Not sure how to fix this in digital, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by sothoth, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    I have the RAW version of this photograph. It's got a few problems and I'm hoping for some suggestions on how to fix it. Essentially the sky is way over exposed and the mountains in the distance look very washed out. The water and trees are fairly well exposed.

    I'm not looking for a composition critique, but a suggestion or suggestions on how to get daytime photos like this a little better. The photo was taken in Alaska on a recent trip. Unfortunately, when you're on the road in a new place, you don't always have the luxury of waiting for the perfect lighting, you just get one shot at it.

    I have a circular polarizer for this lens but didn't use it because I wanted the water to have some reflection.

    Any specific things I could do with a different filter (neutral gradient or something?) or post-processing to get the sky/mountains less washed out, without darkening the water or hills too much? Or is this a very simple matter of using PS and darkening the sky? With film I used to let more light in where there was a very bright spot, then burn in the underexposed areas in the darkroom. With digital the reverse seems to be called for (let in less light and not more), but then I'm less knowledgable on how to deal with such naturally contrasty shots, esp in digital. My experience so far suggests that if you overexpose in digital there's little/nothing you can do to darken it up, the detail is lost forever.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not everything polarises equally. The mere existence of a cirpol filter doesn't make the water have no reflections. It is often worth trying anyway just in case you could turn it so the water did have reflections but the haze was cut out.

    If would almost have been a black and white candidate but regardless of how I play with it the trees get lost in the contrasty background.
     
  3. Newfive

    Newfive TPF Noob!

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    I just used Corel Snapfire or PSP and did a quick fix... checked few other items but hit the quickfix just to give you a fast result... check your histgram and see where the graph is... need to balance the towards the middle so next time shoot the picture...look at the histgram then adjust accordingly.
     
  4. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If it were mine, I would just use the PS shadow/highlight control to reduce the overall contrast a little and then add back some contrast after that with the contrast control to help bring out the mountain range a little. I would crop it so that the mountain range is 1/3 of the way from the top. You captured a spectacular place.
     
  5. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Just to prove that I didn't want any composition advice, could you crop it the way you described so I can see what you mean, now that you've twisted my arm? :)
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    You could use a graduated ND filter in the field. Or what I do is shoot raw, then open up two versions of the file: one processed for the forground, one processed for the background and sky. Layer them on top of each other, and mask the parts I want together.

    If you overexpose to the point that the histogram goes off the right edge, then there's no coming back, but as long as the histogram isn't off the right edge you should be able to darken just fine. Google "expose to the right" for more info.
     
  7. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, that was a good article and one I've never seen although I've browsed that site many a time.
     
  8. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My lame attempt:

    [​IMG]
     

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