Whites Blown Out

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by longroad, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. longroad

    longroad TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, my first post here.

    I've had my D80 for about 2 years now and have taken some good shots over that time but I just cant crack this one.

    Every time i go to my local lake to photograph birds my whites are completely blown out.

    I am using a 70-300mm Nikkor lens (f4.5-5.6) and most of the time I'm at 300mm as i cant get close enough.

    Here are some example shots i took today. These are really bad shots, I was at 300mm, no tripod and the whites are gone as you can see. this happened in ALL my photos today regardless of what aperture i changed to or ISO.

    It is a cloudy day, some sun poking through at times. The sun was to my left and its winter here so the sun isn't that high in the sky. Whites were blown in all photos regardless of whether sun was out or behind clouds.

    Any tips that you can provide so i can avoid this happening again would be excellent. I realise that my lens has limitations and obviously getting a better lens would help, but surely it has the capability to get better photos than this.

    I've got exposure set at +0.3 and have had that for a long time now, never really had major problems with blowouts. Maybe i should take that back to 0.

    All photos are using aperture priority.

    [​IMG]
    f7/1
    1/500
    ISO 125 (auto)
    Spot metering
    300mm


    [​IMG]
    f7/1
    1/500
    ISO 160 (auto)
    300mm
    Spot metering

    [​IMG]
    f/11
    1/400
    300mm
    ISO 500


    [​IMG]
    f5.6
    1/500
    ISO 100
    300mm
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  2. Ptyler22

    Ptyler22 TPF Noob!

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    Changing the aperture and ISO won't change how bright or dark the pictures are because the camera will set to expose it right. so if you crank up the aperture to say 22, the camera will just slow down the shutter speed to expose the scene properly. What you want to do it play around with the exposure comp, so if you say you have it at +0.3 now, then that's your problem, for whites to be exposed properly and not blown out, you might want to put it down to -0.3 or more, try different exposure comp levels and see which one works best. Hope this helps!
     
  3. longroad

    longroad TPF Noob!

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    Thanks i will definitely give that a try.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    In some situation there's just nothing you can do to have the whites not blown and everything else in the image exposed properly.

    You could try a polarizer. It may knock down some of the reflection from the white feathers.
     
  5. B Kennedy

    B Kennedy TPF Noob!

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    It may not hurt to have the background a stop or 2 darker. May just in fact accentuate the birds. To the op I think you should just experiment one day, shoot different settings and what not, and you'll figure out what works best. Me personally, I always shoot manual.
     
  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You don't mention what shooting mode you're using. Like B Kennedy, I too shoot in Manual.

    My D80 always seemed to shoot hot in daytime situations. I will usually have the ExpComp set to -0.7EV.
     
  7. LarryD

    LarryD TPF Noob!

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    If you have bright areas and want the detail in the whites, then you should be spot metering on the whites..

    However, if you have exposure compensation set to overexpose, it defeats the whole purpose...
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You have a bigger problem than exposure, non are in focus
     
  9. longroad

    longroad TPF Noob!

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    They were taken at 300mm without a tripod whilst standing on rocky terrain with nothing to lean on. These are 100% crops.
    I didnt expect them to be perfectly focused.
    The goal was to photograph migratory birds that are rarely seen here (Caspian Terns).

    kundalini - I mentioned earlier that i use aperture priority.
    Never had much luck with manual, i find by the time i get it right the birds are gone.
     
  10. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    They should be sharper than that, this is at 300mm but a 300mmF2.8L hand held at ISO3200 100% crop
    [​IMG]
     
  11. longroad

    longroad TPF Noob!

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    Yes and National Geographic photographers get sharp photos with 600mm lenses that cost thousands of dollars. But there is little point comparing that to mine, is there?

    It is easy to post a photo here and say "look what i can do", oh but Im using a f2.8 lens. Not relevant Gary, sorry. My question was about washed out highlights, not sharpness using maximum zoom with a budget lens compared to your lens which costs 10 times as much.

    Thanks everyone else for the suggestions, I plan to bump down the exposure compensation and see how that goes.
     
  12. Joves

    Joves No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I used to shoot manually with my D80 and, would under expose by one or two thirds on the subject if it had alot of white. Also when it is really bright out I use a circular polarizer on white subjects.
     

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