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Old Aug 12, 2003, 8:18 PM   #1
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Default picture trouble

when i take pictures outside the sky always ends up horribly overexposed...What settings should i change to prevent this from happening? here is an example of what happens.

sorry im a newbie when it comes to photography
My camera is Minolta Dimage 7i

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Old Aug 12, 2003, 8:39 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with the Minolta, so I have no idea what options it has with light metering. Looking at the picture it shows a tree with shadows and highights. Next look inside the car parked infront, if the sky was blue and the wall had more details the inside would almost be black.

The camera calculated the ligth situation and thus shutter speed in this case at expenses of extreme light and dark tones, thats were you pointed the meter. If the Minolta has some center weighted metering, try pointing the camera at what you would like to be exposed perfect, press the shutter halfway and next move into composition and click.
There are more proffessional ways to do it, but this might a nice start to get the idea
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Old Aug 12, 2003, 10:58 PM   #3
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There are shadows (indication of a sunny day) but the sky looks white. Perhaps a hazy day? This place looks like New York City. I happened to be there last week twice during my vacation and one of those two days the sky was hazy.

I have trouble getting pictures right during hazy days as opposed to overcast days.
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Old Aug 13, 2003, 12:21 AM   #4
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There's no setting that will prevent it, nor is it a weakness of your camera...actually it's the nature of cameras in general.

Say you have a bright sky, and your subject is a large group of trees in shadow. If your picture is concentrated on the dark trees your light meter will read the lack of light and set the camera for that to let more light in...your sky will be washed out. Now if you were to concentrate more on the sky the light meter would take a reading from that and reduce the amount of light coming into the camera, and the trees would be all in black. Your eyes do this automatically so you never have to think about that, but with a photo you (and the camera) see everything at once.

A polarizer filter will be able to improve the situation, but it takes a little practice, experience, and looking at the LCD (or EVF if your camera has one) to use it (the polarizer needs to be rotated to set it properly, and you need to look through the main lens to see the results)...this isn't a magical filter that you just pop on and it solves all your problems.

Here's a great page with examples (although the sky examples are further down the page, polarizers are also great for cutting down on glass reflections so you can shoot through windows :roll: )...it's also great for shooting things in water; check out the fish example on that page:

Here's a great page I found showing where your camera is reading the light from can influence the picture:

p.s. Some people get mad here if you post full size pictures. If you need to post a pic you should keep it under 800x600 and under 150K. If you need to show a full size pic, hotlink to the picture but give a warning for those on dialup about the size.
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Old Aug 13, 2003, 1:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by andrewz
when i take pictures outside the sky always ends up horribly overexposed...What settings should i change to prevent this from happening?
Set the camera to take 3 or 5 bracketed exposures in rapid succession. Experiment to see if you need +/= 0.3, 0.7, or 1 stop.

Use the least unacceptable of these images, or if you can be bothered, use your computer image editor to combine the sky of one shot with the rest of another.

Alternatively, if you know from experience that the highlights are going to be overexposed, turn the exposure down by half a stop or more. To my eye, absent shadow detail is almost always better than burnt-out highlights.
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Old Aug 13, 2003, 6:54 AM   #6
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Mike has given good advice with the filter. It takes a while to learn what your camera is doing with exposure. My Fuji 602 was consistently burning out sky, now I set the exposure compensation to under expose 1/3-1 stop which fixes most skies. You can easily control a few stops under in editing. But once it's burned out you've lost it.

I also use the Histogram preview - you're lucky with a Dimage, I think you can super it on the viewfinder whilst composing. If you see lots of 255 at the top end, reduce the exposure.

Check your metering options - centre weighted/spot metering etc. Non are likely to give perfect results every time. I use spot metering so I can half press the shutter and see the exposure values for high and lowlights. It's then your decision what to do. I've read about Hoya graduated ND filters, and I want to give one of those a try on bright Summer landscape and beach/sea shots.
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Old Aug 13, 2003, 12:27 PM   #7
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I'm as new as you are and am also struggling. I have found that a blown out sky is gone. If I expose to get a little sky the shadows are dark but not totally black and I can usually bring them up a little with Photoshop, with which I am also struggling. I set my camera to underexpose, took pictures, checked on the computer, did it again with slightly less underexposure and finally got to a point that seems to work, sometimes.
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