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nhmom Jan 17, 2007 8:32 PM

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Help! I'm running out of time before everything starts to melt or the clouds come back.

We had an ice storm Sunday and Monday that has left everything covered in ice. All the trees are like ice sculptures. This morning when I left for work, the sun was rising behind stands of the trees and I tried to capture what I saw. I obviously didn't, as this photo is not what I saw.

In real life, it looked more like a shotsimilar to the ice scene in Dr Zhivago, but not as much ice.

I realized tonight when trying to photograph the trees with the street lights behind them that I had to change the white balance setting to a different kind of light. That helped change my ice from a yellowish tint to the white it is. But, I would imagine this shot taken this morning on AWB wouldn't have been affected by that. Or, would it?

Any tips on how I can capture this before it's all gone? I'm shooting in all manual as the auto tends to come out too dark most times. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to learn how to use my camera better. Also, should I shoot these in RAW so I could manipulate them better if needed?

Btw, I am using the K100D with my 18-55 kit lens. I also have the 50-200 lens. Oh, and it was -4ยบ this morning while shooting. So, I wasn't taking a long time to get these shots before I got back in the car. As a matter of fact, I think this one may have been taken from theinside of my car. The ones taken from outside didn't come out any better. I also am limited to where I can take the shots from as these roads all narrow two lane roads and most of the ground not traveled by cars steadily is covered in sheets of ice and very slippery.

Thanks for any tips. I really appreciate it.

nhmom Jan 17, 2007 8:35 PM

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Here is the real shot I was first starting to try of just the trees with the sun behind them.

I forgot to mention, I had adjusted the levels in the first one. But, didn't do anything to this one but resize.

Corpsy Jan 17, 2007 9:25 PM

First of all, you should be shooting RAW, then no matter how bad your white balance is you can completely fix it later.

It looks like you're getting some overexposure, which is a bit unusual with the sun in the photo. I'm guessing you were spot metering on the road there. I would suggest using area metering, and maybe try the snowy scene mode.

Finally, if you're taking your time with each shot rather than going for quantity, then I'd suggest you use auto bracketing with at least a whole stop difference. This way you can be sure that at least one of the exposures is right. And if you're using a tripod, or if you're real steady, you can merge the photos to get an even better exposure in difficult scenes like that second shot, or create HDR images.

Jan 17, 2007 10:21 PM

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remeber this thread";forum_id=80

lighting was horrendous for WB. i shot it in raw an corrected itlater, thank you raw

first shot isunconverted raw file before custom WB.

secound is custom WB applied in ACR and etc.


Jan 17, 2007 10:21 PM

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when shooting in unknowns, shoot in raw so you have the power later.

VTphotog Jan 17, 2007 11:13 PM

This is one of those types of shots that pushes the limits of the camera (any camera). There is so much contrast between the shadow areas on the road, and the bright sky, that the camer doesn't have enough range to capture it all, and you either wind up with washed out highlights, or deep shadows with no detail.

The best way to take this shot is in full manual, with fixed white balance, and make a minimum of three exposures, at least one full stop apart (two stops might be better), and then use HDR software to blend them into one picture with the full range.This requires us of a tripod in order for the different shots to register. If you aren't familiar with doing this, you can try reducing the contrast setting in the camera, and bring out shadow detail using image editing software. Meter on the brightest part of the scene so highlights will not be blown out. A lot of detail can be recovered in the shadows, but usually at the expense of noise.


nhmom Jan 18, 2007 6:31 AM

Thank you, all. Now I don't feel so bad that it didn't come out as intended. I will take all of your advice and try these things today. Once it's light enough outside I think I will have the sun again.

I realized when I went looking for my post this morning that I posted in the wrong section. I thought I was posting in the general Pentax area. Sorry about that.

So, what is HDR? I keep seeing messages about it, but...... Should I check into moving my message to the other board?


Corpsy Jan 18, 2007 3:26 PM

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. The dynamic range of a camera is the limits within which light detail can be captured without being under or over exposed. For example, the second photo you took has a sun that's overexposed and a foreground that's underexposed. If you had twice as much dynamic range, you could have more visible detail in both areas, more closely approximating what the human eye can see.

An HDR image is an image that can retain a very wide dynamic range. You can create one by merging multiple exposures in a program like Photoshop. It then uses your bright exposures to get detail for the dark areas, and dark exposures to get detail for the bright areas.

An HDR image works a lot like a RAW image, in that you can change the exposure setting of it to get an image of just the sun and sky exposed properly, or of the foreground with the sun and sky washed out, or you can turn the contrast way down and get it all in one image.

nhmom Jan 18, 2007 9:24 PM

Thanks, Corpsy. That was very informative.

I left the house about 15 minutes later this morning to try tihs again, but I think there were too many clouds in the sky anyway. The sun was shining, but through a haze of clouds.

I did take a lot of shots in RAW today. Haven't uploaded yet to see how they came out. I did run out of space on my 1GB card. Am curious to see how much larger these files are. I knew they were larger, but it seems they were much, much larger than I had expected.

We get snow tonight and tomorrow. But, maybe this weekend we'll have sun to try again. Although, the ice may be gone from all the wind we are getting tomorrow night.

Gumnut Jan 20, 2007 7:25 PM

another thought
i hope not to late
in the first photo i feel you have tries to fit to much in
all the interesting bits are on the left side
if you zoomed or used a long lens or turned the camera
and concentrated on that part you may find it more to your likeing
there would be a lot more detail in the photo
try cropping that photo and enlarging it to see how it looks

also having someting frozen in the foreground may help
it sets the scene for the background
if that makes sense

general scenes and fitting as much in as possible seems a good idea at the time
but often the details are too small to be seen
and as you have experienced here the camera cant handle the lighting

nhmom Jan 23, 2007 8:58 PM


Thank you very much for the suggestions. All very good points. I will try to remember them next time I'm in the situation. The ice is all gone now. Although, we've had snow for two days. So, there are still some "glinting" opportunities when the sun comes out.


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