Help please with blown out skies

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by indeedies, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    My biggest issue when photographing during the day is getting this blown out sky. How can I overcome this and still get the subject properly exposed? I know my camera can't meter both the sky and the subject so can I do this in PP?

    Thanks for helping out an obvious noob!

    An example:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For a shot like this, you meter for the sky and use fill-flash.
     
  3. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    So using the sb600 on camera just use the fill flash option? I've tried finding this option in the manual (and yes I'm looking at it. pg 96 :lol:)Is this the same as rear curtain? And then when I have the SB600 on camera do I then just play with the power I want or can I let the flash do what it does?

    Truly appreciate the help that you guys give. It has helped me grow a lot.
     
  4. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't own a SB600 flash, nor a 'modern' flash. I have an old Vivitar flash from an old Minolta film camera....so I have to use my flash in manual. I just meter for the background and 'fiddle' with the settings on the flash until it's properly exposed, usually 1/2 power or less. This probably doesn't help for your situation though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  5. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    That's what I've been doing thus far with the flash. It never gives me what I want in that damn TTL option or whatever it is lol. But with the D70 just put the flash option in "Rear" mode? This is something that has been frustrating me for a while and I've always compensated by shooting against something solid. Hoping I'll one day have clouds in my pictures ;)
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The SB-600 has a setting for iTTL BL and will set the power for fill flash for you, if you wish. Just look at the SB-600 manual.

    With the flash on the camera it will make make the light on the subject somewhat flat looking though. You would loose the shadows under the lower lip, ear, cheek, etc.

    Most photographers that use flash regularly just use manual mode and also use the flash off the camera so there is more depth and definition in the shadows on the subject.

    Rear curtain means the flash fires at the end of the exposure just as the rear curtain begins closing the shutter. Rear curtain is usually the preferred sync method.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  7. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I was hoping you'd see this Keith. :)
     
  8. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys. And I knew about the iTTL but I hate how it seems to overcompensate for what I want. Usually it just throws a ton of light where I only want a little. If I don't have the option to get the flash off camera should I just avoid this type of scenario? I feel like I should ask tons of questions while you guys are still awake and able to answer :lol:
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You asked for it!


    Ok, some questions:
    • What exposure mode are you using M, A, S, or P?
    • What metering mode are you using Spot, Center-weighted, or Matrix.
    In your SB-600 manual look at page 26, you want the speedlight in TTL BL mode, which is fill-flash mode and not straight TTL. If you want to continue letting the camera make decisions for you.

    If you want to take charge and run the show, look at the chart on page 27 of your SB-600 manual. It will be helpful if you can get to the point that you thouroughly understand that chart.



    Then go to page 34 of the SB-600 manual and read through page 38 (the manual mode section). Take the time to understand the 3 easy and simple math equations so you can calculate:
    • The correct aperture
    • The correct flash output level
    • and the correct shooting distance.
    It's freshman high school math and with a bit of practice you'll be able to do the calculations in your head. The key phrase here is "with a bit of practice". If you blow off spending some tiome learning it, it will never happen and flash will remain a trial and error (mostly error) process for you.

    Ok, back to the rear curtain setting but first a note. Look at page 90 of your SB-600 manual and on the left of the page find "Flash Duration". The chart shows, when the SB-600 outputs full power (1/1) the flash of light is only on for about 1/900 of a second. That's about the same as setting youerr shutter to 1/1000 of a second. Notice that as the power setting goes down, the flash duration gets shorter. (1/11,100 at 1/16th power)

    That means that even though your camera's shotest flash sync speed maybe 1/200, we can use flash in much the same way we use shutter speed because of the short flash duration.

    The shutter in your camera has 2 curtains. Nikon calls them the front curtain and the rear curtain. For Canon readers, Canon calls them the first and the second curtains. So front = first and rear = second.

    Before you trip the shutter the front curtain is covering the image sensor. The rear curtain is above the front curtain.

    When you trip the shutter the front curtain drops letting light get to the image sensor. Then the rear curtain drops down and covers the image sensor stopping the exposure.

    Both curtains then return to their original positions, ready for the next exposure.

    The normal sync mode for flash is timed to when the front curtain is fully open, So at the instant the front curtain is fully open the flash fires. If there is sufficient ambient light and the subject or camera is moving we can record that motion between the time the front curtain was fully open and the rear curtain is not yet full closed. That motion gets recorded in front of the direction of motion and looks really bad.

    When we sync on the rear curtain, the flash fires right at the instant before the rear curtain starts to close. Remembering the note above about flash duration, even if we have full power set on the SB-600 it will act like the shutter speed is set to 1/1000 of a second and any camera shake or subject motion will not be recorded during the flash. If we have the speedlight set to a lower power the flash duration is even shorter.

    That's why most of the time you want the flash to sync to the rear curtain.

    Go here and watch this stop-motion sequence of a shutter in action: Move your cursor across the bottom of the image to see it one frame at a time, it's not a video.
    Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog ยป Nikon D3 Shutter Release in Super Slow Motion

    The next thing you will want to Google and research is "dragging the shutter".
     

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