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Thread: How to capture the "Sparkle"

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    How to capture the "Sparkle"

    Bought a digital camera for the first time. Canon Eos Rebel xsi. Cant seem to get what I want from it. I think in its computer brain it thinks everything is best as a medium grey.
    I turned on a function called Highlight Enable and that helps a little, but here I am shooting picture of sunlight shining on sparkly ice crystals and Im getting hardly anything for the sparkly lovelyness I see with my eye and I know my film camera (olympus OM 2t) could capture. Do I have to capture this in raw ans then adjust like the gamma or something in photoshop? and if so how is that making digital more convenient than film?
    Does anyone understand this? I'm not sure if the digital will do what I need, or if I'm ignorant of its use....

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: How to capture the "Sparkle"

    Would you be kind enough to post the image that you are referring to? Thanks.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How to capture the "Sparkle"

    Hi Sparkle,

    It would be good if you'd share a first name with us, as this could be quite a popular thread.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me with a 'meaty' question to get our teeth into (just kidding, sort of)

    RAW is definitely best, do you prefer the taste of factory produced microwave meals, or hand cooked meals by a chef? The latter yes?
    So now would you rather cook in a modern kitchen, or over an open fire and you have to go gather wood first?
    One analogy is jpg vs RAW (or film), the second is the convenience of digital RAW vs Film
    (but we hardly know each other, so don't take me too seriously)

    I'm not a Canon man, so not familiar with the model or its capabilities, but I would have thought a suitable scene mode and possibly using common sense to modify the meter reading with an exposure compensation (if not using manual) to get the exposure right for backlit white things, which as you say, the meter will try to make grey, would do the trick, even with a jpg. A film camera's meter would have done the same, so how would you have solved that?

    I think you'll need to post a jpg for us to look at to see the extent of the problem.

    You will, joking aside, have much greater control with RAW than jpg, and faster access using the instant feedback of the cameras histogram to set the exposure right when the meter gets it wrong, but with film, you probably won't discover the problem until days later when a re-shoot is impossible. I know which I prefer and I'd suggest digital is worth a little effort to work out its advantages for you.

    Cheers,

  4. #4

    Re: How to capture the "Sparkle"

    Hi, Sparkle! Welcome to CiC and with a very good question, too. I wait with bated breath to see what others will say.

    However, I know what you mean about initial transition dissatisfaction. I couldn't figure out why everything was so blurry when I went from my point and shoot to my rebel xsi (450D). Also, I felt like so much was gray and not working out right. Hang in there! It just takes a little while to get to know your new instrument. It can do so much more for you and you will have more control over what it's doing, in the end. You just have to get used to it and learn. I was a little confused, at first, but, now, I'm having soooooo much fun! Good luck!!!

    Dave gave you so much good info (he's more like the expert and I'm more towards the beginning part of things). He's right about the exposure compensation when you're trying to capture ice. Also, the wb sometimes gets wonky on me and I have to tell it to do weird things that I wouldn't normally expect when I'm photographing the snow and ice. Also, those focus points are important. Unless you're in fully manual mode, they tell the camera how to expose; so, if it focuses on something very dark, it will tell the camera to adjust and expose to make it light and, the ice.... my camera thinks that it needs to make it much darker than it should because it is SO bright. Maybe this is all obvious to you but it's something that I really had to get used to and, then, that gray washed out result went away.

    Also, in terms of processing.... as I understand it, developing film (for the serious photographer) was part of the whole photo-making process; so, a little bit of post processing on the computer isn't so strange. I'm actually getting to a point where I'm confused because my original capture is getting better and I don't really need to do quite as much in pp. In other words, I've, for the most part, gotten much faster and, also, don't have as much to do. (I'm really working on ice, right now, though. Every season seems to bring different light and something new to learn. ) Anyway, I don't think that we have to be slaves to post processing unless we want to. Wait! Maybe that came out wrong..... I see an awful lot of people around here having a hoot with the post processing.

    With the DSLR, you just need to take a "moment" to get to know it better and, to encourage you, "inch by inch, anything's a cinch!" (It actually goes much faster than that. )

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    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: How to capture the "Sparkle"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkle View Post
    I think in its computer brain it thinks everything is best as a medium grey.
    Success !!!

    You have learned a key point of photography, Camera's make mistakes. (The meter wants everything to be a mid-tone gray )

    The sparkle that you are trying to capture is being reduced because the camera's meter has no way to know you want to preserve the intensity that your eyes perceive and that you value in the final image. Obviously it even falls out side the "Highlight" setting of your camera.

    There are many ways you can get this right, meter off something near by that lacks the sparkle that biases your in-camera meter. Then the camera will select an exposure which will intentionally "over expose" the sparkles. Another way is to get a handheld meter and set the camera based upon the incident light level.

    These things aren't hard to learn and you'll find many threads here which already address this issue. Just take a look through:

    Thread: Light Meter

    Thread: Ansel Adam's Law

    Thread: Zone System

    and do consult the many tutorials on the CiC site.

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