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Author Topic: high contrast shoots  (Read 2352 times)
-Tom-
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« on: October 18, 2012, 09:04:22 AM »
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I'm sure this happens to everyone shooting a camera, stills or video - I'm wondering if there's a way to deal with it;

- when shooting in enclosed environments, such as rooms, how can one avoid that damn washed out blown up section that appears over the window area, even if there's just one window in the field of view?

- when pointing the camera west, even with sun behind buildings or hills, it seems you can choose between blown out sky or crushed black foreground.

Is this something that my GH2 can't cope with, (dynamic range?) or is it because of our superior eyes and their dynamic range?
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kikashi
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 09:58:33 AM »
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I'm sure this happens to everyone shooting a camera, stills or video - I'm wondering if there's a way to deal with it;

- when shooting in enclosed environments, such as rooms, how can one avoid that damn washed out blown up section that appears over the window area, even if there's just one window in the field of view?

- when pointing the camera west, even with sun behind buildings or hills, it seems you can choose between blown out sky or crushed black foreground.

Is this something that my GH2 can't cope with, (dynamic range?) or is it because of our superior eyes and their dynamic range?

Your brain/eyes combination will continually adjust to cope with huge variations in brightness, by varying the aperture (opening and closing the iris), sensitivity and interpretation. No camera has a dynamic range which approaches that (I think).

The answer to your question is to bracket exposures and blend them later, using HDR software such as Hydra, Photomatix, SNS or Photoshop, or using contrast masking (there's a tutorial on that somewhere on this site and Jeff Schewe demonstrates a similar technique in one of the Camera to Print v2 tutorials). It's a little tedious but the results, if you avoid the dreadful over-processed HDR look, can be excellent and it's perfectly feasible to do it hand-held if necessary.

Jeremy
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 10:25:17 AM »
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- when shooting in enclosed environments, such as rooms, how can one avoid that damn washed out blown up section that appears over the window area, even if there's just one window in the field of view?

If you are lighting your subjects separately you can  put sheets of neutral density gels over the window, frame differently, or if shootign stills and using flash setto the camera to manual and pick a high enough shutter speed to  better expose the view out ofthe window.

I don't know your camera but in general if you can shoot raw you capture a larger dynamic range - which you can then use when processing - than you do if you shoot JPEGs.
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Ellis Vener
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 11:36:11 AM »
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... when pointing the camera west, even with sun behind buildings or hills, it seems you can choose between blown out sky or crushed black foreground...

You mean something like this example below? One of the answers is in bracketing and manual blending, as Jeremy pointed out.
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Slobodan

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Trevor Murgatroyd
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2012, 12:55:50 PM »
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Slobodan

In this image of yours, I am curious about the two diagonals that expand upward into the sky. What are they?

Trevor
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2012, 01:04:53 PM »
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So-called crepuscular rays.
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Slobodan

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Isaac
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2012, 04:21:03 PM »
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I'm wondering if there's a way to deal with it

Picking-up Ellis Vener's comment, you could take control of the light in the scene -- and, of course, I have a book recommendation :-)

Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash
, by Joe McNally.
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250swb
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2012, 03:50:45 PM »
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Bracket enough exposures and the end result of melding them all together can look very natural.

Steve
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dwdallam
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 05:24:19 PM »
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I'm not sure you mean landscape, for that's an obvious solution. Meter for the light part of the image, then bracket till you get the shadows exposed correctly. Then use an HDR tool or do it manually by composting in PS using layers.

However, if you mean how do you get the windows area exposed correctly for a subject in a room, such as when shooting people indoors, it's a lisle different.

Expose for the window, and use a flash or other light on the subject. The opposite, exposing for the room itself while using a flash to get a sharp picture, since the shutter may be too slow, was called "dragging the shutter." In both instances, you use a flash. In the first instance, you use the flash to illuminate the subject. In the second case, you use a flash in 2nd curtain to stop the subject from blurring due to a slow shutter speed. (i.e., the shutter goes off and is at something like 1/8, while the flash goes off using second curtain and freezes the subject.)
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dwdallam
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2012, 05:31:40 PM »
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One other thing about landscape, cityscape, etc, where yuor subject is not a person. If you expose to the right as far as your camera is capable, you can now use LR4 and suing the new adjustments, bring back a totally blown--to our eyes and depending on your camera ability--right back into perfect exposure, without even bracketing. Of course you only want to do this if you actual only got one shot or at least not enough brackets to HDR the image.

In the image the background past "Jessica" was a total wash, and I mean total, as in no nothing pure white. Using LR4, this is what I got, and I didn't spend too much time on it either. You can see the detail is back, sans color, but I kinda liked it like that, so I didn't work on getting the color back in the factory area or sky:


« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 05:33:16 PM by dwdallam » Logged

Ellis Vener
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2012, 07:34:51 PM »
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Picking-up Ellis Vener's comment, you could take control of the light in the scene -- and, of course, I have a book recommendation :-)

Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash
, by Joe McNally.
An extended +1 to that recommendation: http://www.ppmag.com/web-exclusives/2012/01/rev-sketching-light.html

I also highly recommend "Matters of Light and Depth" by Ross Lowell http://www.amazon.com/Matters-Light-Depth-Creating-Memorable/dp/1879174030
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Ellis Vener
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Graystar
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 12:28:44 AM »
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This is not a dynamic range issue.  You're trying to match a visual function called Color Constancy.  That always requires some manipulation...either of the scene lighting or in post processing.

Here is an example of Color Constancy...



The squares labeled A and B are both the same shade of gray...they're both RGB 120, 120, 120.  Your visual system is being fooled into brightening the B square by the cylinder's shadow.  To draw an analogy, it's like raising ISO on specific areas of the scene to make them brighter than others.  Your visual system tries to show you what it thinks it's looking at.  Your brain performs this function to assist you in identifying objects...potentially dangerous objects...such as poisonous snakes slithering in the shadows under trees.

The Color Constancy function is triggered by large differences in lighting, such as the 3-4 stops difference between sunlit plains and the shaded area under a large tree.  So when you have two clear light sources in the image (such as the sunlit areas and areas of shade lit by the sky glow) you'll likely have this issue.  Some images, like the CheckerShadow illusion, can trigger the function.  However, most shots of high contrast scenes do not.  What you see in your image is the actual difference in lighting that your visual system was keeping from you.

What you want is the nice, 1 EV difference in luminance that your eyes had shown you...not the 3-4 EV difference that's actually there (or more, in the case of a bright window and dark room.)  Once you understand what's going on, you can now take steps to address the issue.  One method is to use a graduated neutral density filter to balance the scene.  With some scenes you can use flash to balance the lighting.  If you have some highlight range DR, you can overexpose (ETTR) and use that extra DR to fix the image in post processing.  HDR processing of multiple images works for static scenes.  Still another solution is to reframe to eliminate the shadow or the shade.

But know this...there is no camera, nor any exposure setting, that will give you the scene as you see it.  That's impossible.  That said, camera makers are trying...with functions such as Nikon's Active Dynamic Lighting.  But that's still a long way off from doing what your visual system can do.
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Go Go
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 08:57:19 AM »
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This is not a dynamic range issue.  You're trying to match a visual function called Color Constancy.  That always requires some manipulation...either of the scene lighting or in post processing.

Here is an example of Color Constancy...



The squares labeled A and B are both the same shade of gray...they're both RGB 120, 120, 120.  Your visual system is being fooled into brightening the B square by the cylinder's shadow.  To draw an analogy, it's like raising ISO on specific areas of the scene to make them brighter than others.  Your visual system tries to show you what it thinks it's looking at.  Your brain performs this function to assist you in identifying objects...potentially dangerous objects...such as poisonous snakes slithering in the shadows under trees.

The Color Constancy function is triggered by large differences in lighting, such as the 3-4 stops difference between sunlit plains and the shaded area under a large tree.  So when you have two clear light sources in the image (such as the sunlit areas and areas of shade lit by the sky glow) you'll likely have this issue.  Some images, like the CheckerShadow illusion, can trigger the function.  However, most shots of high contrast scenes do not.  What you see in your image is the actual difference in lighting that your visual system was keeping from you.

What you want is the nice, 1 EV difference in luminance that your eyes had shown you...not the 3-4 EV difference that's actually there (or more, in the case of a bright window and dark room.)  Once you understand what's going on, you can now take steps to address the issue.  One method is to use a graduated neutral density filter to balance the scene.  With some scenes you can use flash to balance the lighting.  If you have some highlight range DR, you can overexpose (ETTR) and use that extra DR to fix the image in post processing.  HDR processing of multiple images works for static scenes.  Still another solution is to reframe to eliminate the shadow or the shade.

But know this...there is no camera, nor any exposure setting, that will give you the scene as you see it.  That's impossible.  That said, camera makers are trying...with functions such as Nikon's Active Dynamic Lighting.  But that's still a long way off from doing what your visual system can do.

Amazing post, thanks!
So this is what my lizard brain is up to, this explains why some people use mind altering substances too!
Seriously though, great post Graystar!
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