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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 10th November 2008
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Tackling difficult images

The problem I have continually come across is getting all white subjects to be clear enough without darkening the background too much. Its this compromise I wanted to overcome with the lightness levels determined by the camera and not fiddled in PP (I still am no good in PP).

I found a subject that was not disturbed too much by my presence and experimented using the camera's highlight guide after each shoot. What I found was that centre weighted average metering provides a very good balance. Up until now I have been using spot metering as most of us do for wildlife photography. Shooting with this setting and checking the exposures actually gave me exactly what I wanted to achieve. Detail and light backgrounds. Below are a few images using this setting.







and just to test the setting on another coloured bird, the Grey wagtail shot below



What I noticed was the whites were no longer burnt out. Does anyone have any comments to take my experiment further? I wasnt to avoid having to do the corrections. I only shoot RAW but want to get the best image quality to minimise the work in Lightroom.

Cheers

Peter
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Old 10th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

Hi Peter

I too use center weighted metering as I agree with what you have found, it does provide you with slightly better exposure control - I think because the area of the viewfinder that is used to evaluate the exposure is better suited to the size of the bird as it appears in the viewfinder - thus giving perhaps a more accurate meter reading.

I only tend to use spot metering when aiming the camera at the sky for birds higher up in trees where the sky would offset the exposure.

I think you have nailed the Egret in #2 there Peter, that's a corker.
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Old 10th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

It's an interesting experiment Peter, I've learned something. Thanks.

Would it work, do you think, with predominantly dark areas where the reverse is the problem?
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Old 10th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

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Originally Posted by Ellie View Post
It's an interesting experiment Peter, I've learned something. Thanks.

Would it work, do you think, with predominantly dark areas where the reverse is the problem?
Ellie,

I think it shall for the reasons John has said above. This is also the conclusion I came to during the experiment.

It's been raining all day and so I have not gone out with the camera. Tomorrow I shall give dark birds a go. Cormorants and crows I think

If I do, I shall update this thread rather than starting another.

Peter
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Old 10th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

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Originally Posted by theMusicMan View Post
Hi Peter

I too use center weighted metering as I agree with what you have found, it does provide you with slightly better exposure control - I think because the area of the viewfinder that is used to evaluate the exposure is better suited to the size of the bird as it appears in the viewfinder - thus giving perhaps a more accurate meter reading.

I only tend to use spot metering when aiming the camera at the sky for birds higher up in trees where the sky would offset the exposure.

I think you have nailed the Egret in #2 there Peter, that's a corker.
John, Thanks for your reply and comments. I fully agree with you. I have tried all three exposure modes and only the centre weighted average is reliable.
I shall be trying this out on all dark birds (Crows, Cormorants etc) tomorrow and shall post an update then.

Peter
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Old 10th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

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Originally Posted by Ellie View Post
It's an interesting experiment Peter, I've learned something. Thanks.

Me too - thanks.

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Old 12th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

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Originally Posted by Ellie View Post
It's an interesting experiment Peter, I've learned something. Thanks.

Would it work, do you think, with predominantly dark areas where the reverse is the problem?
Ellie,

I got just the opportunity today to test your question. I found two Cormorants sitting next to an Egret on a barrier. It was full sun so it probably was an extreme condition. I think the camera handled it well - what do you think?



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Old 13th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

The picture seems to have vanished from your post, but I found it in your gallery. (Three Wise Monkeys)

In a picture of that size I think it's worked well with both the cormorants and the egret, although there might be some loss of detail on it's shoulder I can't really tell. The middle bird is something of a problem too, because part of it is in such deep shadow. I can't imagine anybody being able to get a better shot of that grouping.

Hmm, it's certainly worth experimenting t-up
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Old 14th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

Ellie,

The difficulty is that there is no way digital cameras could cope with the range of lightness level in this image. The problems you have identified are those which I found too when processing the image. There is more detail in both the Egrets and Cormorants but the dynamic range constraints make it imposible to get both sets of detail out in the one image. You end up compromising as I have done here.
What I am now looking at is a circular polarising filter which will cut down reflections. This may be the reason for not seeing more detail in the Egret. Its going to be expensive but I think that if I am being serious with my photography, I have to consider it. Landscape and other photography is far more tolerant that wildlife photography. With wildlife, we are looking constantly for detail - get it wrong and almost anyone can see it.
I do not know what happened to the image but here it is again:



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Last edited by PeterD; 14th November 2008 at 03:20 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 14th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

excellent images
so let me get this right ... you are using centre weighted and not evaluative metering
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Old 14th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

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excellent images
so let me get this right ... you are using centre weighted and not evaluative metering
Firstly, thank you for you comment on this series. I have tried all three metering modes and this one (centre weighted average) gives me the most consistent result. I seem to have far more control in Lightroom to adjust exposure and balance the image without having to use the WB control.

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Old 15th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

well i agree with you.
White balance was off but easily corrected in OM2
and that and the resize is all I have done

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Old 15th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

Nice shot Chris. A great background too.

Peter
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Old 16th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

Hi Peter -

Tried out your centre weighted average setting today at the Chasewater Country Club meet - what do you think?



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Old 16th November 2008
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Re: Tackling difficult images

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Originally Posted by Barr1e View Post
Hi Peter -

Tried out your centre weighted average setting today at the Chasewater Country Club meet - what do you think?



Regards. Barr1e
Barrie,

It seems to have worked out quite well. The sky is not overly bright despite the birds being very dark. The chest plumage graduates well from light to darker. A good test would be to get a closer shot but the indications are good.

I do like your shot here. The composition is very good.

What is important, what do you think? I have seen some of the images from today and it looks as though you had a great time from an uncertain start. I would love to come to these get-togethers but do not have the time despite having retired. I have to fit photography in with the hours daily dog walk.

Peter
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