Blown highlights at the zoo


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cimman

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Aug 27, 2004
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#1
went to the zoo and it was about mid day, so afternoon sun was strong.
Lots of blown highlights. Only good pics were when the sky turned cloudy and there were no direct sunlight shinning.
Question: how to get good pics when the sun is shinning bright ?
it's either blown highlights ror shadowed areas too dark. Due to the bright sunshine, there is a big contrast between sunlit areas and shadow areas. The shadow areas do not occur in a big patch but small little areas, so fixing it in photoshop is going to be tedious.
 

megaweb

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#3
same to landscape photography, if you want good exposure, take during morning or late afternoon when the sunlight is not hash.
 

lsisaxon

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#4
went to the zoo and it was about mid day, so afternoon sun was strong.
Lots of blown highlights. Only good pics were when the sky turned cloudy and there were no direct sunlight shinning.
Question: how to get good pics when the sun is shinning bright ?
it's either blown highlights ror shadowed areas too dark. Due to the bright sunshine, there is a big contrast between sunlit areas and shadow areas. The shadow areas do not occur in a big patch but small little areas, so fixing it in photoshop is going to be tedious.
You remember the days when your grandparents tell you to shoot with the sun behind you? ;p

 

lsisaxon

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#7
same to landscape photography, if you want good exposure, take during morning or late afternoon when the sunlight is not hash.
I think in the example I posted, the sun was pretty harsh.. ;p But it was illuminating the right thing at the right time.
 

halcy0n

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Apr 12, 2007
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#8
I find that using centre-weighted metering at the zoo is helpful in dealing with the light conditions. I don't mind a darker background because it helps bring out the detail in the animals who should really be the centre of attention.



 

lsisaxon

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Nov 29, 2004
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#9
I find that using centre-weighted metering at the zoo is helpful in dealing with the light conditions. I don't mind a darker background because it helps bring out the detail in the animals who should really be the centre of attention.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2212/2146368383_19f3863fbf.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2201/2147131966_71f700fded.jpg
Yeah.. but I think in TS's case, the backgrounds are blown, so it might be better to shoot from a different angle to choose a darker background.
 

Jan 23, 2005
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#10
Question: how to get good pics when the sun is shinning bright ?
it's either blown highlights ror shadowed areas too dark. Due to the bright sunshine, there is a big contrast between sunlit areas and shadow areas. The shadow areas do not occur in a big patch but small little areas, so fixing it in photoshop is going to be tedious.
I think you overestimate how tedious it is to tame high contrasts on the computer. Adjusting transfer curves, or using contrast-reducing masks is not that much work - definitely much less work than in the wet darkroom.

Of course, if you don't want harsh shadows in the picture, the best way is just not to take it in glaring sunlight. If you have no choice about the lighting, you still can try to put the harsh shadows to good use as graphical elements in a different kind of picture.
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#11
went to the zoo and it was about mid day, so afternoon sun was strong.
Lots of blown highlights. Only good pics were when the sky turned cloudy and there were no direct sunlight shinning.
Question: how to get good pics when the sun is shinning bright ?
it's either blown highlights ror shadowed areas too dark. Due to the bright sunshine, there is a big contrast between sunlit areas and shadow areas. The shadow areas do not occur in a big patch but small little areas, so fixing it in photoshop is going to be tedious.
Quick Q...

What camera are you using? If you're on a PnS, you may just be hitting the limits of a small sensor.
 

blurry80

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#12
lets say in glaring sunlight, the subject will be reflecting too much light making a glaring feeling can we use a CPL to correct that glare and then compensate for light loss?
 

Jan 23, 2005
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#14
lets say in glaring sunlight, the subject will be reflecting too much light making a glaring feeling can we use a CPL to correct that glare and then compensate for light loss?
If the highlights and the shadows are polarized to different degrees, you can to some extent control (increase or decrease) contrast with the polarizing filter. If there is no marked difference (the more likely scenario), it won't help.
 

cimman

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Aug 27, 2004
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#16
I think you overestimate how tedious it is to tame high contrasts on the computer. Adjusting transfer curves, or using contrast-reducing masks is not that much work - definitely much less work than in the wet darkroom.

Of course, if you don't want harsh shadows in the picture, the best way is just not to take it in glaring sunlight. If you have no choice about the lighting, you still can try to put the harsh shadows to good use as graphical elements in a different kind of picture.
at the zoo, there is no choice. Since you are there, you have to take the pics.
Time of going depends on kids, first priority, since objective of going there is for the kids, so no choice in lighting.
I'm thinking of using flash in the bright sunlight and metering off the highlights. The shadows will at least be brighter with the flash, compared to metering off the highlights without the flash.
Would this work ? Didn't have a chance to try this out as I forgot to bring the flash along the trip.
Camera: Olympus E1
Flash: FL36
 

CT 3833

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Sep 23, 2006
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#17
E1 should be more than capable in taking under harsh sunlight. Can post a few "blown highlight" shots with exif data for idea exchange?
 

cimman

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Aug 27, 2004
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#18
You remember the days when your grandparents tell you to shoot with the sun behind you? ;p

not always possible in the zoo environment. The animals are in an enclosure and most of the time they are resting ie. stationary. So the facing of the sun cannot be changed.
The shadows are caused by the surrounding foilage, sometimes the shadows falls on the animal's eyes, which is the most important part. Shadows caused by foilage is difficult to compensate as it's scattered in different directions.

If the animal's whole body is in the shadows, that is fine, as I can meter off the shadows and let the highlights be blown, if parts of the animal is in the shadows, then it is difficult.

I've no control on sun direction as the enclosure is not 360 degrees, you can only stand in the allocated space for viewing.
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#19
E1 should be more than capable in taking under harsh sunlight. Can post a few "blown highlight" shots with exif data for idea exchange?
The olympus cameras use a small sensor. and the E1 is also known for blowing highlights.
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#20
The olympus cameras use a small sensor. and the E1 is also known for blowing highlights.
And, if you're wondering, it's a problem with the small, 4/3 size sensors. Also, you're talking about 2003-era technology.

If you look at the bottom building pics here, you'll see highlight clipping on the building:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/OlympusE1/page17.asp

You'll also notice the comparison to the Sony F717 here:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/OlympusE1/page21.asp

I really think you're just hitting the limitations of the E1.
 

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