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Thread: How Best To Manage This Light??

  1. #1
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    How Best To Manage This Light??

    Dear AP Land,

    Just wondering, for future reference, how would I best manage this circumstance? I was shooting my Dad's ukulele group at a local pub in the beer garden. I was afternoon, 2-4pm (August), with the sides open to the west and shaded to the east. In the roof, there are slats that allowed strong bands of light in and strong bands of shade. I normally shoot in Aperture Priority, however, my sensor was not coping with the differences in light. I metered with Spot Metering off the subjects face, but this didn't seem to help the situation being that half the face was blown out with the strong sun and half the face was shaded (Single Point AF). Eventually, I went with Manual mode, ignored my light meter and just experimented until it was as close to right as possible. I travelled light, so I packed my camera and my 24-70mm 2.8 lens and that was it (no flash)

    Obvious limitations are - I can't change when or where they perform (this is a regular gig), so I need to learn to work around the available light. I am considering taking a flash next time and bouncing it. Is there anything else I can do to manage this light in camera?? Below is an example of what I was working with.

    Thanks in Advance!!

    Erin.

    Better known as Erin.


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    Hmmm tough one. I don't think there is much you can do with this. Flash might help a little if you meter for the brightest area and fill with flash but the fact is you will always have the light and shadow banding and that is giong to to kill it every time

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    As a Nikon user with their very capable flash system available I would have been tempted to simply use matrix metering in aperture priority mode with 1/3 to 2/3 stop under exposure and then apply an off camera flash ( even just hand held and triggered by cord, IR or dedicated remote triggers ) with about 1/3 positive exposure compensation which would then act as a "fill" to mostly correctly expose your subjects..
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    polarizer!

    A polarizer(or CPL) would have reduced the harshness of the reflections(off skin) of sunlight.

    Also .. what Andrew said!

    Another thing to check on your D7000, is to work out if you have quick compensation enabled on the camera.
    One of the handiest features on any camera .... It allows you to use any of the programmed semi auto modes as a pseudo manual mode.

    So if you're using Aperture mode, you can set exposure compensation with a quick flick of the shutter dial without fumbling about using the exposure compensation button/dial setting method.

    By default easy compensation is turned off in the menu system. To check it, or enable it, navigate to menu item B3 in the Settings Menu(spanner icon) and set it to On(not On - Auto reset).

    If you choose this mode, then what you would then do is if you're in Aperture Priority mode, you control the aperture with the front dial as per normal, but you set exposure compensation just by turning the shutter dial.
    (which does nothing, if easy compensation is disabled).
    In Shutter Priority mode, you control the shutter as per normal(rear dial) and set compensation via the Aperture control dial(front) which usually does nothing by default.

    No need to set exposure compensation with the infuriating two button press/turn method.

    I reckon had you given this scene(as shot) -1Ev compensation, it may have exposed quite OK(except for the background sky) ... a polariser would have helped to lower exposure on the sky too tho.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
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    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    As a Nikon user with their very capable flash system available I would have been tempted to simply use matrix metering in aperture priority mode with 1/3 to 2/3 stop under exposure and then apply an off camera flash ( even just hand held and triggered by cord, IR or dedicated remote triggers ) with about 1/3 positive exposure compensation which would then act as a "fill" to mostly correctly expose your subjects..
    I don't have a capable flash system... I have a flash and that's it. I will get a trigger system one day. I was worried that Matrix metering would under-expose the subject even more as it might put too much emphasis on the light coming in to the sides and behind the subject... I might try it next time and see if that helps. I don't think I put enough trust in Nikon's Matrix metering system.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    polarizer!

    A polarizer(or CPL) would have reduced the harshness of the reflections(off skin) of sunlight.

    Also .. what Andrew said!

    Another thing to check on your D7000, is to work out if you have quick compensation enabled on the camera.
    One of the handiest features on any camera .... It allows you to use any of the programmed semi auto modes as a pseudo manual mode.

    So if you're using Aperture mode, you can set exposure compensation with a quick flick of the shutter dial without fumbling about using the exposure compensation button/dial setting method.

    By default easy compensation is turned off in the menu system. To check it, or enable it, navigate to menu item B3 in the Settings Menu(spanner icon) and set it to On(not On - Auto reset).

    If you choose this mode, then what you would then do is if you're in Aperture Priority mode, you control the aperture with the front dial as per normal, but you set exposure compensation just by turning the shutter dial.
    (which does nothing, if easy compensation is disabled).
    In Shutter Priority mode, you control the shutter as per normal(rear dial) and set compensation via the Aperture control dial(front) which usually does nothing by default.

    No need to set exposure compensation with the infuriating two button press/turn method.

    I reckon had you given this scene(as shot) -1Ev compensation, it may have exposed quite OK(except for the background sky) ... a polariser would have helped to lower exposure on the sky too tho.
    Again, no polarizer, but I will have to look at getting one. I have not used that Easy Exposure mode before (it was switched off in my menu), so I might have to have a play with that. I'm not so worried about the background sky in this case - I figured it would basically be impossible to balance it all with the minimal gear I had. I'll give that a try next time too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maezyra View Post
    I don't have a capable flash system... I have a flash and that's it. .....
    Which flash?

    As for exposure, I reckon you could have easily dropped exposure by -1Ev .. maybe more! There is basically no black in the image(other than the unimportant black bits .. car tyres, music stand feet, etc).

    I would have stretched exposure to get the dark corner of the brown bricks into a deep darkness. They're unimportant as subject matter within the scene, and it would have achieved better exposure on the skin tones for this scene .. as shot.

    As for easy compensation, my preference is to maintain spot metering, and meter on the point of interest .... adjusting exposure as needed for the brightness level at the point of focus.

    I guess tho that there are many ways with which you could have handled this situation, and one of those could have been too:

    using the above workflow in camera, spot meter on the face, or even the red Hawaiian shirt of the front player and set exposure compensation to about +0.3 - +0.7.
    Remember with easy compensation active, it's a trivial matter to simply rotate the shutter dial 1/3rd to 2/3rds slower, to set +ve exposure compensation. **
    This would have slightly over exposed the red channel, but nothing that couldn't easily recover in PP. Also keep ISO to the basic minimum(set to ISO640 in this shot). I'd assume that with the exposure set out above the fellow in the background may have been a bit dark, so with ISO set lower, I don't think it would have been too difficult to recover in PP.


    ** the way easy compensation works: if you want/need +ve exposure compensation you mere rotate the dial that operates exposure compensation slower(for shutter) or more open(for aperture) .. depending on the mode chosen. And the opposite is the case for -ve compensation, where you speed up shutter speed in aperture priority, and close down aperture in shutter priority mode.

    Another setting to check on the camera as well, is the exposure step for each click of the control dials? My preference is for 1/3rd click stops which gives finer control over easy compensation. One of my main workflows is to set -2/3rds exposure compensation to many images. I have no idea as to why this is, but it seems to be a prevalent setting on my images. I think this is very dependent on the lens used tho.
    I think that most Nikons are set by default to 1/3 Ev steps for both exposure control and ISO anyhow.

    So with that in mind, for the above scene: in [A] mode, I'd have activated the cameras metering with a quick half press of the shutter, turned the shutter speed dial two clicks to the left(+2/3Ev compensation) raised the camera to my eye, focused and shot. Quickly review the histogram to confirm exposure, and if it were too low or high ... take again with a quick flick of the thumb(to compensate) once again.

    Also, I barely go anywhere without a polariser. I only recently acquired a new 24-70 lens, but it has an 82mm filter thread and I don't yet have a CPL to fit .. but instead, I take my old 28-75 lens which has a CPL fitted ... just in case.

    I very rarely travel without 'all my gear' anyhow, but the few times that I have .. I never leave the CPL behind .. flashes, lenses or remotes and all that may be left behind, but never the CPL(where I have one).
    Of course, where I know the CPL is useless, I don't bother with it. But if it's daylight(which could be harsh) or if there may be reflections that may ruin a shot, a CPL is your best friend.

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