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General photography questions and answers: Discuss camera settings....Hi, Im, Kevin murphy, another newbie, who knows nothing about photography, so I need a lot of help with my ...
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Old 10-05-2007, 18:27   #1 (permalink)
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Hi, Im, Kevin murphy, another newbie, who knows nothing about photography, so I need a lot of help with my nikon D80 I've just purchased. The manual explains what the controls are for, but not how and when I should be using them. One of the problems with my photos, is the sky, it seems to lack colour, even on the sunniest of days. I set the white balance, using a white card as per instructions, and used the white balance settings and custom settings to achieve more colour in my shots, but the sky is still lacking colour. If I speed up the shutter to let less light in, the colour comes back, but the forground is to dark, should I be using the flash, or should I be using the histograms, after capture, which I don't really want to mess about with, or will I need filters. Am I just stupid and there's a simple answer, or a more complex situation of light versus everything else. My printer is also printing out darker than the images I put on my computer screen.
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Old 10-05-2007, 18:59   #2 (permalink)
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Re: camera settings.

OK, Kevin, you've actually got the answer: camera is reading the brightest area (sky) and setting exposure/shutter to expose that correctly, resulting in brighter, washed out colours. Unfortunately camera can't expose "best" for sky and ground, so you lose out with one or the other - tho' you can use grad filters to compensate

I use Photoshop to bring up the sky detail having exposed for the brightest object

The reason for your printer not printing as per your screen might be that the screen is not calibrated (adjusting colour/brightness to a common standard) - or the printer colour profile is wrong (each printer will utilise a configuration to take into account the different hardware and often even the paper used)

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Old 10-05-2007, 19:19   #3 (permalink)
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Re: camera settings.

Hi kevin - welcome tp Pixalo.

You cetainly have a few things to deal with! Put down like this, it seems like such a lot of things, so let's break them down.

First, you will be relived to know we all suffer with the blown sky syndrome. This is caused by the camera not having anywhere near the dynamic range of the human eye, and it cannot give a satisfactory exposure to cover all of the range. There are various work-arounds that can be done by combinations of exposure control, composition techniques, graduated filters, bracketing the exposures (below and above the 'normal') and editing work back at home. This will not come overnight, it requires a fair bit of trial and error and a little understanding of what settings should be used in various situations. If this sounds like a nightmare, don't worry. There will be plenty of help to hand here, and you can develop your knowledge step by step.

Printing is a bit of an art in itself. The camera, monitor (and scanner, if you use one) and printer need to be set up to the same colour space, and also your editing software, if it can be set to use a particular colour space. This will give consistant results. Once this is achieved, then you can start to tweak the settings to give you results that are close to what you see on the monitor.

This might seem a lot of stuff to get to grips with, but if you stick with it, you will soon be improving your shots, and you will have a lot of fun doing it.

If you look in the galleries, under some images you will see what is called the EXIF data, which gives the camera settings used to get the shot. You might find this helpful. you will not be able to learn this all at once. Step by step you will get there.
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Old 10-05-2007, 19:46   #4 (permalink)
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Re: camera settings.

im not gonna go thru everything the guys have already said which i completely agree with......... but one thing i will say is that its a long hard crawl to begin with..........when u look thru the galleries here a huge majority of people have been doing photography for years and still have loads to learn cos its a never ending subject. so dont try to run before you can walk,.............. one step at a time and u will get there eventually.!

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Old 16-05-2007, 12:11   #5 (permalink)
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Re: camera settings.

I would say the same as Fiona & rest of guys nomatter how good you are you still learn new things everyday.
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Old 17-05-2007, 17:31   #6 (permalink)
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Re: camera settings.

I learned a trick from the wife,,"she takes great shots",,,on really sunny days turn your ISO setting up to around 400 and don't shoot directly at the sun,,shoot off to the sides and the blue sky will come back,,,,I have been frustrated with sky blow out and now use a polerizer or neutral denesity fliter. Polerizer works best at 90 degress from sun and a ND fliter will work directly at the sun....or help some...
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Old 17-05-2007, 18:22   #7 (permalink)
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Re: camera settings.

Another way of dealing with blown skies is to expose for the sky then 'dodge' the foreground to bring it out. Dodging is a term from wet photography where you would mask off part of the image while exposing a print, in order to lighten the masked off area. Photoshop has a very effective dodging tool and a few minutes of experimenting with it will soon give you the idea. The Gimp also has this facility and I imagine most other editors offer it too.
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Old 17-05-2007, 19:06   #8 (permalink)
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Re: camera settings.

Following on from sejanus re. dodging, here's a shot I took the other day. Washed out sky but bright and a foreground I wanted displayed

LHS is untouched (even to dust 'bunnies'!) from which you can see I exposed to the sky, resulting in the foreground being underexposed

RHS is after some dodging (lightening) foreground and burning (darkening) sky. I B/W'd as there was still very little colour - and the white cottongrass shows up better!

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