View Full Version : I'm at my wit's end and needing help.........

11-07-2009, 10:21 PM
Before I go nuts! *sigh* I've been TRYING to get a pic of the old city hall here in town the last couple of nights. I finally got a decent one. Well it would be if you didn't notice the garbage cans, the yellow building that's attached to it, the fact I cut off part of the roof, etc. *rolls eyes* It was shot at 18mm, shutter speed at eight seconds, F4 and the ISO on 100.

The second pic shows a green "light" to the left of the roof. I can't for the life of me figure out what's causing that green "light"? Is it the angle as in off to the side versus straight on, etc? The settings? I shot it at 14 mm, shutter speed at 10 seconds, F4.5 and the ISO on 100. The "light" was in approx nine out of every ten shots I took. :( If I don't figure it out soon, I'm going to say the place is haunted and I got a pic of an ORB! LOL Any ideas/help is greatly appreciated! :)

11-07-2009, 11:33 PM
Hi Builder

You've chosen a really tough shot to try and get, so it's understandable that it will take a couple of tries.

I would suggest that first of all, you try capturing in RAW and post-processing. This will allow you to capture a slightly greater dynamic range.

Secondly, I would suggest that you underexpose the image by about 1/2 EV, and bring up the shadows in post-processing (that street light is causing blown-out portions).

Thirdly, what you're seeing is a flare off of the front element of your lens caused by the street light, so no hauntings. It is a fairly common phenomenon with a single bright or heavily contrasted light source in an image. Reducing your aperture should help reduce the lens flair, but it will make the exposure longer (you could probably boost the ISO a couple of notches to help keep the exposure reasonable).

11-08-2009, 07:45 AM
I could work with the first shot and salvage that without too much difficulty. Some highlight recovery, some gradient filter work, clone out the garbage cans, etc. It should be shot in RAW and worked from there. You might want to look into HDR.

11-08-2009, 06:39 PM
Actually it was shot in RAW. I've been trying to make it a point to shoot in that since ya'll told me about it a while back. Now the post processing thing is a whole new ballgame that I'm having to learn. I'll try what you said about underexposing the image, etc Jekostas. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I say.

I need to learn all that stuff about highlight recovery, etc Ken. I'm not the smartest when it comes to stuff like that, but I'll sure try. I'm afraid I don't even know what HDR is? :o Thanks for the help ya'll, I really appreciate it! :)

11-09-2009, 06:10 AM

If you have not invested in any major image processing software it is probably worth looking at Adobe Lightroom. It is a great time to test drive it as Lightroom 3 is now in public beta. You can download a functional version from Adobe's beta site (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom3/)that will run until sometime in the Spring of 2010. Great chance to test out a $300 program.

11-09-2009, 07:23 PM
I have not invested in any software kgosden. I guess that's something else I'll have to look into. My daughter did tell me I had something called "paint" on my computer and that any second grader could do it. Naturally after she told me about it she left me to figure it out on my own. I played with it for a bit tonight and came up with this. I have come to the conclusion that it's a lot easier to get the shot as close to perfect the first time, than mess with post processing. :)

11-09-2009, 09:09 PM
Paint ain't gonna work as a post processing tool. It was only really intended to do quick drawings in fairly basic colors. At a minimum look at Corel or Adobe Elements.

11-10-2009, 07:58 AM
Yeah, paint ain't that great for this. irfanview is a good free basic editor, there are others too. A paid program would be best.

A strange thing I noticed, is that after a year of practice (tens of thousands of shots later), my pictures started to become better all by themselves, with better exposure, white balance, etc. And it didn't seem like I did anything to make it happen.

11-10-2009, 09:51 AM
I agree with paint not being more than a toy cause that's all I was doing was playing. I'm going to look into some software but I really don't want to be spending much time post processing, etc. The best thing for me to do is practice, practice, practice and learn how to get it right the first time. I can already tell the more I practice, the better I'm getting. In about 20 years or so I should be damn great! :D

11-14-2009, 06:09 AM
Lightroom can handle this easily. You can even get an HDR plugin to really pull it out. It can also be corrected to some degree with Photoshop Elements. Photoshop and HDR will do it but it would involve a bit more work.

11-14-2009, 10:04 PM
Thanks Ken! I've heard a lot of things about Photoshop. Photoshop this, photoshop that. Then all this other software for post processing, etc. It totally blows my mind! *sigh*

Phill D
11-15-2009, 12:53 AM
Builder the guys are giving you some good advice here. Post processing can be wonderful & pretty straight forward in skillful hands but in my case even the simplest version of photoshop ie elements that I was given as a birthday present doesn't get much use beyond auto fixing the exposure. At my skill level I just dont seem to find the time to learn it maybe one day. In the mean time I've downloaded Picassa 3 from google which has some great auto fixes. Fixing your shot is probably beyond Picassa's limits though but you might want to give it a try as it's free & may just give you an easy intro to post processing. I'm certainly finding it quick & easy at the moment until I've time for something more extensive.

11-15-2009, 02:44 AM
depends how important this building is for you to photograph. to me this is just a sitting duck for blending exposures. its on a tripod adn the subject isnt moving. take 2 or 3 bracketed shots to expose the building and one shot to get that light up front right and then blend them all together.

no way you're gonna get the pic right with that lightsource smack bang in the middle.

11-15-2009, 07:24 AM
I do the majority of post processing in Lightroom. I haven't touched Photoshop in ages. It's just too complicated and process intensive to do simple things. There's nothing in your shots that's so off I couldn't pull a good image out of. The highlights are a bit too hot, I might I have pulled down the exposure a stop. It really depends on the end use of the image. If it was a poster, then I'd muck about with HDR. For the web, probably not.

11-15-2009, 06:52 PM
Thanks Phil. I actually had Picassa at one time. However for some reason it found every pic on my computer. It found EVERY pic! :eek: Needless to say I uninstalled it ASAP. LOL The guys on here have given me great advice and I'm making notes on every bit of it, it's greatly appreciated!

The building isn't important at all Rooz and Ken. I don't have time to shoot any more after work since it's dark when I get home, so this is just practice for night shots, nothing more. However I do feel anything I learn on stuff like this can only help me later thus the reason for the questions. Stuff like blending and post processing I know very little about so I'm going to have to learn all that. I'm pushing 50 fast and I'll be the first to admit I don't catch on nearly as fast as I used to. That's why anything I can do to make the pic right to start with is a bonus. Ya'lls advice is really appreciated, I can't thank you enough! :)

11-16-2009, 08:44 PM
I'm over 50 so relax. Night shots are always a bit tricky since the metering tries to compromise a bit too much. The contrast ratio can be very high at night when you factor in street and building lights. RAW gives you a bit of leeway but bracketing exposures helps, too. Like I stated earlier, there's always HDR but that has to be used with a bit of restraint. HDR can create surreal images.