Perfect sky, dark landscape, visa versa

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Cinka, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    I encounter this problem whenever I travel. I can get a great exposure for the sky, but anything below it is dark and underexposed. Or visa versa. I can't find a good middle ground. It doesn't matter where I go: Italy, New York, my own backyard. Italy was particularly frustrating because of the light high contrast situations with light buildings and shade, blue skies.

    I've been trying to read up on it and am not really finding anything that tells me what I'm doing wrong or what I should be doing.

    Here's what I took yesterday:

    [​IMG]

    I DID do bracketing, so I have several exposures to expose the dark landscape shadows. I figured I'd get into Photoshop and just blend the images, but I want to know how to do it right on the scene.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    You need a graduated ND (neutral density) filter. This darkens the portion of the frame that you select by filter rotation (hopefully, you will select the sky).

    It might not work in Italy, though! :sexywink:
     
  3. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    That's handy info. A ND filter would definitely help for basic landscape with a good horizon split between light and dark. I'll look into that.

    Here's an example of what I've encountered when I travel. Chicago.

    [​IMG]

    Very frustrating! :thumbdown:
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    A GND won't help with that image of the tall buildings.

    You need to make 2 exposures. One for the sky, the second for the buildings. Then blend the two.

    A DSLR's image sensor just doesn't have the dynamic range to accurately capture such images.

    Your only other option is to learn to make HDR's.
     
  5. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm. I've been messing around with HDRs, but there isn't any way to capture it in camera?
     
  6. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    Isn't it simpler to take a single (RAW) image and then do tonal mapping?
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  7. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Actually, yes there is.

    It can be done with additional lighting. Unfortunately, unless you have a lot of money for a lot of powerful lights, that is not practical for landscape photography. It is routinely done for portraiture however.
     
  9. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Actually, these images can be greatly improved working from the JPGs. A simple application of PS's "Shadows/Highlights" Adjustment function, a tone-mapping control, can do wonders even without having a 16bpp image from a RAW original or 48bpp merged HDR from multiple originals.
    [​IMG]
     

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