outdoor and wildlife C&C

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by photosoto, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. photosoto

    photosoto TPF Noob!

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    I've just been practicing on composing a little, let me know what you think.

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  2. Jaszek

    Jaszek No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Number your shots next time

    1. Over Exposed and the busy background takes away from the shot.

    2. Snapshotty

    3. Washed out, white horse is a distraction

    4. Front post steals the attention
     
  3. photosoto

    photosoto TPF Noob!

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    thank you for the input.

    1. honestly it appears overexposed to me as well but how can I keep the flower(or weed) colorful and bright without the background being so O'erexposed?

    2. I see what you mean... sort of
    3. unfortunately the only thing that wasn't white was the horses head! ha
    4. so I was just too close to the front post maybe??
     
  4. Error

    Error TPF Noob!

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    If you want to include the sky and need the weed or flower to be colorful & bright then you need to use filter... a Graduated Neutral Density is perfect so that your sky will not be over-exposed.
     
  5. photosoto

    photosoto TPF Noob!

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    thank you Error.
     
  6. docphysics

    docphysics TPF Noob!

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    I think number 4 is not so bad. I would have shot it from a slightly lower angle, made sure the top of the front post was in the FOV and used a smaller aperture for better DOF.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Shot 1: Technically this is a tricky shot to get right with a single exposure - there are a number of methods you can use to balance the shot so that the sky and land are exposed well.

    1) Expose for the sky - shift to manual shooting mode and set your settings for a correct exposure based on the sky alone (point camera at sky - meter - set settings - then compose the shot). That would give you a correct sky, but a darker land area and foreground. You could boost the lighting locally with flash for the flower - though you would still have a dark landscape behind it.

    2) shoot in the evening/morning when the light in the sky is less, that will lower the general overall range of light in the scene and make it easier - however chances are you would still be moving towards a sillouet of the land and again the flash would be needed for the foreground

    3) ND grad filters - these are good for balancing sky and land together -but they have a flat plain of change. So they will block light from a whole strip of your shot - which means that you would either end up with a dark toppoed flower and hills or an overexposed sky in the gaps between. Not ideal and most ND grads are used where there is a clear dividing line between the two areas - such as on the sea.

    4) (and my prefered method for this shot) HDR. Take a series of exopsures using the same composition, but exposing each one for a different area - the sky, the landscape - the flower; and then combine them all together in the computer for a single composite image which holds all 3 different areas with the right exposure. You don't have to use it heavily and get that high contrast/saturation look, the effect can be far more sublty used with practice.

    Shot 2)
    Personally I would not call this snapshootish - I can see what you have gone for in the frame and it is a tricky shot to compose 0 since you have the foal facing one way and the mare in the other - so you have to pick which is looking into your scene and which is looking away and I think you got it right for this shot. The mare is looking away and out of the shot - whilst the foreground foal is looking right in. I would have been tempted to shoot lower to bring the foal out a little more.
    The thing that (I feel) is distracting in the shot is the flowers on the right - it feels like too much content and is making the shot have 3 focus points (mare, foal and plant) so the viewers eyes don't know where to settle overall.
    A hint of exposure compensation to underexpose the shot would have been good on the shot as well. A tip is that in stronger lighting and when shooting bright, reflective subjects (like white mare) is to underexpose the shots to limit the chances of a blowout like you got here.

    Shot 3)
    Again I see where you have gone in this shot, but the mare is being a big distraction on her part. Note just the overexposure problems on her back, but her large body in the shot is pulling us away from that great face on look from the foal. I would have shifted to portrait aspect and shot that way - to bring the foals face out more and to reduce the impact of the mare in the shot - you could crop this version now at any rate I think.

    Shot 4)
    Again another shot that would have benefited from HDR or being shot later (or earlier) in the day. Depth of field could also be a little less I feel - let that background really blur into nothing so that its not a distraction - so a larger aperture (smaller f number) would have been nice.


    Overall I like what I am seeing here of your composition - though I feel that you had bad luck with the lighting as you arranged your shots. The sky was just too strong in many, though with some use of underexposure you might be able to get better results next time. Certainly the light appears well diffused (from the clouds) which is a great thing to have when you shoot.
     
  8. photosoto

    photosoto TPF Noob!

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    wow, thank you very much. Question - for bright or reflective objects you are suggesting underexpose the shot and then maybe edit with software somehow? Also, this is probably a silly question but how do you meter different spots and photograph the exact same picture?
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Metering different spots in a shot is fairly simple, though most times you will find that it is hard to do with a moving scene or one with living elements (since at any point they can move and the lighting on them change). Practice and experience can make you faster of course.
    Simply you point the camera at the different areas of the shot (sky and hten land for example) and take a reading on the camera to get a proper exposure. Note that this method does require some experience and an idea of what settings you want fixed for both shots -- so in the example of a landscape both would want a low ISO and if your working from a tripod then you won't have any shutter speed worries (so that can go as slow as it wishes).

    If you note the settings down and then compose the shot as you wish you can then take the needed shots in a series - changing the settings as you go from shot to shot without having to adjust the framing at all.

    Note that you can also use bracketing mode for this as well (read camera manual for more details on this mode)
    Further if your camera supports it there is a metering mode (again read camera manual) called spot metering, where the camera will meter off only the centre point on the camera screen - good for point metering, but remember that it won't be taking any of the surrouding areas into account when metering like that.


    As for bright and reflective objects you have to understand that (at times) the camera meter can be fooled, especially in brighter lighting conditions - it can lead to giving your settings which would leave you with blown highlights (like hte horse in your shots above) and this is part in parcel with learning how the camera thinks when it meters - underexposing a little will help to protect these brighter areas from overexposing, though of course it will put some darker areas into your shot as well. How much of each is acceptable is up to you and what you want the shot to look like
    (note spot metering is often not fooled at the point it is directed at, but of course because it is only looking at one spot the remainder of the scene can be under or over exposed by a great degree if you are not carefull).

    I strongly recomend reading up about using your cameras Histogram when reviewing your shots on the camera to help check for blown highlights and underexposed spots. Its a very powerfull tool when in the field and much easier to review than teh actual image itself on the camera LCD.
    There is a good 2 page article on this website here:
    Histograms - Part I
    Histograms - Part II
     

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