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How to handle outdoor light that blows highlights?

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Old 03-28-2008, 04:33 PM
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willdoak willdoak is offline
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Question How to handle outdoor light that blows highlights?

I've attached (part of) a picture of an "audience" inside a building that has very bright outside light streaming through the rear windows. I'd like to photograph the people without large patches of blown highlights at the back.

Any suggestions on how to handle this situation?

Thanks,

Will
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Old 03-28-2008, 04:54 PM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

fill flash and/or ND filter
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:01 AM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

Set the camera as if you were photographing the windows.
In another words, set the aperture and speed for the bright areas of what you want to shoot.

This will cause the highlights to be saved but the rest will be dark.

Afterwards, adjust the shadows/highlights to bring out people's faces.

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Originally Posted by willdoak View Post
I've attached (part of) a picture of an "audience" inside a building that has very bright outside light streaming through the rear windows. I'd like to photograph the people without large patches of blown highlights at the back.

Any suggestions on how to handle this situation?

Thanks,

Will
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:55 PM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

Thanks. I've been shooting in what Ken Rockwell calls "idiot mode," so I'll have to RTFM a bit.

Will
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:15 PM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

What kind f camera do you use?

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Originally Posted by willdoak View Post
Thanks. I've been shooting in what Ken Rockwell calls "idiot mode," so I'll have to RTFM a bit.

Will
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:21 PM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

A Nikon D80 with the kit zoom lens, upgraded firmware.
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:02 PM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

Your camera, if I'm not mistaken, supports both "spot" and "matrix" metering.

In matrix mode, the camera samples several points of the image to judge what the best aperture/speed combination is. I think that is the default mechanism.

In this case, I would try the "spot" metering scheme measuring the light from the windows instead of the people's faces.

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Originally Posted by willdoak View Post
A Nikon D80 with the kit zoom lens, upgraded firmware.
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:05 PM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

Yes, you're right. And I think I can select any of the seven or so "spots" to be the active one. So I could set one near the top of the image (the bright area) to set the exposure. I'll give that a try and post the results.

Thanks!
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:44 AM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

Thats tricky, digital cameras dont have the dynamic range (Yet) that can really allow a proper exposure with such extremes in lights to darks. So if your windows are a couple of stops or more brighter than the other subjects, they are going to blow out. If you meter off the window and expose, the crowd will be very underexposed. HDR blends suck and look chintsy IMO, besides people move. Using the shadow highlight pallette can only get you so far before it looks artificial. You can shoot raw and have a bit more latitude to try and recover the highlights and boost up the fill, but again, go too far and you will start seeing noise, wierd contrasts, color casts, etc. I split filter would help, but that physically limits you in terms of composition since you have to position the gradient properly. Basically in a situation like that, your fukd if your looking for something great straight out of the camera bc its not going to happen. Film would give you more range, but then again, .....its film. You could bracket the shot and post it with masks. But bottom line, your exceeding the mech limits of the sensors range
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:45 AM
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Re: How to handle outdoor light that blows highlig

Another option....Light them from the front, even strobe the crowd from the front and set the exp to be equal or within a stop of the windows.
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