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Sunset Photos

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by roundball, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Trying to get a sense of appeal that the appended sunset photos have…would appreciate opinions on ranking them…for simplicity I’ll just label them #1, #2, #3.

    ( Canon FDn 24-35/3.5-L on NEX-7 )




    #1




    #2




    #3

     
    • Like Like x 5
  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    #2, #3, #1
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Agreed.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Same here
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    ...and here
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Curious about the contrails effect...very obvious in #1 of course, but almost lost in the clouds on #3.

    Is the contrail a take-away from a natural setting in #1...of does it add to #1 as a contrasting element ?
     
  7. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I don't think it adds anything to the image. But it does intrude into an otherwise natural scene. So it is a minor distraction.

    Mostly I rated #1 low because it's much too dark for my taste. All three are too dark, IMhO, but #1 especially so.

    Which raises a question I've had about many of your photos: have you ever calibrated your screen? I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I have noticed that almost all of the photos you post here seem underexposed to me, some of them by a lot. It may be just a taste thing for you. Maybe you just like dark images. But you may also have the brightness cranked up way too high, and what you're seeing is not what some of the rest of us are.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    ^^^ +1
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Appreciate the comments...I've actually wondered about that some myself because of occasional situations I've noticed.
    My PC is a Thinkpad laptop and I've noticed just having the laptop screen tilted a couple degrees too far forward or backward changes the intensity of the light / darkness that I see. For example, I've noticed times where I've imported / culled some photos, maybe tweak a couple steps of contrast on them...shut down / close the laptop to go have dinner or something. Come back later, open up the laptop screen...( very probably to a slightly different angle )...and think, gee, I need to make photo xyz darker, etc. And/or in a reverse of that same sequence, might come back later and think, good gracious I've let that photo get too dark.
    Also know I've overdone some with a rotating polarizer filter a few times...don't understand it because I'm shooting Aperture Priority...but am aware of it and am not maxing out the polarizer effect as much as I used to.

    But, at least in the case of these sunset photos, it was actually very dark out by then...the sun had already completely dropped below the horizon of course and all that was left was a little reflected skylight...and my goal was indeed to get the post sunset after-effects up on the clouds still overhead. Down low the treeline and water had no more light on them and of course turned out very dark.....yet for example, notice that jet's white contrail is white.
    For these sunset shots...as for 99% of all my shots...I've settled into using Aperture Priority and am also aware of the exposure scale along the bottom of the EVF showing the pointer at zero (properly exposed) as I change an aperture setting...with the camera manipulating shutter speed accordingly to maintain exposure.

    Thanks again for the observation...and I'll keep struggling along the learning curve.
     
  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    That makes sense. A laptop screen isn't always going to be at the proper angle, and that makes your job much tougher.

    One thing to note: Just because the exposure index is at zero does not mean that the shot is properly exposed. Quite often you want the exposure to be higher or lower, depending on what you’re shooting. In the sunset photos above, for example, I would have exposed the image at least a stop higher in order to preserve some of the details in the foreground. As long as the histogram shows that you haven't blown out the highlights in the clouds, you should be able to retain all their info and render a pleasing image in PP.

    I don't know whether you've been exposed (pun intended) to the idea of ETTR (Exposing To The Right), but here's a good article about it from the Luminous Landscape web site that may be worth reading.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    +1 for ETTR - I actually naturally do it (for these types of shot), I think as I have just found that in PP it is much easier to balance the image down (rather than if it was underexposed and balancing it up).
     
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  12. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    Oh and I'm definitely into #2 - nice reflections, nice clouds and a nice warm tone.

    Couldn't say which of #1 or #3 would be next - neither jump out at me like the above.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I'll try that on my next sunset attempt, hopefully in the next several days, weather permitting.
    And I haven't even peeled the 'Histogram' layer of the onion yet...still ahead of me on the learning curve.
    Never heard of it...I'll look into that article, thanks
     
  14. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    Roundball, I have struggled with this as well. I have settled into editing my photos with my computer (a MacBookPro) with my screen always set to the same brightness and roughly the same viewing angle (though on my laptop it isn't overly sensitive to viewing angles as other laptops I have used). I have to be a little careful as the brightness changes as whether or not it is plugged in to a power source.

    For landscapes I shoot in A mode with the metering set to multi-segment, but I am often working the exposure compensation in one direction or another depending on what look I am going for. In general, I think that my NEX6 tends to underexpose a landscape to preserve the highlights in the sky. I like to keep the Histogram displayed in the corner of the EVF so I can see if I am clipping anything while I am adjusting the exposure.

    HTH
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    One of the PP features in the Photobucket account I have is called WARMTH...and just for the heck of it, I made / saved another copy of photo #1 in my OP, and bumped it with the WARMTH tool...still on the dark side overall, but think it might have helped it a little.


    Photo #1 with some WARMTH added

     
  16. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    ditto
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Can't find any detailed NEX-7 'Histogram' writeup in Sony's documentation. Also, a Forum search only found a couple threads and they didn't get into detailed explanations of Histograms.

    In the past, I've seen the occasional Histogram graphic in my NEX-7 by accidentally pressing the top of the main control wheel when looking at a shot after the fact. I've now found a menu setting to turn on so a small B&W Histogram is always visible in the bottom right corner of the EVF.

    Then I saw where panning the lens around the room moves the Histogram based on the amount of light coming into view from a lamp or something...but the Histogram has no data on it...it just seems to be a changing visual representation of available illumination...and at this point I assume a bigger graphic means more illumination means more exposure means a brighter photo.

    Since I couldn't find any explanations in Sony's user documentation, I'm still not clear on "using" Histograms.
    1) Apparently I can constantly 'see' the small B&W Histogram in the bottom right corner of the EVF and try to use it as a guide in this "ETTR" reference above...but what is it specifically I should be looking for / guarding against?

    2) Or, after the fact, I can display a shot's Histogram, which actually shows 4 Histograms for various colors ??

    Regarding some more similar upcoming darkish sunset type photos...comments / suggestions / pros & cons of which approach of using a Histogram is better / best to use would be appreciated...and specifically to try and get a brighter scene without over-exposing the clouds in the brighter sky ??
     
  18. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    • Like Like x 1
  19. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    I think of histograms like those coloring books where you (or your child, grandchild etc) is supposed to color within the lines of a shape. The box of the histogram represents the darkest values (pure black) at the left margin of the box while the brightest values (all white) are at the right margin. Values at the margins are so bright/dark that they contain no color information. The curve of the histogram is a bar chart for each brightness value.

    If your exposure is has some values that are right against the right-hand margin of the box, then you will have some clipping or blown highlights that are pure white; on the other hand if your exposure has value that are up against the left-hand margin of the box you will have some shadows that are pure black.

    Here is an example of a scene where I blew out some highlight while trying not to underexpose the foreground and mountains.
    Screen%20Shot%202015-01-19%20at%2012.42.21%20AM-L.png

    ...and the histogram looked like this.
    Screen%20Shot%202015-01-19%20at%2012.34.06%20AM-L.png
    (this a recent example, but I am sure if I dig into the archives I can find some sunset shots with unrecoverable shadows if that would be better)

    HTH
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Thanks for this...if I got it right, using your mountain foreground / clouds example as if they were a darkening EOD post sunset scene, I'd want the histogram towards the right end of its box without overdoing it so that the clouds end up turning bright white and losing definition.

    In actual use, I'd view the scene, bump up steps of over-exposure until the Histogram almost runs out of room on the right (ETTR), take a shot and check for over exposed highlights...then maybe back the exposure down some to correct, check again, etc ?