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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 26 Apr 2015 (Sunday) 03:15
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Taking pictures in shadowed streets with bright ligts

 
rapurimanka
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Post edited over 4 years ago by rapurimanka.
     
Apr 26, 2015 03:15 |  #1

So, i'm going to Barcelona soon and would like to consult with you, friends, how can i take good pictures in such conditions:

Just a test photo,

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8689/16653474603_f2eeacb02e_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/rnBp​Nt  (external link) IMG_6528 (external link) by rapurimanka (external link), on Flickr

So i'm on street, its going to dusk and sky is still bright. I want to have normally exposed shadow area and normal sky.

I know that on nikon its ok to push shadows, but i'm on canon, so i need some tricks...

6D | Canon 85 1.8 | Canon 24-105 4 | Lightroom 4
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/27393138@N08/ (external link)

  
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rapurimanka
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Apr 26, 2015 03:17 |  #2

I also made ETTR shot:

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7683/17247759126_d42baeb021_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/sh8g​Tm  (external link) IMG_6530 (external link) by rapurimanka (external link), on Flickr

But when i start working with sky, its dead in some parts:

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7658/17086196590_44b0e681b0_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/s2Rd​Yo  (external link) IMG_6530-2 (external link) by rapurimanka (external link), on Flickr

6D | Canon 85 1.8 | Canon 24-105 4 | Lightroom 4
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/27393138@N08/ (external link)

  
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bumpintheroad
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Apr 26, 2015 04:25 |  #3

a.) You can push shadows on the Canon, too. Just not as much as on Nikon, and there will be some noise. You can also pull back on the highlights.

b.) Shoot HDR. Best done off a tripod. Basically, you take 3 (or more) bracketed images in rapid succession then lay them on top of each other in Ps and mask out the overexposed and underexposed parts of each capture. Or you can rely on Ps's (and now, Lr6's) built-in HDR capability to merge the images.

For this scene I would have layered the first two images, kept the sky from the first and the rest of the scene from the second.


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May 10, 2015 20:40 |  #4

Well, first off, you'd need to shoot in Raw to get the most out of Highlight/Shadow processing...push the exposure a bit to the right, then do what you can.

However, as was mentioned, a lot of people would take the HDR approach!

One possible way would be what we call "pseudo HDR" where you take one exposure, like your original, then boost the shadows, like your second post, then blend the two exposures either in HDR software or by hand-blending -- you could select and "exclude" the sky from the second shot, use the sky from the first and blend with the foreground from the second...

But if you can get two shots with two exposure approaches then "standard" HDR could be your best approach!


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tdlavigne
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May 10, 2015 21:55 |  #5

Well, you already know about pushing shadows or pulling back highlights...and I'm assuming you shoot in RAW...

So other than multiple exposures and blending in post (which might not be ideal for some things), the simple solution honestly is to buy a camera that works best for you and what you shoot. In other words, get a Nikon or Sony. And before everyone flames me (I understand this is a mostly Canon site); I don't think that as a photographer you should adhere to the concept of "brand loyalty". No camera in my experience does everything perfectly. So you buy the system that will do everything you need to do today, and if your needs/style change in a couple years and that camera can't accommodate your needs then....then you switch to something that will.

A carpenter wouldn't buy a hammer, and stick with that brand/model forever just because it's what he's used to. If another company makes one with a better design/material/ergono​mics that would work better for the job at hand....he'd invest in that one.

Case in point, I used to shoot Nikon ages ago (back when it was ~ the same IQ wise with Canon), loved the camera. Then I switched to shooting almost exclusively studio and a lot of beauty/headshots. The 70-200 f4IS and 135L were the ideal tools for my new style of shooting...so I ditched my Nikon equipment and went Canon. A couple years later, I'm shooting outdoors in crazy lighting situations and I NEED a camera with more dynamic range....so I bought an A7. Great size/weight benefits, IQ that blew away the 5dII and III, not to mention DR that allowed me to capture way more detail than I had been able to in almost 3years with Canon. The downside was their lens selection was crap. So I'll probably end up going with Nikon (unless the 5ds magically has more DR than early reports suggest) again.

Is it inconvenient? Not really. Lenses usually line up price-wise selling and buying used. Bodies are expendable. I'd say the switching every couple years is far less inconvenient than shooting and missing a shot or getting one that isn't as good as it could have possibly been.

If you have the $$$ then maybe consider multiple systems? I'm waiting on more reviews for the 5Ds, but I'm likely going to get a D810 next month. Even so, I know Nikon falls short in several areas (weak 24-70, overpriced 70-200f4, no pancakes, horrid video, etc)...so I'll be keeping my 70D to fill some of those holes. Again, today the manufacturers seem to be excelling in one or two areas and conceding the others to the competition. If you shoot different things, you might need to be willing to invest in different systems for different things if you want to do each thing you do the best you can.




  
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EverydayGetaway
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Post edited over 4 years ago by EverydayGetaway.
     
May 10, 2015 23:47 |  #6

rapurimanka wrote in post #17532826 (external link)
So, i'm going to Barcelona soon and would like to consult with you, friends, how can i take good pictures in such conditions:

Just a test photo,
QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/rnBp​Nt  (external link) IMG_6528 (external link) by rapurimanka (external link), on Flickr

So i'm on street, its going to dusk and sky is still bright. I want to have normally exposed shadow area and normal sky.

I know that on nikon its ok to push shadows, but i'm on canon, so i need some tricks...

I pulled shadows to where I wanted from darker than this without any issues on my 6D when I had it. Don't buy too much into the "Canon's DR is crap" here-say, in practice it's very usable. I would go a little brighter with the general exposure though and pull the sky down a bit and then push the shadows up a bit.

Also, the second picture looks just about fine to me, I'd raise the shadows maybe a hair and pull the highlights the tiniest bit and call it done. Everyone has their own taste though, so ultimately it'll be up to you. I'd say just go out and get more shots like these and play around with them in post processing to see what works for you.


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AceCo55
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May 11, 2015 05:25 |  #7

tdlavigne wrote in post #17551320 (external link)
Well, you already know about pushing shadows or pulling back highlights...and I'm assuming you shoot in RAW...

So other than multiple exposures and blending in post (which might not be ideal for some things), the simple solution honestly is to buy a camera that works best for you and what you shoot. In other words, get a Nikon or Sony. And before everyone flames me (I understand this is a mostly Canon site); I don't think that as a photographer you should adhere to the concept of "brand loyalty". No camera in my experience does everything perfectly. So you buy the system that will do everything you need to do today, and if your needs/style change in a couple years and that camera can't accommodate your needs then....then you switch to something that will.

A carpenter wouldn't buy a hammer, and stick with that brand/model forever just because it's what he's used to. If another company makes one with a better design/material/ergono​mics that would work better for the job at hand....he'd invest in that one.

Case in point, I used to shoot Nikon ages ago (back when it was ~ the same IQ wise with Canon), loved the camera. Then I switched to shooting almost exclusively studio and a lot of beauty/headshots. The 70-200 f4IS and 135L were the ideal tools for my new style of shooting...so I ditched my Nikon equipment and went Canon. A couple years later, I'm shooting outdoors in crazy lighting situations and I NEED a camera with more dynamic range....so I bought an A7. Great size/weight benefits, IQ that blew away the 5dII and III, not to mention DR that allowed me to capture way more detail than I had been able to in almost 3years with Canon. The downside was their lens selection was crap. So I'll probably end up going with Nikon (unless the 5ds magically has more DR than early reports suggest) again.

Is it inconvenient? Not really. Lenses usually line up price-wise selling and buying used. Bodies are expendable. I'd say the switching every couple years is far less inconvenient than shooting and missing a shot or getting one that isn't as good as it could have possibly been.

If you have the $$$ then maybe consider multiple systems? I'm waiting on more reviews for the 5Ds, but I'm likely going to get a D810 next month. Even so, I know Nikon falls short in several areas (weak 24-70, overpriced 70-200f4, no pancakes, horrid video, etc)...so I'll be keeping my 70D to fill some of those holes. Again, today the manufacturers seem to be excelling in one or two areas and conceding the others to the competition. If you shoot different things, you might need to be willing to invest in different systems for different things if you want to do each thing you do the best you can.

Re-read the OP's situation. You expect him to buy a couple of camera systems and carry both around with him whilst visiting Barcelona so that he can choose the "correct" camera to use for each particular scene? I don't think this helps the OP at all.

To the OP. Ignore the advice by tdlavigne (for your situation) and go with the others recommending either:
a) shooting a single RAW photo and then process to make a pseudo HDR image (I would recommend this if the scene is going to be changing. ie people walking through, cars moving etc)
b) if the scene is static then shot 3 -5 bracketed images that you can process into a single HDR image


From the "Land Down Under" ... South Australia

  
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MalVeauX
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May 11, 2015 05:37 |  #8

Heya,

Your 6D has good dynamic range and can handle this. You could resort to techniques like tone mapping from several exposures (commonly called HDR these days), or you could just work with your sensor and base what you're wanting to capture more of as the reason for your settings choices.

If you just meter that scene, the bright sky and the dark foreground will result in underexposure all the time on evaluative and other metering methods that include that sky portion (spot for example would have missed the sky and metered rather differently). But let's ignore the different meters, and just assume you just want to see what you'll get without chimping shots. This is why Live View is so handy. Shoot manual and just adjust your triangle of exposure settings to where they need to be for your goals. Then you get to do the next part.

Exposing to the right is great. But what if in doing so, you lose the sky because there's just too much dynamic range. You could also just expose a little bit to the right on the sky, and instead, just boost shadows in RAW from the 6D's RAW file. A good dynamic range sensor can do that and keep a good image still. Try it out. You don't always have to expose completely to the right and compromise the sky, you could go a little in between both the sky and the foreground, and just drop exposure in post for the sky, and boost shadows in RAW.

The kind of shot you posted reminds me of someone shooting evaluative metering in a semi-automatic mode (AV, etc). For those kinds of high dynamic range scenes, I'd shoot manual. Use Live View and look at the histogram, dial in on your settings, and you're set.

Very best,


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tdlavigne
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May 11, 2015 05:51 |  #9

AceCo55 wrote in post #17551613 (external link)
Re-read the OP's situation. You expect him to buy a couple of camera systems and carry both around with him whilst visiting Barcelona so that he can choose the "correct" camera to use for each particular scene? I don't think this helps the OP at all.

To the OP. Ignore the advice by tdlavigne (for your situation) and go with the others recommending either:
a) shooting a single RAW photo and then process to make a pseudo HDR image (I would recommend this if the scene is going to be changing. ie people walking through, cars moving etc)
b) if the scene is static then shot 3 -5 bracketed images that you can process into a single HDR image

I don't need to reread it. He asked for advice and I gave what I felt (and still do) to be the best advice given his situation. He can either fiddle around with multiple exposures (have fun with that in post if your subjects are moving or you don't have a tripod/monopod) or just buy the proper tools for his specific type of photography. Again, this is assuming he's unhappy with the limited (yes, let's be big boys here and admit Canon is severely lacking in this department) dynamic range consistently. Single RAW might help some but even then you're still limited in what the RAWs can do. The DR JUST. ISN'T. THERE. Not saying there's anything wrong with Canon as a system, so don't get all worked up...but I at least have the guts to admit it's not perfect and limited DR is the most notable area it fails in. Maybe you're not as picky as I am though...

If you want to play fanboy and not accept that there are really only 3 solutions to his problem, 2 of which I addressed in my post...then knock yourself out. But again, for anyone else who might want to attempt to question my OPINION on a solution here you go:

OPTIONS for OP (keeping in mind that to shoot that type of scenery, your camera CANNOT do what you want sooc):

1 - Fiddle around with "pseudo-hdr", ie. bracket multiple exposures and hope you didn't get anything moving that was terribly important, and also hope that you are skilled at masking, then spend the time work with the whole thing in post. Or just shoot one as was suggested...then waste 20 minutes fiddling with sliders in ACR or LR until you realize the DR still isn't where you need it to be.

2 - Get a camera that shoots those types of scenes better. Or get multiple cameras for different things. Sony/Nikon are going to piss you off in other areas as well. I've owned a lot from multiple brands, and shot with even more for jobs...and I've yet to find "The perfect body/system".

3 - Deal with it. Accept you aren't going to be able to get the look you want.

Again, my advice applies if he runs into this constantly. If you're only in this situation rarely, then IMO image 2 looks fine and there's no sense in putting any more effort into it. IF you shoot often, and find that you can't get the detail in shadows and highlights you want....well...you know...

And now, I await more silly fanboys who are personally insulted that I'd suggest the tool being used isn't the ideal one for this particular situation. Jeezus.....would you all jump on me if I told him shooting headshots with a fisheye lens isn't ideal either? lol




  
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May 11, 2015 07:05 |  #10

Daytime? Lowest ISO, expose like in your first shot, push the shadows. It doesn't matter what camera you own, if it was made in the past 5 years or so the files can take the 2 stops' worth of pushing and won't look worse for the wear (if you're really OCD about noise, just paint on a tiny bit of noise reduction).

Alternatively, accept that you'll lose part of the scene and work with it. Used properly, it can add a ton of character.


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Post edited over 4 years ago by Left Handed Brisket. (2 edits in all)
     
May 11, 2015 07:20 |  #11

approaching dusk, 6D, Tokina 16-35, processed in Capture One

the way I expose these type shots is to first have a good understanding of what is possible, it is important to get the best exposure you can. Second, I have "blinkies" turned on, blinkies tell you where the highlights are clipped. Third, I view the camera's histogram in RGB. As you can see in the histogram for the first shot, both the shadows and highlights are clipped (they go off the edge of the histogram). The blinkies told me just how much was clipped. In this case there were quite a few high lofty clouds and the city sky was a bit hazy so i knew that the blinkies would probably cover most of the sky. I wish i could tell you how much they covered, but this pic was taken 8 or 9 months ago.

The second pic shows you the adjustments made in the "high dynamic range" sliders. To be clear, this is a single exposure, not a HDR image at all. The adjustment in the HDR sliders is the only color correction made to this image. Note the vastly different looking histograms between the two images.

This was the first shot I took that night, and had just been in a pizza joint drinking beers with a couple of buddies. After this shot i took the ISO down and slowed down the shutter, which if i had done that in the first pic would have given me a bit more dynamic range to work with.

Proper exposure, that's how canon fanboys deal with it.


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AceCo55
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May 11, 2015 08:04 |  #12

tdlavigne wrote in post #17551626 (external link)
I don't need to reread it. He asked for advice and I gave what I felt (and still do) to be the best advice given his situation. He can either fiddle around with multiple exposures (have fun with that in post if your subjects are moving or you don't have a tripod/monopod) or just buy the proper tools for his specific type of photography. Again, this is assuming he's unhappy with the limited (yes, let's be big boys here and admit Canon is severely lacking in this department) dynamic range consistently. Single RAW might help some but even then you're still limited in what the RAWs can do. The DR JUST. ISN'T. THERE. Not saying there's anything wrong with Canon as a system, so don't get all worked up...but I at least have the guts to admit it's not perfect and limited DR is the most notable area it fails in. Maybe you're not as picky as I am though...

If you want to play fanboy and not accept that there are really only 3 solutions to his problem, 2 of which I addressed in my post...then knock yourself out. But again, for anyone else who might want to attempt to question my OPINION on a solution here you go:

OPTIONS for OP (keeping in mind that to shoot that type of scenery, your camera CANNOT do what you want sooc):

1 - Fiddle around with "pseudo-hdr", ie. bracket multiple exposures and hope you didn't get anything moving that was terribly important, and also hope that you are skilled at masking, then spend the time work with the whole thing in post. Or just shoot one as was suggested...then waste 20 minutes fiddling with sliders in ACR or LR until you realize the DR still isn't where you need it to be.

2 - Get a camera that shoots those types of scenes better. Or get multiple cameras for different things. Sony/Nikon are going to piss you off in other areas as well. I've owned a lot from multiple brands, and shot with even more for jobs...and I've yet to find "The perfect body/system".

3 - Deal with it. Accept you aren't going to be able to get the look you want.

Again, my advice applies if he runs into this constantly. If you're only in this situation rarely, then IMO image 2 looks fine and there's no sense in putting any more effort into it. IF you shoot often, and find that you can't get the detail in shadows and highlights you want....well...you know...

And now, I await more silly fanboys who are personally insulted that I'd suggest the tool being used isn't the ideal one for this particular situation. Jeezus.....would you all jump on me if I told him shooting headshots with a fisheye lens isn't ideal either? lol

Sorry - you DO need to re-read the OP's situation. Your "solution" is not a solution for his trip soon where he will be taking a wide variety of images ... including the high dynamic range images he's wanting to capture.
Your solution/advice is perfectly reasonable if the OP was looking to shoot high DR images regularly. However, it is not a great solution FOR THIS SITUATION - which is what I previously said.
For the rest of your reply - grow up. ... my opinion.
The OP will decide what is in his/her best interests. I hope he has a great time in Barcelona.


From the "Land Down Under" ... South Australia

  
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EverydayGetaway
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May 11, 2015 09:57 |  #13

armis wrote in post #17551704 (external link)
Daytime? Lowest ISO, expose like in your first shot, push the shadows. It doesn't matter what camera you own, if it was made in the past 5 years or so the files can take the 2 stops' worth of pushing and won't look worse for the wear (if you're really OCD about noise, just paint on a tiny bit of noise reduction).

Alternatively, accept that you'll lose part of the scene and work with it. Used properly, it can add a ton of character.

This.

I'm not a fan boy for any manufacturer, I even shoot a Sony as my main camera right now, for a situation like this the 6D is more than up to the task, you can easily get a very nice exposure from it in this situation.


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May 17, 2015 10:03 |  #14

I'm thinking that this is not unlike photographing subjects with a snowy background. Expose for the subject and blow out the snow or expose for the snow and loose the subject. But rather than ETTR, in the case of the city scenes shown, a more selective metering area would get it done - Center weighted, single point, etc. Yes you will lose the sky to expose for the city scene, but the city scene detail is the goal, and as has been discussed, the blown highlights can be recovered to an extent when shooting RAW.


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May 17, 2015 10:24 |  #15

tdlavigne wrote in post #17551626 (external link)
And now, I await more silly fanboys who are personally insulted that I'd suggest the tool being used isn't the ideal one for this particular situation. Jeezus.....would you all jump on me if I told him shooting headshots with a fisheye lens isn't ideal either? lol

Lighten up. I don't think anyone disputed your position on DR, and I don't think anyone was being an overt fanboy. I think the other opinions were working within the bounds of the OP's system, while your suggestion of system migration is the most extreme and costly way to address the issue.


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Taking pictures in shadowed streets with bright ligts
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