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mugsisme
09-22-2008, 05:13 PM
I am so sorry that I keep asking for this help. I actually tried to take a class this summer, but it totally fell through.

I don't understand why my exposure doesn't work right. I have played around and played around some more. I have tried matrix metering, center metering, and the spot metering. I have tried changing my ISO. I just don't what to do not to blow out the sky! It is always my highlights too blown out.

Case in point:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3020/2880686950_f18603cba7.jpg
Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV
Metering Mode: Spot

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3011/2879853771_340c874058.jpg
see, I changed the metering, and it is still blown out.
Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 23 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV
ISO Speed: 200
Metering Mode: Pattern

then we went to Pony Pastures. I had such a hard time. I tried fill flash. I tried upping the iso. I tried a lower number aperture. I got some pictures that look like this:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3043/2880712484_64c7d63e39.jpg
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/1250)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 32 mm
ISO Speed: 1600
Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV
ISO Speed: 1600
Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average

and some like this:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3039/2879878413_b0a055f3e6.jpg
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 40 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV
ISO Speed: 800
Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average
(I don't remember if I fired the flash or not, and I can't figure it out from the info on flickr.)

of course, my daughter comes along and takes these two pictures which I love:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3040/2879894529_f2dcaf1d57.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3011/2879896013_a673c4c558.jpg
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 40 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV
ISO Speed: 400
Metering Mode: Pattern

If you made it this far, and have any advice, I would love it. And Xailo, if you tell me to get Understanding Exposure I am going to shoot you! (I have read and just don't get it!)

tim11
09-22-2008, 06:00 PM
...... And Xailo, if you tell me to get Understanding Exposure I am going to shoot you! ....

You'd only shoot XaiLo? Read Understanding Exposure and try to understand it more. :D

Well... let me just run through quickly.

1 and 2) No one can do much since the light is uneven and very tricky. You have strong background light to one side and less on the other side; so you will blow out some areas. I'd be happy to get the main subjects well exposed; which you did. You may get better exposure in the car if you meter for outside lighting and then use fill flash.

3). You almost got it there except the fill flash wasn't strong enough. and Ditto for 4). I think you understand the concept except you still need to experiment how much flash power to use.

Last 2). Nothing much to complain about. The difference between the last 2 and others was that these last 2 were in more event lighting.

I think you already grasp the concept and I think you did alright there.

mugsisme
09-22-2008, 06:05 PM
You'd only shoot XaiLo? Read Understanding Exposure and try to understand it more. :D


OK, you smiled so nicely, I won't shoot. I will put it on hold again at the library.



1 and 2) I'd be happy to get the main subjects well exposed; which you did. You may get better exposure in the car if you meter for outside lighting and then use fill flash.

Thank you! OK, I didn't think of that.



3). You almost got it there except the fill flash wasn't strong enough. and Ditto for 4). I think you understand the concept except you still need to experiment how much flash power to use.

thank you again! I didn't have my whole camera bag with me. I kept on lamenting that I didn't have my 70-300 lens, because I was so limited in what I could take. I probably would have done better with my SB600.



I think you already grasp the concept and I think you did alright there.

I do appreciate your looking. My had is still a bit sore from holding the camera for almost an hour straight. Now I am starting to rethink my D90 quest ... until I see the pictures that is. :p

tim11
09-22-2008, 06:23 PM
A few more notes. You only need to change ISO when the light is low but changing ISO would have no effect on the overall exposure balancing.
For the tricky case of shooting in the car with very bright sunny background, I wouldn't use spot metering. That will only meter on the main subject and leave the brighter areas even more brighter. Since you use fill flash anyway, I'd choose matrix, then maybe -0.7EV.
As for how much flash power, it's depending on how close or how far the subjects are and only experience will tell you. Good luck.

D90? That's a little heavier than D80.

toriaj
09-22-2008, 06:43 PM
Ok, Tim beat me to it. Like he said, your camera just can't handle that wide of a "dynamic range." That means that the highlights are just too bright for the camera to capture and still expose the darks correctly. Or if you expose for the darks, the highlights get blown out. You know all about that. Just know that it's not you :D it's just that the cameras can't capture all the range of light that is in our world. Our eyes can see a much wider "dynamic range" than the camera can reproduce.

So what do we do about it? If possible, just reduce the dynamic range in the scene. Compose the image so the bright sky isn't in the frame. One good way to do that is to move your subject into the open shade (http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2008/08/open-shade-is-your-best-friend/). Or if that's not possible, at least frame your shot so that the tree is blocking the sky. Or a building. Or shoot downward onto the subject. Whatever you have to do to eliminate the sky. You did it with your shot #3. That one is just underexposed. I think if you had increased the exposure by 2-3 stops, you would have been very pleased with it. In fact, the third shot on your flickr page is a great example. No sky in the picture, good exposure, voila!

Were those shots (#3 above, and #3 on your flickr) taken on the same day, same location, same conditions? If so, compare the exposure information. The one you posted here was 1/400 at 5.6, 800 ISO, and the one on flickr was 1/200 at 2.8, 400 ISO. If I'm not mistaken, the one on flickr is actually 5 stops brighter. That's a big difference! P.S. On a bright day like that, you can stay at 100 or 200 ISO. No need to raise it unless you're in dimmer conditions.

But back to capturing the sky. Sometimes it even works just to rotate a little. Shooting toward the sun will always result in a blown sky, but maybe if you turn your model 90 degrees, you'll be able to capture blue sky since it won't be so bright. Or just wait a few hours. The light of the setting sun is much softer and easier to work with than the midday sun.

Or, as Tim also mentioned, you can use fill flash. Meter for the sky, then use fill flash to raise the exposure on the faces. Your sb-600 and 400 are up to the task. In fact, you might want to experiment with a flash setting called TTL-BL. It is intended to balance the exposure of the subject with the exposure of the background. But I'm not familiar with it myself.

I hope that helps, and your daughter is adorable btw!

Visual Reality
09-22-2008, 08:05 PM
D90? That's a little heavier than D80.
They are the same body, it isn't heavier.

You need to meter the scene and use flash to light your subject. Or like Tori suggested, keep the sky out of the picture completely.

DigitalJ
09-22-2008, 08:24 PM
It is heavier. Check the review on the front page.

Dread Pirate Roberts
09-22-2008, 08:53 PM
Mugs, your photos are pretty good.

You've composed them with a huge dynamic range though. The subjects in shadow and plenty of very bright skyin frame. You've beautifully exposed the subject at least.

I'd either compose differently as Tori has above explained.
Or
Fill flash could work but I don't know how to work it yet.
OR
Buy a circular polarising (CP) filter to match your most used lens size. A CP filter can selectively darken the sky relative to the ground. The amount it darkens isn't constant is the only problem. On bright days it darkens the sky pretty well (a couple stops) at right angles to the sun.

Rooz
09-22-2008, 09:00 PM
leah, do you understand what the term "metering" is and exactly what metering does ? (not being a smart ass here, just asking.) :)

Visual Reality
09-22-2008, 09:01 PM
585g vs 620g - small enough to not notice the difference.

That's getting off topic though.

JTL
09-22-2008, 09:07 PM
When shooting outdoors you must keenly aware of the position of the sun...direction, height in the sky, etc. Also, of the quality of the sky...e.g. is it overcast, sunny....etc and compensate as necessary. Were you consciously aware of the position of the sun when you took those shots? Did you think about it before you snapped the shutter?

Tip #1...if you are going to attempt to shoot subjects with the sun behind them, you should be using fill flash. Those shots where you say you used fill flash have no evidence of it, so I assume you are mistaken. And, don't scoff at reading and applying the lessons...that type of attitude doesn't put you in the best light (pun definitely intended!) :D

Rooz
09-22-2008, 09:09 PM
yes, i think the weight difference is pretty much just the bigger lcd and some internals like LV, dust reduction etc. the body size and dimensions are identical to the d80.

mugsisme
09-22-2008, 09:26 PM
leah, do you understand what the term "metering" is and exactly what metering does ? (not being a smart ass here, just asking.) :)

Oh, I know you aren't being a smart ass Rooz.

Metering. If I use the first one (matrix), the camera will look at the light at the whole picture and decide how light (or dark) it is. The second one (center) will look at just the basic center of the picture to judge how light or dark it is. And when I use spot metering it looks at a tiny spot in the middle to decide. Yeah? On some of the pictures I didn't post, the fill flash was too bright. It looked too fake. Part of my problem is I am not doing a model shoot where I can say, OK guys, the sun is over here and I need you move over there. I basically take my kids where they will have a good time and hopefully they will let me take a few nice pictures. Especially with my older DD, getting her to get into pictures is so hard. I was so thrilled she was willing to be in some today. The first few pictures are outside my house. The others are at the same place. But it was very different. Like, facing out to the water, I kept finding shadows on the kids faces. That is when I was using flash. When I turned around towards the banks, I got such gorgeous pictures. That is the last two my DD took. She was aimed towards the banks. I have one cool shot of my son up high and the sun shining down. There is a sort of haze showing through that I thought was neat.

As far as the different aperture, I started off with f2.8. My father once commented to me that I always use the same shallow depth of field and it gets old. So I did try upping it to f/5.6. I have some shots across the water where I did that. I guess I forgot to put it back. When I realized it was so high, I lowered it some, and then even lower. And I did use my polarized filter. I don't think it works so well unless the sky is a gorgeous shade of blue to start with. It was a very dull almost white sky. (We went after school, about 4 our time, when sunset is at 7.)

Thanks again for all your help. It means a lot, as I kept thinking there was something wrong with me that no matter what I do I blow out the sky. Now that I know not to do aim for it so much ....

Thank you all! I am actually going to print this page out to save.

TheWengler
09-22-2008, 09:30 PM
It's just a composition/lighting problem. The first three are composed with mixed lighting. The last couple are composed with even lighting.

cvicisso
09-22-2008, 11:00 PM
And when I use spot metering it looks at a tiny spot in the middle to decide.To use spot metering and fill flash with a bright background, you have to move the center spot to where you want it to measure for the exposure, LOCK IT (AE-L/AF-L button) , and then recompose and shoot (with fill flash obviously). If you don't lock the exposure first, then it just meters for whatever tiny little thing the center spot happens to be on when you release the shutter (black shirt, white teeth, etc.). I've accidentally left spot metering on and forgotten about it and wondered why everything looked so awful!

Anyway, here's a shot I took last winter (not with my Nikon - sorry! :eek:) where I used this exact technique. I used spot metering, locked the exposure for the snowy white background through the window, used the pop-up flash for some fill (probably too much), and voila. I was happy with the result.

cvicisso
09-22-2008, 11:10 PM
Here's another one: same window, same camera, same kid, same fill flash... but this time I used center-weighted metering. See the difference? ;)

Rooz
09-22-2008, 11:47 PM
To use spot metering and fill flash with a bright background, you have to move the center spot to where you want it to measure for the exposure, LOCK IT (AE-L/AF-L button) , and then recompose and shoot (with fill flash obviously). If you don't lock the exposure first, then it just meters for whatever tiny little thing the center spot happens to be on when you release the shutter (black shirt, white teeth, etc.). I've accidentally left spot metering on and forgotten about it and wondered why everything looked so awful!

Anyway, here's a shot I took last winter (not with my Nikon - sorry! :eek:) where I used this exact technique. I used spot metering, locked the exposure for the snowy white background through the window, used the pop-up flash for some fill (probably too much), and voila. I was happy with the result.

great explanation. dare i say it..."spot" on. :p:D

cvicisso
09-23-2008, 01:08 AM
great explanation. dare i say it..."spot" on. :p:D:D:D:D Well played, Rooz!