Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 16, 2005, 4:03 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
longside1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 693
Default

Howdy,

I'm pretty new to digital photography and need a little help understanding something. Im planning on getting up really early this sunday to get a few shots of the sunrise with my Nikon D50 (kit lens + polariser filter). When i normally take shots, of sunset/sunrise everything always comes out darker.

I have been told that i should try bracketing the exposure. I interpret this as meaning I use the camera to automatically set the exposure of something in the frame eg the sky, then take a photo. then alter the appeture 1 stop higher take a shot then 1 stop lower and take a shot. Is this correct?

Also could someone please explain spot metering!

Apologies if these questions have already been asked before, i did search the forum but got way to many hits!

I look forward toi sharing my shots!
longside1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Dec 16, 2005, 4:32 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
rjseeney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Taylor Mill, Kentucky
Posts: 2,398
Default

First, I would lose the polarizer filter. A polarizer lets in less light (up to 2 stops), which may explain your dark pics. Only use a polarizer in bright light to reduce reflections or make the sky bluer. For sunset/sunrise, a polarizer does not provide any real benefit. Set the camera to "p" mode and fire away.

Bracketing may help. Custom function #12 allows you to set auto bracketing. You can choose anywhere from 1/3 stop up to 2 stops. The camera will shoot 3 frames in a sequence. One at the the calculated exposure, 1 the selected amount under and one over.

Spot metering is one of the 3 exposure modes. Spot metering selects a small portion of the frame ( the center circle) and calculates the exposure based on this area. This is useful for backlit subjects or whenever you need to make sure a certain portion of the frame is exposed corectly. Centerweighted uses a larger portion of the center of the frame to get exposure, and matrix uses an average of all portions of the frame. You should use matrix most of the time.

Spend some time with your manual. This will explain things in much better detail than I can.
rjseeney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 16, 2005, 6:00 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
terry@softreq.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,539
Default

Exposure bracketing comes out of the film world.

Generally, if my exposure looks reasonable on my LCD after the shot, then I know I'm within 1 stop of light where I need to be, and can probably adjust the exposure afterwards with software and be okay.

Usually if a shot is underexposed, it's probably a good idea to increase the ISO (light sensitivity) of your camera sensor.

Here's some typical ISO settings:

ISO100 sunny day

ISO200 partially cloudy

ISO400 cloudy but stilll brign

ISO800 evening, or dark and cloudy, or indoors

ISO1600 low light indoor situation like a high school gym or dark interior of a house.

ISO3200 if your camera has it, your trying to deal with a very marginal light situation.

Another topic is backlit subjects, where you can spot metering, exposure compensation or use some fill flash, but that's probably something you should look up some details on the web or in your camera user manual.

HOPE THIS HELPS -- Terry
terry@softreq.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 16, 2005, 7:54 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 804
Default

longside1, you say that when you shoot sunrises/sets that everything comes out darker. This is a dynamic range problem and bracketing will only help insofar as it will allow you to choose which exposure compromise that you want to accept.
The difference in the range of brightness between the brightest highlight and darkest shadow is just too great for the sensor to handle correctly. You can have good highlight rendition at the expense of having overly dark midrange and shadows. You can have proper shadow and midrange detail with washed-out highlights. Or, you can have partly washed-out highlights and partially rendered mids and shadows.
This is pretty much the choice that bracketing will give you. Some choice is better than no choice. Conventional wisdom is to expose more for the highlights and then try to bring up the mids and shadows selectively in post processing.
If you bracket in RAW mode, this will help give you the greatest overall latitude.
If you really want to get good highs and lows, you can set the camera on a tripod and take several different exposures in aperture priority mode, some a stop or two over and under the recommended exposure. Two or more of these shots can then be combined in the computer to use the good highlights from one pic and the good midrange/shadows from another pic. If done properly, this will give results that just can't be captured by one exposure in the camera. Photoshop CS will do this automatically, but there are manual methods available for users of other software.
A graduated neutral density filter over the lens can also give good results by lowering the light level of the sun/sky while leaving the rest of the shot unfiltered.
I agree that you should lose the polarizer for these types of shots.
Gee, this all sounds uncomfortably close to work...
Grant
granthagen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 17, 2005, 12:26 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
longside1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 693
Default

Guys, what can i say, thanks for the help, its really appreciated. Id just like to say that i have read the manual cover to cover but nothing beats getting good advice!

I really like the idea of exposing for the sky and then the ground and then blending the two together in photoshop, i think ill have a go tom morning!

Either way ill post my photos in the other forum whether they come out ok or not. I thought it might be usefull for other beginners to see what i did and how it turned out.

Ill let you know when ive posted the images.

Many thanks!
longside1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 17, 2005, 12:26 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
longside1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 693
Default

Guys, what can i say, thanks for the help, its really appreciated. Id just like to say that i have read the manual cover to cover but nothing beats getting good advice!

I really like the idea of exposing for the sky and then the ground and then blending the two together in photoshop, i think ill have a go tom morning! Also ive just figured out the bracketing feature on my camera, but im unsure as to what the step size should be?

Either way ill post my photos in the other forum whether they come out ok or not. I thought it might be usefull for other beginners to see what i did and how it turned out.

Ill let you know when ive posted the images.

Many thanks!
longside1 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 7:07 PM.