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Old Feb 24, 2012, 9:49 PM   #1
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Default Taking pictures in caves

Hi all

Portugal has several caves open to the public with guided tours. This summer I visited the largest, which is situated in the center of the country where are concentrated most of them.

This environment is a major challenge for the small sensor of FZ40 ... very low light for photographs taken hand-held.

I tryed to keep ISO as low as possible and almost all photos where taken at ISO400. Tryed some on iA and the camera set ISO800 for those photos.

All photos SOOC, only resized for posting. Amazingly they became ALOT better after resize on Adobe Fireworks CS3.

Here some... the less bad ones
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Old Feb 24, 2012, 9:51 PM   #2
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This isn't an environment to use flash... but sometimes we need to try it anyway... and i did as you can see on next photo

It's the same place... "same photo" like 1st one on previous post... but flash version of it
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Old Feb 25, 2012, 3:06 PM   #3
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G'day Rui

I like your images - esp the comparison via flash ... as you show us, there's not much benefit from using flash

Some suggestions for you-
When I do cave tours like the one you describe, I do several other things as well
1- I set WB to Tungsten for the lighting
2- I set ISO-400
3- I set EV +/- to -2/3EV
4- I use burst mode and take several shots of each subject

My reasoning for the above 3- & 4- is that with so much 'dark' areas around the illuminated displays, the camera's exposure meter is very likely to be more influenced by 'dark' and cause over-exposure to the main visual items. Secondly, as most exposures are from 1/4-sec to 1-sec, by using burst I will get 3-4 images of each topic, I then look at them in the computer and keep the clearest/sharpest image and throw away the others. The action of pressing the shutter button always moves the camera slightly - so by using burst, for exposures 2-3-4 etc I am only holding the camera as still as I can

If you wish I can post a photo from an Aussie cave showing you what we have 'downunder'

Hope this helps a bit
Regards, Phil
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Old Feb 25, 2012, 7:27 PM   #4
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What an interesting place and you did a nice job! I like 2 and 3.

Great suggestions by Phil!
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Old Feb 26, 2012, 11:05 AM   #5
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Interesting shots Rui. Looks like tripod territory to me.

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Old Feb 26, 2012, 11:30 AM   #6
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#3 & #4 are my favorites! I don't like the flash, compared to #1 at all. The naturalness is destroyed by the flash; just my humble opinion!
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Old Feb 26, 2012, 12:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozzie_Traveller View Post
G'day Rui

I like your images - esp the comparison via flash ... as you show us, there's not much benefit from using flash

Some suggestions for you-
When I do cave tours like the one you describe, I do several other things as well
1- I set WB to Tungsten for the lighting
2- I set ISO-400
3- I set EV +/- to -2/3EV
4- I use burst mode and take several shots of each subject

My reasoning for the above 3- & 4- is that with so much 'dark' areas around the illuminated displays, the camera's exposure meter is very likely to be more influenced by 'dark' and cause over-exposure to the main visual items. Secondly, as most exposures are from 1/4-sec to 1-sec, by using burst I will get 3-4 images of each topic, I then look at them in the computer and keep the clearest/sharpest image and throw away the others. The action of pressing the shutter button always moves the camera slightly - so by using burst, for exposures 2-3-4 etc I am only holding the camera as still as I can

If you wish I can post a photo from an Aussie cave showing you what we have 'downunder'

Hope this helps a bit
Regards, Phil
Thanks for the feedback Phil, and the tips are very welcome.

I never thought that way, I always try to get the best shot possible, never thought of taking as many photos as possible and then take the best.

Exposure is really as you say, in the middle of darkness, the lights influence very little the camera reading and the photos tend to be exposed according to the dark areas and loses detail in bright areas.

I tried to fight it with spot metering.
I picked up the reading on the subject I wanted to shoot, blocked the reading and only then does fit the picture.

It would be nice that you share your pictures, it's allways nice to see others photos and learn something with them

Quote:
Originally Posted by saly
What an interesting place and you did a nice job! I like 2 and 3.

Great suggestions by Phil!
Thank you Saly, indeed great suggestions


Quote:
Originally Posted by jjdog2
Interesting shots Rui. Looks like tripod territory to me.

jj
Thank you JJ
With a tripod could do wonders in that environment, but on the guided tour we have to remain with the group and use the tripod becomes impractical

Quote:
Originally Posted by csa
#3 & #4 are my favorites! I don't like the flash, compared to #1 at all. The naturalness is destroyed by the flash; just my humble opinion!
Thank you csa
The flash was really only an experience

It doesn't work at all... wide areas it doesn't have power eneught to iluminate and in closer object situations, it clears the atmosphere made by nice lights colors

But I had to try it to see it
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Old Feb 26, 2012, 3:37 PM   #8
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G'day Rui


You mention
"It would be nice that you share your pictures, it's allways nice to see others photos and learn something with them"

Here is two images from Australia's famous Jenolan Caves, located about 250km west of Sydney. Both hand-held [tripods not permitted during public tours] and using the 'burst exposure' method described earlier. WB = tungsten light bulb, EV = -2/3EV, each image is ex-camera, no pp except for resizing to post here

1- ISO-200, 1/4sec @ f2,8, 1x zoom


2- ISO-200, 1/4sec @ f2,8, 3x zoom


Hope you enjoy them
Regards, Phil
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Last edited by Ozzie_Traveller; Feb 27, 2012 at 3:11 PM.
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Old Feb 26, 2012, 3:41 PM   #9
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Beautiful series Rui!! And very useful informations and examples Phil, thanks!
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Old Feb 26, 2012, 4:30 PM   #10
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Interesting looking place Ozzie.

jj
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