Q: HELP - overexposed sky or underexposed objects

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by handelic, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. handelic

    handelic TPF Noob!

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    Hi!

    Quick quaestion...how do You solve the problem of overexposed sky/clouds when photographing an object, landscape etc...

    With polariser, or is there a better solution/filter?
    What is the best recipe for an impressive cloudi sky full of blue color?:(

    Thanks in advance!

    Greetings...:thumbup:
     
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A Polarizer may darken the sky depending on the angle ... but if it is mainly clouds you cannot do much there.

    The main thing is to choose the subject carefully and also think about the time of day.
    Sometimes you cannot avoid situations where there is extreme lighting conditions.
     
  3. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A graduated neutral density filter is the correct filter for the task.
     
  4. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Polarizers: these can darken the sky, depending on the angle to the sun, but will do absolutely nothing to darken the clouds relative to the foreground objects.

    Graduated Neutral Density filters (GND): These can help sometimes. Great care needs to be taken to align the gradient edge with the skyline. These only work well when the skyline (edge between the sky/clouds and the darker foreground) is rather straight and runs completely across the picture. Compositionally, this is too restrictive for me to have every found them useful.

    High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging: This required two or more matching images with varying exposures. It generally requires that you use a tripod and that nothing in the image moves (leaves, clouds, ...). It also requires powerful software and a good bit of experience to avoid the artificial "grunge" look that too often occurs when the HDR image is tone mapped to allow "compression" into a printable image. You can also squeeze a little more out of a single image using a variation of this technique if its shot RAW. To do this you do two or three different RAW conversions adjusting the exposure between each. The resulting conversions are processed into an HDR image as if they were separate original exposures.

    Using the camera to its best advantage: This should be your first step. Use only the absolutely lowest ISO available on your camera. Any increase in ISO will always reduce the tonal range the camera can reproduce and will always increase this problem. Also, use the Histogram on the camera to monitor the exposure of test shots to be certain that the exposure is the best compromise possible.
     
  5. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If the subject is smaller such as human or something similar in size and it is within a reasonable distance, a flash may help.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    and/or a reflector.
     
  7. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A polerizor darkens the entire scene, My undesstanding of the OP was wanting to compensate for the sky alone. Wile yes, you are correct that the GND is a trickey beast to use, it is the ideal filter for the task at hand as pertaining to the landscapes noted in the first post.

    As for the objects....that is a little trickey to say because we don't know what kind of object we're talking about.
     
  8. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    While its true that polarizers darken the whole scene, they do so unevenly. Some light is highly polarized as the result of either scatter in the atmosphere or by reflection off of a smooth surface. Polarizers will selectively darken such polarized light (light with one dominant polarization angle) much more than unpolarized light (light with a nearly even distribution of polarization angles) provided its properly orientated.

    The blue light coming from an area of clear sky that is 90 degress from the sun is highly polarized. Properly orientating a polarizer will darken that portion of the sky much more than it darkens the rest of the picture. This makes polarizers rather effective when shooting horizons during the middle of the day. They are rather ineffective when shooting east or west either early in the day or late in the day. They are also rather ineffective when there is signficant water haze in the air as the portion of the light coming from the haze is not significantly polarized.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The best way... is to control the light. Once you can do that, you can control everything. People say "add this filter" or "use these settings", but it is all in controlling the light.

    Once you have control, you can make the sky as underexposed and deep blue or as overexposed as you want... however, it is all about balance. This becomes more critical if you have something in a darker part of the picture at the same time that you have something very bright. Being in control and balancing it... results in some interesting effects.

    Scenario:

    You are in a room... outside the light from the sun comes streaming in... what do you expose for? How can you make the shot look good?

    Well, if you expose for the sky... the room is near pitch black like this:
    [​IMG]

    Ok... how about if I expose for the room? Well, it comes out like this:
    [​IMG]

    Now... what would happen if we exposed for the brightest part of the shot... and maybe underexposed the scene from the window by just a little? Well, you may say that the sky would look nice, but the room would still be too dark. You would be right. So... what to do? Use a little fill flash.

    If you have the camera in manual, meter the scene so that the brightest aspect of it is pleasing... then use flash to bring up the darkest part of the scene to match and compliment the outside exposure. The result is this:

    [​IMG]

    By having control, one can make the outside sky darker or lighter using only different shutter speeds without affecting the flash filled interior, or... control the indoor scene by controlling the strength of the flash.

    Simple as pie!
     
  10. Andrew Boyd

    Andrew Boyd TPF Noob!

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    I would shoot the best exposure I could in Raw format, then use Layers in Photoshop to create 2 versions of the image, merging what I wanted from the sky with what I wanted in the rest of the photo. Not that hard to do and works like a charm....it's really just a "darkroom" technique, I believe.
    Andrew Boyd
    TheDiscerningPhotographer.com
     
  11. Restomage

    Restomage No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Very nice shot! Did you have the flash off-camera or bounce or anything?
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Look for the shadows to figure out where the light was coming from.

    Specifically look at the chair. See the shadow of the arm?
     

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