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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Bracketing question. (Keep the one that looks the best out of the camera?)...I just got back from Hawaii and one of the things I was trying to get (but did not) was ...
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Old 13-03-2007, 14:49   #1 (permalink)
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Bracketing question. (Keep the one that looks the best out of the camera?)

I just got back from Hawaii and one of the things I was trying to get (but did not) was a nice sunset photo. (Clouds and weather were not agreeable, unfortunately) Trying to get the right contrast and colors, I started using the Bracketing function of my D80. The camera was on the tripod, and I set BKT to 3 frames.

Now, my question is, I don't really want to keep 12 extremely similar photos trying to take 4 similar shots with bracketing...so what photos DO I keep when bracketing? Is the photo that looks the best out of the camera most likely to be the photo that looks the best after post-processing, or is that a bad assumption to make?

If my question's not clear let me know, otherwise, I'm looking forward to helpful advice if you have any!
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Old 13-03-2007, 14:58   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Bracketing question. (Keep the one that looks the best out of the camera?)

Bracketing will under/over expose by the amount of stop you set eg 1/3, 2/3 etc You keep the shot that appears to have the best exposure - ie no burnt hightlights and no dark shadows and that is in the eye of the beholder eg you. HTH
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Old 13-03-2007, 15:20   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Bracketing question. (Keep the one that looks the best out of the camera?)

Or if like you have done, take the shots using the tripod you can process the images to get the best shadows from one and the best highlights from a different one (using as many shots as you want - usually three or more for best results) then combine those in some HDR software to get the best of both worlds.

Have a look in the Photo manipulation forum for more details on HDR
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Old 13-03-2007, 15:53   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Bracketing question. (Keep the one that looks the best out of the camera?)

Keep them all. It's a great idea to keep all your shots anyway. Memory is cheap, and if you keep all your images you may just find a hidden gem in the future when you look back over your older shots. I know I have. You will sit there and have no idea why you didn't realise how amazing this picture was at the time, but you'll be delighted you didn't delete it.

In this specific case, I'd start by processing the one that looks best from the camera, and see if any obvious problems with it show up as you process that might be fixed by instead going for one of the other shots from the bracket. If you must delete some shots, wait until your sure you've got your finished picture before deleting anything.
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Old 13-03-2007, 16:33   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Bracketing question. (Keep the one that looks the best out of the camera?)

Definitely keep them all, as Liam suggests! How many times have I come back to a series of shots to find that a much better one was not the one I'd originally thought (and processed)!

Bearing in mind that it's a sunset, I'd say look at the bracketted ones that were underexposing (against the exposure of the whole scene). Depending on how bright the sky is and how much it fills the sky, depends on whether it's likely to have burned the highlights (easily the commonest "problem" with sunrises/sets - unless you deliberately burn the highlights!). The underexposed within the bracketted sequence will probably then look the best!
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