Newbie - Help on Exposure (Tree VS Sky)


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takafan

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Nov 26, 2008
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#1
Hi guys, went for my first trip of shooting today using a DSLR. I notice that when i take the trees with the sky, the sky is always over-exposed if i want the colour of the greens to be brighter and more vibrant. But... if i try not to over-expose the sky, my trees and green becomes dark and under-exposed.

I have tried shooting at different aperture and shutter speeds, also tried adjusting the White Balance(though not very sure). I'm using a Canon 550D with Kit Lens 18-55mm IS. Hoya 58mm Multi Coated UV Filter on it as well.

When im on AV(Aperture Priority), i seem to be able to adjust the White Balance from -5 to + 5. If i go to Manual Mode, it doesnt allow the same thing. Until now, i still have been trying to find this part in the user manual(i have been reading it)

Probably some pictures to show would be easier. As below.

Please be patient with me. Don't shoot me :cry:

Thank you for reading!


Left one sky over-exposed, but tree looks ok. Right one sky ok, but tree dark and gloomy




Left one sky over-exposed, but trees and greens looks ok. Right one sky ok, but trees and greens are dark and gloomy.
 

#2
That's the problem with camera. This is due to the low dynamic range in the camera sensor. It's not able to capture everything in perfect exposure. A few solution include–

(1) HDR
It's basically a combination of a few photograph taken at different exposure to achieve a perfect exposure or a higher dynamic range (HDR). So you can have a photograph with background too bright and another one with object too dark combined together.

(2) GND Filter
It is a filter that is dark from the top and becomes lighter (gradually) towards the bottom. This is suitable for landscape shots where the sun is very bright while your subject is very dark.

(3) Fill flash
This brighten your subject which is too dark. (for instance when your subject is taken against the sun)
 

Kit

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#3
I believed you have mixed up exposure compensation with white balance. You can adjust your wthie balance regardless of the mode you are taking photos in. Further, white balance adjustments are not indicated in + or -. That said, adjusting the exposure will not help much in this instance. The contrast in the scenes was probably too great for the camera to handle.

You should be looking into the quality , quantity and direction of the ambient lighting to address this issue. Best light usually happend in the morning and eveing where the sun is shinning from a lower angle and is not as harsh. From the photos, its apparent the ambient lighting was terrible and you probably shot them near mid day?

Alternatively, you can blend photos of different exposures together to increase the tonal range of the final photo. However, if you are not experienced in this, you most probably won't be able to effectively control the blending process and end up with something unuseable. As such, I would still suggest you to start from the fundamentals of light reading. Do a search on the net. Many people face the same problem you do and answers are everywhere!!
 

Kit

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#4
That's the problem with camera. This is due to the low dynamic range in the camera sensor. It's not able to capture everything in perfect exposure. A few solution include–

(1) HDR
It's basically a combination of a few photograph taken at different exposure to achieve a perfect exposure or a higher dynamic range (HDR). So you can have a photograph with background too bright and another one with object too dark combined together.

(2) GND Filter
It is a filter that is dark from the top and becomes lighter (gradually) towards the bottom. This is suitable for landscape shots where the sun is very bright while your subject is very dark.

(3) Fill flash
This brighten your subject which is too dark. (for instance when your subject is taken against the sun)
A GND would only work if the horizon is clearly delineated. In this instance, the tress are in the same position as the sky. That pretty much rendered a GND useless.

(slaps forehead) and come on lah....... find me a flash that can lit up an entire scene.....
 

Sep 12, 2009
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#5
Kit has said it all. :bsmilie:

1. You've mixed up exposure compensation and white balance.

2. Consider carefully before you go out and take photos- if you're not in a rush, why not consider when the best time to shoot your scene is? I doubt the tree will run away any time.

3. Yes, a GND is not of much use here.

4. If all else fails and you're super sure you want this tree with this (seemingly bland) sky at this time of day, then your best bet is to do a HDR or at least an exposure fusion.
 

Diavonex

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Sep 23, 2008
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#6
If the sun is on your left or right, you can darken the sky with a CPL filter. The best time to use a CPL filter is in the morning (9am to 10am) or late afternoon (3pm to 4pm).

It must be a sunny day. A CPL filter is useless if it's cloudy or when the sun is infront or behind you.
 

ovaltinemilo

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Sep 12, 2009
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#7
You would really need to look at the sky if you wana include it in your scene. If it is bright white, sunny...it will probably be overexposed with no details if you want to expose the trees properly. Try to look out for sky with more visible blue as background and try...this would probably be a better lighting condition than now. you can try the few methods suggested and see which works for you.

btw, you can try to do some recovery work on highlight. Try if you can salvage.
 

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ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#8
takafan said:
Hi guys, went for my first trip of shooting today using a DSLR. I notice that when i take the trees with the sky, the sky is always over-exposed if i want the colour of the greens to be brighter and more vibrant. But... if i try not to over-expose the sky, my trees and green becomes dark and under-exposed.

I have tried shooting at different aperture and shutter speeds, also tried adjusting the White Balance(though not very sure). I'm using a Canon 550D with Kit Lens 18-55mm IS. Hoya 58mm Multi Coated UV Filter on it as well.

When im on AV(Aperture Priority), i seem to be able to adjust the White Balance from -5 to + 5. If i go to Manual Mode, it doesnt allow the same thing. Until now, i still have been trying to find this part in the user manual(i have been reading it)

Probably some pictures to show would be easier. As below.

Please be patient with me. Don't shoot me :cry:

Thank you for reading!

I faced the same problem as you when I brought my DSLR with me on a recent trip to Malaysia. Most of the time when I had the camera ready, the lighting was not suitable... not much choice lor... No point taking photos that I'll end up trashing...
 

takafan

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Nov 26, 2008
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#9
Thanks guys! Your comments are very much appreciated! :D I have been reading through and doing my research. My replies are as below:


To Kit:
I would actually prefer to have it original, though i know its not possible until now. I'm already reading on the HDR from this site and will give it a try
http://www.williammanning.com/Photo%20tips/HDRillustration.html


To Candycaine:
Yes i believe i have mixed up the Exposure Compensation with White Balance. White Balance is the one where u choose modes right? Not the +/-. THe tungsten, daylight, flouresecent light etc etc thing i suppose?


To Diavonex:
I have read from the following webby that polarizing filter will remove unwanted reflections and make colours more saturated. However, i do not understand the part whereby u said to use it on a sunny day. How would this CPL filter work in my case? And what do u actually mean "the sun is on my left or right". Meaning left/right up in the sky?
http://www.camerafilters.com/pages/cpl.aspx


To ovaltinemilo:
Yes, i suppose what u mean is to take photos early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun gets weaker, hence the sky would be softer(not so bright), and therefore i could take the trees being green and the sky not overly exposed. I suppose that is what u mean.
 

Diavonex

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Sep 23, 2008
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#10
.....To Diavonex:
I have read from the following webby that polarizing filter will remove unwanted reflections and make colours more saturated. However, i do not understand the part whereby u said to use it on a sunny day. How would this CPL filter work in my case? And what do u actually mean "the sun is on my left or right". Meaning left/right up in the sky?
http://www.camerafilters.com/pages/cpl.aspx....
Meaning left/right up in the sky; see picture below, the sun was on my left.

 

ovaltinemilo

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Sep 12, 2009
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#11
Thanks guys! Your comments are very much appreciated! :D I have been reading through and doing my research. My replies are as below:

To ovaltinemilo:
Yes, i suppose what u mean is to take photos early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun gets weaker, hence the sky would be softer(not so bright), and therefore i could take the trees being green and the sky not overly exposed. I suppose that is what u mean.
Hmm, there's really no specific time(morning, late evening is more of a guide) just try to observe the sky. You might get good lighting in afternoon if it's a cloudy day...
 

takafan

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Nov 26, 2008
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#12
Meaning left/right up in the sky; see picture below, the sun was on my left.


I get it now.. meaning the sun is shining down from the top left or top right.

Currently i have the Kit Lens 18-55 and also a longer zoom 55-250mm, both uses 58mm Filters.

So i suppose i should be buying a Hoya 58mm CPL Filter(most cost-effective right?), would it help in some way?



Hmm, there's really no specific time(morning, late evening is more of a guide) just try to observe the sky. You might get good lighting in afternoon if it's a cloudy day...
Thank you! I will go read on more lighting skills and decide again how to use it correctly. Probably its the experience that one look with your eyes, u know whether the light is suitable to take a shot. I dont have that, haha ;)
 

Diavonex

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Sep 23, 2008
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#13
Hope your lens does not rotates on focus. It'll make the use of CPL filter a little ticky.

A 58mm HOYA CPL filter with cost approx. $54.
 

takafan

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Nov 26, 2008
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#14
Hope your lens does not rotates on focus. It'll make the use of CPL filter a little ticky.

A 58mm HOYA CPL filter with cost approx. $54.
Rotate on focus? Sorry, don't really understand this part

As far as i know, it only rotates when it is trying to focus, the Auto Focus function in the lens. Other than that, it doesn't rotate.

Ok, i'll get the CPL Filter. Anyway, can i ask as well, how about CPL vs HMC filters? I read that HMC removes the reflections as well, but they dont saturate the colours. Do they have any major differences?
 

Diavonex

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Sep 23, 2008
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#15
That is the end of your lens rotates. Ideally we do not want the end of the lens that is holding the filter to rotate.

If it rotates, you'll have to manual focus before you rotate the CPL filter to darken the sky.
 

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takafan

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Nov 26, 2008
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#17
That is the end of your lens rotates. Ideally we do not want the end of the lens that is holding the filter to rotate.
Hmmm... so.. meaning to say, mine does rotates?

By the way, nice pictures u have there. I'll look for a 58mm CPL Filter. Does brand matters? Or would it be better to get a Hoya one?
 

Diavonex

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#18
Hmmm... so.. meaning to say, mine does rotates?

By the way, nice pictures u have there. I'll look for a 58mm CPL Filter. Does brand matters? Or would it be better to get a Hoya one?
Don't go for the cheap polariser. Get a HOYA or B&W.
 

Diavonex

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#20
Using polarising filter

Use polarizing filter on a sunny day. If it’s overcast or cloudy, they’ll have little or no effect.
A nice blue sky with some clouds give the best result.
Best time to use polariser is between 9a.m. to 10 a.m.
Shoot with sun on your left or right
To prevent your camera from counteracting the polarizing effect, set the White Balance to Daylight
Lens which rotates on focus must be manually focused before setting polariser
 

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