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Old Aug 15, 2007, 5:07 PM   #1
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I tried a few sunset pictures with my Canon S3 IS, but the results were not satisfactory. I am posting a sample pic above. I did not manage to get the exposure right. It was either too bright or too dark, I could not capture the golden colored sceanery in my camera.

Can any one of you help me with this. Thanks in advance for your time and help.

Cheers,

Mtgoat
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 9:40 PM   #2
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mtgoat, that kind of shot just ain't possible to expose properly without "help"! The dynamic range (the difference between the darkest dark and brightest bright) of the scene is too high. I'd say that your best bet in these situations is to use a tripod, put your camera in aperture priority mode and use either the camera's exposure bracketing function or exposure compensation function to take two or more shots of the same scene at different exposures. Then you blend them together in the computer later, getting the best parts of your photos in one picture.

If you use Photoshop CS or above (at least, I think this feature was introduced in CS), there is a function called Merge To HDR which automates the blending to some degree. There are stand-alone programs like Photomatix Pro that do a similar job, but Photomatix is a bit pricey, IMO. You can also find tutorials on the web that describe various methods of manual blending that you can probably do with editors other than Photoshop. Just search under HDR blending, or similar wording and you'll find free instructions.

Your other alternative is to get some graduated neutral density filters for your camera -- if your camera accepts filters or an adaptor that will take filters. They tend to work the best, though, when the horizon line is fairly level and even. The pic you posted was decidedly uneven. These filters have a clear area and a tinted area with varying degrees of transition between the two. This cuts down the dynamic range of a scene so that your image sensor has a fighting chance of recording a more balanced exposure.

Grant
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 9:42 PM   #3
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There isn't much to be done with this type of shot in a single exposure. The problem is that the dynamic range (variation in light from lightest to darkest areas) of the camera is too narrow to be able to show detail in both the shadows and highlights. This occurs with all digital cameras, and even film cameras don't do too well.

The solution, if you have sufficient time, is to take a minimum of three exposures, one at normal setting, one at about two stops under, and one at about two stops over, then use a photo editor to blend them into one HDR image.

There is a DSLR, the Sony, I think, which has a HDR mode built in which, from the samples I have seen, works pretty well.

Other than those approaches, we just point out the pretty colors and say "Look at that dramatic lighting!"

brian
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Old Sep 2, 2007, 1:09 AM   #4
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mtgoat wrote:
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I tried a few sunset pictures with my Canon S3 IS, but the results were not satisfactory. I am posting a sample pic above. I did not manage to get the exposure right. It was either too bright or too dark, I could not capture the golden colored sceanery in my camera.

Can any one of you help me with this. Thanks in advance for your time and help.

Cheers,

Mtgoat
Try using spot metering. You'll see a greater difference in lighting levels using spot meteringas you pan the camera around the sky, getting closer and then further away from the sun. It'll give you a greater number of opportunuties to change the mood of the shot. Once the light levels get to where you want them, lock the exposure so you can then recompose the scene as you want it, and shoot. That's how I did this sun riseone with my Panasonic FZ50..



The worst thing you can do is leave your metering in the standard matrix or multi-segment metering. The camera tries to balance everything out...the very last thing you want in shooting an image like this.
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