photographing clouds


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shiruikage

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Oct 30, 2007
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#1
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.
 

Legoz

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Mar 7, 2008
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#2
Your camera is most prob not good enough.
Try searching for 18 grey though.

Regards
 

Jan 17, 2009
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#3
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:)
 

shiruikage

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#4
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. :(
 

MSZ006Zeta

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Aug 31, 2008
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#5

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

shiruikage

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#6
yes, something like dat. can this be achieved in-camera?
and do u mind teaching me how u achieve it?
 

rgy1993

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Mar 28, 2007
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#7
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
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#9
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.
 

MSZ006Zeta

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#10
^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.
 

dxsibo

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Mar 10, 2004
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#12
learning where to meter from and snap at the right time help too...

here is my try with my new dslr...

 

ahbian

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May 23, 2006
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#13
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.
 

shiruikage

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#14
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.
^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. :)
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?
 

Legoz

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Mar 7, 2008
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#15
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
 

ortega

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Nov 2, 2004
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#17
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
 

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