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Thread: photographing clouds

  1. #1

    Default photographing clouds

    hello everyone. i'm writing to request some help.
    here's the thing:
    i recently took some photos of clouds, and during pp, i noticed that my clouds were grey, rather than white. when i tried increasing the exposure to make the clouds white, highlights got blown off. i searched the net and here for tips on how to photograph white, bright subjects (like snow), and all said to overexpose by 1/3 to 1 1/3. somehow i cant seem to do this in pp (i know i wasn't supposed to)...

    other than using HDR technique (i try to refrain from this as far as possible), is there a way for me to capture photos of white clouds without underexposing any other less bright objects in the photo?

    case in point. this is what i took recently at changi. i expose for the sky, and it turns out like dis.


    and after processing, this is what i got.


    as u can see the details in the clouds are overblown. i apologize if my question sounds too noobish.
    おれのflickrださ

  2. #2

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    Your camera is most prob not good enough.
    Try searching for 18 grey though.

    Regards
    D3s / D3x / 18-55 f3.5 - 5.6 / 55-200 f3.5-5.6 / 50 f1.8

  3. #3
    Member RyuHendrabusa's Avatar
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    A few ways that I normally use...

    1) Use HDR processing
    2) Use a circular polarizing filter
    3) Fill in flash for the non-cloud subjects (for your case, impossible because the tower is too far away)

    Hope I've helped to some extent

  4. #4

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    so, what ur saying is without the usage of hdr, i can't get a good foto with well exposed foreground and well exposed, detailed background?

    searched for 18grey....nothing that i could use.
    おれのflickrださ

  5. #5

    Default Re: photographing clouds


    Is something like this what you plan to establish? (This was kinda like done in under 5 minutes...)

  6. #6

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    yes, something like dat. can this be achieved in-camera?
    and do u mind teaching me how u achieve it?
    おれのflickrださ

  7. #7
    Deregistered rgy1993's Avatar
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    HDR is usually the solution to having a well lit fore and background...
    unless you use a fill flash but its a bit hard to cover whole buildings haha

    which HDR program are you using?
    because photomatix allows you to change the intensity of colour contrasts and also the light smoothening which appears to be the thing that sticks out in that picture you processed

  8. #8
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    IMO, post-processing doesn't work to contrast the clouds from the sky. Doesn't have the natural blue. A CPL is the way to go.

    Taken before I bought my CPL


    Taken after I bought my CPL

  9. #9
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    first thing, the exposure value of the clouds and the control tower are far beyond the dynamic range of the sensor, you either take one as correct exposure, and let the other one go overexposed or underexposed.

    another way is you can use HDR or photoshop to make two of them fit into it.

    or chose a best time of the day, with the right condition, and capture it as it is.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
    www.benjaminloo.com | iStock portfolio

  10. #10

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    ^What catchlights said, you can't achieve it on your camera.

    Basically I played around with the Curves values on photoshop. Then I inverted (Ctrl+I) the layer mask, selected the brush tool, and painted over the parts that I wanted to expose correctly. Play around with multiple curves to get the right colours you want. For that one I used 3 curve layers. One to correct for the tower. The second to correct the blue sky. The third to correct the white clouds. Then I finally played with Brightness/Contrast to bring out the contrast in the clouds.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    You might just be able to save the shot with some shadow/highlight adjustments. Just.....

  12. #12
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    learning where to meter from and snap at the right time help too...

    here is my try with my new dslr...


  13. #13

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    This is a problem with too wide a dynamic range. How would the 18 grey help?
    If its a nice transition eg. bright sky and dark landscape, a GND might help.

    With the tower as your subject, I'm not sure how it can be done in-camera.

  14. #14

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    first thing, the exposure value of the clouds and the control tower are far beyond the dynamic range of the sensor, you either take one as correct exposure, and let the other one go overexposed or underexposed.

    another way is you can use HDR or photoshop to make two of them fit into it.

    or chose a best time of the day, with the right condition, and capture it as it is.
    Quote Originally Posted by MSZ006Zeta View Post
    ^What catchlights said, you can't achieve it on your camera.

    Basically I played around with the Curves values on photoshop. Then I inverted (Ctrl+I) the layer mask, selected the brush tool, and painted over the parts that I wanted to expose correctly. Play around with multiple curves to get the right colours you want. For that one I used 3 curve layers. One to correct for the tower. The second to correct the blue sky. The third to correct the white clouds. Then I finally played with Brightness/Contrast to bring out the contrast in the clouds.
    thank you catchlight and zeta. it is very helpful. i know in photography there are many ways to achieve an effect. hdr is one. using suitable filters is one. waiting for the right light etc etc. i guess wat i'm trying to say is i'm trying to look for a workaround that don use alot of money. ur lesson is much appreciated.
    Quote Originally Posted by dxsibo View Post
    learning where to meter from and snap at the right time help too...

    this most accurately portrays what i want to achieve. nice blue sky, fluffy white clouds, beautifully exposed buildings. u used CPL?
    おれのflickrださ

  15. #15

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    This is a problem with too wide a dynamic range. How would the 18 grey help?
    If its a nice transition eg. bright sky and dark landscape, a GND might help.

    With the tower as your subject, I'm not sure how it can be done in-camera.
    Apologies. I thought he wanted to understand why the clouds were grey instead of white. I must have misunderstood the TS.

    Sorry Sorry.

    Regards
    D3s / D3x / 18-55 f3.5 - 5.6 / 55-200 f3.5-5.6 / 50 f1.8

  16. #16

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    Quote Originally Posted by Legoz View Post
    Apologies. I thought he wanted to understand why the clouds were grey instead of white. I must have misunderstood the TS.

    Sorry Sorry.

    Regards
    no prob. thanks for help all the same.
    おれのflickrださ

  17. #17
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    why not just come back at a time where the sun is shining on the control tower as well? isn't that the easiest solution?

    if in doubt, bracket in 1/3 stops +/- 2 stops in both ways

  18. #18
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    one simple way is wait for sunny day, let the sun behind you, shoot at f16 and shutter speed same as your ISO.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
    www.benjaminloo.com | iStock portfolio

  19. #19
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: photographing clouds

    is 18% gray, aka mid tone gray,
    not 18 gray or gray 18, no wonder TS google nothing.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
    www.benjaminloo.com | iStock portfolio

  20. #20

    Default Re: photographing clouds

    get a CPL or use the HDR technique. By far the easiest method.
    Playing with M43.

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