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Photography QnA: Exposure Settings

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Category: All About Photography : Photographic Field Techniques : Exposure Settings

Wondering about indoor photography exposure settings? Maybe you are more interested in outdoor settings. This Q & A and Exposure Control in Digital Photography article covers it all. For in-depth instruction, check out Bryan F. Peterson's Understanding Exposure online photography course.

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Photography Question 
Vickie Lyon

member since: 12/31/2007
  1 .  Backlighting: Getting the Right Exposure
I took a picture of a cat in tree looking upward and the cat and the tree was too dark, though the light through the tree branches was quite bright. I was told that I had a backlight problem but cannot find an answer in my manual for correcting this. I have a Canon 30D and really need some help. Thanks!

8/25/2008 6:40:05 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Read about exposure compensation. You must change the exposure from what the camera would normally determine by increasing it because of the light direction and the very bright background of the sky.

8/25/2008 7:17:26 AM

Vickie Lyon

member since: 12/31/2007
  Thank you Gregory. I was told to leave the meteoring set mostly on "spot". Do you recommend that also in this kind of situation? I hate to admit this, but I am very new with cameras and though I read this section, Im still not clear if I try to match the bright light coming through the tree on set the exposure to match the cat? My apologies for I know what must sound like a lame question.

8/25/2008 7:37:04 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Spot will work, but you have to put it on the right spot. I don't have your picture to look at, but shooting up into a tree is like shooting into the sun at evening/morning. Very bright sky or sun, but the surfaces that are facing you with the camera, the light in the direction that they are receiving is very low in comparison (although you may be able to see it with your eyes, film or digital can't record things the same as your eyes can see)
So your camera sees and determines the range of bright and dark areas. Think in terms of every time you aim your camera, it's thinking, take this scene and divide it into 8 squares. I've got 6 areas that are really bright and 2 that are dark.
What you actually want may be in the dark area, but the camera thinks there are so many bright areas, I need an exposure for those 6. So what you actually want in the dark areas, it comes out too dark.
That's how you would use exposure compensation. And a spot meter. Exposure compensation will shift that reading over or under as needed for the situation. That really bright scene, normally a fast shutter speed but exp comp will shift to a slower one. Like a catapult that has no way to adjust it's range, you move the starting point back so that in the end, you're on target.
Spot meter, you take a reading from one of the 8 areas like I said above, and that will give you the correct reading for what you want to see. But if you spot meter and it's still reading one of those 6 bright areas, you'll still be having the same problem.

8/25/2008 8:24:53 AM

Vickie Lyon

member since: 12/31/2007
  Thank you!!

8/25/2008 10:07:49 AM

  As an old film user I have used this method alot. put your camera on manual and select an area near that the lighting is the same meter the area and balance the camera. then focus on the area you wish to capture and take the photo. Do not change the camera balance.

9/2/2008 7:15:11 AM

Vickie Lyon

member since: 12/31/2007
  Thank you Ron.
Since this is all very new, let me play this back to you.
The cat was a leopard in Kenya, so I should have set the camera on manual, found something as dark as the leopard elsewhere in the tree and then what...half press the shutter? then return to the leopard and take the picture??

9/2/2008 7:38:55 AM

Lois Latraverse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/5/2006
  Gregory, that was the best answer to exposure compensation questions that I've read. It clarified a lot for me. Thanks!

9/2/2008 9:33:04 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  You're welcome, and vickie, Ron just described spot metering for all intensive purposes.
Read on spot metering in your manual. Pressing the shutter button half way activates the meter, but spot metering as long as you have spot metering activated locks in the reading.

9/2/2008 4:58:06 PM

  Vickie, once you have found that dark area balance your camera, what I mean by balance is adjust the f stop and shutter speed so your camera is adjusted to that area. then return to leopard and take the picutre. I don't know if your manual will address the process for balancing your camera in manual. I am sorry about my inabiilty to explain more clearly.

9/2/2008 7:25:47 PM

Vickie Lyon

member since: 12/31/2007
  Thanks to you both Ron and Gregory, this is truly a big help.

9/3/2008 8:53:19 AM

Jerry Frazier

member since: 6/6/2005
  Couple things:

It's a little more simple than what I am reading here. Meter the scene as if spot metering. Or, if that doesn't work, hold your hand up to the light, and then meter your hand (it will be facing you so you'll be metering the dark part. Now, make sure the f stop and aperture are correct (in the middle). Then still in manual mode, point it at the subject and shoot. This will work most times. If you look at where your meter is, at that point, it's usually 1.5 to 2 stops above the middle. That's about right. So, having said all this, next time it's brightly backlit, just move your needle up 2 stops and shoot. Chimp it, adjust and shoot again. A little more sloppy of a method, but it works.

I'm surprised no one mentioned flash yet. But, in the above example you will get a nicely lit subject, and the background will be completely blown out. If you want a nice balanced image. Do the same thing, meter for the subject, have the camera on manual, and the flash on ETTL, or ATTL, or whatever yours is. Then shoot. What you should them see is the subject, and the backgorund nicely balanced. You may have to adjust the flash up or down a little to get it right, but this will get you headed in the right direction.

9/5/2008 2:52:52 PM

Vickie Lyon

member since: 12/31/2007
  Thanks Jerry!

9/5/2008 4:14:40 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  A little more simpler?
You described the same thing.

9/5/2008 10:02:02 PM

  How far were you from the cat? Could you use the Canon 580EX flash as a fill light, but with the Flash Exposure Compensation?

9/6/2008 9:49:08 AM

Vickie Lyon

member since: 12/31/2007
  I was about 50 feet away inside a jeep under a tree shooting up. I only have the flash built into the Canon 30D I was using. The jeep was full of people and don't think I could have gotten to my gear bag before the shot was gone anyway.

9/6/2008 10:32:52 AM

  The flash in your camera will only go about 20 feet, so that is out.

There is what may be a perfect course for you at: http://tinyurl.com/5nt5xx

It is called Better Exposure: How to Meter Light with Sean Arbabi.

While I haven't taken this course, I've taking others to refresh my memory of what to do and when. BP has some wonderful photographers, and some truly great instructors. I strongly recommend taking courses to reduce your learning curve with your camera.

9/6/2008 5:53:14 PM

Vickie Lyon

member since: 12/31/2007
  Thanks Susan,
I did take a course through BP and enjoyed it and just book a self study BP book with field exercises in it that Im really looking forward to practicing.
I would love to some day follow a pro around in the field so I could get some dedicated 'in the moment' help. Have you done this before or would you recommend anyone?

9/7/2008 8:08:47 AM

  Susan, I never got to thank you for recommending my BP course "Better Exposure- How to Meter Light" - much appreciated - that was very kind of you.

Here's the link for anyone interested- I recently re-wrote the course and it's better than ever.

My book "The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure" will also be out in October.

I always make the analogy in my live Photoshop and Exposure lectures, of the camera exposure being the recipe or items you carefully select and mix together, and Photoshop being the oven you cook it all in. You need both to make a high-quality final creation.

And getting more in camera saves you from computer time post capture.

thanks!

9/7/2008 9:37:28 AM

  After you become thoroughly familiar with and understand your camera, there are relatively expensive courses that are available some through BP others through individual photographers.

For example, while it's too late for this tour, (BP instructor) Jim Zuckerman, will be leading photo tour to Kenya from Sept. 21 to Oct. 7.

I've never been on such a tour. My daughter wanted to gift me an $800 workshop with 8 other photographers under the tutoring of a different professional. Unfortunately for me, I am unable to walk well due to continuous recovery after two bad falls and a new hip and knee.

Back 45 years ago, as a photography major in college, I participated in an internship program for a month with a professional portrait/commercial photographer. In that case, I learned a little bit of everything --lighting, darkroom techniques (film to printing), finishing and selling. After graduation from college, I freelanced.

In order to light something more stationary in the field if I were on my own, I might use my Canon 580EX flash and set it up as a master with one or two slaves on light stands or the equipment directed by knowledgeable and trustworthy people so that the master and slaves work together to light the target. But, this is way too advanced for you right now.

Even the 580EX (external) flash alone will not light something 50 feet away. For that, you would need 3 slave units (like other equally powerful external flash units) and/or something white to bounce the light to the subject. That would be tough in the case of the big cat in Kenya from a jeep full of people.

Email me at snowsk@cox.net and perhaps I can help more.

9/7/2008 10:09:54 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  I'm also running an Exposure 4-day course next month, in the high sierra, in Mammoth California:

Here's a link to the event:
http://www.seanarbabi.com/workshops.html

The nice about this course too is, most likely, our walking will be limited to flat trails and short distances- some can go further and others can stay close to vehicles.

thx!

9/7/2008 11:57:40 AM

Jerry Frazier

member since: 6/6/2005
  Oh.

9/8/2008 12:24:25 PM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  Thank you for your comment, Jerry.

9/17/2008 12:13:31 PM

  Vickie,

If I read the manual correctly for the 580EX flash, which fits in the camera hotshoe or is used as a master unit with slave units all outside the camera, the when used outside flash will not travel far enough to reach your subject, even with two slave units.

There is an illustration of page 38 of the 580EX Speedlite manual that explains this.
[To download the Canon 580EX flash, go to:
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=DownloadIndexAc

However, apparently the flash of the slave units travels further indoors than outside.

Of course, all this is moot with you because you said you only had the in-camera flash unit, which if I recall correctly, only goes out to 20 feet --30 feet too short for your subject.

Any of the flashes would startle the cat and you may lose your subject. It would be one thing if the flash went far enough to fill part of the shadow, but it does not from what I've read.

Jon Close, Paul Gero: If you guys are out there, could you weigh in on this.

9/17/2008 6:35:23 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  I don't have the manual, but it's sounding like a misinterpretation to say that the flash will travel further indoors than outside.
Maybe it has something to do with sync speed and the matching aperture for ambient outdoor light for outside the shadows.
Flash startling the cat, that's a false assumption to me. Like flash and sports. Besides, this was tourist game reserve.

9/18/2008 3:26:20 AM

  Gregory,

I sent you a message at your web site regarding your comment to my post here.

For my clarification and so we can assist Vickie better, could you respond to me personally.

Thanks.

Bunny

9/18/2008 7:05:54 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  All of a sudden things get clandestine?

9/18/2008 1:32:23 PM

  What I wanted to send to you, Gregory, I cannot post here. I need clarification myself and if you can help, I thought it would not hurt to ask.

9/18/2008 3:19:45 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Relax, have an omelet. I was kidding.

9/19/2008 7:19:40 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Debbie Crowe

member since: 10/4/2007
  2 .  HDR Exposure: Please Explain
I am hearing so much about HDR and the pictures I see are really stunning. Am I to understand this is basically not much more than "bracketing"? I saw a post where someone did HDR with 11 exposures and got the "perfect" picture. Can you give me more details on this? Thank you!

8/8/2008 12:07:46 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Yes, glorified bracketing.
To put it in plain language, HDR (high dynamic range) means you make different exposures for all the wide ranges of bright and dark parts of a scene, because a camera can't get what your eyes have the ability to get.
And then you use layers to erase and combine all the parts that hold detail and you can make a picture that shows everything. And you can make it look realistic or unrealistic (some people will say surreal)
You can think of it as reaching your arms out to the side and blocking a hall way. You can't cover wall to wall, you can only cover a certain portion by shifting side to side.
But if you add a separate person and link hand to hand, you can hold on to more of what passes your way.

8/8/2008 12:42:01 PM

Debbie Crowe

member since: 10/4/2007
  Thanks Greg. But then after you take all the exposures, do you have to use software to blend into one picture? that sounds kind of complicated. any suggested software if someone wanted to try it? I have photoshop elements 6.0 but I am still learning the very basics on this and would not even attempt in such complicated software.
thank you again.

8/8/2008 1:24:46 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Hi Debbie,

you can do it in PSE if it's got 'layers'. I think PSE does. Of course CS3 does too.

Here are 2 short videos that may be interesting to budding HDR togs:

"shooting for HDR": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJS6X-pHTNg

and

Learn High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography : Setup and Shooting Exposures for HDR Photography: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdqKL22NUHk
(you may have to turn up the sound on this last one)

8/8/2008 2:12:32 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
 
 
BetterPhoto.com Photo Contest SECOND PLACE Winner
 
Remember When
Remember When
Taken at Pinellas County Heritage Village in Largo, FL. 5 images combined into one in Photomatix Pro. 17-40 lens at 17mm f.8
 
 
HDR is so much more than you can do in Photoshop also. Ben Wilmore has a DVD on it and he has done some pretty spectacular images. And BP's very own Tony Sweet has done some incredible images using HDR, check out his website. HDR is so so so much more, when you tonemap it in Photomatix its incredible what you can do with your several exposures. This image here is a blending 5 exposures -2, -1 - +1 +2 then tonemapped in Photomatix. I am still learning and playing with HDR, not all scenes look good. This pic of this old car is one of my favorites so far.
~Donna

8/12/2008 3:56:00 AM

  Are the results of HDR basically the same as using GRD filters on your camera? It seems to me that GRD filters would be easier than sitting for hours in front of a computer.

8/12/2008 7:59:01 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Don't know what a GRD filter is, but the photo of the Garage that I attached I probably got every bit of a whole 30 minutes into combining and tonemapping. I don't spend hours on any single photo, I don't have that kind of patience.
~Donna

8/12/2008 8:11:08 AM

  You gallery is lovely, Donna. It shows that you love what you are doing in Photoshop and while capturing images wherever you are.

A GRD filter is a graduated reduced density filter, which Galen Rowell used in film photography to make his superb images. Many digital photographers use the computer and software to achieve similar results. But, I'm not that knowledgeable as yet. It takes me a lot of repetition to learn new things.

I loved Galen Rowell's work. http://www.mountainlight.com/
But never have had his eyes or level of expertise.

On the other hand, I don't think I ever saw GRD filters used on interiors, so scratch that idea.

Would HDR be the same as Double Processing and Compositing images?
~Bunny

8/12/2008 8:37:07 AM

  HDR allows you to combine the best parts of various exposures. Though "glorified bracketing" is a bit of a misnomer, the idea is similar. If, for example, you took 3 shots of a scene (one to expose the highlights, one to expose the midtones and one to expose the shadows) each of these would have different detail - especially if the scene was one that exceeded the dynamic range of your captures (things like taking shots of stained glass in an otherwise dark church, where exposing for the shadows would blow out the highlights and exposing for highlights block up the shadows).
In the case of the example, you can combine the highlights from the highlight exposure, midtones from the midtone exposure and shadows from the shadow exposure to see the detail in each, where a single shot of the scene might have favored one range or another.
Photoshop provides an HDR plug-in for combining these images (once you have made the exposures). The combination goes a little beyond just merging the best part of the bracket shot by blending some into surrounding areas. These areas of mixture sometimes make some interesting (surreal or other-worldly) results. You can also get more straight-forward results using some straight-forward techniques for layer blending. But Photoshop does provide a special 32-bit per channel option coming out of the plug-in that lets you combine multiple images into the same file ... and then coming out of 32 bit you have additional options for blending what you have combined.
The goal is to capture more, but don't be deceived ... you have only so many levels of tone to work with in any image, and then in output you have additional limitations. You will get different results than straight exposures, but "different" is not always the equivalent of better. It can sometimes be more artistic, but can just as easily fail depending how you approach it and what you expect as a result.
Certainly it is worth playing with!

8/12/2008 10:11:49 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Great explanation Richard, thank you so much for chiming in. I have not done HDR in PS but have heard that you can. I have done the “Merge to HDR” and then save it and done the tone mapping in Photomatix. I personally have played around with 3 images and also 5 images. I would have to guess that 5 versus 3 is not that great of difference, as long as one of your exposures is underexposed for the highlight and one overexposed for the shadow areas, correct?

Now I do have to say that when you are doing the tone mapping you can make a photo look very unrealistic and artistic and kind of like a drawing or almost dimensional in some instances. But I personally prefer to try to keep the image looking like an image but pull out detail from the shadows and have details in the highlights.

I have noticed that not all instances look good in HDR. I will be on vacation next week and plan to try some other different HDR images. Its been a month or so since I have played with HDR images so I am looking forward to doing some more images.

Thanks again Richard for the great explanation. Bunny, thanks for the kind comments about my gallery, I appreciate it. I have never heard of that filter. Thanks for the link I’ll go check out some of his work.

~Donna

8/12/2008 11:44:01 AM

  I am going to buy the Photomatrix software today. After hearing its praises from other photographers on my Europe trip and the fact that I took several sets of photos specifically to make HDR images from, I am excited to try this program.
Carlton

8/12/2008 3:54:32 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  The August 2008 Outdoor Photographer magazine, page 68, has an article devoted to Photomatix. I have the software and it's super!

8/12/2008 5:59:06 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Carlton, Its not too expensive I think it was under a hundred. Its pretty cool, I think you'll like playing with it. You can download it for a 30 day trial at www.hdrsoft.com.

Aug. 8 Issue huh, I wonder if that is still in the stores. I gotta find that one. Thanks Ken.

~Donna

8/12/2008 6:20:12 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  It's $99 for the stand-alone version, according to their web page.

8/12/2008 7:37:29 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Ken is this the article on page 68?

http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/columns/digital-horizons/expanding-photographys-tonal-range.html

8/12/2008 8:28:52 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  No. The one in the magazine has step by step instructions for using Photomatix, in terms of what to click, and what the various config options are, for the tone mapping.

8/12/2008 9:06:53 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  The title is "HDR for the Landscape" and the author is Rob Sheppard.

8/12/2008 9:10:42 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Having a program that will do tone mapping for you is great for keeping small details like tree branches and leaves.

8/13/2008 12:34:48 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Thanks Ken. I'll look for that magazine at the store. That in depth stuff and what all those options is just what I have been wanting to know.
~Donna

8/13/2008 3:31:59 AM

  Donna,

You said that you've done “Merge to HDR” in Photoshop. I have CS3, but not CS3 Extension. Where can I find Merge to HDR in CS3?

Thanks.

Susan

8/13/2008 9:57:20 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Susan I have CS2 and in CS2 its located under File>Automate>Merge to HDR. Not sure if its in the same location in CS3 but look there. After you do that you are not done then you'll need to do the tone mapping, I am not sure how to do that in PS, but that photomatix program seems fairly user friendly. Here is a website by Canon Digital Learning Center that explains alot about HDR. But I haven't found anything to explain Photomatix. I want to get that magazine Ken said it has a very detailed article in there about Photomatix.

~Donna

8/14/2008 3:26:39 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Helps if I put the url doesn't it. sorry~ But in the past couple minutes I found another website that has tons of tutorials on it about HDR. I will put a couple links below.

~Donna

http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=1646

http://tutorialblog.org/hdr-tutorials-roundup/

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/03/10/35-fantastic-hdr-pictures/

8/14/2008 3:42:00 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
"in CS2 [“Merge to HDR” is] located under File>Automate>Merge to HDR. Not sure if its in the same location in CS3"

Yes, it is.

8/14/2008 10:07:09 AM

  I looked under File in CS3, but could not find Automate, much less merge to HDR. I think I have to have CS3 Extension to be able to use HDR, or else get Photomatix.

8/16/2008 9:25:24 PM

  I see it. I see it! Wow! Just did not look far enough. However, do I need to shoot one image using AEB? Or, can I do the same as I would with double processing, and have one image exposed for the shadows, and one exposed for the highlights in ACR to make it work?

8/16/2008 9:46:37 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Bunny, I often do a double-processing, then use Photomatix (HDR). I would think CS3 would behave the same way. Just try it and see...

8/17/2008 6:08:40 AM

  Thank you, Ken.

A couple of questions, which I hope does not sound lame.

I assume to up the size of the 8 gig to 16 to 32, I would need up upgrade my memory and possibly the size of my computer. Is this correct?

I generally save along the way as I acquire more and more layers, and occasionally forget to eliminate the large saved PSDs, which makes my computer freeze.

About how much memory is needed in order that double-processing and HDR be accomplished?

Thanking you in advance.

8/18/2008 12:09:16 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
"I assume to up the size of the 8 gig to 16 to 32"

What is "8 gig", bunny?

What computer have you got now? With how much RAM? And what operating system?

8/18/2008 12:19:36 PM

  WS, I think Bunny meant 8 bit (16-bit, 32-bit). However your questions are right on!

Bunny, I don't know if you need to upgrade your computer without knowing what you have, and answering the questions WS has asked. However, just to work with 32 bit images should not require an upgrade unless you have an aging computer (4+ years old). While 32-bit images are larger, they will only be about 4 times the size of an 8-bit image while holding substantially more information (on the order of 16 million times). That said, the more space you have open on your hard drive and the more RAM you have, the better your performance will likely be.

There is no set formula for how much memory you will need, but be sure to well more than meet the basic needs of the Photoshop or Elements program that you are using as per Adobe's recommendations, keeping in mind their recommendations are minimal for base performance.

I hope that helps!

Richard Lynch

8/18/2008 1:53:51 PM

  Misspoke. Meant to say bits rather than gigs. I'm obviously not a technology person.

In RAW, I convert my images to 16 bits to work and then reduce them back to 8 bits when saved. But, I save as PSD's or TIFFs while they are being worked in case the electricity goes off or just as a safeguard. These large files tend to fill my machine quickly.

I have a e-machine computer, Microsoft XP, CS3 Photoshop. Where do I go to find the amount of RAM I have? My husband generally takes care of this, but he's out of state right now.

8/18/2008 2:56:38 PM

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Photography Question 
Pamela K. Barrett
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Pamela
Pamela's Gallery

member since: 2/26/2007
  3 .  Shutter Vs. Aperture Priority
Seems like some photographers prefer aperture priority, and others prefer shutter priority. What are some of the pros and cons of each of these? Personally, I shy away from aperture priority because I think it would automatically compensate with a slow shutter speed resulting in blurry images because of camera shake. Is that a wrong assessment?

7/21/2008 9:47:07 AM

  It all depends on the shot you are trying to take.
- A mode is used when controlling Depth of Field is the top priority. (examples: macro and landscape).
- S mode is used when freezing or blurring motion is top priority. (examples: sports and blurred waterfall).
- P mode is used when you're willing to let the camera make a reasonable trade-off for you (sort of like auto but with a bit more control (example: unpredictable events with little time to capture scene).
- M mode is used when you want absolute control (examples: studio still life, fireworks, etc.).
Good photogs don't blindly prefer any one of these modes ... they use whichever mode best fits the occasion.
dvc

7/21/2008 10:02:35 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  These aren't that drastically different, because you can use them for the same purpose. You pick one and the camera picks the matching other.
You can easily use av mode for sports by simply choosing wider apertures that give you faster shutter speeds. It doesn't require anything more than looking at the display in the viewfinder.
Some people who use auto modes for action prefer av mode so that they don't keep shooting pictures that should've been with an aperture that their lens doesn't have.

7/21/2008 2:21:10 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  That sounds like a sports mode if you have a camera that will change iso automatically. But maybe with newer cameras, shutter priority will do that when a max aperture is needed if the lens doesn't have it.
If you want to stop action, I think in terms of a range of shutter speed. Not a particular one. And for some, they prefer to not shoot in a shaded area and have a set shutter speed and be under exposed.

7/21/2008 7:39:58 PM

  Thank you David, Greg, & W. Smith: You've been very helpful. I didn't know that about the ISO adjusting with shutter speed. I'm also going to try to start adjusting according to the situation.

7/22/2008 4:58:24 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi Pam,
David is right on with this. It all depends on what you are trying to do. You can, in theory, get the same shutter and aperture combinations no matter which mode you select, including manual. Setting in an automatic mode doesn't solve ALL problems, you still have to pay attention to what the settings are. In aperture priority you can set a smaller aperture and get a slower shutter or vice versa. Setting an aperture of say F/16 in low light with give you very long exposures that will need a tripod. I use aperture priority and manual exclusively, not of necessity, but more out of habit. Each time I still check the settings and adjust. Don't try to outguess the camera but you need to know if the settings aren't going to give you the optimum effect you are looking for. Once in a great while the wrong camera settings give you a wonderful surprise and a very nice image. Most times, it results in a bad image and a reminder that you need to pay more attention. We've all been there. Ansel Adams in his wonderful book "The Making of 40 Photographs" tells great anecdotes about each image, including "I forgot to stop down the lens." With a view camera, you adjust and make another exposure. With every other, most times you can do the same but once in awhile that means you've lost an opportunity and are reminded of why you need to check the settings. Keep shooting and enjoy!!
Bruce

7/22/2008 5:01:06 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  In practice, not just theory.

7/22/2008 2:21:24 PM

  Greg, yes, you're right.

However, the point is that, in Tv (shutter priority) the user sets a shutter speed... let's say 1/1000s... and then the camera will

1) open the aperture to get the right exposure, then, if that's not enough,
2) increase the ISO to get the right exposure

But the camera will not change the shutter speed.

No other mode will do this (excepting, possibly, a special "sports" mode or similar, if the camera has one.)

dvc

7/22/2008 8:35:44 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  I know that.
But which cameras do you know of that will change the iso on their own?

7/22/2008 10:26:10 PM

  I have a Nikon D80 which does this. Also a Cannon A570IS, which I think also does, but haven't really tested it.

dvc

7/22/2008 11:18:38 PM

  Oh, I should say, the A570 I think does this in Tv mode, but that camera I tend to shoot in scene modes mostly, where I KNOW it changes ISO automagically. I'm just not sure about Tv, since I don't use that mode much on that camera ('cause I get lazy with it :D )

dvc

7/22/2008 11:21:24 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  In a powershot camera, but that is something I've never heard of being in any of Canon's slr's, nor would I expect it to be part of Tv mode for their slr's.
At least anything above a rebel.

7/23/2008 3:22:11 AM

  How do you determine that your camera changed your ISO setting? What about a Canon 30D? That's what I use.

7/23/2008 4:48:22 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi Pam,
I had never heard of a camera changing the ISO to compensate for exposures; most times they (used to anyway) just not work at those settings. So I called my local camera dealer and "Oh Yeah! several cameras will do that!!" I guess you just have to test it and see. Testing your equipment in the extremes of the kinds of images you will do, NOT a trial by fire when you really need it, but a TEST, is always a good idea. Once you do it, you will know and can watch for it in those situations. When I got a new flash to use for weddings that was supposed to be "automatic" from 2-22 feet, I tried it at 2 feet and at 22 feet and found that it was overexposed at the 2 feet and underexposed at 22. So I stopped down a stop on the lens when I moved in close and opened up when at far distances. (This is before TTL obviously, but the point is the same.) Now cameras tend to compensate for all sorts of things and the photographer has to watch the settings for find out why.
Bruce

7/23/2008 5:45:07 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  Pam, I have the 30D and use the P, shutter, aperture, and manual modes. And the ISO does not change, unless I manually change it.

7/23/2008 7:19:16 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Some of the higher level Nikon DSLR's have a "Auto ISO" function.

It is NOT used to compensate for exposure problems. It IS used to automatically (UP) the ISO when shutter speed falls to a "user defined" point.

EX: The ISO will automatically increase (IF) shutter speed falls below 1/30th; or ANY shutter spped the user dictates.

I'm not sure about the D-80 etc; but this feature is highly customizable with the Nikon D-3 and D-300; probably the D-700 too.

This is one feature many reviewers agree on; in that Canon has fallen short leaving this out in their fine line of DSLR's.

Pete

7/24/2008 5:07:33 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Fluff feature.

7/24/2008 12:49:47 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Some camera models use ISO adjusting and call it 'vibration reduction' or something similar. But that's a plain lie: it doesn't reduce vibrations but it ups the shutter speed by setting a higher ISO.
Of course that also increases noise.

7/24/2008 1:11:38 PM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  The 40D has an auto ISO setting. I've never tried it. I don't want my ISO being changed without my knowledge.

I used shutter priority when I was shooting the dragsters at the Mile High Nationals. I wanted a specific shutter speed for a certain amount of panning blur, but yet fast enough to keep the car sharp.

Most of the time I use aperture priority, and manual when needed.

7/24/2008 2:44:38 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  "Fluff" Greg?

Do I detect a Canon user in the house? ;)..or ya just stirring the pot again?

David is quite correct in that choosing the ISO gives us greater control; especially when we have time to set up the shot.

The Nikon Auto ISo feature is quite useful in some instances.

EX: A photo journalist is walking around, shooting candids, street life etc....all of a sudden he/she sees a great capture in a dimly lit alley and zooms in.

"Nuts!..ISO 100 forced me to shoot at 1/10th sec and I missed the fleeting moment." "Hold it!; lemme' adjust my aperture..Rats!..Too late!"

Not sure about other systems, but in the D-3 and D-300, the user can select at what shutter speed auto ISO kicks up and then limit the ISO to any value..say; don't go above ISO 1600 or 3200 or whatever.

Hardly "fluff" to some styles of shooting.


Pete

7/24/2008 9:51:58 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Fluff, as in not needed, regardless of brand. Like sports mode, landscape mode, cruise control.
You can use them all, some people feel they have to have it. What's it take to do without out? Nothing.

7/25/2008 12:02:42 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Besides, if got away from f/11 at 30ft, you'd probably wouldn't need it either.

7/25/2008 1:15:38 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  A friend of mine thinks that anything beyond a wooden box and a shutter that opens with a timer is fluff, so it is all relative. The correct tool for the job makes any job easier.

7/25/2008 11:17:11 AM

  No, David B, your friend is absolutely right... all this camera/digital/exposure compensating/auto what not is totally a waste :D :D NOT!!!!!! (JK!)

Seriously, (all), the tools either let you get the pic you want or not. If you're spending your time diddling with ISO or other params, while missing the shot, it does you no good.

Yes, the Nikon D-80 WILL adjust ISO for you automagically in A (Av) or S (Tv) modes... I know, because it's done it to me.

Also, the Cannon A570IS WILL do this too, at least in certain scene modes... I know, beause it's done it to me.

All you need to know is in the EXIF data and whatever software you have that will show it to you.

EXIF data is gold! Study it. Understand what it tells you about how your camera reacted / compensated for a particular scene. Learn from it to understand how to control your camera when control is needed or let your camera make choices when it is good at doing so.

dvc

7/25/2008 9:06:21 PM

  Oh, and just to note: in the Nikon D80, auto ISO is NOT used a "vibration redution" approach, just exposure comp, nothing else. Same for the Cannon A570IS, from what I've experienced.
dvc

7/25/2008 9:19:30 PM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Pam, I reread your original post, and I would like to answer your question. Yes, using aperture priority could result in a slow shutter speed. I tend to shoot lansdcapes with foreground elements that are feet or inches away from the front of the lens, so I need a lot of depth of field. I set the apeture to what I need, and the shutter speed falls where it may. I almost always shoot on a tripod. For me, a slow shutter speed is expected.

If you are in a situation where you need a fast or specific shutter speed, then shutter priority is absolutely a valid tool.

7/26/2008 8:29:44 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Her original assessment of av mode was wrong, though.

7/26/2008 1:21:27 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Pam,

DOF is important in a variety of situations. Av is the preferred way to accomplish this.
Often the shutter speed will be too slow to hand hold with a certain combination of ISO & aperture..This is why we have tripods.

I guess it depends on who yuo ask this question to. Personally, I rarely use shutter priority since controlling the DOF is important in what I shoot.

I suppose I COULD shoot shutter priority and keep dialing until I reach the DOF (f/stop) I desire.

It's a simple matter of convention....I'm more comfortable setting my f/stops.

all the best,

Pete

all the best,

Pete

7/26/2008 2:30:24 PM

  Thank you everyone for such helpful comments. I will definitely start being more flexible with the AV, TV, M, & P Modes. I wished I would have done this on my Caribbean vacation. I would have gotten much better landscape shots if I would have used AV instead of TV. Also, I need to utilize my tripod more. But the thing is, it's a bit of a hassle to carry around on vacation. Any tips on how to carry all the gear easily?

7/28/2008 5:46:56 AM

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Photography Question 
Mindy Shores

member since: 3/13/2007
  4 .  Washed-Out Sky
I just did a wedding this past weekend. Some of the pics were outside in a park with a clear sky and at @ 6:30 pm, so the sun was coming down, although there was enough light to not use a flash. My subjects looked fine in the pic but the sky was totally washed out white, without a flash. I then went ahead and put my polarizer on, which darkened the sky but then forced me to use my flash and those pics turned out fine. Anyone give me a clue as to why the sky was all washed out?
Thanks,
Mindy

10/15/2007 4:10:48 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Simply because the sky was much brighter than your foreground subjects. Fill flash, with or without the polarizer, is one solution. Another is a split or graduated neutral density filter that reduces the exposure of the sky to better match that of the foreground.

10/15/2007 6:11:55 AM

Ken Henry

member since: 9/16/2003
 
 
 
1. Set your exposure for the sky first using manual exposure controls. Viewing your LCD monitor you would manualy adjust the exposure to how the sky looks good to you. At this point your subject should look very dark and the sky a nice rich blue.
2. Add manual or TTL fill flash to subject. I use manual flash.
3. Here are three photos showing this example. I used a 6mpxl P&S handheld.
I was practising how to do this.
$. Wouldn't you feel it makes cents to pratice your photography$

10/16/2007 10:05:17 PM

Ken Henry

member since: 9/16/2003
 
 
  sunflower1
sunflower1
 
  sunflower2
sunflower2
 
  sunflower3
sunflower3
 
 
My photos didn't show up. I'll try again.

10/16/2007 10:09:20 PM

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Photography Question 
Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  5 .  Metering Off the Sky: Why?
Why meter off the sky, then re-compose on a ground-based subject? Thank you.

8/18/2007 1:37:07 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Metering off a deep blue sky (with the sun at your back) will have an exposure value similar to that off a gray card. In-camera meters measure reflected light so even if the foreground subjects are in "perfect light", the exposure values may be different (... like if a black dog and a gray cat were frolicking in a patch of white flowers). Metering the sky in this case will expose the scene correctly ... as long as you keep the sun behind you.
Bob

8/18/2007 2:24:55 AM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Bernard,

For most of the history of photography, exposure determination was trial and error. In the 1930’s, the electric light meter was just being marketed. At about the same time, Kodak research labs in Rochester (Messrs. Jones and Condit) concluded that the majority of scenes integrated to middle gray. Stated another way; if you examined a typical scene by optically scrambling the light, the tones and shades commingle to battleship gray. This was found to be about equal to a surface that reflected 18% of the ambient light. Kodak products were marketed in yellow boxes. One Kodak recommendation, as an aid to exposure determination, was to measure a Kodak yellow box placed in the scene with an electric meter. Setting a camera as indicated by the meter most often resulted in a near perfect exposure. This was OK for black & white work. The yellow box technique evolved to a gray card or placard advocated in 1941 by the famous nature photographer Ansel Adams and his cohort Fred Archer. Soon serious photographers were carrying gray cards and new fangled electronic light meters. Carrying a gray card can be a pain. Photographers are always looking for gray card substitutes to be found in nature. One can use blue sky or tree bark or parking meters and the like. Most agree, an actual gray card is best.
Meter makers have solved the problem. Some meters are of the incident type; they measure the light by pointing the meter back at the camera from the subject’s position. The result is exactly the same as a measurement off a gray card by reflected light. Modern cameras now incorporate chip logic into their metering circuit. These camera systems are so good that most of the time the camera with its logic and mode setting exceeds the accuracy of a hand-held meter, especially true if the user is not properly acquainted with metering techniques.
Alan Marcus (beware often dispenses marginal technical advice)
ammarcus@earthlink.net

8/18/2007 8:25:52 AM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  Alan and Bob' I understand perfectly what you are saying, your answers have created another question, please bare with me. With the advancements achived in the chip and circuitry of the internal light meter of the D80, is it necessary to purchase an external light meter and gray card? again please bare with me. thank you.

8/18/2007 12:08:44 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  I've never felt the need for an external light meter for outdoor work except when I'm using flash (...with which I'm not real comfortable).
I do carry a small gray card in my pack for tricky lighting situations with slide films since the margin for error is so narrow.

More often than not though, you'll be OK seeking out mid-tones in the same light and metering there.
You can check the results as you go (...a definate plus with digital) and make minor adjustments if necessary.

Green grass, fall foliage and bright red objects are a few more to add to Alan's list that meter accurately.
The aforementioned deep blue sky works well for winter snowscapes, at high altitudes, or wherever the atmosphere is clean and free of haze.
Another trick for accurately metering snow and ice scenics in winter is to wear a bright red hat or scarf.
You can toss the piece of clothing into the scene to get your meter reading and as long as the rest of the scene is in the same light, the exposure will be correct.

Bob

8/18/2007 3:26:25 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi again Barnard,

First I am a firm believer that every serious photographer should have a quality light meter in the gadget bag. To me, the exposure meter is about the equivalent of a compass on a deep water sailing ship. The ideal meter would read both reflected light and incident light. The ideal meter would allow spot reading. The ideal meter would also serve to read light emanating from electronic flash. This gadget bag should also contain a gray card.

That being said: I would suggest that currently the vast majority of outdoor shots are exposed via the logic of the in-camera meter and its associated chip logic. I feel strongly that this method is likely all that is needed especially true when one can promptly see results on the digital camera’s LCD screen.

The light meter evolved around film technology. It stated as a light thermometer that loosely tied temperature to exposure. Next, actual film or paper was exposed to sunlight. The materials naturally blackened with exposure, no chemicals needed. Timing the blackening action allowed calculating exposure settings. Tables describing lighting conditions vs. camera setting deserve mention. The first meters were solar sells, no batteries needed. Next solid state and chip logic, we know no limits. Much of my career revolved around design of light meters used in color printing and more sophisticated instruments known as densitometers used to measure the blackening of films and papers, employed as quality control tools used to control film making and developing and printing. Now retired age 70.

Alan Marcus (dispensed questionable techno babble)
ammarcus@earthlink.net

8/18/2007 5:34:20 PM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  Alan, Bob thanks, my next purchase will be a Nikon flash, a light meter, and gray card, my Dad knows nothing about photography, and the only way I got him to agree to dish out the funds for this equipment is for him to read these answers.

8/20/2007 12:30:16 AM

Rom A.G.

member since: 2/16/2005
  I am a bit confused by the replies. I guess the point of metering off the blue sky is to make sure it stayes blue in the photo, not grey or washed out.
Thus, you have to set EV+1 as shutter speed will be 1/1000th on a bright day, point camera at sky, then re-compose on subject.
I tried this trick on Bow bridge in central park. With the sun behind me, the bridge is too bright;however, metering off it makes the boats too dark. Problem solves using EV+1.

8/20/2007 6:13:29 PM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  Rom , I'll add to that logic, be advised my addition is probably questionable tecno babble. seeing that the camara tries to render everything a neutral gray, if metered off the blue sky, woundn't the camara try to render the blue sky as neutral gray.

8/20/2007 8:07:14 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Rom,
Exposure in this instance is the allotment of light energy delivered to the film or digital chip. Gross over or under exposure results in a spoiled picture. Somewhere in-between is a span that will yield an acceptable picture. This span dictates how tones will reproduce. As an example human skin can be reproduced too dark or to light. A skilled photographer can measure scene brightness with a light meter and adjust the camera setting to obtain a suitable skin tone. Such adjustments and setting are not limited solely to a skin tone. A skilled photographer can apply exposure control and exercise control over the rendering of memory colors (tones) such as snow, or sand, or water, or sky, or the like.

Logic would tell you that the center tone we call middle gray should be replicated by a surface with a 50% reflection. However, the human eye brain tends see in tone steps that are not equal. As a result an object with an 18% reflectance appears to us as middle gray. See the works of Albert H. Munsell.

As to exposure theory: If a scene in nature is exposed so that an 18% is rendered correctly, all other tones will be rendered correctly by law (law of reciprocity (Hurter & Driffield). This is true if the tones do not exceed the range of the film or chip (dynamic range). Now the
light meter is calibrated to properly render a gray card with a surface reflection of 18%.

Colored objects like oranges or sky or lemons, are identified first by hue (red, yellow, green, purple-blue and red-purple). Then by value or scale of reflectance i.e. dark, medium, light etc.

Now in this instance we are trying to render the sky correct as well as most all other tones. We know that if we had a gray card and a correctly calibrated meter we could measure the gray card, set our camera as indicated and voila a correct exposure results. In lieu of a gray card we hunt for a substitute. We can choose blue sky, not because it is blue but because its value (intensity) is about at the middle of the scale thus it can serve as a suitable substitute.

Alan Marcus (often dispenses questionable techno-babble)
ammarcus@earthlink.net

8/20/2007 11:18:56 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
 
 
  Puff...Puff
Puff...Puff
Arches NP, Utah

Nikkor 180 mm, Provia 100...@4:00 pm

 
 
"I am a bit confused by the replies. I guess the point of metering off the blue sky is to make sure it stayes blue in the photo, not grey or washed out."

A deep blue sky WILL stay blue and whites will stay white...not blown out.
In the attached example, the scene was metered off the sky without the clouds in the frame. When I re-composed, I noticed that the red rock monolith metered exactly the same with the sun behind me.
(Keep in mind though that metering a LIGHT blue sky will result in under-exposure of the entire scene.)

"...seeing that the camera tries to render everything a neutral gray, if metered off the blue sky, woundn't the camera try to render the blue sky as neutral gray?"

Yes,...and it will with black and white film.

Bob

8/20/2007 11:47:02 PM

Rich Collins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/24/2005
  "I am a bit confused by the replies. I guess the point of metering off the blue sky is to make sure it stayes blue in the photo, not grey or washed out."

A deep blue sky WILL stay blue and whites will stay white...not blown out.

And...."...seeing that the camera tries to render everything a neutral gray, if metered off the blue sky, woundn't the camera try to render the blue sky as neutral gray?"

Yes,...and it will with black and white film.

This is a good thing, the intent, yes?

8/21/2007 6:49:33 AM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  Hi, Do you guys have time for another part to this. You say to meter off the sky, then recompose, but what if the sky is pale bluish grey, not blue? I know to put on a polarizer, somtimes that helps, but is there a rule of tumb in this instance?

I am guessing to just find something mid grey,(18%) or the red scarf, or green grass or my hand, then recompose? But is it ok NOT to do this in manual, just get a reading then recompose if I am in AP, or another mode?
Thanks

8/21/2007 7:43:32 AM

Marianne Fortin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/23/2006
  Bernard, you might wish to read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. This is one of the most popular books on the subject and answers your question very well.

8/21/2007 8:18:43 AM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Nancy,
Most advise surrounding the use of the light meter attempts to expand on the instructions provided. In general meters see the world with an angle of view equal to about 60°. This angle is selected because it matches the angle of view of a camera mounted with a normal lens (not wide angle not telephoto). When such a meter is pointed from the camera position, it reads and averages what it sees. This is OK for average scenes however the possibility is high that it will error if the scene is unusual. The idea of restricting the meter to read only a gray 18% reflective surface is sound. The premise is; the gray card receives the same light intensity as other objects and if the camera is sets to properly render the card, all other objects will fall correctly by law. The idea that a sky or other objects can be substituted for a gray card is also sound provided the photographer can choose fitting targets. Pale blue sky can have the same intensity and may work just as well as a rich blue sky. So too red scruffs or green grass can serve as gray card substitutes. The human hand generally reads one f/stop more reflective than a gray card. We are not choosing objects based on color, we are choosing based on intensity.
Now consider: As time marched on, the cameras received brains via chip logic and sophisticated light sensors. Additionally the camera is viewing the scene through a lens and the sensors are through-the-lens looking devices. Additionally, mode settings add logic by altering what portion of the scene will be metered and the weight to which the data will be applied. These are now considered to be spot measurements that play on a carefully selected grid pattern. You are well advised to take advantage of these marvelous innovations. Also keep in mind that camera makers stake their reputations on the superior abilities of their camera models. To this end they pack the camera with “pixie dust”. This is the new magic that will win every time over the not so suffocated user and his/her hand held meter.
Alan Marcus (spot on techno babble this time)
ammarcus@earthlink.net

8/21/2007 10:45:07 AM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  Hi Alan,
Thanks so much for the in depth answer. I really appreciate it! Ahh..pixie dust.. I thought it was pixel dust. :-)
Nancy

8/21/2007 5:24:10 PM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  marianne' speaking of books, one of the two photography books I received this year is Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson, I only made it up to page 85 so far, I'm going to skip ahead to page 114. and to think I put Alan through all that work. the other book is "the art of photography by Bambi cantrell (portraits), I can't remember if she stated why she shoots mostly in aperture priority. ALAN WHEN IS YOUR BOOK DUE OUT? I'll purchase it for sure.

8/21/2007 9:50:36 PM

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Photography Question 
Nancy Barnhart
Contact Nancy
Nancy's Gallery

member since: 8/7/2007
  6 .  Exposure Settings For Each Image?
Does the Nikon D200 save exposure settings? If so, how do you access them?

8/12/2007 7:07:34 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  The exposure settings for each image captured are embedded in the NEF (Nikon's RAW file) and JPEG files. It should be available to view in most editing programs, or with an EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) plug-in to IE and other browsers. Some editing programs may default to stripping the EXIF data when saving the image file for the Web or highly compressed JPEG, so you may need to adjust the settings to keep the info.

8/13/2007 5:25:31 AM

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Photography Question 
Anthony Green

member since: 7/2/2007
  7 .  Getting Foreground and Background Sharp
I am doing a shoot for a friend's company and I want to know how best to keep the people and background landscape sharp and in focus.

7/2/2007 1:06:52 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  The short answer is to use the smallest aperture that will still give you a reasonable shutter speed. (f/8, f/11 or a higher f/number would work better than f/4 or f/5.6 If you're more used to shooting in auto modes, then use the landscape mode if your camera has one.

7/2/2007 5:37:56 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Follow Chris' advice ... but critically focus on the people in the foreground. They are the primary point of interest, and even if the background is a little out of focus, it's doubtful that anyone will really care.
Also, a wide-angle lens will help you achieve your intended goal easier, but the trade-off will be smaller (more distant) background elements and possible distortion of the folks in the foreground.
Bob

7/2/2007 6:01:01 PM

Anthony Green

member since: 7/2/2007
  Thanks I will let you know how it goes, and I will try my wide angle and then try the telephoto.

7/3/2007 4:37:09 PM

Michael L. Seljos

member since: 6/8/2007
  You might also consider taking 2 or 3 horizontal shots and then stitching them together into a small panorama photo. I have used this technique many times very successfully for those situations where I don't have a lens that will work for what I want to do.

7/10/2007 11:49:01 AM

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Photography Question 
Kristine P

member since: 6/28/2007
  8 .  Blurry Photo: Shutter Too Slow
I am just getting acquainted with a new Nikon D-80 and am experiencing problems in A (Aperture-priority) mode. Some photos I took of people indoors turned out very blurry, undoubtedly because the shutter took about 3-4 seconds to shut. I've tried adjusting the shutter speed but can't seem to find how. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

6/28/2007 5:06:18 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  A mode is Aperture-priority, which means you select the aperture (f/stop) and the camera selects the shutter speed. In order to increase the shutter speed, you need to select a wider aperture (smaller f/number). You can also increase your ISO setting if necessary. You might want to sit down with your camera and the manual that came with it and go through each section, trying out the settings on the camera as you go along.
Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com

6/28/2007 5:28:12 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  If you were shooting indoors with flash, you have the flash mode set to Slow Sync. That mode will balance the ambient light (thus the slow shutter speed) with the flash just providing fill light. If you want a fast shutter speed and the flash to be the main light, take the "Slow" setting off (see pp. 40-42 of the D80 manual) and set the slowest speed desired in the custom settings (#24, p. 98).

6/28/2007 7:35:22 PM

  Try putting it on Shutter Priority (S), and set it at 60 or 125 to syn with the flash. The camera will set the aperature accordingly. When using flash, you need to adjust the white balance also to give it the correct color balance.

6/28/2007 8:44:09 PM

Karin Marocchi

member since: 2/17/2004
  Jon

Do you know if there's any way to turn the "slow" setting off on a Canon Digital Rebel?

Thanks
Karin

7/3/2007 8:36:30 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  With EOS cameras, slow-sync flash is the default in Av mode. The later model DRebels XT and XTi (as well as the higher level bodies) have a custom function that will force the shutter speed to the x-sync speed when using flash in Av mode, but the original Digital Rebel lacks that feature. No matter. You've chosen Av because you want to control the aperture. Now you are also wanting to control the shutter speed ==> use M mode. You set the aperture you want, a higher shutter speed to prevent subject and camera motion, and the flash output/exposure is still automatically controlled.

7/4/2007 6:59:53 AM

Karin Marocchi

member since: 2/17/2004
  Thanks, I'll give it a try.

7/4/2007 7:54:11 AM

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Photography Question 
Mike J. Caudle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/10/2007
  9 .  Exposure Problem?
I can come up with the proper exposure I want with my new camera, the Rebel XTi. Let's say I'm taking pictures of a barn, with clouds in the sky as the background. With my kit lens zoomed all the way out, it creates an image with the clouds having an all-right color/exposure ... however, the barn is dark! When I move the exposure stop up +1, the barn becomes visible, but the clouds/sky are way overexposed. How can I get around this?

5/24/2007 6:29:17 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  The dynamic range that can be recorded in a single exposure is limited. The difference in brightness between the sky and the barn is too great. With film, the typical solution is to use a graduated neutral density filter (dark at top, clear at bottom) that lessens the difference between the bright sky and the dim foreground. This also works with digital.
Additionally, there are several techniques for achieving High Dynamic Range (HDR) in digital. The digital Raw file retains more dynamic range than the in-camera JPEG files, so a better result can be obtained in post-processing with a powerful editing program. Alternatively, it is relatively simple to take several shots (one exposed for the sky, others exposed for the dimmer subjects) and combine them into a single image.

5/24/2007 8:41:28 AM

Mike J. Caudle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/10/2007
  Thanks for the reply. Do most images require that much work outside of taking the picture? I have Photoshop CS2, so editing wont be a problem. However, right now I only have a 1 gig card, so RAW owns me.

5/24/2007 8:51:43 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Mike, the quick answer is yes. Taking the picture is only the capture of the moment. Creating artwork, instead of a "snapshot," requires a lot of steps and knowledge. Film or digital, it doesn't matter. The end results are the same, but can be acheived in different ways. I don't see it as any different than any other artisan skill. Just because someone put paint on a canvas doesn't make them a painter or their final product art. Sawing wood doesn't make someone a carpenter. It takes experience and technical knowledge to achieve artistic results.

This is in no way directed as an attack on you. Honestly, I didn't look at your gallery. It is simply a response to your question about images requiring that much work. Anybody can point a camera at something and take a picture. True artists control their tools and use their knowledge of their equipment, light, framing, etc... to create beautiful images.

5/24/2007 9:11:20 AM

Mike J. Caudle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/10/2007
  Haha, no offense taken. Im soaking up all this knowledge. For some reason I always looked at someone who used Photoshop to be an amatuer photographer. But I guess Photoshop is the equivalent 'digital darkroom'.

5/24/2007 9:15:07 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  When shooting digital, there will always be some processing involved. If you have used on-camera filters (GND and/or polarizer, for example) and have the perfect exposure, there very well might be only minor processing, but there will always be a little. Remember, even if you shoot jpeg, there is processing, only it is done in the camera instead of PS. Like any other tool, PS can be used to turn a great initial shot into a beautiful image, or it can be used as a crutch to try and cover up flaws in the original shot.

5/24/2007 10:10:43 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Hi Mike,

"How can I get around this?"

Like Jon said, it's a dynamic range problem.

You can get around that with HDRI photography:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDRI
http://www.hdrsoft.com/
You WILL need a tripod, though!

Have fun!

5/24/2007 10:26:50 AM

Mike J. Caudle
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/10/2007
  Wow, that is amazing. Now I get to have even more fun with my camera. Thanks guys.

5/24/2007 10:37:19 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  You can also use a graduated neutral density filter cut back the light of the sky. Your camera's automatic sensor sees the "bright" sky and adjusts accordingly, e.g., a darker barn. Or, you compensate for the barn's exposure, and the sky is washed out. This is the same challenge for sunrise/sunset pictures. The graduated ND filter will help balance exposure.

5/24/2007 1:48:51 PM

Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/15/2004
  This type of shot will require extra time either setting up a GND filter in the field or extra time in front of a PC.
Both ways require the use of a tripod.
I choose to use the filters and spend the time outdoors rather than in front of a PC/
The question "Is one way better than the other?" is like the endless Raw vs Jpeg debate. If you are happy with your choice,that is all that really matters.

5/24/2007 8:09:58 PM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Here are a couple of links on GND filters.

http://www.pictureline.com/newsletter/article.php?id=47

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/Using-graduated-filters

http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/content/2005/may/gb_nds.shtml

5/25/2007 8:44:12 AM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
  The problem of dynamic range is with film and digital, but mostly digital. The camera can only see 8 bits of color depth, and the eye can see much more.

GND filters will not always work, unless the horizon is more or less flat. With less uniform pictures, you will need to create an HDR image using Photoshop, Helicon Filter, (Picasa if you are careful to align the shots before-hand) or another program. What you do is set up on a tripod, expose one shot for the dark, one for mid-tones, and one for the sky. Then the program you use can combine the shots into one picture with more brightness information. Adjustments to brightness after combining the pictures can results in a shot close to what the human eye sees.

Ariel
ScrattyPhotography Blog

5/28/2007 5:00:30 PM

Helena Ruffin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/5/2005
  So glad to see this thread. I just returned from Normandy, france, and spent upwards of 20 hours in my "digital darkroom". Kicking myself because I didn't have the GND filters.
Thanks so much for the reminders.
Mike, this is a universal challenge.

5/30/2007 7:57:45 AM

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Photography Question 
Susan Shepard 

member since: 5/20/2007
  10 .  Underexposure Problems
Does underexposure causes problems with Raw files? And, if so, is this further affected by a smaller digital camera?

5/20/2007 12:26:52 AM

  Underexposure can often be the source of digital noise in many digital cameras and brands. If you over-simplify this to consider the effect under-exposure has on film, you will have similar difficulties. One of the keys is to be aware of in-camera meter readings, and know when your exposures are not going to be their best. At that point you can either accept the risk, or make adjustments (e.g., using a faster lens, changing the ISO, etc.).
Underexposure is not only an issue with RAW, it will likely cause additional noise in other file formats, and in many cameras - more and less depending on the brand of camera and the extremes of exposure.
OK?

5/20/2007 5:21:52 AM

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