Shooting in shade towards bright sky...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by nmsnapshots, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. nmsnapshots

    nmsnapshots TPF Noob!

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    This past weekend I was in Santa Fe shooting the aspen trees changing color. Under the tree canopies it's kind of shady but the sky is bright and very blue.

    The trouble I was having was trying to keep from blowing out the sky but not making the trees too dark...

    Any ideas or tips for balancing out such extreme lighting?

    I was using a Nikon D300s and 18-200 VR lens, on a tripod...

    Thanks!
     
  2. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If this were a horizon difference, I'd recommend a graduated ND filter, but this sounds more like a patchwork problem. That said...

    Since you're on a tripod anyway, you might consider HDR as a means of dealing with extreme lighting conditions like what you're describing. You'll likely have a problem dealing with moving leaves if it's breezy though.
     
  3. nmsnapshots

    nmsnapshots TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your reply!
     
  4. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would also recommend HDR. Take 3+ photos at different exposure levels. Check your camera menus / manuals to see if you can bracket your shots.

    The problem you are having is that there is such a varying degree in the light intensity, that the camera can't handle. If you expose for the sky, the trees are too dark. If you expose for the trees, the sky is too white. If you expose in the middle, neither look good.

    Its just one of those situations that there usually isn't much to do in camera.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Something that photographers, right from the invention of photography, have had to deal with, is the limitation in the range of tones that can be captured in a single exposure. (the dynamic range).

    The human eye adjusts so quickly that we don't really notice just how different parts of a scene might be...but a camera can only capture a certain range. The most simple way to deal with this is to choose which area is most important to your photograph and set your exposure for that.
    Or you could add light to the darker areas help balance out the scene.
    Another option is to use a filter to block the brighter parts...usually a graduated or split filter, but as mentioned, this only works for some scenes.
    Yet another option is to take the shot, being careful not to 'blow out' the bright details, then selectively edit the shot in post processing.
    Further to this, you could take multiple shots with different exposure settings (bracketing) and then use software to combine the images. 'HDR' is one such technique.

    Of course, a good option is to recognize when you are presented with a scene and just avoid it if you can.
     

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