Newbie Question - Input needed
Another newbie post.
I went touring some land in South Carolina on Sunday and brought my D100 with a 28-200 Nikon G lens to take some shots of the landscape and share with others. It was partly cloudy and all shot were taken between 2 – 4 pm. I use Photoshop CS and shoot RAW, ISO200 multi P, WB auto, +.33 EV, tone normal and defaults for all other settings.
First, I had many shots that were a combination of bright sky and dark shadows. For those I adjusted exposure for the bright areas by under exposing the image and saved it. Then, I repeated the procedure for the dark areas adjusting the opposite way and saved as a different name. I then combined the two images using the mask and glaussian blur technique (can’t remember the site right now) with some good and some not so good results. The site that described this technique recommended bracketing the exposure in the field, but I just took one shot varied the exposure in Photoshop since it was RAW. Also, the site said to use a 3 stop difference in the two images and I just adjusted the exposure so the target area looked “good.” Again, I need to experiment more as my results were mixed. I would appreciate some advice from the group on my approach here.
Second, on several shots at 28mm looking over a clear cut field away from the sun, I saw “Lo” in my viewfinder. I believe this means the camera was unable to properly adjust the exposure and in this case, the image would be underexposed. When I zoomed in a bit, the “Lo” went away. This seemed odd to me as I thought zooming in allowed less light and not more. Do you have any thoughts on this situation?
Thanks for the input.
#1. "RE: Newbie Question - Input needed" | In response to Reply # 0VG Registered since 05th Jan 2004Mon 05-Jan-04 11:17 PM
I'm new with digital photography too but I'm still reading and experimenting about post-exposure manipulation.
Although I have not actually tried it before, I was also thinking about compositing two images, one exposed for the highlight and one exposed for the shadows, and then blend them together in PS. This method, though tedious still give a wider tonal range than if you just manipulate even the original RAW file. You can only capture that much tones in a single exposure.
Well anyway, back to the original subject. If you were to follow the apporach of varying a single exposure, I suggest using Nikon Editor or Nikon Capture to do it first, before exporting each version to PS. That way, you won't get too much noise in the shadows when you brighten it up (I face this noise problem if I try to improve a contrasty scene in PS alone).
Alternatively, you can get nicer tones in PS by adjusting the Levels or Curves in the Lightness Channel (LAB mode).
There are pros and cons to each method but I suppose each has it's own value to what the photographer wishes to express.
Another tip is that try to use the D100's other Tone Compensation options, i.e. Less Contrast for situations where you don't want to blow the highlights, More Contrast if you want more details in the Shadows and even Fotogenic's Custom Curve, which I find quite good. Try all and see what's best for each situation. Best of all, there's no consumables like film, so shoot away like crazy!
To diverse on the subject:
I don't know about anybody else but I find adjusting the Levels and Curves in Nikon Capture 4 gives better results compared to when doing the same in PS after importing the image. There tend to be more noise in PS. The same goes for the USM filter. I did a comparison and find even the Capture 4's pre-set sharpening choices gives better results? I could be missing something here.
About your zoom-lens/meter issue, this is something new to me. I used my D100 with the Tamron 70-300mm before and that didn't happen.
Well, I hope I answered at least part of your question.
#2. "RE: Newbie Question - Input needed" | In response to Reply # 0walkerr Nikonian since 05th May 2002Mon 05-Jan-04 11:43 PM
The digital blend technique using the mask and gaussian blur is something I've played with a little. It works well for certain kinds of shots, but not all. The problem or advantage (it depends on the situation) is that the bright areas leak into the dark ones and vice versa. That may or may not be the effect that you want. It's not the same one you get with grad filters - there's no leakage in that case.
Regarding the second situation: my guess is that you didn't have a uniformly lit or reflective subjective and that zooming narrowed in on a portion of your subject that was brighter. Just a guess, though.
#3. "RE: Newbie Question - Input needed" | In response to Reply # 24runner Registered since 28th Dec 2003Mon 05-Jan-04 11:55 PM
Thanks for the replies.
VG - I didn't realize there was a difference since PSD can import RAW. I will have to explorer this further since I'm still in the trial period with C4.
Walkerr - You might have nailed it. I was using center weighted metering and maybe I pointed more to the skyline as I zoomed and that provided the extra light needed.