Totally Confused Please help

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by PNA, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wave when you see me go by.....
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    OK, I’ve read enough and now I am totally confused regarding histograms, using and interpreting, exposures and brightness/highlights.

    Example: backyard scene with many tall pine trees, bright sunlight coming to the ground and plenty of shadows.

    D70…do I shot just. the point of the right side, overexpose…..do I load up on the left side to stay away from blow-outs, underexpose?

    Then best procedure??? with PS should I make adjustments in CR on the NEF and then into PS raw, then save to tiff, then adjust again?

    Thanks….
     
  2. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,028
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Someone else might have a better answer but for the most part when shooting I use the light meter and my own judgement as far over/under exposure.

    I reviwe the histogram but only really use it in Photoshop to correct the tones and see how much potential there to improve the tonal range.

    I don't know that I would change how I'm taking a picture due to a reading on the histogram but I'm sure others will have different responses to this question.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    If you have a scene with both bright sunlight and plenty of shadows...you won't be able to expose for both. You have to make a choice as to what is most important and expose for that...or make a compromise and get it somewhere in the middle.

    With digital it's fairly easy to take multiple exposures (one for shadow, one for highlights etc.) and combine them with software.

    As for reading the histogram...the important thing is to try not to clip the ends. If the histogram is piling up at one end, chances are that those details will be lost in shadow or blown out.

    The advice for using the histogram for exposure is to 'Expose to the right'. They say that you will get the most detail/info into your shot when the histogram is more to the right...but you don't want to blow the highlights...so you want to get as close to the right side as you can...without piling up the histogram. Then you can take the image into your software and have the most info to work with.

    If you haven't already, do some reading here http://www.luminous-landscape.com/ The tutorials and the Understanding Series are especially good.
     
  4. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wave when you see me go by.....
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Great, thanks for the response.....That web site has been helpful and has created some of the confusion I might add.

    OK, I now understand the pile up effect, but what if there's a single spike to the right with much pile up to the left? How is that figured in...or ignored. Should I still push to the right to gain the data?

    Please some hints regarding PS B/H enhancements.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    A small spike is nothing to be worried about. Specular highlights (small blown out reflections) will usually cause a spike on the right site. The white parts of clouds may be a spike. There may be an area in your photo that you want to be bright white or blown out (back lit subject etc.)

    It might take a while, but practicing will really help. Always look at the histogram and see where it is, when you are editing your shots. You will learn what works best for you and when you need to adjust your exposure.

    For now, I would suggest bracketing your shots. Take at least three shots...under and over exposing. Then you can compare the shots afterward and see how they compare to their histograms.
     
  6. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Irvine, Orange County, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Basically it sounds like what you are trying to photograph is outside the dynamic range of the camera. If you are still piling up everything to the left and still have a large spike on the edge of the right then the scene is too contrasty for you to take in just one shot without using something to either darken the sky (graduated ND filter) or brighten up foreground (flash if it is powerful enough).

    The other option is to take a picture exposed for the foreground stuff (move the pile away from the left and let sky get blown out) and then take another shot pushing all the shadows far left to pull out the sky so you don't spike on the right. Then combine them in photoshop by blending. Obviously you would need a tripod or some other way to keep the camera in same position for each shot.
     
  7. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wave when you see me go by.....
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I like the suggestions......

    I begin with a .3 bracket and work up. That way I can determine where the highlights exist and then compensate.

    thanks.........you put me on the right track.
     
  8. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wave when you see me go by.....
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    My flash is an SB800.....should be enough power to light up the shadows.

    Blending....I must look into that. Still understanding how to spell Photoshhhhop. What a powerful program!
     
  9. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Irvine, Orange County, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
  10. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wave when you see me go by.....
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    That looks loike a great site.....thanks!
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    There isn't a right or wrong looking histogram. It's just showing you a simple graphic representation of the amount of any particular tones in your image. The histogram you mention describes a scene that's mostly darker (on the left), with a lot of a particular bright tone (the spike to the right). A black cat in the snow would appear as a spike on each side. Fill your frame with green lawn grass, and your histogram will be an even mound.

    The thing to watch for is going off either end of the scale (unless you want to). I usually follow the "expose to the right" idea. Some cameras have RGB histograms, but most are using luminosity histograms. Luminosity histograms may not show us everything we need to know, so it may not be safe to push the right edge with a luminosity histogram.

    Sometimes expose to the right doesn't work for me though. For long exposures at night I've found that if I expose to the right I'll lose the blue sky color. It brightens to almost white, and then when I reduce the exposure in the raw converter I get more gray, instead of blue.
     
  12. PNA

    PNA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,771
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wave when you see me go by.....
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

contact most.pna.ps loc:us