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Old Jul 17, 2005, 12:00 AM   #1
dlw
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I'm brand new with my Rebel XT and have been taking pictures of old barns out in the countryside. It's been mostly sunny with blue, cloudless skies but almost all my shots have more of a darker, gray sky than blue. Everything else about the photos looks great. I've just been shooting in full automatic mode so far. I use a UV filter on my 75-300 Canon stabilizer lens, but not on the kit lens that came with the camera and both give the same results. Do I need a polarizer filter, or is something else going on? When I use Photoshop and do autolevels, the sky turns a nice blue but the rest of the photo usually becomes too bright. Any ideas for a newbie to try? I want to stick with full auto mode for a while just to get used to the camera before I get serious.
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 1:30 PM   #2
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The problem with trying to suggest anything is that you're sticking to an auto mode, which basically does 95% of the work, and all that is required from the user is to compose, and press the shutter. Honestly, going into creative mode isn't really as hard as it sounds (the one you really want to avoid for now is manual (M), where you deal with both aperture and shutter). I would know because I only had the XT for about 2 months and tried creative mode on the second day I got it (that automatic pop up flash was really annoying me). But depending on you, you could actually get a hang for the technical stuff before the "artistic" stuff.

But if you still insist on automatic mode, I'm going to suggest that you switch to P mode. I know that's in the "creative" zone, but it's basically like auto mode except you decide when to use a pop-up flash and if you want to, you can adjust the other things like iso, af, meter mode, wb. Because you said the autolevels made the sky blue, I'm going to suggest that you change the white balance. Press the WB to bring up the white balance modes, and choose the one that looks like a sun and then press select. Try taking a picture then.

I'm pretty sure on automatic mode the WB stays the same at default, which is definitely not the best in every situation- which is why you need to switch to a creative mode to have access to WB.

That's about the only real suggestion I can make without saying any other techical stuff.

I think a polarizer only saturates colour to give a different feel for a picture, and you should be able to get a blue sky out without using any special equipment.

hope this helps a bit.
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 4:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I'm not completely stuck on full Auto mode, just like to take a step at a time when possible. As a matter of fact, I just came in from taking a bunch of shots in Aperature Priorty mode studing depth of field effects (and also trying out the new Cokin polarizer filter I bought today - my son works at Best Buy so I get great prices on that kind of stuff). I will try the white balance tactic you gave me. Attached is an example of why I purchased the Rebel, I love these old barns and there are hundreds with a few miles of my home. This is straight out of the camera with my 75-300 Canon image stabilzer lens (no tripod) in full auto mode. PS: I adjusted the exposure a bit and overwrote the original by mistake, so this is actually a bit of a doctored version:


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Old Jul 17, 2005, 7:00 PM   #4
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At first I thought your picture was a little underexposed, so I looked at its histogram chart with the Digital Photo Professional software that comes with the XT (if you have it installed you can see it, too). The histogram also shows that this picture is leaning a little bit to underexposure. What interests me is that most of your dark pixels are blue.

Another thing I also noticed was the time you took this picture. Judging by the light at the bottom of the picture, it seems to be somewhere around early morning or evening? Were most of your shots around this time? If you took any pictures around the afternoon, are the skies still this grey? I just looked through one of my folders that I took pictures all day and I noticed that the sky in my pictures were also showing some grey. This only happened later on in the day around sunset.

This is with the kit lens and I kept the WB on default during that whole day. When I did a level adjustment to the second image the sky turns blue again, but the lighting on the buildings also change in some weird way (or maybe it was a while ago so I can't remember if it was really that way). So I'd still suggest trying to adjust the WB setting.
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Old Jul 19, 2005, 12:29 AM   #5
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BoYFrMSpC wrote:
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I think a polarizer only saturates colour to give a different feel for a picture, and you should be able to get a blue sky out without using any special equipment.


A circular polarizer is one of the only ways you can have control over how deep blue you want the sky to be "as shot". I do find that my B+W circ pol gives a result that is a bit "cold" so I increase white balance by 600K when I use it.


This one was taken in bright sunlight, clear sky, at about 1pm.


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Old Jul 19, 2005, 12:34 AM   #6
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Here's another one with my circ pol:


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