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Old Jul 20, 2006, 11:20 AM   #1
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Hi Gang - I've been lurking for a while and just joined - hopefully to improve my pictures overall (over time).

This shot of my cousin is driving me nuts - the background seems too dark - the water spray seems washed out. What white balance, lighting, time of day, etc. should I be shooting this type of picture?


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Old Jul 20, 2006, 10:35 PM   #2
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Hi paxfish. fellow lurker here :-). I hope you don't mind my little crop but I was thinking since the shoreline doesn't really add anything to the shot, it might have been easier to expose for and draw more attention to the skier,without it.



I really liked the sense of action in this one. What kind of camera are you using??

Thanks for sharing, Bev

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Old Jul 20, 2006, 11:34 PM   #3
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Hey, paxfish, I like the shot! (Wait for the "but".) But, I agree with Maw Harley's crop.

High contrast scenes like this one are hard to get. The camera (generally) tries to meter the whole scene and comes out with a happy medium where the brightest highlights (the water) and the darkest shadows (most of your on-shore background) are both compromised.

Your white balance setting shouldn't have anything to do with your exposure. This scene is an example of too much dynamic range for the camera sensor to handle.
That is, the brights are too bright in relation to the darks. Something has to give.

You could have used a metering mode that gives greater metering consideration to the center of the picture. "Center-Weighted" metering does this -- the percentage bias of the central area varies between camera lines. "Spot Metering" takes this to the extreme and meters only the central area of the picture. Either way, it's likely that the water spray wouldn't be blown out as badly as it is, but the background would be even darker.

If this pic were shot at a time of day when the land area behind the skier was in direct sun, that would make a noticable difference in that the overall exposure would be more even.

Perhaps a polarizing filter would have helped by blocking much of the light reflected from the water spray.

Your easiest way of addressing the situation, though, is to use either of the two metering modes described above if your camera offers them.

Now, if your camera can shoot in RAW format, you can make make two or more conversions at different exposures an blend them together in any editor that supports layers and layer masking to get the best of both pix in one image!

Anyway, you should be happy that the main subject -- your cousin -- came out as good as he did!

Grant

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Old Jul 21, 2006, 7:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the good comments and the crop lesson - I'll take a closer look at the metering on this type of shot. I was thinking also that maybe later in the day, when the sun is a bit lower and at my back, that the dynamic range might be different.

Nikon D50
lense set at 200mm
shutter priority 1/1250
F9
iso 800
white balance "Sunny"
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Old Jul 21, 2006, 10:20 AM   #5
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You could have used a metering mode that gives greater metering consideration to the center of the picture. "Center-Weighted" metering does this -- the percentage bias of the central area varies between camera lines. "Spot Metering" takes this to the extreme and meters only the central area of the picture.

I've heard/read a dozen ways to explain the technical definitionand its proper practical application, and you've done a stellar job grant! Thanks!
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