My Sunset Looks Like Scrambled Egg

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by hunyuan7, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    The beautiful sunset turned out to look like a scrambled egg. I thought these shots would be easy, but my Panny G3 couldn't focus accurately on what was a golden orange disc.

    Exposure time: 1/1600
    F stop: 7.1
    Metering mode: centerwieght
    Exposure program: aperture priority
    White balance: manual
    ISO: 320
    Lens: 20mm

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    perhaps "evaluative" metering would have worked better. or using exposure comp to underexpose by a stop may have resulted in the sun not blown out.

    but ultimately, I think you want a graduated ND filter for the results you're going for.
  3. Yep, I agree with Klee. It looks like it was exposed for foreground and was just a bit too much exposure to hold the color in the skies. If you shot it in RAW, you could lower the exposure to compensate a bit depending on how much info is still there in the sky. You could also experiment with other various editing techniques even if it wasn't shot in RAW to recover the color but RAW would just make it a bit easier.

    On a scene like this, many times I shoot 3 bracketed shots... one under, normal and one overexposed and either do HDR or just blend the sky from underexposed image into correct exposure for more detail and color. :cool:
  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    You can only capture so much dynamic range without using something like an ND filter, so you need to choose what is important. As sunsets can sometimes be challenging, I usually try to get a bit more detail, if only turning the blown highlights to yellow (or whatever color the suns is gracing us with at the time), and let the rest of the images fall into the shadows. This may make for a some additional noise in the image because of the underexposure, but it can also look quite dramatic. The trick is to not give too much of your DR to the sun. In situations like this, I recommend shooting manual and either bracketing or testing shots until you get a balance that works for you.

    Good luck,

  5. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    Which neutral density filters have you had success with in shooting with m4/3?

    Thanks for the input.
  6. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    When shooting extremely high contrast scenes, if nothing else use exposure bracketing and take multiple shots. You'll have better luck pulling data out of underexposed shadows than out of completely blown highlights, where this is never any data to pull.

    But in this case, the dynamic range of a sun directly in the frame, and foreground detail, is more than any camera can capture. As someone else suggested, a grad ND filter would help. Shooting bracketed exposures and using post processing software to merge then into an HDR shot might work, too.

    Finally, you asked about focus. That's not really the issue here, but all AF systems need contrast to focus on. The sun itself has no contrast at all, it's all just bright yellow/white. But the sun is ALWAYS at infinity, so just rack the lens to the farthest focus possible.
  7. jrsilva

    jrsilva Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 1, 2012
    I had used a Hoya ND8 filter (3 stops) initially but then realised that it didn't cut enough light for my needs (long exposures). Currently I use a Hoya ND400 filter (9 stops). I usually do exposers of not more than 15-20 seconds.
    I found the results good enough and I don't see any color cast produced by this filter.
  8. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    I wouldn't turn it all the way unless you have established your lens doesn't focus past infinity. The kit lens I have for my G3 will focus a significant degree past infinity.
  9. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    You used centre weighted metering but the brightest part of the image was outside the centre of the image. Since the centre was darker, the weighting given to that area increased the exposure causing the brightest area to clip badly. Just using evaluative metering would have produced a better result but the brightest area would probably still have blown out.

    For shots like sunsets where you want gradation in a bright area, you need to learn how to use the meter to give the result you want. There are several things you could have done and which one is best depends in part on how you want to work.

    First, you could have used centre weighting but placed the centre over the brightest area and then locked exposure, recomposed the frame, and shot. The problem with doing this is that both evaluative and centre weighting modes assume that the area they are measuring has an average mid-level brightness and they are going to tend to give more exposure than you want since you're concerned with the highlights. The solution to that is to dial in exposure compensation and I'd bracket shots at the start using +1, +2, and +3 stops compensation until you learn what amount gives you the result you prefer.

    Alternatively you could use a spot meter mode to meter part of the bright area. If you do this you don't want to meter an area containing the sun so put the spot zone over an area a bit to one side of the sun, lock exposure, recompose and shoot. Once again the meter is going to assume that the area you measure has an average mid-level brightness so in this case it's going to give less exposure than you want so you're going to have to use exposure compensation again. Do the same bracketing process but this time with -1, -2 and -3 stops until you learn what works best for you.

    I don't have a Panasonic camera, I have 2 Olympus cameras, and they have a couple of extra spot meter modes. One is called "Spot Highlight" and it treats the area you measure as a highlight area so it gives it less exposure than the normal spot meter mode would give if you measured the same spot. In other words it essentially automatically provides the negative exposure compensation you would need to dial in if you use the normal spot meter mode. That's the metering method I use and it seems to work very well for me. I don't know if Panasonic bodies have that meter option but if they do I'd suggest experimenting with it.

    When faced with a tricky lighting situation, the safest rule is to take several shots at different exposures if you can. Taking one shot as the meter recommends and several others with + and - 1 and 2 stops exposure compensation will usually ensure you get a shot which gives you what you wanted, and you'll soon learn how to handle different sorts of scene and light so that you know in advance what the best approach will be.
  10. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    • Use the lowest ISO available.
    • Bracket exposures being more concerned to avoid overexposing the sun than concerned about the darker foreground. Lost highlight detail is forever lost while "lost" shadow detail can often be recovered in post.
    • Shoot RAW so you have be best ability to recover the shadows.
    • Make sure your lenses are extremely clean, both the front and rear elements.

    If possible, use a tripod so the bracketed frames match and then use a good HDR program that can produce a normal, rather than "grunge", output image.

    The only filters that can be of any help are polarizers, and they can only "help" by reducing the brightness of the reflections on the water. They won't affect the sky near the sun at all. All filters will add flare problems, usually in the form of bright spots.
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