Hope this is the correct place to post this. I need lots of help with challenging light situations. Typical examples would be high contrast situations such as very bright areas mixed with shadows (e.g. shooting from a shadowed area say a room or similar out into light - like through an archway or window) or the reverse situation shooting from light into a darker area. Another example would be what subjects/techniques are best for midday, very bright (aka harsh) light photography. Any hints on sources and/or books that concentrate on this subject are greatly appreciated.
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#1. "RE: Light challenges" | In response to Reply # 0KenLPhotos Nikonian since 26th Jul 2009Fri 05-Jul-13 09:43 AM
There are many answers to this question but generally, the camera cannot do it alone and you should become familiar with HDR technics. There is a HDR form here that may be of help. Good Luck.
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#3. "RE: Light challenges" | In response to Reply # 0
I'd also consider what it is you want to achieve artistically. Although your camera can't capture the full dynamic range without resorting to techniques like HDR/bracketing etc. it might be that you don't want it to. Maybe you want to expose for the lit scene beyond the arch and leave the framing arch itself in silhouette, or maybe you want it the other way around and capture the arch while blowing out the highlights beyond.
Personally I'd get my trusty Sekonic out and meter the part I'd like to be correctly exposed, decide how much movement I'd like to catch, how much depth of field I'd like to see etc. and set accordingly. I'd also shoot raw (always shoot raw) so I'd have the maximum capability to alter highlights and shadows in post, though I always aim to get as close to what I want in-camera rather than "strangling" it to fit afterwards.
I love my light meter.
/edit - a good way of countering harsh midday light is to use a reflector or a fill flash. 5 in 1 reflectors are great to have around because they can also act as a diffuser simply by taking the cover off. Finally, I'm very much still learning myself so I'd also love to hear tips from the some of the undoubted experts around here!
#4. "RE: Light challenges" | In response to Reply # 0
High contrast / Wide Dynamic Range scenes are always a challenge.
In these conditions you must decide where you want to have the most detail and meter for that.
Our modern cameras have center-weighted and spot metering, with which you can measure, ponder and make decisions.
Now with digital DSLRs you'll get immediate results for tests.
Practice and practice more.
This is a sample shot made on film a few decades ago:
HDR helps plenty; however, to make the image look natural you have to shoot it right.
The image above was not made with HDR.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
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#6. "RE: Light challenges" | In response to Reply # 0
Digital camera sensors are constantly improving their dynamic range. Until they can accommodate fifteen stops or more, with full shadow and highlight detail,we have to resort to other means to handle high dynamic range situations.
Incident light metering, HDR, passive reflectors, and selective reflected metering have already been mentioned, along with fill-flash.
Fill flash can be a very valuable tool, as it allows you to control ambient illumination with shutter and aperture and adjust fill flash (speedlight) power levels to bring up shadow detail.
Think of fill flash as capturing two exposures on one frame, with one press of the shutter button: One with ambient illumination, and a second with fill-flash.
For practice, turn the speedlight off and capture an initial image of a back-lit subject with ambient only illumination using shutter speed and aperture as desired, leaving the subject's shaded side facing the camera. Next, capture a series of images leaving shutter speed, aperture, and ISO alone, and bring up speedlight power level step by step until the shaded side is properly illuminated. Once the appropriate combination of ambient (shutter and aperture) and fill-flash (speedlight power level) selections have been identified, you are good to go. Naturally, as subject placement and ambient illumination conditions change, adjustments will have to be made.
Shutter speed and aperture adjustments can be used to make ambient illumination dominant or secondary. Speed light power levels can be used to make fill-flash dominant or secondary. Or, you may want them evenly balanced. The choice is yours.
With practice, fill flash can be used in a manner that is not apparent in the final image.
Hope this helps a bit.
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