No longer a newbie, moving up!
Feb 10, 2012
Reaction score
Yakima, WA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Ok...I really should start using something other than a laptop! Any suggestions on how to make this better? This is one shot from a timelapse series I took. Like the sunset picture I posted in another thread, I feel like this series lacked something. In my quest to better determine correct exposure, I ask for your opinions. I think it looks overexposed, but would be your opinion?

Mt. Rainier by RxForB3, on Flickr

Camera - T3i
Lens - Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Shutter - 1/60
Aperture - f/22
ISO - 3200

After taking the picture, I learned about diffraction a bit, so I figure my first error was setting the aperture at f/22. What else?
What are you going for?

Maybe lower the iso to about iso 200-400 the next time you shoot? Maybe underexpose a bit while shooting to preserve the colour in the sky and then bring that back up in PP? Or maybe if you are going for detail in both the trees and the sky, maybe try HDR?

Just some thoughts.
Thanks for the suggestions. I shot in aperture mode, which is a suggestion I've read for doing timelapses, but didn't seem to produce very good results. In the series as a whole, and in this picture in particular, I was hoping to highlight the colors of the sunset (though there were unfortunately few colors to begin with) with the mountain as the focus.

I've read that it's better to overexpose than underexpose to get a nice result in post. Is this correct?

Perhaps this was a good place to use spot metering instead of evaluative metering, or am I completely off on that?
This is the type of image that graduated neutral density filters were made for, either that or HDR as has been suggested. The problem you have in these kind of situations is that the dynamic range of the scene is greater than your sensor can accommodate, so you end up either overexposing the mountains and sky or underexposing the trees in the lower half of the image, or partly both, depending on where your camera takes it exposure readings from. I would not think that spot metering would help, because the results would depend on where the "spot" was. I think that evaluative is probably the best you can do, If you shot raw, then you can create two "copies" of the original image in your raw processor, with one processed for the clouds, mountain and sky and the other for the darker trees and foreground. You can then combine these using layers and a layer mask to combine both images. That is about all I can suggest for now.


RxForB3 . . .

Here's a link to a blog posting I did a while back . . . [ DigicamJunkie.com: Making Blue Skies Blue! [Underexposing a bit.] ] when my friends asked me why my skies came out so blue. Kinda simplistic, but meant to be easy to implement even on a point-and-shoot camera. It kinda explains why the sky goes white in some pictures.

As for metering, they are all different ways to get to the same point. Some people say they spot meter off a slightly grey patch of clouds, some say the do evaluative metering. In the end, its a matter of getting to the right ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed combination that gets the right amount of light onto the sensor -- or maybe a little less light to preserve the detail in the sky. With lower ISOs probably a bit better at preserving detail in the skies.

Another thing you could do (when not doing timelapse) is to auto-bracket your shots so you're getting a shot -2 stops under and +2 stops over the "proper exposure" to test out where you want to be.
A Polarizing filter might have helped here, based on the angle of the sun to sky, and also with atmospheric haze.
I think it would have darkened the sky, and also increase contrast.
It is possible to 'fix' it some in PP but, as the others have said, this is clearly a situation where the dynamic range of the image is higher than your camera can manage and the average exposure gives a good exposure of neither sky nor woods.
At least two exposures to properly expose both the sky and the deeply shadowed woods could be merged for a better result.


Here are a couple slightly different versions of your original. Let me know what you think. If you like neither one no problem but I would like your opinion.




Here are a couple slightly different versions of your original. Let me know what you think. If you like neither one no problem but I would like your opinion.




The skies are way too vivd in those edits so they look unreal to me. Exposure is a lot better...
Shooting at f/22 forced you to use ISO 3200, and f/22 isn't needed for a scene like this. F/8 would have worked just as well for DOF, and will allow you to drop your ISO to 800. Typically, the lower your ISO, the better the dynamic range.

Ideally, you should use a tripod so you can take advantage of your camera's 'native' ISO, which is usually 100 or 200.
Wow! Lots of great suggestions and comments!

I keep thinking that if I'm photographing a large, far away object, that I should have a small aperture and large depth of field, but I need to keep reminding myself that that's not true!

I really like the last edit that you posted, jriepe. It looks ten times better than the original. I just need to figure out how to get that in the first place :)

The_Traveler, I like the color in the clouds of your edit.

Thanks to all for the suggestions so far! I can't wait to get a chance to head back out there. That spot is what got me really interested in photography. I took a few point-and-shoot pics a year or so ago that turned out wonderfully (which is partly why I'm disappointed in these). Oh well...practice, practice, practice!

Most reactions