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Thread: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

  1. #1
    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Greetings to all,

    I'm a recent Olympus E420 user, I bought that camera because I liked the small size of the DSLR as well as the range of the Olympus 12-60 SWD lens. My previous camera was a Canon G7.

    After taking photos for a few months, I've found that no matter how I tweak the camera settings I'm unable to prevent the sky from becoming 'blown out'. This happens mostly when shooting landscape or group photographs outdoors? I would like to ask the seniors here, what can I do to solve this problem? Use an external flash? Buy a polarising filter? etc

    I've tried playing with the exposure and metering modes, but so far the improvement has been very little if not much.

  2. #2

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    1) Shoot at a different timing
    2) Don't place the sun directly behind your group of friends
    3) Use fill flash (for group photos)
    4) Consider a GND (more useful for landscapes with distinct line of transition)

  3. #3

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    the cause is due to high constrast / backlighting,

    the solution is as pointed out by ahbian
    to add on,
    if you are shooting landscape and using tripod,
    u can meter the bright areas and darker areas and combine the shots

    happy testing

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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    u hv the photos to show?

    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    Greetings to all,

    I'm a recent Olympus E420 user, I bought that camera because I liked the small size of the DSLR as well as the range of the Olympus 12-60 SWD lens. My previous camera was a Canon G7.

    After taking photos for a few months, I've found that no matter how I tweak the camera settings I'm unable to prevent the sky from becoming 'blown out'. This happens mostly when shooting landscape or group photographs outdoors? I would like to ask the seniors here, what can I do to solve this problem? Use an external flash? Buy a polarising filter? etc

    I've tried playing with the exposure and metering modes, but so far the improvement has been very little if not much.
    5D MKII,1000D,16-35mm f/2.8 L USMII,75-300mm,18-55mm,EF 50mm f/1.8 II,EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

  5. #5

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Shoot RAW, process using HDR :-)

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    1) Shoot at a different timing
    2) Don't place the sun directly behind your group of friends
    3) Use fill flash (for group photos)
    4) Consider a GND (more useful for landscapes with distinct line of transition)
    Erm, I think it would be easier if he asked the group of friends to change position rather than the sun.

  7. #7

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Use GND cokin type better, cause u can adjust the line from which the filter turns dark
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  8. #8

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    Erm, I think it would be easier if he asked the group of friends to change position rather than the sun.
    Well, sometimes I get the feeling its easier to shift the sun compared to a group of uncooperative and clueless subjects.
    Last edited by ahbian; 3rd January 2009 at 10:48 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Try a GND filter

  10. #10
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    You can try a CP filter too...

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    Member mivecdohc's Avatar
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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    you could try decreasing the size of your aperture. Usually f/8-f/11 will give nice blue skies

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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Quote Originally Posted by aero View Post
    Try a GND filter
    u r saying with a GND filter i can get good photo shots of the sky i snap?
    5D MKII,1000D,16-35mm f/2.8 L USMII,75-300mm,18-55mm,EF 50mm f/1.8 II,EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

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    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Quote Originally Posted by mivecdohc View Post
    you could try decreasing the size of your aperture. Usually f/8-f/11 will give nice blue skies

  14. #14

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Quote Originally Posted by cqprime View Post
    u r saying with a GND filter i can get good photo shots of the sky i snap?
    yeah why not? by using a GND filter, and placing it over the horizon, you can effectively cut down the light coming from the sky and get a lower exposure of it, hence preventing the sky from being overexposed. it might not be good shots of the sky, but at least be of correct exposure.
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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Use gradual ND filter <- this will under expose the sky, stacked with polarising filter <- this will separate the sky and the clouds if there is any cloud.

    Also use flash if the sun is behind the subject. Try several setting of flash power.

    Good luck Hope your models does not get impatient while you fiddle with the settings.

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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    You can try a CP filter too...
    don't think it will work.. the CP will just work like a ND filter..

    Quote Originally Posted by mivecdohc View Post
    you could try decreasing the size of your aperture. Usually f/8-f/11 will give nice blue skies
    huh? i think you have no idea what you are talking about..

    btw to threadstarted.. best way to prevent blowing out the sky is to meter the sky.. and use fill-flash to lighten the shadows of the foreground / subject..

    if you are taking scenery.. GND might help, but only if the horizon line is more of less defined.. else the GND effect will be "uneven"..

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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Yes this can also be done but normally when the sky is nicely exposed, guess what - the friends will be under exposed.

    Another way to do is by the way is to expose the sky sufficiently nice, and then use photoshop to increase brightness of the shadow area.

  18. #18

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Quote Originally Posted by sweeho View Post
    Shoot RAW, process using HDR :-)
    HDR on human skin isnt too good.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Quote Originally Posted by harnamsc View Post
    Greetings to all,

    I'm a recent Olympus E420 user, I bought that camera because I liked the small size of the DSLR as well as the range of the Olympus 12-60 SWD lens. My previous camera was a Canon G7.

    After taking photos for a few months, I've found that no matter how I tweak the camera settings I'm unable to prevent the sky from becoming 'blown out'. This happens mostly when shooting landscape or group photographs outdoors? I would like to ask the seniors here, what can I do to solve this problem? Use an external flash? Buy a polarising filter? etc

    I've tried playing with the exposure and metering modes, but so far the improvement has been very little if not much.
    Hi harnamsc

    I'm an Oly user with an E300.

    You are probably not aware of this, but all models after the E300/E500 series have a smaller Dynamic Range in the highlights. It's about 0.7 to 1.0 EV less. That may explain why you are seeing blown highlights.

    I have taken the same shots with the E300 and E510, and there is a difference. When you select the display to show range on your LCD, you will notice that your white sky is blinking black. That indicates it has "blown".

    In addition to the suggestions from the other CSers in this thread, I also recommend setting your shutter speed down by 1 stop to reduce the blown highlights.
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  20. #20
    Member harnamsc's Avatar
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    Default Re: DSLR newbie - how to prevent 'blown out' skies?

    Morning everyone and thanks for all your replies,

    After reading all the posts, can I summarise the recommended methods? (also to make it easier for anyone viewing this thread)
    1) Use an external flash to illuminate the foreground so that the foreground and sky will have the same metering
    2) Follow ClipperSG's suggestion and reduce the shutter speed by 1 stop (will attempt this within the next few weeks hopefully)
    3) Buy a GND and use it to reduce the amount of light coming from the background

    For (3) does anyone have any information about mounting GND filters to Olympus lens and any tips on using them? Like tips on positioning the filter for group shots, i.e. positioning the "line" where the graduation on the filter begins. Should it be positioned directly above the group, or in relation to the sun, or position the graduated part of the filter so it covers as much of the sky as possible?

    Any comments, advice or suggestions are welcome. Thanks

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