That's a huge image for viewing on here!
Anyway. Firstly the Sony is an excellent camera but it's achilies heel is it
veers towards small appertures in Auto and sadly tends to soften up at smaller appertures - so I would use it in apperture priority - not just because that's how I like to work best. Keep it to the lower numbers/wider appertures where possible. Secondly lighting is a tricky thing and we could give advice from here to eternity but the best way to learn is to experiment yourself - take several shots at different settings remembering what you did - then examine the results. For exposure the camera doesn't know what you are looking at and averages out the light and dark to an average of around 18% grey. On an overcast day the sky is bright but doesn't light the ground - so the camera sees lots of 'light' and lots of 'dark' and averages it out ~ result shadowy subject and white sky. That is why we have exposure compensation. I don't know the intimate details of the Sony but it does have sufficient user tweakability. Try exposures under, middle and over if you are unsure. With your blue sky shots usually the sky is not so much brighter than the ground as the ground has more sun lighting it and the sky appears darker - still I would zoom or pan to the portion of the pucture you want exposed right and look at the apperture setting or shutter setting and using the compensation try to roughly match that when you return to your photo position - sorry if this is going on a bit. Also - you might try experimenting with the contrast settings and saturation settings to find your prefered balance.
Meanwhile this picture is already taken - if you can't duplicate it - try a little processing in a graphics package ~ if you can adjust the curves - trap the mid and highs and slightly lower the lows to give a bit more contrast, maybe slightly increase saturation, then sharpen up with unsharp mask. Be sure to keep a separate original copy in case it all goes pear shaped.
Does any of that help you??
Last edited by Geoff Chandler; 04-16-2005 at 10:36 AM.
Geoff Chandler. UK/England/Surrey
NIKON D90 / D80. Nikon 16 - 85 VR, Tamron 28-200,
Sigma 70-300APO, Tokina 100 AT-X Pro D.
SB600 flash. Panasonic DMC-TZ25