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Thread: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

  1. #1
    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Well, after weeks of rain it finally brightened up today and looked good for a decent sunset and finally a chance to practice some slow shutter speed water shots. I can visualise the picture I want in my mind but I'm damned if I can make it work! First issue was location. I just couldn't find a suitable site that had good foreground interest along with a good background within the time I had, but this can be sorted as I have miles of coastline on my doorstep. The sunset didn't really happen and wasn't that spectacular at all then the tide calmed down and the waves reduced to a gentle roll which doesnt help when trying to get a nice milky effect. Then to top it all off I get home, check the pictures to find I have loads of dust/dirt in my camera which is showing up on the pics. Anyway, enough of the self pity

    All the above can be sorted with more planning, but the main issue I was experiencing was the colouration. I was hoping to get good colouration from the foreground and the sea and also a nice orangey sky with a long 20-30 second exposure but all I kept getting were lots of blue! I tried all the preset White Balance settings but none really made much of a difference.

    This is the first time I have attempted these kind of shots so need all the help I can get. What am I doing wrong?

    This shot shows how blue they were coming out, oh and also the amount of dust that needs cleaning (bear in mind it was nearly dark):

    Terrible photo session, advice needed!


    This is the best of a very bad bunch:

    Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    The above are straight out the camera without any processing at all (just a resize for the forum).

    I did manage one shot I was half happy with but it still needs more work, as below:

    Terrible photo session, advice needed!



    Thanks for looking and any helpful tips will be gratefully received.

  2. #2
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Details? Such as EXIF, processed in what software? What settings?

    Glenn

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    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Hi Glenn

    All shot in Shutter Priorty mode at the slowest speed my camera would allow with the lighting conditions until eventually I got a 30sec exposure.

    The very blue shot is F20, 20 seconds, 35mm, exposure at 0.

    The slightly less blue shot is same as above but F13.

    I have just realised that I had also left the metering as Centre Weighted and I do not have the correct software on my work laptop to see which White Balance setting the above were on, I'll have to look later on.

    Shot in JPEG so not processed at all, on purpose so you could see the issues I was having.

    Regards

    Andy

    EDIT: I have also noticed a large quality difference between my JPEG and the final results that shows up on here by linking from my Photobucket account. Will start using Tinypic to see if thats better.
    Last edited by AndyB1975; 2nd May 2012 at 07:07 AM.

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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Hi Andy,

    Sorry, I'm a bit confused. Were these shot in RAW or JPEG?

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    darkslide's Avatar
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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Might I suggest that your dust spots are actually on your sensor - hence the reason they are more obvious at f20 (first shot) than f13...they'll be there in pitch dark as well as bright sunlight...

    The general 'blue' tends to make me think the white balance was set to tungsten, but I'm sure you already know that bit!

    In future it might be worth shooting in RAW (or RAW + jpg) simply to have control over the WB post processing.

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    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Andy,

    Sorry, I'm a bit confused. Were these shot in RAW or JPEG?
    They were all shot in JPEG Colin.

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    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by darkslide View Post
    Might I suggest that your dust spots are actually on your sensor - hence the reason they are more obvious at f20 (first shot) than f13...they'll be there in pitch dark as well as bright sunlight...

    The general 'blue' tends to make me think the white balance was set to tungsten, but I'm sure you already know that bit!

    In future it might be worth shooting in RAW (or RAW + jpg) simply to have control over the WB post processing.
    Hi Ian, thanks for your comments.

    I think you are right about the sensor dust. I had cleaned my lenses before I went out.

    I think the very blue picture was when using the Tungsten setting, but all the pics had a very blue colouration. I tried every preset WB to see if any made much of a difference. I think the lighter blue shot above was on the cloudy setting which seemed to give the best finish.

    So, what would be your standard WB setting for shooting after dusk at a slow shutter speed?

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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1975 View Post
    They were all shot in JPEG Colin.
    Ah - big no no

    Jpeg throws away a LOT of information (throws away the "safety net") ... unfortunately, with shots like these - often - we need that safety net both for the ability to alter white balance losslessly, and to compress the dynamic range.

    Prob best to just try again with a RAW shot and see how things look.

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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1975 View Post
    So, what would be your standard WB setting for shooting after dusk at a slow shutter speed?
    If you're shooting RAW, it doesn't matter (white balancing can't be applied to a RAW shot) (it can only be applied as part of the RAW to "real image" conversion), although the in-camera JPEG will show the results of the white balance setting.

    One trick - if your camera supports it - is to turn on live view and then adjust the colour temperature until the scene looks good to you (normally something low). There's no "technically correct" way to whitebalance a sunset shot though ... they're balanced to be "visually correct" (fancy words for "whatever looks best").

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    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Thanks Colin, much appreciated.

    RAW it is from now on then, I'll have to stop being lazy and taking the easy option

    I have a few other thoughts to try and improve this kind of shot, i.e arriving earlier and shooting during sunset as I assume I only breally need to get to around 8-10 seconds exposure to get the milky water effect and obviously my location. The shots above are facing South East, where as an East facing location will give me much more coloured skies.

    I will keep on trying and will eventually nail it (fingers crossed) when I do I will post here for you all to see

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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1975 View Post
    Thanks Colin, much appreciated.

    RAW it is from now on then, I'll have to stop being lazy and taking the easy option

    I have a few other thoughts to try and improve this kind of shot, i.e arriving earlier and shooting during sunset as I assume I only breally need to get to around 8-10 seconds exposure to get the milky water effect and obviously my location. The shots above are facing South East, where as an East facing location will give me much more coloured skies.

    I will keep on trying and will eventually nail it (fingers crossed) when I do I will post here for you all to see
    Hi Andy,

    RAW is good

    Best time is just before sunrise, or just after sunset.

    8-10 may be enough (but I doubt it), but it depends on the water state. Some of mine are up to 45 MINUTES.

    Just keep an eye on the highlight alert (so you don't blow the brightest part of the exposure), and try to get something in the foreground.

    I do a fair bit of this sort of thing, so you might get some inspiration here.

    http://www.pbase.com/cjsouthern/all_images

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Terrible photo session, advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Some of mine are up to 45 MINUTES.
    Is that not quite a fast shutter speed for some of yours? I'm sure I've seen stuff that is much longer.

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