Olympus UK E-System User Group
Olympus UK E-System User Group

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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 24th July 2011
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Sunset critique please

Decided to go out and try the E620 last night to see what sort of sunset shot I could get. Bit of a last minute idea so didn't have much time and didn't plan where to go just drove until I saw a rural spot as the sun dissapeared. Any thoughts/comments good or bad on these would be much appreciated as I've not really got to grips with the 620 yet. The first is a sunset silouhette and the second an attempt to get some foreground interest with the grasses. Both taken with the 14-42 kit lens and ashamed to say sunset scene mode as a starting point.
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P7236271.jpg
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Old 24th July 2011
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Re: Sunset critique please

The first one would be better as a portrait shot with the sun through the trees at the bottom of frame.

I really like the second one. Love the grasses. Would like to see it with the background more out of focus
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Old 24th July 2011
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Re: Sunset critique please

Nothing wrong with using sunset mode, that's what it's for. As you gain experience with the camera you can try a mode which allows more user control, such as aperture priority or fully manual.

The camera has actually handled these exposures very well, within the dynamic range limitations of the sensor (and all DSLRs would have struggled in this situation).

The correct way to treat a sunset is to expose for the sky and let the foreground become a silhouette, which is what we have for the first one. The problem is that there is too much featureless foreground; silhouettes work best if they form simple, bold, recognizable shapes. It could have been improved by raising the camera to include more sky, with the trees on the skyline forming the foreground with just a thin strip of solid black below them. Alternatively, you could crop the image now to a panoramic format to lose most of that solid black shapeless foreground.

With sunsets or sunrises there are often occasions when it's desirable to expose correctly for foreground and sky, and this is where taking control of your exposures comes into play. There are a number of ways to do this; take a series of different exposures and blend them in photoshop or merge them in an HDR program such as Photomatix, or the good old fashioned method of using graduated neutral density filters at the time of exposure. For blending or merging a series shot in aperture priority mode using exposure bracketing is fine.

When using filters in the field manual exposure is best, taking a spot reading from a foreground mid-tone that you want correctly exposed, another spot reading from the sky (adjacent to, but not including the sun) and working out from that how many stops of filtration is required. With practise that's not nearly so complicated as it sounds and it does give you complete control. Still bracket, though, (by manually adjusting the shutter speed) to be sure of perfectly capturing what may well be an unrepeatable moment of Nature's magic!

For the second shot it is a lovely idea to use the backlit grasses as foregound interest, which helps to break up the deep shadows of the middle distance. Another option would have been to lower the camera, so that it was looking up. This would have positioned the grasses against more of the sky and less of the underexposed middle distance - retaining, of course, the tree-line on the horizon. it may not have worked so well as this shot, but if there is time it's always worth looking for an alternative composition. The sky in this picture might benefit from being slightly darkened in pp to saturate the colours a little more.
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Old 24th July 2011
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Re: Sunset critique please

I use the 'sunset' setting on my E620 everytime I want to take a pic of a sunset.

But I normally wait umtil the sun has set - and the sun is shooting it's colour up the sky.

Like this:
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Old 25th July 2011
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Re: Sunset critique please

Thanks guys they are great tips. I'd never have thought of cropping the image that way Oxo it does look good I'll remember to shoot some portrait shots next time. John I do have a grad ND but it's not enough density for the difference in exposure. That's a good excuse to get some more though I'll definitely plan and prepare better next time and try some of your suggestions. The grasses were just there illuminated somehow by the setting sun and they just jumped out at me to include them. Glad I did. Thats a lovely shot Terry. I'll hang around a bit longer next time too.
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