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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 29 Apr 2014 (Tuesday) 18:09
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Meter Mode?

 
Chris ­ G
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Apr 29, 2014 18:09 |  #1

I was taking shots of sail boats this weekend and had an issues with a few shots. The boat I was taking had black sails. The problem was the camera was exposing for the sails and blowing out the background and the sky. I used the exp. compensation and that work sometimes.Other times the camera read a different exposure and I was unexposed. I was thinking maybe I should have gone to manual exposure instead Program AE. Also camera was set to evaluative metering. Lens was Sigma 70-200. Any suggestions?

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hiketheplanet
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Apr 29, 2014 18:16 |  #2

Sure, in Manual you could've had full control. When you meter, it will constantly change as you make slight movements. I would've spot metered on the sails, and locked exposure in manual mode. Also considering a horizon and bright sky were prominent in the image, I would've had a ND grad all over that.




  
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Apr 29, 2014 20:14 |  #3

Definitely should have used manual mode. But I wouldn't use this boat for the settings. A hand held light meter would be the way to do it. Set the camera and then don't change the settings for the boats unless the light changes.


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Chris ­ G
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Apr 29, 2014 20:15 as a reply to  @ hiketheplanet's post |  #4

One question, if I locked exposure on the sails won't the background be over exposed? I don't have he filter you mentioned, so right now that is not an option.


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Apr 29, 2014 20:20 |  #5

Sometimes the conditions aren't right, even the current digital camera with the most dynamic range would have still blown out the sky....


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Apr 29, 2014 20:39 |  #6

Chris G wrote in post #16871136 (external link)
One question, if I locked exposure on the sails won't the background be over exposed? I don't have he filter you mentioned, so right now that is not an option.

If you think about how an ND grad works you probably wouldn't use one anyway. The sail extends up well into the sky so it would have been adversely impacted by the filter.


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Apr 29, 2014 20:41 as a reply to  @ maverick75's post |  #7

Being that bright, and attempting to expose all of this correctly would be a feat. Would not be easy to nail exposure in this scenario by any means.

I often will use metering as a guide, and not an absolute. What does that mean? I'll meter on the sails, make a mental note of roughly what the settings need to be in order to expose it correctly. Same thing for the sky. Then I'll setup somewhere in the middle, but probably dialed-down favoring a darker subject and foreground as to avoid blowing out the sky. Lock that exposure. After I've dialed-in, I'd apply the grad, even if I already had a CPL on (being that bright, I probably would have a CPL on by default). I know I have a better chance of recovering detail from those sails then I will by absolutely blowing-out the sky. This is not a set in stone text book thing, and there's probably better ways, it's just how I'd approach it. Take it for what it's worth.

Titus213 wrote in post #16871202 (external link)
If you think about how an ND grad works you probably wouldn't use one anyway. The sail extends up well into the sky so it would have been adversely impacted by the filter.

True, but as I said, I'd have a better chance of recovering the sails in post than I would the sky. In the end, yes, this is a difficult shot.




  
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Apr 29, 2014 22:18 |  #8

Shooting in RAW would have given you more latitude to work with, but I think you still would have to blend two exposures to retain detail in the sky & the black sail.
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And this is what I use for exposure in most cases: Need an exposure crutch?

And for those who ask "Why?": Post #47


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Apr 29, 2014 22:29 |  #9

The issue you are dealing with is the wide dynamic range between the bright sky and black sail. Your meter does not know what it is looking at so picking a metering mode will be a challenge without an understanding of what each does and what that means to your image. Shooting RAW would help bring back the parts of the image that are beyond the range of the sensors ability to capture but something must give.


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Apr 30, 2014 01:59 |  #10

Chris G wrote in post #16871136 (external link)
One question, if I locked exposure on the sails won't the background be over exposed? I don't have he filter you mentioned, so right now that is not an option.

Hi Chris,

Yes, most likely. But remember that you will be compensating and reducing the exposure slightly to make the black sails black (your meter and auto setting will try to turn it grey). You have already received some great answers (I'd personally go with spot metering on the sail and then using the meter reading to set the exposure, either manually or with some compensation, shooting in Raw for more editing scope and I'd probably take several exposures to see if I could combine any). But the problem you are trying to solve here is really the key problem of photography - that a camera can't match the performance of the eye/brain. Perhaps the best solution would be to shoot when the sky is darker, assuming the boat is still around and make sure that the sun is not behind the boat.


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xchangx
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Apr 30, 2014 11:21 |  #11

You need to decide what's more important. The sails or the sky. More than likely it'll be the sails. Expose for the sails and try to bring down the sky in post.


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xchangx
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Apr 30, 2014 11:22 |  #12

Titus213 wrote in post #16871129 (external link)
Definitely should have used manual mode. But I wouldn't use this boat for the settings. A hand held light meter would be the way to do it. Set the camera and then don't change the settings for the boats unless the light changes.

Handheld light meter? That will more than likely give you a reading for the sky unless someone took it standing on the boat.


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Apr 30, 2014 12:39 |  #13

xchangx wrote in post #16872476 (external link)
Handheld light meter? That will more than likely give you a reading for the sky unless someone took it standing on the boat.

So, you think the sun hitting the boat is any different than the sun where the photographer is standing?


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Chris ­ G
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Apr 30, 2014 12:51 as a reply to  @ Titus213's post |  #14

Thanks for all the answers.


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Apr 30, 2014 15:43 |  #15

Whatever you meter on, the camera assumes is medium-light grey. I'd use the spot meter, see what the camera says when you meter on the sails, then on the sky, and pick an exposure that's 1/3 lighter than what it says for the sky, and 2/3 darker than what it says for the sails.

No, really I'd just shoot it in manual.

Its overexposed on all counts. Both the sky and the sail should be darker.
Raw also would have been a good idea. It's easier to correct underexposed raw files than overexposed ones. It's hard to correct JPGs at all.


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Meter Mode?
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