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Old Jul 14, 2005, 2:23 PM   #1
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I am going to be taking outdoor shots of a Dalmation. I have the Canon XT. Obviously, a mostly white dog presents some exposure challenges; much the same way the bride at a wedding does, I presume. I'm a bit confused about which way I compensate the exposure, to avoid ending up with a gray dog. Also, which metering is the best.

My inclination is to go with the partial metering; however, wider shots where the exposure isn't right on the dog may end up incorrect. So, I'll probably stay with evaluative. I also intend to shoot in RAW, so I'll have more latitude to fix up incorrect exposures.

So, if the camera sees a mostly white subject, it will underexpose it and make it gray, so I add a stop or so to bump up the exposure; is that correct? If so, how do I prevent blowing out the highlights?

Finally, if I do compensate the exposure, and wish to add fill light from my 580EX, need I compensate the flash exposure as well?
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Old Jul 14, 2005, 3:40 PM   #2
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The question you ask is not a simple one. You have the right idea about exposure compensation. When you bring flash into the equation it really complicates things. The purpose of flash compensation is to balance the flash with ambient light. I think you need to refer to a book on electronic flash for information on handling exposure and compensation.

Another possibility to consider is the use of graduated neutral density filters. They are available in the round screw-on version or rectangular for the Cokin or similar systems. With the round type, you can only rotate the filter. With the Cokin filter, you can rotate it as well as moving it up and down. This has the advantage of being able to position the transition point exactly where it needs to be.

Using the graduated ND filter allows you to reduce the light from bright areas of the scene and thus allowing the metering system to better evaluate the exposure.

Spot metering may help in some situations but you still have the problem of deciding what to meter on. If you meter on the brightest area of the scene, the rest of the picture will be dark. If you meter on ambient lighted areas, your bright subject will probably be blown out. The only solutions I see are the grad. ND filter or expose for the bright area and fix the dark area in PS.

I know I have not specifically answered your question but I hope I have given you some ideas to work with. Good luck.

Cal Rasmussen

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Old Jul 14, 2005, 7:35 PM   #3
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calr wrote:
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The question you ask is not a simple one. You have the right idea about exposure compensation. When you bring flash into the equation it really complicates things. The purpose of flash compensation is to balance the flash with ambient light. I think you need to refer to a book on electronic flash for information on handling exposure and compensation.

Another possibility to consider is the use of graduated neutral density filters. They are available in the round screw-on version or rectangular for the Cokin or similar systems. With the round type, you can only rotate the filter. With the Cokin filter, you can rotate it as well as moving it up and down. This has the advantage of being able to position the transition point exactly where it needs to be.

Using the graduated ND filter allows you to reduce the light from bright areas of the scene and thus allowing the metering system to better evaluate the exposure.

Spot metering may help in some situations but you still have the problem of deciding what to meter on. If you meter on the brightest area of the scene, the rest of the picture will be dark. If you meter on ambient lighted areas, your bright subject will probably be blown out. The only solutions I see are the grad. ND filter or expose for the bright area and fix the dark area in PS.

I know I have not specifically answered your question but I hope I have given you some ideas to work with. Good luck.

Cal Rasmussen
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I appreciate your response. As far as the flash is concerned, isn't the flash automatically used as a fill flash, not the primary lighting source? So, if the ambient light is properly exposed, the flash will do little other than throw some evening light on the subject? This would be in the Canon E-TTL II mode, and not manual.
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 8:53 PM   #4
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I am going to be taking outdoor shots of a Dalmation.
..use spot metering.


...sorry, I just couldn't resist that one.
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Old Jul 18, 2005, 1:13 AM   #5
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Only use B&W film
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Old Jul 25, 2005, 2:48 PM   #6
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The nice thing about a digital camera is that experimentation costs you literally nothing.

Try a few different things out.

Obviously exposure compensation is going to help.

You can trick your camera into thinking there is more light than what's actually there, which may help you from "blowing out" the highlights of your dog.

If you use the in-buillt flash, the camera usually compensates for it.

You could buy a cheap external flash and hook a Stofen diffuser on the end of it.

There's tons of techniques to get a nice effect.

Personally, I'd just get outdoors with the dog, make sure your not taking a backlight shot, and use a little built-in flash as "fill flash". If the dog looks overexposed, then exposure compensate a stop or two. You can quickly check your results in the LCD.

If you keep practicing, eventually you will get some great shots.

-- Terry
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