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What happened?

This is a discussion on What happened? within the Critiques forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Hi again everyone...I was wondering if you could help me understand what I did incorrectly while trying to capture my ...

  1. #1
    casil403's Avatar
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    Default What happened?

    Hi again everyone...I was wondering if you could help me understand what I did incorrectly while trying to capture my dog playing frisbee. I was doing quite a bit of multi-taking here...photo taking, throwing frisbee, getting Chase in the shot etc. etc. but all the shots came back quite dark and not in focus very well. I did use a tripod for the shots and a cable release.
    The first shot is the original, the second is a crop and some pp. Here's the exif data:
    Shutter priority ...plus I had the shake reduction setting turned on.
    ISO 200 - would ISO100 made a difference?
    Sunny white balance
    1/1000
    F9.5 - should this have been larger or smaller? I let the camera pick it.
    50mm focal length
    Flash not used
    spot metering (I know that was incorrect for sure..probably center weighted?)

    Thanks ever so much for your input!
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    Last edited by casil403; 03-18-2009 at 01:30 PM. Reason: Extra info.
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    Well there are a couple things I have noticed, starting with your equipment.
    With as much light as you have to work with, you shutter speed was at 1/1000. The use of your tripod was probably hindering your ability to compose the picture with your dog. 1/1000 is enough to stop any action, even at 300mm you wouldnt really need a tripod.
    I would try and manually set your white balance to the snow, instead of using sunny. The snow is generally caught at something like 52% grey or something like that. Unless you really set the white balance for it, the color of snow is usually off.
    I dont think there is a problem with spot metering. You said the white balance was set for sunny, so I'm assuming there was little to no cloud cover. In this situation I might have shot in manual mode. Forgetting about the composition until I made sure the exposure was right. Once you figure out the correct exposure, then set the camera to braketing mode. This way you will take three pictures every time you press the shutter and will get three exposures, generally resulting in a good exposure in one of them. Just be prepared to use a LOT of memory this way.
    The situation you presented is kind of tough, for any photographer really. With it being sunny, and plenty of snow cover on the ground, it is extremely bright, which is why you had a fast shutter speed. Along with that, you are trying to capture a very dark colored dog, and this is sending your camera for a whirlwind trying to figure out the exposure. This is the type of situation you would stop your camera from thinking and just do the thinking yourself.
    Just remember, if your camera is having a hard time with the exposure, switch to manual mode and figure it out yourself.
    At 50mm or less, I hardly ever use a tripod. Unless its getting dark out(this case it wasn't), there is enough light to produce a shutter speed over 1/300, fast enough to stop any camera shake at 300mm and taking away the necessity of a tripod for the most part unless your going for a special effect(deep dof). Just my .02, hopefully that helps some.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28054853@N08/


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    Thanks a bunch JJ. I always appreciate your input. I added a few extra bits of info after the fact if that helps....
    "Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives"-anonymous
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    I think iso 200 is fine here. There is not much difference between 100 and 200. 200 just produces a fast shutter speed. I think you would have been ok going with either one here.
    At 9.5 that is a pretty deep DOF for an action shot. Most action shots Ive dealt with have much less to isolate the subject and to keep the shutter speed up. Thats using much more than a 50mm lens though.
    What mode were you using here? Manual, aperture or shutter priority, etc?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28054853@N08/


    Photography is more than just taking a picture and freezing the action, or leaving the shutter open. It is more than orchestrating the image with the stroke of a brush. Its the realization and explanation that reality is an isolated experience in which only a specific individual can comprehend during any given time period. - Your Truly!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjeling View Post
    What mode were you using here? Manual, aperture or shutter priority, etc?
    Shutter priority...I had shake reduction setting on also. Mostly I used the tripod and used a cable release so I could throw the frisbee (an extra set of hands almost)...I don't think I could have done it all without the tripod.

    I have a "surf and snow" scene setting on the camera....would that in any way have helped or next time just slap it into Manual?
    What would have been a better aperture setting than F9.5?
    Last edited by casil403; 03-18-2009 at 01:40 PM.
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    Not really a WB issue IMO. Your camera's meter is designed to review the reflectivity of a middle-grey object (Neutral, or 18% grey). What happened here was that the camera saw the snow, assumed, as it's designed to, that it was middle grey and exposed appropriately. As has been mentioned, in situations like this, you can't [normally] use automatic modes successfully.

    There are a couple of ways to deal with a situation like this. The best is to use incident metering; that is: using an incident meter which reads the light at the scene, rather than that which is reflected, but unless you have a separate light-meter, not really an option, OR the simple and easy method is to use the 'Sunny 16' rule. That is: You exposure for a bright, sunny day should be equivalent to f16 with the shutter speed the same as your ISO. In this case: F16 @ 1/200 second, or f11 @ 1/400, or f8 @ 1/800.

    Like JJ said, tripod and release aren't really required here, even at 300mm (but don't forget to make sure that your shutter speed is at LEAST equal to FL if not higher when hand-holding long glass) and not using them will give you much greater freedom of composition.

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    Thanks Tirediron...So say if you were taking that photo ...or anyone else experienced/or not on here feel free to jump in as well.... what would you have done differently on your exif data, settings etc.? I really want to understand here how to change this for the better so are there some concrete settings I could try out next time?
    Could you pretend we are out shooting together and you are coaching me...please tell me exactly what to do...if that's possible.
    Also know that I really appreciate the advice given already.
    "Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives"-anonymous
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    TI got the 18% grey thing. He mentioned the Sunny 16 rule as well which is something Ive forgotten about. I would honestly forget about using the tripod and cable release. Just make sure you have your neck strap attached securely and use it appropriatly. Ive climbed trees and crossed rivers, and taken pictures of hockey games inside the rink with the camera around my neck. It helps to get used to the feeling. If your shutter speed is fast enough, then you should really only need one hand on your camera..
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28054853@N08/


    Photography is more than just taking a picture and freezing the action, or leaving the shutter open. It is more than orchestrating the image with the stroke of a brush. Its the realization and explanation that reality is an isolated experience in which only a specific individual can comprehend during any given time period. - Your Truly!

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    I just did a bunch of reading on Sunny f16 rule online...I think I vaguely remember it from photo class last year...waaaaaay cheaper than a light meter! Thanks
    "Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives"-anonymous
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    I haven't had a chance to put it to good use yet as most of the snow has melted around here (thank goodness) but I listened to Marko's podcast on shooting in the snow recently and one of the key things that I think would have helped here (based on his recommendation) was that you should have actually brought your shutter speed down or opened up your aperture to let in MORE light. The problem, as Marko stated (chime in if I'm wrong) is that the camera sees all that bright white snow and tries to block all the light causing it to be a bit underexposed. By opening up you let in more light and get a better exposure.

    While casil and JJ are right, the tripod is not necessary, some times an extra pair of hands are just handy and so use it if you wish.
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