Help with snow picture

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by OregonAmy, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. OregonAmy

    OregonAmy TPF Noob!

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    I took a bunch of pictures on snow day and I really like this shot, but I feel like it needs help. I'm a total beginner, so I'd appreciate any tips. (I'm using a panasonic dmc-fz10, btw)

    What I feel is wrong with this pic..

    - snow is overexposed, but when I fiddle with contrast/brightness in gimp, it doesn't fix it. Was my shutter speed too high? What would have been a good aperture setting? I had the ISO setting on Auto and wasn't changing my aperture.

    - too much sky? Cropping it seems to make it worse, though

    - overall "grayness" of the photo. Is the contrast in the picture strong enough? I used my camera's b/w setting, rather than taking the pic in color & converting at home. I don't care for photo edit software; I'd rather rely on my skill than on software to compose a great shot. But was that the right choice?

    so... help!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

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    Your photo isn't that far off in it's exposure. A bit on the bright side. I'd suggest you try bracketing when you shoot. Go up and down a few steps if you camera allows it. If not, look at your cameras choice of shutter, F stop and iso in auto then switch it to manual using those settings as a starting point and experiment a little with each setting. Half of the art of photography is using the camera. The other half is the darkroom (I.E. Ansel Adams). Editing software is just a more technological replacement for the darkroom. For black and white on film, you would use filters for various dramatic effects. with digital, you do it with the software. Good Luck!
     
  3. Sebastian

    Sebastian TPF Noob!

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    My check up list for winterphotography:

    1. Don`t let the camera have to be cold. Wear it between your "work" under your clods our in a camerabag.

    2. The same for your reserve-battery.

    3. Correct the insolation 1-2 gread up. Check every picture after you have taken it.

    4. For landscapepictures I use a stand, so you cane take a low ISO calibration.

    5. At home correct the tonal value. :D
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Part of "the skill" is definitely in finding out how to expose right and how to compose right. Snow is always tricky! Bracketing is the idea. Take at least three, if not five photos of the very same scene, and underexpose by 2, by 1 stops, expose right (according to what the camera says) and go higher (or leave that with snow). Then you can choose the best exposed later, or - if you can do that and if you make sure your camera position has not changed at all - you can do an HDR photo (high dynamic range) by putting two or three photos together.

    Second part of "the skill" (as Dave_D is saying already) is what is done after the camera has made its click. For the strictly film-only people it is/used to be the work in the darkroom, where from the negative produced by the camera (which, if I understand things right, can also be influenced in its outcome through the developing processes???) the prints can be done in ever so many different manners, depending on filters being used, methods of burning and dodging, paper being used for the print and so on and on.

    So there is nothing wrong in the use of the "computer darkroom", i.e. post processing software, for that only replaces the work the photographer used to do (some still do) in the darkroom.

    So if your camera as the ONE tool you use to take a photo does not immediately bring you the result you had hoped for upon seeing the scene and upon wanting to capture it in the way it FELT to you at the time, what is wrong in working on your image so it meets your very own feeling and/or perception of said scene with the other tool, i.e. the computer software so it can take your photo there?
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I'll try to make this easy.

    Yes to bracketing. Do lots of it, and don't bother overexposing any of the shots. 99 out of 100 times, your camera's meter will already overexpose the shot for you. I would be satisfied with three shots @ -2 stops, -1 stop, and whatever the camera reads.

    Underexposure is key. Post-processing is key in digital, as a few people have already noted. Any portions of the photo that are overexposed/blown-out will have no useable data and will therefore be uneditable (this goes for scanned negs, too). However, it's important to remember that film is more controllable than digital. What I mean is that with film, you have two shots at post-processing. One when you develop your negatives, and another when you make prints. With digital, you're essentially skipping the first step, i.e. you get whatever the camera takes-- there's no intermediate step between taking the photo and using it. So you have to make these shots count. As I said earlier, you really need to underexpose the shots (or use exposure compensation if your camera has it). When you finally go into PS to edit, dark you can work with. White you can't.
     
  6. OregonAmy

    OregonAmy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks you guys.

    I have purchased a tripod since this shot was taken, and can't wait to try it out - I have wanted one for years. That will help with the underexposure and clarity in my shots, I'm sure.

    And thanks for the perspective on the software/darkroom issue. Using software always felt like cheating to me, but what you're saying makes complete sense and I think I've set my expectations at bit high & askew.

    Thank you, again! I will definitely try bracketing. :)
     
  7. Imagee

    Imagee TPF Noob!

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    I love the curve of the tracks and the road against the snow covered trees.
    I think the biggest thing "wrong" with this image is the white sky. In every photo course I have ever taken, every professional critique I have ever had, I was always told NO white skys!
    Since I am brand new on this board I'm a bit unsure if I am allowed to post a rework of your image here. I do know you have said it's OK to edit...so, if it's Ok to post the edit here...let me know!
    What I did: 1st, cropped out the sky, then adjusted levels and then sharpened. It made quite a difference!
     
  8. mat wildlife

    mat wildlife TPF Noob!

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    'Brightness/contrast' is a very basic method of adjustment; try using 'Levels' - you get more control and better results.
     
  9. OregonAmy

    OregonAmy TPF Noob!

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    I have yet to master levels!! The documentation I have for gimp leaves much to be desired, and my familiarity with photo editing software beyond microsoft photo editor is nil. :( But i'm too cheap to shell out for PS when gimp is free. :D

    Imagee, I'd love to see how you changed the picture!! Please post it.
     
  10. mat wildlife

    mat wildlife TPF Noob!

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    Gimp has levels, you can find it by going 'tools' then 'colour tools' then 'levels'. Gimp is fine when you're starting out.

    For an understanding of levels try www.cambridgeincolour.com
     
  11. Imagee

    Imagee TPF Noob!

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    Amy I'll post my revision of your photo as soon as my subscription to TPF is activated. I dislike having to to put YOUR image in my Photobucket account! Once the account is activated I'll be able to upload directly from my computer. I signed up this morning...don't know why it is taking so long.
     
  12. Imagee

    Imagee TPF Noob!

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    I hope I did this right! This is my cropped and levels adjusted version.
    Click on it for large size.
     

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