Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50
As most of you know I have the new D50 with the kit lens and I am a rookie. I also have a circular polarizer.
I am going to be taking pictures of moving skiers on a bright day this Saturday. I understand the basics of the exposure but my question is what do I want the white balance and the meter set on?
For WB do I want to custom set it based upon where I am? I have not done that yet but I think that you just point it at the white snow and set the WB to the white snow in the PRE mode. Is that what you would do?
I read an article on-line that talked about not relying on your camera's automatic meter to meter a snow skiing image but to preset the meter. Can I do this with a D50? How do I do this? If I am going to try and take pictures of the skiers going past me (panning) what should I have the meter set on (spot, matrix, or center) and what should I be metering (sky, skier, or snow)?
#1. "RE: Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50" | In response to Reply # 0
Fri 16-Dec-05 01:56 PM
To add from my post from yesterday - this is the type of thing that I keep reading...
"On mountain photography usually entails shooting in very bright conditions. The snow is bright, the sky is bright and youll need to compensate, or youll end up with your subjects looking like dark outlines in the snow. If you have a light meter take a reading from your skin or a greycard. Take an incident reading with a separate light meter and set exposure accordingly. As a general rule compensating a half to one full stop in bright conditions will help to counteract strong light."
How do I do this with my D50? Are they talking about setting the white balance off of my hand or light metering off of my hand. How would I do that? Just put my bare hand in front of the lens when it meters?
#2. "RE: Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50" | In response to Reply # 1
phillyguy Registered since 03rd Nov 2005Fri 16-Dec-05 04:07 PM
I am in no way an expert, so take this as it is. I think you're confusing white balance with exposure settings. WB will determine what kind of light you are shooting in, sunny, cloudy, incandescent, etc. The exposure will be the result of the combination of your aperture, shutter and ISO settings.
I'm still pretty new to using a DSLR, and I've been having problems myself getting snow shots right, so hopefully someone else can help you out with some exposure settings. What the article you read is saying is that the reflectivity of the snow is very high, so the camera is going to read this and try to adjust that bright white snow to grey, which isnt right. You need to override that reading by getting a correct reading for grey by using your hand or a grey card.
Again, Im not totally sure, but I dont think youd be able to do this in any of the pre-programmed modes. If youre in S or A, youd use the EV compensation, in M youd just set the exposure yourself.
Hope this helps.
#3. "RE: Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50" | In response to Reply # 1
avm247 Charter MemberFri 16-Dec-05 04:08 PM
Dan, you'll want to add +0.5 to +1.5 EV of exposure compensation to the camera to render snow correctly in Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority modes, you can add it manually in Manaul mode. The built in meter will compensate for the circular polarizer, but you need to add the EV value especially if you are using matrix or CW metering.
I think you need to depress the +/- button (to the right of the on/off switch) and rotate the rear command dial to set exposure compensation.
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#4. "RE: Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50" | In response to Reply # 3
Fri 16-Dec-05 05:32 PM
Great! Thanks for the good advice so far everyone!
1 - When taking a picture of a skier going past me in focus against the blurred background (panning). Should I be using spot metering on the skier, center weighted on the skier, or Matrix? And when you say to use my hand or a gray card how do I do that? Frame my picture then spot meter on my hand by holding my hand in front of the lens and holding the shutter half way down, then moving my hand out of the way and pushing the shutter the rest of the way down?
2 - When photographing moving skiers in sunlight I am assuming that I want a high ISO setting? Should I start as high as 800 to 1600? Then when I am taking pictures of non-moving skiers I am assuming that I want to turn the ISO down a bit. Does this sound right?
Thanks again everyone!
#5. "RE: Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50" | In response to Reply # 4
edmun Registered since 16th Sep 2003Fri 16-Dec-05 06:58 PM
Settings for Snow to the limit of my knowledge: Where I live it is outlawed by the council of gremlins but it is allowed in the mountains 60 miles from here.
If your subject in sunlight -- set WB for sunlight
If it is cloudy -- set WB for Cloudy
Auto white balance should be fine also and if you shoot raw you can correct latter.
Iso -- your problem will be too much light so set ISO on 200 unless it gets really dark from overcast.
Set camera to S and use either a 1/250 or a 1/500 -- a 1/1000 may be too fast and totally freeze the action. You may want some blurr to give a sense of speed.
Look at you screen and use the magnification funtion to view how the feet and hands blurr.
Try matrix metering and check the blinking in the highlight screen and dial in minus comp until most of them go away.
I do not know this but have read that the camera automatically compensates for snow because of the RGB sensor so maybe exposure will be OK with out having to compensate.
Do not be afraid to ask some one elso on the slope with either a D70 or D50 or D2x they will usually be glad to helps you.
I would set focus to C to allow follow focus as the skiers move
Sports mode should be tried.
I love snow but only when the tempature is above 80 degrees.
#6. "RE: Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50" | In response to Reply # 5
Raven2 Registered since 30th Nov 2005Sun 18-Dec-05 10:00 PM
I live in northern Canada and have lots of snow now. Want some?
I just purchased a D50 and will start to shoot ski and snowmobile action with it.
In the past I always took a light reading using my Nikon FM from my open hand with the sun behind me. It would always give me the best reading if I'm zooming in on a skier.
You want centered focus on the D50 as you are following the skier.
But hey, shoot and try as many shots as you want! Isn't that one of the advantages of digital?
#7. "RE: Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50" | In response to Reply # 4
gpoole Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004Sun 18-Dec-05 11:41 PM
Nikon and others recommend against using exposure compensation with matrix metering. This is because the camera is already trying to evaluate the scene and trying to make compensation for it. That said I don't know how reliable matrix metering will be with snow in sunlight. Try it without compensation and check the histogram and the blinking blown out highlights.
If the histogram and/or blinking highlights indicate that compensation is necessary, then it would be better to switch to center weighted or spot metering. Center weighted metering of the snow with about +1.5 to +2.0 compensation should work. Again try an exposure and look at the histogram and blinking highlights. Adjust the compensation up or down as necessary. Over exposed means more + compensation, under exposed means less + compensation (the final value will still be positive).
Spot metering on the skier may give reasonable exposure without compensation. Again check the histogram and blinking highlights. If compensation is necessary it could be either positive or negative.
After a few experiments you should be able to determine which metering mode and compensation works best for you. Once your find out which meter mode and compensation works best for you, just keep doing it the same way.
You don't have to wait until you get to the ski slopes to do your metering experiments. Pictures of family or friends in the snow around home will work just as well.
Having a digital camera allows you to go through these iterations easily in an hour or so. This is one of the big advantages of shooting digital. With film I have to try all the combinations blindly on a roll or two, keep good notes, and evaluate the slides when they come back from the photofinisher a week later.
Oops, I just reread your original posting and saw that my reply is after your ski outing. I hope both the skiing and photgraphy worked well.
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#8. "RE: Snow / Skiing Pictures with D50" | In response to Reply # 7
Mon 19-Dec-05 01:26 PM
Thanks for all of the advice. Snowbird (Utah) was a blizzard on Saturday so the camera stayed in the car! I might be headed up again this next weekend so any additional feedback would be great!