Shooting B&W

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by zoom4267, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. zoom4267

    zoom4267 TPF Noob!

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    I took some pics of a nice field and fence with a row of trees in b&w. i have a canon20D and im learing to use the features for the best picture. It was a nice day but my lights are a bit bright and my darks are a bit dark. ive been playing with it in PS but that can only do so much, unless there is more i can do and i just dont know it... I had my ISO low and i dont remember what i had my apeture and shutter speed at. does any one have any tips. when i look at the pros, thier lighting is so even. Last night i was practecing on my dog and i changed the settings but nothing made a difference unles i changed them radically.

    Thanks alot
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Sometimes a scene will have a wider exposure range that what can be captured, and digital has less range that film. The recommendation for film is usually to lean towards overexposure. With digital, the opposite is true. It's easy to blow out the highlights (make them pure white), and once that happens, there's no info there to recover them.

    My suggestion would be to expose for the bright areas, and then hope you can pull shadow detail out in software. My preference is also to shoot in color and then convert in PS. This gives you a lot more control.

    Do you have an example to post, both before and after you processed? We might be able to make suggestions based on that.
     
  3. zoom4267

    zoom4267 TPF Noob!

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  4. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    The trees in the foreground are very close and in shade. The trees in the background have far more atmospheric haze between them and the lens and the close trees and the lens. The trees in the distance are in bright sunlight. In brightness and contrast ranges that would be really challenging on film as well. If you adjust overall brightness or contrast to get one right the other is toast.

    The only way I know is to dodge the distant areas so they don't get blown out and burn in more the foreground shadowed area. It's easier to doi in digital than in film believe me.

    LWW
     
  5. zoom4267

    zoom4267 TPF Noob!

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    okay, so, here is a stupid question...... are there some shots that you just cant get right? no amount of camera adjustment will do?
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I'll use the second image as an example. It's been overexposed. Here's where a histogram comes in handy (check your manual on how to see one in-camera!) This one comes up when adjusting levels in PS.

    [​IMG]

    See the red circle on the right? That ramp up shows that there is a whole lot of white in the image. For a well exposed image, it should taper down, like on the left, but stop right at the edge.

    On the left, there is no black. It has the taper, but the taper should go to the edge.

    There's no way to fix the overexposure. All that white will stay one color, no matter what. But you can bring black back into it. Using levels, shift the triangle below to where the ramp starts. You can hold down alt while you do this to see what pixels are being affected. The screen will be all white, and then when you start seeing black dots just start to appear, stop. You can move the middle triangle to adjust the midtones.

    [​IMG]

    You end up with this (I resized it, too):

    [​IMG]

    You now have black, white, and everything in between. When you shoot, check your histograms. If you see a ranmp up at one side or another, shift the exposure. If it ramps up on both sides, the exposure difference in the scene is too great for your camera to capture. That's when you have to make a creative choice as to what you like better.

    More info: http://www.mediachance.com/pbrush/help/histogram.html
     
  7. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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  8. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    May I play with them a little to see what i get zoom4267?
     
  9. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    If you mean first shot, all done in camera, no PhotoChop, no darkroom, yeah there are circumstances. Try shooting a black cat sitting on a pile of coal? Perhaps a cockatoo against a field of white lilies? As rough on a meter as those extremes are they can be be shot with spot on perfect exposure. When done they can can be developed/printed with breathtaking results.

    Now imagine the cockatoo sitting on the pile of coal and the black cat in the field of lilies. You then have sufficient degrees of contrast and brightness that to get 1 extreme perfect the other suffers, not because it has improper exposure...you just have to choose between hightlight detail and shadow detail. If you have a photo with little/no shadow or little/no bright highlight it becomes a non issue. When it happens you have to play with it.

    It's not the end of the world at all, it's photography. It gets easier fast in the beginning. I've become so taken by even simple PhotoChop clones that I haven't had my darkroom set up for years.

    LWW
     
  10. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    As LWW mentioned, there's certainly more that can be done than just levels. Curves, dodging, burning...

    But just to illustrate the problem with having a high ramp at the end of a histogram, I replaced all pure white with red. You can see that in the sky there is no detail, it's all red. That means no matter what you do, you won't be able to pull detail out. Most of the other white (red) is scattered, except that spot under the trees, so there's still a lot you can do with the rest of the image.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, Are you looking at youer meter inside the viewfinder? Because this shot could probably have been exposed properly I think.

    Remember that in landscapes its prefereable to vary the aperture to let less light in rather than the shutter speed (obvioulsy have a useable on if handheld) because everything will be sharper.
     
  12. zoom4267

    zoom4267 TPF Noob!

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    sure, knock yourself out :lmao:

    i know how to get to the histogram in the camera. will manipulating that as well as the other setting give me a better image? ill practice with that.

    thanks everyeone
     

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