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Thread: how to avoid overblown sky ?

  1. #1

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    how to avoid overblown sky ?

    I often find that the sky is overblown on a photo ( s ) of mine, how I can avoid this by setting the camera different ?

    Griddi......

  2. #2

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Dial in some negative exposure compensation on your camera.

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Dial in some negative exposure compensation on your camera.
    Thank you Colin, but then if I tone the exposure compensation down, the photo will be darker too.....

    Griddi.......

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by just me View Post
    Thank you Colin, but then if I tone the exposure compensation down, the photo will be darker too.....

    Griddi.......
    Yep -- which is why you then need to use the fill and brightness sliders to adjust it to where you want them to be in post-processing (or use fill flash).

    The problem is that you're mixing two different light sources; the sky often has incident light (or regardless is a lot brighter) whereas everything else in the scene is reflected light. The camera is quite capable of capturing both, but it's something we can't display with the limited dynamic range of our monitors or in prints ... hence the reason we need to compress the range in post-processing.

    Normally an EC of -1 is about right.

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Griddi: you do not have to dial in a lot of negative maybe 1/3rd of a stop to prevent you blowing out the sky or invest in some GND filters, I would try exposure compensation first not as much money.

    Cheers:

    Allan
    Last edited by Polar01; 20th September 2013 at 02:17 AM. Reason: now changed to not (bad fingers)

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Griddi: you do not have to dial in a lot of negative maybe 1/3rd of a stop to prevent you blowing out the sky or invest in some GND filters, I would try exposure compensation first now as much money.

    Cheers:

    Allan
    A little may prevent blowing out (of clouds etc), but you need "a bit more" to saturate the sky. Basically, the higher the exposure, the more the sky washes out.

    Good basic settings for people photography involving sky are EC=-1 and FEC=-2/3 as a starting point (Canon world anyway).

  7. #7

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    A little may prevent blowing out (of clouds etc), but you need "a bit more" to saturate the sky. Basically, the higher the exposure, the more the sky washes out.

    Good basic settings for people photography involving sky are EC=-1 and FEC=-2/3 as a starting point (Canon world anyway).
    Big Thank you Colin and Alan, I will try it out next time, although I use the Fuji X100 and Olympus E-M5.......

    Greetings,
    Griddi.......

  8. #8
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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Hi Griddi,

    Take a reading from the horizon (some sky in it), or, take a reading from the sky, then the subject/object then near the ground, average them - check the histogram, rinse and repeat.

  9. #9

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by tao2 View Post
    Hi Griddi,

    Take a reading from the horizon (some sky in it), or, take a reading from the sky, then the subject/object then near the ground, average them - check the histogram, rinse and repeat.
    HI Boab,
    thank you, I will try this out as well, had to grin about " rinse and repeat "

    Greetings,
    Griddi.......

  10. #10
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Of course, you can also invest in a 2 or 3 stop grad filter and use that to reduce the amount of light from the sky.

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Before I go and stick my foot in my mouth...what gear are you using?
    This thread on metering might help...Dark Birds over Water - Matrix or Spot Metering

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Chauncey is correct. Much of this has been covered in the other thread, at least I described my general approach. To summarize, I shoot in manual and spot meter the brightest area of sky in the frame, then adjust my shutter speed (keeping my aperture the same) to add about 2 ev of exposure to that spot. This will keep the brights from blowing but also give the darks a chance. You can only do this in raw because you will need to decrease the brightness in post. In other words, the sky will not be clipped but it will be light. A key benefit of doing this for me is reduces the noise not just in the shadows but in the sky itself. A correctly exposed sky on my D90 will often have an unpleasant texture to it. Doing it this way has improved my skies. This method has the same result as using exposure compensation (that's what exposure compensation does in aperture mode--alters the shutter speed). I just like getting the specific info from the spot meter. Works for me, anyway.

  13. #13
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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Two more approaches.

    Expose for the sky. Then light your subject.

    how to avoid overblown sky ?
    Panasonic DMC-G3. Lumix G 20mm f/1.7. iso 200, f/16, 1/160s.
    Bare Yongnuo YN-560 speedlight around 1/8 power held in left hand, triggered with Yongnuo RF-602s.

    Or bracket and exposure fuse or HDR.

    how to avoid overblown sky ?
    Cano 50D. EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 II kit lens, three shots bracketed at 2EV intervals, shot RAW
    Combed in Lightroom with LR/Enfuse plugin. slight Curves adjustment.

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    A slight variation ... have your camera set to minus one stop and blinkies switched on. If you get blinkies you then decide if it matters that those areas are blown, if it is then dial in more minus or change to manual mode and depending on what you started with adjust accordingly. You will have to adjust in editing but that is better than blown highlights that you want.

    A simpler solution is to include more sky in the frame when you take half trigger having got an exposure balanced for the sky you continue holding HT and lower camera for the shot. Having read Luminous landscape 'Expose to the right' but still using a P&S with no modes at the time that was my solution to the problem and I continue to work that way despite having a lot of bells and whisles on my current gear. It is quick and easy to do, a bit of guesswork which usually works. By that I mean the result is within the range that can be adjusted in editing. It applies to other situations where you have a bright area likely to upset the camera's meter, such a bright reflection off water in perhaps the lower part of the photo.

  15. #15

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by chauncey View Post
    Before I go and stick my foot in my mouth...what gear are you using?
    This thread on metering might help...Dark Birds over Water - Matrix or Spot Metering
    Thank you chauncey.......
    My gear : Fuji X100, Olympus OM- E5, lenses 20mm, 14-45mm, 14-150mm, 45-200mm, 100-300mm, macro -Elmarit 45.....
    ( the lenses are all Panasonic, as I had used them with my Panasonic G2, but now I use them with the Olympus camera )

  16. #16

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Two more approaches.

    Expose for the sky. Then light your subject.

    how to avoid overblown sky ?
    Panasonic DMC-G3. Lumix G 20mm f/1.7. iso 200, f/16, 1/160s.
    Bare Yongnuo YN-560 speedlight around 1/8 power held in left hand, triggered with Yongnuo RF-602s.

    Or bracket and exposure fuse or HDR.

    how to avoid overblown sky ?
    Cano 50D. EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 II kit lens, three shots bracketed at 2EV intervals, shot RAW
    Combed in Lightroom with LR/Enfuse plugin. slight Curves adjustment.
    Kathy, thank you, and your flower photo is just so very beautiful !

    I don't have a speedlight.......or did you mean a flashlight ?

    Regards,
    Griddi.....
    Last edited by just me; 21st September 2013 at 10:56 AM.

  17. #17

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    A slight variation ... have your camera set to minus one stop and blinkies switched on. If you get blinkies you then decide if it matters that those areas are blown, if it is then dial in more minus or change to manual mode and depending on what you started with adjust accordingly. You will have to adjust in editing but that is better than blown highlights that you want.

    A simpler solution is to include more sky in the frame when you take half trigger having got an exposure balanced for the sky you continue holding HT and lower camera for the shot. Having read Luminous landscape 'Expose to the right' but still using a P&S with no modes at the time that was my solution to the problem and I continue to work that way despite having a lot of bells and whisles on my current gear. It is quick and easy to do, a bit of guesswork which usually works. By that I mean the result is within the range that can be adjusted in editing. It applies to other situations where you have a bright area likely to upset the camera's meter, such a bright reflection off water in perhaps the lower part of the photo.
    jcuknz, thank you to you too, I have your comments printed, and will keep this with my cameras to try out, I mostly had shoot my photos with aperture, but just lately I have switched over to take my photos in manual mode......

    With all the help I am getting here, I am sure sooner or later the overblown sky's will not be anymore, I will try out all the hints I did get from your friendly and helpful people.......

    Greetings,
    Griddi....

  18. #18

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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    My gear : Fuji X100, Olympus OM- E5, lenses 20mm, 14-45mm, 14-150mm, 45-200mm, 100-300mm, macro -Elmarit 45.....
    Aah...now I can give you my mantra about shooting totally in manual made utilizing your live view screen, lifted from an earlier post>
    "A couple of years ago when I was trying to learn all that exposure nonsense I kept believing that there had to be an easier way...well bucko, there is and it's called live view. Chimp your image in LV with your RGB histogram showing>input 2 of the 3 wanted/needed camera settings and push that histogram toward the right, but not touching the right side, using the third setting. Oh, because that histogram is jpeg based, you must first neutralize, base out, all of your "picture style" settings that you may have set for your jpeg images.
    I use this technique all the time and I take the time to repeat if the light changes. Also, when I'm shooting a black dog/white snow scenario, I'll shoot a properly exposed virgin image of the snow followed by properly exposed dog romping around and blend them later in PS.
    Yeah, it's sounds complicated, but rapidly becomes second nature."

  19. #19

    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    My solution to this problem is to minimise the sky in the frame, especially if it is grey/cloudy, and so likely to overblow. Blue sky is less of a problem. I know you don't always have the choice, but grey/white sky is pretty boring anyway, so I try and shoot to exclude.

  20. #20
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: how to avoid overblown sky ?

    Quote Originally Posted by just me View Post
    Kathy, thank you, and your flower photo is just so very beautiful !
    Thanks!

    I don't have a speedlight.......or did you mean a flashlight ?
    Speedlight = hotshoe flash unit

    You could use the pop-up built-in flash on your camera, but you can't really control the direction of the light with that, so it may not be quite the look you want. On-axis light from the camera/lens position tends to look flat. And, of course, you can't light a huge subject with it (or the speedlight). A flower or person yes. Maybe even a tree. But an entire hillside, no.

    BTW, the all-manual flash I used cost me about US$65. I believe you can now find its successor, the YN-560II, on Amazon for US$60. It's not good for run'n'gun event lighting, as you have to manually set the power output level on the flash, and it lacks a lot of the features of a Canon EX speedlight, but for off-camera use with cheap manual radio triggers, it's pretty good, especially for the price. You don't have to blow $500 on a 600EX-RT to get a speedlight.

    Another thing to watch for to avoid blowing out skies: try to have the sun behind you when you shoot.

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