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Old Jul 22, 2008, 12:43 PM   #1
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Last Sunday I shot some pictures of a friend of mine in upstate NY. Using my K100 and 360 flash I had her pose under a viney trellis with the winery and orchard behind her. Also, I used matrix metering and P-TTL with Hi-Speed sync so the flash would match the exposure. The annoying thing though is that I always seem to overexpose the background if its lighter than my subject.
What do you think is the best thing to do? Take a reading of the background first and then shoot the subject or drop the EV 2 stops?
It's been tough for me to accept the shorter dynamic range of a digital camera. I figure it was a 3-stop difference between subject and background. Is the dynamic range of the k100 only 2 stops?

I appreciate any help. Thanks.

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Old Jul 22, 2008, 5:46 PM   #2
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Well you were shooting into the light source which does not help. A little editing can help.

This was a quick touchup with my workflow. I hope you don't mind

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Old Jul 22, 2008, 7:40 PM   #3
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Here you go. A little duplicating of the image in Photoshop apply Multiply blending mode and a soft light blending mode a little masking for the sky and presto.

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Old Jul 22, 2008, 8:12 PM   #4
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This is an age-old problem -- at least as long as photography has been around.

About the only thing you can do about it is reduce the dynamic range of the scene. This usually means adding light to the foreground subject, whether by positioning it in an area of higher light or using reflectors and/or artificial light.

For the posted shot, you needed to get more out of your flash so that you could use a smaller aperture for less background exposure. If this routinely is not possible, then you need a more powerful flash.

Of course, there's the software route as demonstrated by the previous posters, but that can be a drag if you take a lot of such shots.

It might help to shoot these high contrast scenes in RAW. That gives you a bit more dynamic range than shooting JPEG, and makes getting acceptable results in post processing easier.

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Old Jul 23, 2008, 3:53 AM   #5
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Not a lot you can do with a blown out sky ... Best way to shoot this is 2 exposures one for the highlights and one for the mid and lower tones, then combine the best of each one in PS.

Here's my take I gave it the same treatment as I did in this thread


Hope you like the result. ... Jack
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Old Jul 23, 2008, 5:07 AM   #6
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Hi JB,

I'd try putting the camera in Manual Mode, then meter for the sky. I don't recall if the K100 does High Speed Synch (HSS), but if it doesn't, you have to limit your shutter to 1/180 or slower and then stop the lens down to get the exposure of the sky as you would want it. Either use CW or spot metering mode, or lock AE with AF point, and shoot with your external flash in P-TTL. The idea is to get the metering area of the camera to pretty much only cover the subject in the shot so the P-TTL can meter it effectively. If your subject is too offset in the composition to cover the metering area, then I'd try shooting the shot wider, which would allow you to center your subject, then crop to get the composition that you want.

The manual exposure setting will take care of the sky, and P-TTL should limit the flash on exposure giving you a reasonably exposed subject. You can use Flash Comp to tweek the exposure of your subject. If the sky is very bright, you might not be able to get a reasonably exposed sky without HSS, but you should get considerably more balanced results.

This is essentially the bright background alter-ego of "dragging the shutter" which uses slower shutter speeds to include more ambient light in a night or indoor flash shot where the background would normally be very underexposed or black.

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Old Jul 23, 2008, 12:17 PM   #7
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Fortunately, the k100 does HS Sync with the 360 flash. If I remember correctly the shutter speed was about 1/500. It was the first time I ever used it and it comes in real handy when you're shooting with wide open apertures on sunny days.

I must have had a real brain freeze but I thought that HS Sync wouldnt work with the camera in manual mode. But I read it wrong, HS doesnt work with the FLASH in manual mode! Ugh, musta been the heat! :? What I normally do is meter off the brightest spots in AV mode with the f-stop I wanted and then go to Manual and dial in that setting. Pretty much what YOU do, Snostorm. I got so caught up with trying to get to know the flash better I forgot to do that and stayed in AV the whole time.

Thank you. This was very helpful.

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