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G15 - Blown highlights

cmsrocon
Apprentice

Hi,

 

I'm really pleased with my Powershot G15 - great indoors in low light, great outdoors with blue skies but I have one problem which I need help with. Whenever I take an outdoor shot with an overcast all-white sky, the photo turns out terrible.

 

The edge between the sky and the forground seems to bleed together and look foggy. On the LCD preview, the sky flashes, which I presume means it is too bright?

 

Apologies - I'm an amateur and shoot on auto mode. Is this a camera fault, or do I need some help on using manual mode for this type of shot? Anything I can do to simply improve this type of shot? My camera phone seems to handle this scenario ok, so I imagine I should be able to get similar results with my G15?

 

An example is attached. What can I do to improve the contrast around the tops of the trees? The sky looks really bright, it wasn't at all.

 

Thanks for your help!

 

RobIMG_8203.JPG

13 REPLIES 13

cicopo
Elite

Get out of AUTO & into Program (or Tv or Av) & read your manual to learn about & how to change EXPOSURE COMPENSATION. It's how you correct (on the fly) lighting that fools the metering system. 

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

hsbn
Whiz
I don't think there is anything wrong with your photo. On an overcast day, the sky is always much much brighter than the foreground. No camera sensor can capture this much dynamic range. So it is best to avoid the sky on an overcast day.
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Skirball
Authority

@cmsrocon wrote:

 

Apologies - I'm an amateur and shoot on auto mode. Is this a camera fault, or do I need some help on using manual mode for this type of shot? Anything I can do to simply improve this type of shot? My camera phone seems to handle this scenario ok, so I imagine I should be able to get similar results with my G15?

 

Rob


Manual mode likely isn't going to do anything better, the image looks properly exposed to me.  The sky is much, much brighter than the building, so either the sky is going to be blown out, or the building underexposed.  Doesn't the G15 shoot RAW?  If so it's possible to get a little recovery out of that, but the dynamic range of the setting is still far greater than the camera.


The only way to get everythig in that shot exposed is to light the building (with a whole lot of external lights), or an HDR - where the camera takes multiple photos at different exposures and blends them.  It's likely this is what you're phone's camera is doing without you knowing.  HDR is a useful technology, and can be done well, but often times when it's automated the results don't look great - in my opinion.  But most people these days just view camera phone shots on their tiny phone's screen, and it hides a lot of detail and artifacting.

You can help it in post. In Lightroom, you'd do it using the simple gradient filter, with negative exposure selected, or use the brush with negative exposure. Takes about 10 seconds.

You could also try under exposing by 1/2 a stop, bringing the sky down a little to retain (perhaps) some detail in the treetops and clouds, and then in post you could increase exposure on the house by 1/2 stop without hurting image quality too much. Not really sure that is worth the trouble of course.

I agree with Skirball that shooting in RAW gives you much more flexibility to make those adjustments in post than you get shooting JPG. I also agree that simply avoiding the sky when it is that sort of solid bright cloud, or just live with it being blown out.
Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?


@ScottyP wrote:
You can help it in post. In Lightroom, you'd do it using the simple gradient filter, with negative exposure selected, or use the brush with negative exposure. Takes about 10 seconds.

You could also try under exposing by 1/2 a stop, bringing the sky down a little to retain (perhaps) some detail in the treetops and clouds, and then in post you could increase exposure on the house by 1/2 stop without hurting image quality too much. Not really sure that is worth the trouble of course.

I agree with Skirball that shooting in RAW gives you much more flexibility to make those adjustments in post than you get shooting JPG. I also agree that simply avoiding the sky when it is that sort of solid bright cloud, or just live with it being blown out.

It's important to be able to play the cards that you're dealt. Blown-out skies are routinely disparaged, but there are times when a white sky blends better with the colors of the subject matter and/or the overall mood of the picture than a blue sky does. It's worth noting that through several centuries, professional landscape painters, who have complete freedom to choose their colors, haven't been overly preoccupied with blue skies.

 

In another forum I sometimes frequent, we had a participant (a travel agent with pretentions to semi-professional photography) who adamantly maintained that in pictures advertising a tourist destination, all skies had to be blue. If an image didn't conform, he'd Photoshoppe it until it did. He was a mediocre photographer, but mediocrity as a photo editor eluded him; and the results of his efforts were often laughable.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

cale_kat
Mentor

Fixed.

I guess that's one way to cure it. Blown highlights are a part of many areas of photography, and especially my principal interest which is shooting Radio Control flying events. I either give up the sky or get silhouettes when it's overcast or dull, or when shooting towards the sun. I expose for the important part of the scene & deal with the rest later in post, and I use exposure compensation constantly because my shutter speed is matched to the task on hand. I don't have the luxury of bracketing or doing HDR nor do I photoshop in a nicer sky.   

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."


@cale_kat wrote:

Fixed.

 

[Altered image omitted]

 


Well ... maybe. That crop crams the subject more tightly into the left side of the frame, making the blank wall on the right even more conspicuous than it was. I'd try cropping mostly from the upper right corner rather than from the upper left. And I might also see how it looked with 0.3 degrees of clockwise rotation. [Post-edit note: I should have looked back at the picture before I presumed to suggest a direction of rotation! And I'm only guessing that it might be worth doing.]

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Okay, you crop it, post it, and I'll critique it!😀
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