How to shoot black dogs in snow

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Sydkid, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Sydkid

    Sydkid TPF Noob!

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    I usually end up with overexposed snow and a black blob for a dog. What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    You aren't necessarily don't anything wrong...this is a limitation of photography. The tonal difference between white snow and a black dog is too great to be captured in one photo. If you expose for the dog, the snow is too bright, if you expose for the snow, the dog is too dark...and even if you expose in the middle, this is such an extreme...both might be lost.

    The solution is too choose what you want and expose for that. Probably the dog.
    To find an exposure that works for the dog...you will probably need to meter carefully as either a black dog or snow will throw the meter off.

    Another option would be to add light to the dog, to bring it up closer to the brightness of the snow. Flash or maybe a reflector would help.
     
  3. Sydkid

    Sydkid TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. I will try the flash idea. The contrast problem seems to be bigger on sunny days. I went out just now and it happens to be cloudy, so the shots were much easier to take. I also set the WB to cloudy, and that gave me more realistic coloration throughout the shot.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Of course.

    Shooting on overcast days is great because the light is much softer and there is less difference between the highlights and the shadows...which allows you to capture things in a single photo that you could not get on a sunny day.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Understanding the Zone System will solve this issue for you. It will likely not let you take pics of such vast dynamic range, but it will let you understand how to better setup the camera, more importantly, WHAT to meter for and HOW to get your subject PROPERLY metered.

    I do not want to type for the next 2 hours explaining it, so I think the best thing to do is to google The Zone System for Digital cameras.

    This has the answers to your questions. Good luck! :)
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try measuring the light sources from where the dog will be and set your camera to that.

    True exposure doesn't change and if you measure right then the dog will appear in your image just as it did to your eyes.

    If using a flash then try going manual. Set your flash to f/8 and your aperture to f/8 as well although you'd probably like an exposure comp of -1/3 for this subject.
     
  7. SlimPaul

    SlimPaul TPF Noob!

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    Buy a white dog :D

    Sorry, I couldn't help it :lol:
     
  8. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    Exposure Compensation anyone?

    I have a black german shepherd and I shoot her in the snow all the time. If you are focused on the dog, the camera chooses a faster shutterspeed, thinking the scene is darker than it is. What you need to do is either bracket your exposures or set the exposure compensation to EV-1 for starters, you should start to notice the snow staying whiter instead of a medium gray. If that doesn't work, just open in photoshop and tweak it with levels. That's what I had to do for these photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. BlackDog's

    BlackDog's TPF Noob!

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    That is a difficult one to accomplish.

    You might try using average metering mode instead of spot metering mode when taking action shots of the dog or surrounding the dog with snow. Save the spot metering mode for doing head shots or close ups of the dog.

    Yes, I’d agree try a little fill flash or reflector.
     
  10. Sydkid

    Sydkid TPF Noob!

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    Awesome photos, guys! That's the kind of detail and light I'd like to see in my own dog's shots. I will experiment some more. And thank goodness for those Photoshop creators!
     
  11. jmborkowski

    jmborkowski TPF Noob!

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    Expose for background + fill flash was going to by my suggestion.
     

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