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Thread: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

  1. #1
    Member driveanegg's Avatar
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    Default Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Came back from a trip with lots of landscape pictures. Realised that many pictures have burnt highlights of the sky. Absolutely wasted pictures

    I do know that they can be avoid at the point of shooting with
    1. Exposing for the sky, with PP for the shadows later
    2. Use A GND

    I would like to know, does this problem get less prominent with a camera with a larger dynamic range?? ie Canon 450d vs Canon 5DII ?? As in will there be a lesser proportion of burnt pictures ??

    I think there is no way to recover burnt highlights in PP... but will like to ask anyway... anyway to do that ? Or perhaps I need to replace the whole sky with that from another picture.....
    I probably collect lenses more than I take pictures
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33270154@N03/

  2. #2

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by driveanegg View Post
    Came back from a trip with lots of landscape pictures. Realised that many pictures have burnt highlights of the sky. Absolutely wasted pictures

    I do know that they can be avoid at the point of shooting with
    1. Exposing for the sky, with PP for the shadows later
    2. Use A GND

    I would like to know, does this problem get less prominent with a camera with a larger dynamic range?? ie Canon 450d vs Canon 5DII ?? As in will there be a lesser proportion of burnt pictures ??

    I think there is no way to recover burnt highlights in PP... but will like to ask anyway... anyway to do that ? Or perhaps I need to replace the whole sky with that from another picture.....
    No way to recover. but you can try bracketing your shots next and piece the pictures together during PP

  3. #3

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Why don't you shoot film. Faster and much less fuss. Its not like shooting fashion show or whatever some newbie photographer just go bam bam bam bam bam...non-stop anyhow whack right? How to burst for landscapes?

  4. #4
    Member driveanegg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by spree86 View Post
    No way to recover. but you can try bracketing your shots next and piece the pictures together during PP
    spree86 - Sigh ... wont be going to those places for a long long time... convert to B&W i guess... less damaging effect..... A bit tough to bracket, I went climbing up the mountains... A tripod in that scenario is a massive hindrance

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Why don't you shoot film. Faster and much less fuss. Its not like shooting fashion show or whatever some newbie photographer just go bam bam bam bam bam...non-stop anyhow whack right? How to burst for landscapes?

    hahaha.... I don't know ... sounds like a return to the good old days
    2100 - It is an interesting idea though, a film camera with a nice prime wont be too heavy, and when only using it whenever there is severe highlight burning I probably wont spend too much on developing film ???
    I am absolutely noob to film, but doesn't film have this problem at all ???
    I probably collect lenses more than I take pictures
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33270154@N03/

  5. #5
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by driveanegg View Post
    I would like to know, does this problem get less prominent with a camera with a larger dynamic range?? ie Canon 450d vs Canon 5DII ?? As in will there be a lesser proportion of burnt pictures ??
    High end cameras might have a higher dynamic range, but the newest lower end bodies have already built-in systems to emulate this as well. One thing we have to accept: the dynamic range of our eye is far exceeding the camera sensor. That's the reason why HDR and the like exist: it's needs a mapping.
    For you to learn: exposure, exposure metering, metering modes, reading a scene to avoid blown highlights. Sometimes it's better to come back another day, another time with better light. Also, not all blown highlights are bad. If it's just a small patch, irrelevant for main subject, so be it. Alternatively, try a composition with less sky? For landscapes the usage of GND is quite recommended.
    EOS

  6. #6
    Member driveanegg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    High end cameras might have a higher dynamic range, but the newest lower end bodies have already built-in systems to emulate this as well. One thing we have to accept: the dynamic range of our eye is far exceeding the camera sensor. That's the reason why HDR and the like exist: it's needs a mapping.
    For you to learn: exposure, exposure metering, metering modes, reading a scene to avoid blown highlights. Sometimes it's better to come back another day, another time with better light. Also, not all blown highlights are bad. If it's just a small patch, irrelevant for main subject, so be it. Alternatively, try a composition with less sky? For landscapes the usage of GND is quite recommended.
    Thanks Octarine.
    This confirms what I suspect all along. I need more practice with landscapes ! Yes... composition is very important, the ability to read the scene is also very important. Unfortunately not all places can be revisited... oh well.. life does go on ....
    Will go reading up on GND .... to decide if its worthwhile for me to get one given my usage pattern.
    I probably collect lenses more than I take pictures
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33270154@N03/

  7. #7

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    I think everyone here is forgetting one key 'solution':

    Shooting at the right time of the day

    There's only so much these gizmos and techniques can help you recover burnt highlights. Shoot during the mornings or the evenings during which light is not so harsh. Furthermore, you get a look in your photos that no HDR or bracketing can help you achieve... Not in the near future at least.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    For starters, maybe you want to turn on your camera highlights/shadows indicator and histogram during preview. This will let you check instantly if you are losing anything important to blown highlights/shadows.

    The conventional way to overcome the problem would be a GND. Bracketing helps as well, esp when you can merge them later in PP.

    The more modern cameras do have better dynamic range, up to 14.1 stops on the new Pentax K5 and 13.9stops for a D7000 for example. Of course these would make a difference as one shot can capture 14.1 stops (1.5 stops or more than previous APS-C cameras). The other technological work around is HDR and in-camera HDR.

    Here is a link as to what can be recovered with the large dynamic range.
    http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/p...ml#post1259066
    Last edited by pinholecam; 4th December 2010 at 03:38 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Diavonex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Certain camera have a setting to prevent over-exposing of highlight e.g. Sony A100


  10. #10

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by Diavonex View Post
    Certain camera have a setting to prevent over-exposing of highlight e.g. Sony A100

    Looks ridiculous...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Diavonex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by grantyale View Post
    Looks ridiculous...
    It works.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by driveanegg View Post
    Came back from a trip with lots of landscape pictures. Realised that many pictures have burnt highlights of the sky. Absolutely wasted pictures

    I do know that they can be avoid at the point of shooting with
    1. Exposing for the sky, with PP for the shadows later
    2. Use A GND

    I would like to know, does this problem get less prominent with a camera with a larger dynamic range?? ie Canon 450d vs Canon 5DII ?? As in will there be a lesser proportion of burnt pictures ??

    I think there is no way to recover burnt highlights in PP... but will like to ask anyway... anyway to do that ? Or perhaps I need to replace the whole sky with that from another picture.....
    You have it figured out yourself.
    1. Is good if your camera has low read noise and you shoot raw.
    2. Is good if you have the time.
    Another way is to bracket and merge later. Works better if nothing moves in the scene.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by Diavonex View Post
    It works.
    Good if it does. The explanations make me laugh.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by driveanegg View Post
    Came back from a trip with lots of landscape pictures. Realised that many pictures have burnt highlights of the sky. Absolutely wasted pictures

    I do know that they can be avoid at the point of shooting with
    1. Exposing for the sky, with PP for the shadows later
    2. Use A GND

    I would like to know, does this problem get less prominent with a camera with a larger dynamic range?? ie Canon 450d vs Canon 5DII ?? As in will there be a lesser proportion of burnt pictures ??

    I think there is no way to recover burnt highlights in PP... but will like to ask anyway... anyway to do that ? Or perhaps I need to replace the whole sky with that from another picture.....
    1st of all, did you shoot in RAW?

  15. #15
    Member driveanegg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by windwaver View Post
    1st of all, did you shoot in RAW?
    Yes I did. The burnt out areas still appeared as a white hole on the raw images... pulling down the exposure only makes the white areas greyish with no details

    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    For starters, maybe you want to turn on your camera highlights/shadows indicator and histogram during preview. This will let you check instantly if you are losing anything important to blown highlights/shadows.

    Here is a link as to what can be recovered with the large dynamic range.
    http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/p...ml#post1259066
    Wow !! incredible !! I wonder realistically how much I can pull back from the canon sensor ? The most I have tried is about 1.5-2 stops. Acceptable results I must say. Makes getting a pentax tempting.... hahahaha

    Quote Originally Posted by PrimePhotog View Post
    I think everyone here is forgetting one key 'solution':

    Shooting at the right time of the day
    I fully agree. This is the simple and best solution. Unfortunately not always applicable. Sigh...
    I probably collect lenses more than I take pictures
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33270154@N03/

  16. #16
    Senior Member Override2Zion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    If you shoot in RAW, you might have a chance to pulling back some details during PP. Shoot at the base ISO of your camera, that way you get the maximum available dynamic range. Meter for the brightest and darkest areas then decide if they fit within the dynamic range, if it doesn't then you either strike a balance in the exposure or go HDR if you have a tripod.
    Nikon D200/D700/D800 User :)
    [www.PositiveStudioProductions.com]

  17. #17
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    I think you need to familiarise yourself with reading ambient lighting as landscapes are very light dependent. If you are consistently getting clipped highlights so much thet they actually ruin your photos, chances are you were shooting in less than ideal lighting conditions.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by driveanegg View Post
    I fully agree. This is the simple and best solution. Unfortunately not always applicable. Sigh...
    If landscapes are your thing, then the onus is on you to make it applicable. Its not as simple as you think though.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by grantyale View Post
    Looks ridiculous...
    Works quite well. so does the Sony DRO and built-in HDR.
    Alpha

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Works quite well. so does the Sony DRO and built-in HDR.
    My LX5 has High dynamic scene mode.
    Some times it creates a bit cartoonic effect but in some situations it creates pretty nice results.

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