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Old Jun 18, 2008, 8:35 PM   #1
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Hello, I've always had hard time with exposure in bright daylight with my D50. Recently I wanted to take some pictures of a pitch black dog. Results are horribe. Am I in the right forum to ask more experienced people some hints and post a photo that will tell all? Please guide to the right forum and I will post the photo. It's important to me. Thanks. Germain.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 9:33 PM   #2
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A black dog in bright sunlight is tough. Shooting in the morning or late afternoon is best, as the sunlight will be less harsh.

Shooting anything pitch black is tough. The camera's meter will try to expose the black as gray, probably resulting in overexposure. Try metering on the dog and reducing you EV buy a stop or so. This should expose the dog properly and reduce the blown highlights in the background. Filling the frame with the dog will reduce the backgrounds effect on the exposure as well. Check your exposures after each shot and adjust the EV up or down as necessary.

You could also try using the sunny 16 rule in manual mode. Set your aperature at f/16 and set the shutter speed to 1/ISO. That is if your at ISO 200, your shutter speed should be 1/200.
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 3:36 PM   #3
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Yes! You are in the right forum. Please do post a picture to show what you mean...

I suspect as rjseeney has mentioned, your camera is compensating for the 'blackness' of the pooch, and creating a horribly over-exposed image. You could use the sunny 16 rule, but what if there are clouds overhead? Hmm...

If you are in the sun, try and set your exposure to a patch of grass that is in the same sunlight. Your exposure should read about -2/3, this should give you roughly the correct exposure.

If you have blue skies, point your camera to the 45 degrees to the sky away from the sun, fill the frame with blue and set your aperture or shutter speed until you get a neutral exposure. Now frame up your dog in the sunlight and shoot. As long as your dog is in the same light it should be roughly correctly exposed.

You could also try and set your exposure to the palm of your hand...The palm of your hand should read +2/3 above neutral. Now frame your shot and ignore your exposure reading, shoot!

For the above metering methods, I would suggest centre-weighted.

Finally, PLEASE do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure". It's a fantastic book that goes into exposure and the best way to deal with difficult light!

Good luck!

Jacques.
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Old Jun 20, 2008, 11:25 AM   #4
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Hello to both of you and thanks for your help and hints, I keep them in mind and Assoon as the sun comes back (!!!), I will try again. Here's the photo I was talking about. Hope it will "shed some more light"...Thanks again. Il will read carefully your observations. Germain
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Old Jun 20, 2008, 4:30 PM   #5
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Hi Karmin,

We'll, it looks like your dog was looking for a bit of shade! Firstly, did you have any exposure compensation set (-1 stop etc) when you took this photo, as it seems to be slightly under-exposed.

Your camera might have been trying to avoid blowing the highlights of the bright play equipment, leaving the rest of the image underexposed. If you look closely to the hind legs of the dog, you'll see that the exposure isn't far off!

So the real problem here is that your dog is in the shade! If you expose for this shady area (compensate to the right) you should get a correct exposure.

Also, try and shoot just before sunset or just after sunrise. Have you tried popping the flash on your D50 in direct sunlight for a bit of fill light?

-Jacques.
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Old Jun 21, 2008, 8:13 PM   #6
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Hello friends, thanks for the "light". I don't know why but the idea of using fill flash makes me think I don't control my exposure. Silly idea I know. Plus, Jacques you're right, I tend to underexpose cause I think the D50 is a camera that overexposes all the time whichever scene you capture. Blown highlights are a plague with this model but still I love the little beast and I don't intend to swap it for a D80 right now. Surely not a D40, D60 for sure. By the way, am I the only one to think -and feel- the D50 has a nasty tendancy to overexpose? Anyway, thanks for your answers, I will try myself again at a black dog, cat or else. I really want to master the technique. Germain.
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Old Jun 21, 2008, 11:07 PM   #7
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"By the way, am I the only one to think -and feel- the D50 has a nasty tendancy to overexpose? "

First, RJ Seeney and Jaques_T have given some solid advice. I humbly add mine...

No, not when it comes to blown highlights. The fix is to take several exposures in the same condition, but with under-exposure dialed in. I use manual mode and underexpose by either adjusting the shutter speed or aperture to achieve the result I want. As to your picture. As was said, fill-flash will help, have you tried spot-metering? The D50 does this well. If you want the entire photo to be properly exposed, then the fill flash may be necessary. Robert
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Old Jun 22, 2008, 6:19 AM   #8
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I don't think the D50 overexposes...if anything I found it did a good job of preserving highlights. What exposure mode do you normally shoot in?? Use your histogram to judge exposure and adjust you compensation from there. I wouldn't use spot metering unless you're absolutely sure you need it..ie back lit subjects, getting faces exposed properly in shadows, etc. If you don't meter exactly where you want the exposure set, you can get poor exposures easy.
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