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Thread: The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

  1. #1

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    The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    BUT, it didin't look that way at all...
    It took a layer adjustment on levels at 50% soft light to get even a reasonable semblence of a white clappard church.
    I followed the guidelines in the Photo Tips section referencing shooting in a Zone system, but I think I must have left out a step or got something wrong.
    This one is white, but barely and the shadows fell out completely. The highlights glare. I did manage to squeeze out a little mid-range detail.
    What else can I use to check the photo besides the histogram? How can I get away from the "bluish cast" in the shadows, yet maintain a balance of light?

    The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

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    Re: The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    Hi Chris,

    Keep in mind that histograms are only 1 tool, and they do require some mental input (in that they show the distribution of tones as they're recorded, but not necessarily as you want them recorded (eg you wouldn't want a black cat on a black rug to be exposed to the right) (possibly not relivant to this example, but something to keep in mind) (just like not all prints use the full tonal range).

    Scenes like this are quite high dynamic range - well within the range of the camera, but you'll probably need to compress the tonal range a little to get it to display correctly. In terms of correct exposure, something like this could quite possibly fool the metering into an under-exposure - so what I would do it spot-meter the white exterior and then up-shift the exposure exactly 2 stops, and use that as a starting point.

    Can't really say a lot more about this particular image without seeing the original. Was it shot in RAW? Do you want to send it to me?

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    Re: The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    Hi Chris,

    I can't add much to Colin's reply, but say that this

    How can I get away from the "bluish cast" in the shadows, yet maintain a balance of light?
    reminds me of a similar thread a week or so ago about blue shadows on snow.

    The problem is the same; it is mixed (colour temperature) lighting, so there's no easy win, short of masking and treating each area separately for white balance, that is more do-able here than with tree shadows on snow.

    Then playing with levels, curves and possibly Local Contrast Enhancement (with USM) to get a tonal range you're happier with.

    Cheers,

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    Re: The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    This image is still in raw and when I get my system up and running later next week, I'll do a readjustment in ARC and see if I get different results. Just out of curiosity, I went out at daybreak this morning and reshot the church from a variety of angles, and at differing times. I used the Zone concept again, adjusted up and down (and two stops was about where I began - good call) and with minor adjustments, set up the histogram.
    Here's my problem, I am not exactly sure what I am supposed to be seeing in the histogram (keep in mind this is CS2 with jpeg editing). According to the Zone video tip, the histogram in the first photo is what I should be seeing...yet, I am still seeing more yellow and red than I think I should.
    Can you advise?

    The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    Just as the sun cracked the horizon, but behind trees, etc
    The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    About 15 minutes later
    The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    This is where I ended up on the histogram exposure, 15 minutes after 2nd exposure
    The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

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    Re: The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    Here's my problem, I am not exactly sure what I am supposed to be seeing in the histogram
    Hi Chris,

    I think you're possibly expecting too much of the histogram. In terms of exposure, I use the highlight alert ("blinkies") to indicate any degree of over-exposure, and the histogram to indicate any degree of under-exposure - usually in high dynamic range scenes where (for example) I'm shooting into the light. When shooting other outdoor scenes (such as yours) I'd probably give it a quick glance if the image looked under-exposed on the review screen, but I'd expect to have more of a problem with over-exposure in the sky.

    Keep in mind that - with a correctly exposed shot - you won't necessarily have the histogram going all the way to the right (eg a subdued forrest scene); you can push it in that direction (eg "expose to the right"), but that can also make it difficult to adjust afterwards (you wouldn't think so, but it does happen).

    In scenes like yours I'd be looking at the screen to see how the sky looked (being, probably, the brightest thing due to it being in essence backlit) - I'd probably only glance at the histogram if the whole scene looked dark. Generally, if I can see shadow detail with the camera screen turned to a bit of an angle in scenes like this then I'm happy that I've captured enough shadow detail.

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    Re: The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    ...yet, I am still seeing more yellow and red than I think I should.
    Isn't this more of a function of the time of day? Just after sunrise/before sunset does give more of these colours. There is a lovely, techie explanation in Wikipedia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunset#Colors

    Or am I misunderstanding your question?

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    Re: The histogram said this shot was okay, exposure wise

    I am not unpleased with the ending result, but was concerned the histogram and that result conflicted. I think once I can get into RAW editing, most of these concerns will ease up a bit. Thank you guys for your responses. I am still a learner.

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