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Thread: Help with over exposed sky

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    Help with over exposed sky

    I need help and I hope someone out there can give me a hand. I have been getting out and about with my 450D - mostly practicing landscapes and general photos but for some reason I keep over exposing the skyline.

    I have been trying different settings in both manual and Av mode but the sky always seems blown out, in particular on days when it is overcast with light coloured clouds - such as yesterday when I was down south in the Nannup area WA was the Quit Forrest Rally. I was walking around the town just taking general photos but I just couldn't get the sky right. I have also tried to use + - EV as well. I have also tried changing the metering from eluvative to partial but that didn't seem to work either.

    I have attached an example (unfortunately it seems overexposed all over ) but you can see what I mean.



    I tried a UV filter and a CP filter but they don't seem to work (maybe its because they are cheapies from EBay ) but I hope someone can point me in a direction of what I may be doing wrong.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Karl
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Mongo does not think much can be done with this. The sky has NO detail at all in it to bring out.

    If Mongo were you , he would substitute another sky and blend it into the image if it was a really important image you want to try and save. Otherwise, could not get it better than this.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by mongo; 18-04-2010 at 6:27pm.
    Nikon and Pentax user



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    How are you metering ?

    Do you understand matrix, and say spot metering ?
    Darren
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    How are you metering ?

    Do you understand matrix, and say spot metering ?
    I started off using Evaluative Metering but it just never seems to work, so I switched to Partial Metering - but again I didn't notice the difference. I haven't tried Spot Metering yet and I do have an (basic) understanding of what they do.

    The above photo wasn't the best . In the two photos below you can (I hope) see what I mean. The sky was overcast with clouds that were white / light grey and it just seems to over expose all the time.





    As you can see there is no definition at all in the sky even though with the naked eye you could see the cloud formations etc.

    I am thinking that I should be fitting some type of ND filter - is this correct?

    Karl

    Karl

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    Like this of mine from today

    So, using evaluative or matrix metering, why do you think the sky is blown ?




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    yes, so, how would I get the sky blue ?

    This is the question

    Grad ND is one answer
    HDR is another
    Fill flash is another

    As said, with a large dynamic range as illlustrated in my photo, and yours where the majority of the centre part of the image is probably a good two stops less than the sky, the sky is blown

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    Yeah mate, its all about dynamic range. That is, the range of light levels from the darkest blacks to lightest whites. The human eye has better dynamic range than the best cameras. In your examples the sky is obviously a lot brighter than the foreground. If you expose for the foreground you will over expose the sky. If you expose for the sky (to get blue skies) you will under expose the foreground. So like people mentioned, you have to either work within these constraints or use other methods to balance the difference in light levels.

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    All lines lead to Home ... arnica's Avatar
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    Damnit .. I thought this was a new thread to show off our "overexposed" pics :P
    Regards,
    Phil

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    Re: Help with over exposed sky

    Mines perfectly exposed though, lol


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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    What I generally tend to do is(one of a few things):

    1. spot meter! spot on the sky and commit the shutter speed required to memory!
    Remember memory? that's the grey matter in between your ears.. not some compact collection of subatomic particles you insert into your camera! Once that reading is taken(say at aperture f/8 shutter speed may be... 1/800s) aperture will stay the same,because you should be using Aperture Priority... as all pros do! Now, staying in spot metering mode, you then lower the camera to take a spot reading of close to a darker area. Note the shutter speed required again(into that same allocation of grey matter as previously mentioned) I reckon you probably needed 1/60s in the shadows(just a wild guess for the sake of having something to explain more easily) note the massive exposure difference! shooting at 1/800 to get a faily neutral sky is going to give you silhouettes everywhere else. So.. and only because we know you only shoot in RAW mode, set the camera to a maximum of 1/400s shutter speed, probably 1/200-1/320s for a better bet. You do that either in manual mode or using exposure compensation. Your camera should have 'Easy Exposure Compensation' enabled!! This is where you are shooting in Aperture Priority mode and you adjust shutter speed to set the camera to compensate without having to go through menus, or distort your fingers into irregular shapes so that you can hit the EC button with your right thumb as your nose presses against the scroll wheel to make the settings adjustment.
    Once you set the camera to blow the highlights by approx 1 - 1/3 Ev your image shoudl be recoverable in PP using the exposure compensation slider(by sliding it negatively by approx -1stop) this will recover the harder to recover highlight detail. Then you'd use the shadow recovery tool to recover what you can of the shadows. Shadows are generally easier to recover than highlights, and you can generally recover up to about 2stops of lost shadows.. BUT you lose (lots of)colour info and get noise to boot.. but you get less naaasty looking blown highlights!

    2. pull out one of my GND's in preference to being forced to use HDR.

    3. if forced to exposure bracket for creating a HDR image.. I pack it all away and go home or enjoy the event instead

    4. fill flash ..... ..... ........ ......... see #3



    (and because I felt the need to post a ton of smileys up to this point... I've always wanted to do this one, and now I can....)


    ie..... get a
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    Re: Help with over exposed sky

    In the examples posted, well done strobust style flash would be the knees, despite what mr "I'm off home" would say. I think his explanation re exposure was darn good though


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    Another easy way. Just shoot RAW, expose more-so for the sky. i.e. underexpose the foreground slightly, and then just add fill light in camera raw to the foreground, and recover and overexposed areas in the sky. You can get away with a fair bit using raw. Also be aware, that what you focus the camera on will affect its exposure, when in aperture priority. By the looks of the car image you focussed on the black car so ended up blowing the sky and ground. If you had even focussed on a person in red you have lost less of the highlights.

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    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    I was going to say thank you Arthurking83 for such a informative post, until I scrolled down and saw the canon thing you did



    Shelley
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    www.shelleypearsonphotography.com


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    The is an old rule that says "always expose for the highlights". Your camera sensor is damn good at keeping detail in the shadows, so you may not need fill flash. Expose for the highlights and then try a highlights/shadows adjustment in your editing software. Remember that over-exposed areas of a photo are basically impossible to recover, but shadow areas give you a lot more scope to adjust them.

    Some great information in this thread.

    Also. Learn to read and use the histogram on your camera LCD. That way you can see if your photo is over-exposed and adjust settings and re-shoot straight away. It is all part of the learning curve.
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    Thanks to everyone - I thought I might have been doing something really wrong - but it has given me some ideas. It's a lot easier taking photos underwater

    Karl

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    Re: Help with over exposed sky

    Next time try exposure bracketing and bring the shots home and try to recover shadow and sky


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    There's also the "sunny 16" rule which helps with not blowing out the sky. (Some info here.)

    Alternatively, invest in a graduated neutral density filter and throw that onto your camera to bring down the sky light.
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    Ausphotography Regular aycee's Avatar
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    If you want to be sure of getting difficult lighting conditions right use AEB all the time and nearly always that will work .....you can them ask the top in with the bottom later or pick out the best one and hjust go with that..if you can master manipulation no need for filters and the like....take most photos 1 or 2 stops back to have a darker photo as easier to lighten than darken

    hope that helps..Alan!
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    what white ballance are u having your camra set on?

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    I don't think it is mentioned already - are you shooting RAW or jpg? If these are jpg you will never have any luck saving any detail, with RAW, you have some chance. And never forget the golden rule of digital (took me 2 years to adjust to it) that Rick has mentioned, ALWAYS meter in the highlight area.
    Odille

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