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Author Topic: Does a blown out white ski ruin a picture?  (Read 3631 times)
Tim Gray
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« on: November 04, 2004, 08:46:53 AM »
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Well, there is another option, but frankly it's way way down on the list well after 1: dealing with the problem via GND or composits - not really an option in your case as you have indicated 2: keeping the sky out of the composition (probably the best answer) but you might want to consider 3: White Sky Blues . I recollect, based on more recent comments that Michael isn't particularly fond of this technique - but give it a go - just remember there's no free lunch.

One last point - does it ruin a picture? It a scale - the more of the shot that's blown the worse the shot, the less the better, but very small sections that are blown, doesn't necessarily relegate the shot to the trashcan.
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JasonK
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2004, 10:29:33 AM »
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It can ruin the picture, it depends on how distracting it or unappealing it looks in the context of the photo.  Judgement call entirely.  

Arm yourself with an assortment of ND grad and sky blue grad filters next time you go out and experiment.  I'm sure you can find a way to keep your skies from going pure white.
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howard smith
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2004, 12:10:22 PM »
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I'll add to the "It doesn't have to."  I took an image at White Sands.  The sky was a tepid cyan color.  Ugly.  I washed the sky to white.  The white sky combined with the white sand to essentially remove it from attention, focusing attention on the real subject, some vegitation and symetry.

In this case, I think a blue sky would have been a distraction.
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gtal
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2004, 01:58:05 PM »
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I find that more often than not an uninteresting sky (blown or even just plain blue) hurts an otherwise good image. The bright empty space draws the eye away from more interesting elements.
In my images if there's nothing overly interesting going on in the sky, I try to leave it out of the frame altogether.

Guy
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fike
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2004, 08:12:13 AM »
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I meant sky, not ski.

I have been dealing with the lousy photo conditions in the east this year.  All the skies have been hazy and bright white.  The digi-cam can't handle the dynamic range and you end up with a bright grayish bar at the horizon of the image.  

What can you do to make this work in the image composition.  I have done compositing, but that is only when you are shooting on a tripod and want to do lots-o-post processing.  I know that you can get a graduated neutral density filter, but I am not sure if they make ones that work on my pro 1...anyways, they seem like they would be difficult to leave on the camera while it hangs around your neck.  Also, neutral density filters only work well when you have a relatively straight horizon.  I take many landscapes with trees and mountains projecting across the sky.

Should I just avoid pics with sky when these conditions exist?

blown out,
fike
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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Willowroot
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2004, 09:19:04 AM »
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You can sometimes use the white sky to good effect, by using it as a high-key background.  Other times you can compose in such a way that there is little to no sky showing.

Another point to consider is that the same white-sky overcast conditions that make for lousy landscapes are absolutely perfect for close-in detail shots.

I know what you mean, most of the winter here especially early winter has these conditions.  Just have to adjust your way of thinking a bit sometimes.
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Jason Elias
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2004, 11:32:24 AM »
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My approach is to expose the photo to avoid blowing out the sky, while leaving the rest of the composition somewhat dark, then adjusting the brightness and contrast in the RAW converter and/or Photoshop to lighten the dark areas.  This often requires some noise reduction software to avoid having the formerly dark areas look too noisy.  Not perfect, but it works OK if you're trying to avoid the multiple-blended-exposures approach.

Lisa
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2004, 01:21:09 PM »
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If a detailed sky is essential to the composition, then don't blow it out. But if it's a background element that should be blurred or otherwise de-emphasized anyway, blowing it out isn't a problem.
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didger
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2004, 07:52:26 PM »
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Every trip out, I take a few shots of just sky any time that the sky is interesting, every kind of cloud patterns, high up, close to the horizon, morning, evening, summer, winter, anything.  Now, I'm not actually going to admit that I might some day do something like salvage a poor sky image that's great otherwise by substituting a better sky, but... there are folks that sometimes do that, but not many of them will admit it.  However there was a Very Famous Photographer some time ago that was dragged through a lot of caca because someone pointed out (very publicly) that his skies had some of the same clouds in different images.  Uh oh!!  Try to avoid that.
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Hawkeye
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2004, 04:27:03 AM »
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If there is just the odd image that requires some action Didger's approach is the line I take - it's relatively straightforward in PS and with the right choice of sky, works well (it was done frequently in the darkroom, partularly with B&W images) - BUT, to avoid the problem in the earlier post, trash that particular sky image!
Regards
Ken
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