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capturing the feel of sunlight

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by floppymoose, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. floppymoose

    floppymoose Mu-43 Regular

    121
    Feb 22, 2010
    as a beginning photog, one thing i find challenging is capturing the "pow" of sunlight. here is an example picture as a starting point. i'm interested in advice on techniques for getting the same kind of impression from sunlight in a photo that i do with the naked eye.

    I tweaked this in Apple Aperture to tone down the highlights but otherwise raise the exposure. I feel like the camera doesn't have the dynamic range that our eyes/brain do, and this is my attempt at compensating for that.

     
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  2. ksn

    ksn Mu-43 Veteran

    266
    Mar 6, 2011
    I'm only a beginner as well, but perhaps you can enhance the light through post processing.
     
  3. floppymoose

    floppymoose Mu-43 Regular

    121
    Feb 22, 2010
    I did. "aperture" in my post above refers to the photo post processing program from Apple. But I don't really know what I'm doing there, so I'm looking for specific feedback. And also feedback on things I should be doing with the camera at shoot time. I've edited the post to make it more clear.
     
  4. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Dynamic Range

    Hi,

    This is from dpreview on Dynamic range and the GF1

    Dynamic Range

    "Our Dynamic Range measurement system involves shooting a calibrated Stouffer Step Wedge (13 stops total range) which is backlit using a daylight balanced lamp (98 CRI). A single shot of this produces a gray scale wedge from (the cameras) black to clipped white (example below). Each step of the scale is equivalent to 1/3 EV (a third of a stop), we select one step as 'middle gray' and measure outwards to define the dynamic range. Hence there are 'two sides' to our results, the amount of shadow range (below middle gray) and the amount of highlight range (above middle gray).



    To most people highlight range is the first thing they think about when talking about dynamic range, that is the amount of highlight detail the camera can capture before it clips to white. Shadow range is more complicated, in our test we stop measuring values below middle gray as soon as the luminance value drops below our defined 'black point' (about 2% luminance) or the signal-to-noise ratio drops below a predefined value (where shadow detail would be swamped by noise), whichever comes first.

    Dynamic Range compared

    Thanks to the rather harsh tone curve the GF1's highlight dynamic range can't match the best mid-range DLSRs, and at 3.1 EV it can't quite compete with the Olympus E-P1 (at ISO 200). The fact that the GF1 tends to meter quite conservatively (i.e. slightly under exposes) - or can be forced to with a -0.3 EV compensation - means that the highlight retention in 'real world' images is as good as - often better than - the E-P1.

    Camera (base ISO)


    Shadow range Usable range Highlight range
    Panasonic GF1 -5.4 EV 3.1 EV 8.5 EV
    Panasonic G1 -5.0 EV 3.0 EV 8.0 EV
    Olympus E-P1 (ISO 200) -5.7 EV 3.4 EV 9.1 EV




    From Lets go Digital

    "Dynamic range of the Panasonic Lumix GF1
    The dynamic range of the Panasonic Lumix GF1 is quite average. It can actually be compared to a standard DSLR camera featuring an APS-C size sensor, and certainly with the PEN E-P1 of its rival Olympus.


    In high light areas, Panasonic encounters more difficulties to create an optimal range. We have seen better results from its competitors. In practice, you will not notice it that much. The exposure method that is used by Panasonic differs from other cameras that in turn also differ among themselves. This means that the Panasonic GF1 is able to stretch the exposure compensation a little, for example for the light areas, without it directly influencing the quality. "


    Here's hoping you're referring to a GF1...
     
  5. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Your on a good start. It helps to step away from the computer and camera.
    Just sit back and try to see the finished image in your mind.
    When you have a clear image up there, go back to the computer and make what you see in your mind's eye appear on the screen.

    Is it color or B&W? How does the tonal range compare?
    How does the contrast compare?

    If you did this and this is the actual result, then 2 things happen.

    1- your satisfied.
    2- your seeking improvement.

    If you can't previsualize the image, then experiment with your image to find a meaning within.
    I'm not being evasive, just trying to explain a process that will let you find the light you are seeking in your images.

    You may want to grant permission to members to make a version they see of your image. Then ask to post the workflow so you learn how they did it.
    You have no threats of any copyright issues here.

    Don
     
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  6. You can dial down your exposure compensation by 1/3 stop to allow you to recover highlights slightly better. The 4/3 sized sensor never quite had the dynamic range of the larger sensor DSLRs. What are you using as your base ISO? ISO 200 seems to give more dynamic range than ISO 100 on the 12MP m4/3 cameras.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't be afraid of blowing a few highlights if it suits the image you're trying to create.
     
  7. floppymoose

    floppymoose Mu-43 Regular

    121
    Feb 22, 2010
    Thanks all, this is useful feedback. I will come back in a day or so and respond more fully...
     
  8. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    I think this is an instance where the good old "Curves" of Photoshop helps - at least the one in PS7 which you could adjust the way you wanted. By working with contrast in Curves, you don't blow out the highlights, but rather effect the contrast in the area you want. A common use is to create an 'S' curve, which gives the sensation of increasing the highlights without blowing them out, because you are in fact brightening the highlights but you are not changing the very top of the curve. You are also darkening the darks around the blast-of-sun highlight, adding the drama you want. I use Curves a lot to add punch to an image.
     
  9. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Here is some simple information for those who own Aperture, but don't have or want to spend the kind of dough required to own Photoshop:

    Taken from: How Aperture 3 Will Make Your Photos Better: Curves | uncoy.com | la vie viennoise

    Adobe knows the importance of curves too, which is why Adobe Photoshop Elements didn’t include curves at all until the latest version and why even now curves in PS Elements are crippled. Curves cannot be applied as an adjustment layer (i.e. non-reversible) like Levels, nor do you have direct control over the S curve. At $700 for Photoshop with $300 updates almost every year, working curves are a very expensive proposition with Adobe.

    With Curves now in Aperture, there is a pro level alternative to Adobe and the Photoshop world. You can do all your development in Aperture and only need resort to a bitmap editor for minor tweaks. Workflow is much faster with non-destructive curves built right into Aperture.
     
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  10. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Working with Curves in Aperture. Video

    Again.

    If you own a Mac, or several of them for that matter. The $80. download of Aperture 3, from the Apple App store (available in OS 10.6.6) allows you to have and use Aperture on all of your Macs... no extra charge.

    Here's a video:

    <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="640" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Jeg9ewv2Fxg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
  11. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    Alan - that is great that Aperture included real curves in their program. I agree that the curves in Elements is crippled - in fact, pretty useless. Pushing levers and having the program determine the curve is absurd. The thing I really like about good old Photoshop 7 is the fact that as far as I can tell these sorts of tools are in there original state and not altered to make things "easier", which of course actually just screws them up. I don't suppose that Apple makes a PC version of Aperture? I love my good old XP with all five machines running it. I hear that Vista was about as good as Millenium, though Windows 7 is supposed to be better. XP was pretty terrific, however.
     
  12. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Peter,

    Sorry. That's a draw back. Aperture is a straight up Mac Application.

    Curves is an example of what I was talking about when I mentioned, in another thread, that "things and times" have changed over the past 15 years since photoshop hit the street.

    I haven't really started messing around with Lightroom yet, though I soon will, so I can not speak to curves being part of the package...

    Cheers, Alan
     
  13. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    652
    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    BBW said this to me in another thread:

    'Reminder - it is very important to ask permission before editing anyone's photographs unless they've got the option "Image Editing OK" showing up - or they've mentioned its being OK within their post. I know you meant well, Spuff and chances are really good that HappyEisentrout will be just fine with this, but it is my duty to bring this up.

    P.S. Image Editing OK (or not) is changeable via one's User Control Panel.'
     
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  14. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    Sorry - have deleted my post.
     
  15. floppymoose

    floppymoose Mu-43 Regular

    121
    Feb 22, 2010
    So I still want to respond in more detail when I have more time, but for now I will quickly say that I am an avid mac guy, and after using LR here and there during my first year of GF1 ownership, I am very happy to have switched to Aperture - which I did when it became an $80 download. I definitely think that people who are not already indoctrinated in Adobe software, and who *are* indoctrinated into the mac user interface feel, will feel much more at home in Aperture. The program just "makes sense" to me in a way LR never did.
     
  16. floppymoose

    floppymoose Mu-43 Regular

    121
    Feb 22, 2010
    Also, I have enabled "IMAGE EDITING OK". Sorry for not doing that earlier, and thanks for spelling out how to enable that setting.
     
  17. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010

    Sorry I jumped the gun on your picture and posted it earlier. Here it is again with an "S" curve applied in Curves in Photoshop. Not sure this is what you were getting at, but for what it's worth.

    pow_factor.

    Peter
     
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  18. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hello Peter,

    Why don't you capture and post an image of the actual "curve" you've applied.
    If you do, it won't matter what the application is, the curve will be duplicatable in whichever application one is using...
     
  19. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    Alan - I am never going to get anything done around the house with all your great suggestions! Unfortunately I did it as the feeling struck me at the moment, but basically it was an S curve. These give you more mid range contrast, makes the blacks seem blacker and the lights lighter, but neither black nor white goes off the map. I like to keep white at 247 (out of 255) and black no lower than 6, with 0 being the bottom end. When printing, 247 still allows ink on the paper and hence detail, and 6 is above the black ink puddling level. So playing around with the contrast in the range between 2 and 247 with curves seems to be about right.
     
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  20. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Peter,

    Most days I have the advantage of having my laptop right along side the machine I'm working on, and I can mingle about on the board as I "try" to work.

    I too am occasionally sidetracked by my hobby, and fall short of my actual goal for the day....

    Alan
     
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