expanse of sky it's really not too difficult.

    Personally, I would think that PP would be the easiest method compared to a graduated ND or anything of that like. Multiple exposures could work well also.
     
  12. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    3
    Lightroom's graduated filters can be used as a completely customizable neutral density filter- you control where it starts, ends, the angle it's on, and the exposure compensation. As long as you have enough room in your file to do some pushing/pulling with things (it's never been a problem for me shooting RAW), you can really dial it in exactly the way you want it. Just don't blow your skies out completely- if there's nothing left, there's nothing to pull back.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

filter for overexposed

,

filter for overexposed skies

,

how to filter over exposed

,

hoya digital filter vs non digital

,

keeping your shots from being over exposed

,

overexposed filter sky

,

overexposure filter

,

sky overexposed filter