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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 02 Jun 2018 (Saturday) 20:00
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Pure white birds

 
Rainyday
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Jun 02, 2018 20:00 |  #1

How do you photograph pure white birds like egrets and such? I get the color correct but lose the details in the feathers.

Thanks!




  
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Naturalist
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Jun 02, 2018 21:08 |  #2

Your meter exposes for 18% grey so open up 2 stops.


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Duane ­ N
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Jun 03, 2018 04:10 |  #3

Photograph them in optimal light...earlier or later in the day is best. White is a natural light reflector so the lower the sun angle (light is less harsh when the sun is at a lower angle) the better.


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saea501
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Post edited over 1 year ago by saea501. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 03, 2018 05:40 |  #4

Naturalist wrote in post #18637980 (external link)
Your meter exposes for 18% grey so open up 2 stops.

I can't agree with this. It is very easy to blow the highlights on these birds......opening up the aperture does just that. At least that's what I've found.

I'm more in agreement with Duane, shoot them in good light. I've found spot metering helps me to get them right as well. But if you are shooting them in full sun you can pretty much be assured you're going to lose highlights.

This one was an overcast day, the sun was filtered yet still bright enough to cause some shadows. Any brighter and it would have been too much.

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Jun 03, 2018 05:49 |  #5

Naturalist wrote in post #18637980 (external link)
Your meter exposes for 18% grey so open up 2 stops.

Umm I would go the other way, 2 (give or take)stops under or closed down.

Black birds on the other hand, yes open up 2 (give or take) stops over or opened up.


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Sibil
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Jun 03, 2018 07:12 |  #6

graham121 wrote in post #18638111 (external link)
Umm I would go the other way, 2 (give or take)stops under or closed down.

Black birds on the other hand, yes open up 2 (give or take) stops over or opened up.

I agree with this.




  
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Jun 03, 2018 09:56 |  #7

I would agree with Duane and others that the angle/strength of the light is the key component to being able to really expose the whites well. The higher the sun the more difficulty you will likely have. Stopping down will help but if the light is very bright/harsh the whites will suffer.

Check to see if your camera has a highlight alert function that will indicate if you are blowing the whites.


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Larry ­ Johnson
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Larry Johnson. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 03, 2018 14:53 |  #8

You're loosing detail because you overexposed the highlights (or you're just too far away). Shooting in manual mode, spot meter the white bird and stop down a couple stops so you don't blow the highlights. Take a few test shots and check your highlight alerts and histogram to determine if your exposure is correct. If you're used to metering off a neutral gray card or grass (rather than the bird), you'll need to bump up a couple of stops to maintain white color, but keep checking your highlight alerts blinkies to get the detail. As was mentioned, a white bird in bright sunlight is the worst subject to shoot.

Everyone that replied is correct; it just depends what they are metering off of; nuetral gray card versus a white bird.


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Rainyday
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Jun 03, 2018 19:03 |  #9

Thank you everyone! I will experiment and see what I can do to improve my shots.




  
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Jun 17, 2018 15:08 |  #10

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Photo from Sgt.'s gallery.
under expose them

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Squa7ch2112
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Aug 04, 2018 23:12 |  #11

Good light helps but generally I'll meter off the sky depending how much the light is changing. Open up 2-3 stops, take a shot and check the histogram, then go from there.


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FAIR ­ CHASE
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Oct 02, 2018 13:04 |  #12

The past couple winters the snowy owls have been in MT (and ND) and I blew more than on great opportunity to capture a white birds against a solid white background. Hope they show up again this winter.




  
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Oct 02, 2018 13:17 as a reply to  @ graham121's post |  #13

That is exactly what I found when photographing ospreys in Florida and then quickly switching to catch egrets.
Dark feathers of the Osprey needed 1.5 -2 stops over and egrets 2 stops under.




  
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NorthernFocus
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Oct 02, 2018 17:14 |  #14

Several people in this thread are mentioning exposing over/under without mentioning what metering mode they're using. The only way one can definitively say over/under x stops is when using spot metering or if the bird essentially fills the frame with center or matrix meter. With matrix metering there is so much potential variability to BG/surroundings that no rule of thumb is going to work all the time. Being complete with such recommendations is most helpful. Partial information can be more confusing than helpful to novices.

All that said, ninety percent of the time I shoot fully manual and don't use the meter at all. I usually determine exposure by taking a couple of test shots of a scene and adjusting based on the histogram and the intended subject. Or on bright days by using the old sunny 16 rule.


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