Burnt highlights and Dynamic Range


driveanegg

New Member
Sep 8, 2009
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Choa Chu Kang
#1
Came back from a trip with lots of landscape pictures. Realised that many pictures have burnt highlights of the sky. Absolutely wasted pictures :cry:

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..... :cry:
 

spree86

Senior Member
Feb 3, 2009
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Bishan
www.flickr.com
#2
Came back from a trip with lots of landscape pictures. Realised that many pictures have burnt highlights of the sky. Absolutely wasted pictures :cry:

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..... :cry:
No way to recover. but you can try bracketing your shots next and piece the pictures together during PP
 

2100

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2004
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#3
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? :)
 

driveanegg

New Member
Sep 8, 2009
615
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Choa Chu Kang
#4
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 :(

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 ??? :)
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#5
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.
 

driveanegg

New Member
Sep 8, 2009
615
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Choa Chu Kang
#6
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. :)
 

PrimePhotog

Deregistered
Oct 25, 2007
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#7
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.
 

pinholecam

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Staff member
Jul 23, 2007
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#8
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/...ow-fully-utilize-great-dr-k5.html#post1259066
 

Last edited:

Diavonex

Senior Member
Sep 23, 2008
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Admiralty
#9
Certain camera have a setting to prevent over-exposing of highlight e.g. Sony A100

 

grantyale

Senior Member
Oct 4, 2004
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Bedok
#12
Came back from a trip with lots of landscape pictures. Realised that many pictures have burnt highlights of the sky. Absolutely wasted pictures :cry:

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..... :cry:
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.
 

windwaver

Senior Member
May 19, 2007
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Europa
windwaver.tripod.com
#14
Came back from a trip with lots of landscape pictures. Realised that many pictures have burnt highlights of the sky. Absolutely wasted pictures :cry:

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..... :cry:
1st of all, did you shoot in RAW?
 

driveanegg

New Member
Sep 8, 2009
615
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Choa Chu Kang
#15
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

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/...ow-fully-utilize-great-dr-k5.html#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 :bsmilie:

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...
 

#16
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.
 

Kit

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
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Upper Bukit Timah
Visit site
#17
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.
 

Mar 18, 2009
253
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16
Sembawang
#20
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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