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Photography 102

gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 481 Deckhand
If you're gonna take pictures, you're gonna run into lighting problems....sooner rather than later.  The camera will set exposure - up to a point - but to get consistently good photos you need to help it out a bit.  Shooting with sun in your face will give entirely different results than with it at your back.  Light backgrounds/dark subjects / dark backgrounds/ light subjects, etc., etc.

All DSLR and all Pro-sumer cameras will have an exposure compensator (EVF) on board.  Pro-sumer camera is just an advanced amateur camera with many pro features but no interchangeable lens.  They tend to super-zooms instead, but not all.  Look for a little square with a diagonal line across it - + sign on one side of diagonal, - on other.  On my Nikon B700, there is a ridged rocker switch on lower right with 4 functions.  Pressing it to the right will open a menu on right side of viewfinder screen with 0 in the middle; + values above and - values below.

Go ahead and take a picture and look at it thru your shiny new LCD Viewfinder Magnifier from Photography 101.  If it's a little dark, open EVF and click it up a couple of steps to lighten the exposure.  Vicey Versey if it's too light.  Each step on mine is 1/3 of an f/stop....and that can be changed in the menus.  Take another picture and adjust accordingly.  That viewfinder magnifier pays for itself right here.


A **** is one of the hardest critters to take a decent picture of.  The camera will lock onto the dark body, expose it nicely and the beak will be a big white blob.  Hokay, use the new toys.  Set EVF a couple of stops low to darken the beak.  This will give a dark blob of a body.  If you try to compensate for a white beak later, the white will wash out detail and you can't bring back what isn't there.  You can lighten dark areas, but only up to a point so you gotta be reasonably close.  It took a couple of shots to get the beak where I wanted it, then I came home to the computer.

I use Photoshop Elements as an advanced editing program but I think most have similar functions, tho' it might take some hair pulling to find them.  Anyway, open the photo in Elements and in upper right you'll see 3 choices - Edit/Create/Share.  Directly underneath are "Full/Quick/Guided."  Click on Guided.  2nd category down is "Lighting and Exposure."  Under that, click on "Lighten or Darken."

This will give you 3 sliders - one for dark areas, one for light areas and one for contrast.  Use them according to need.  On my ****, I had to move the "Dark Areas" slider almost all the way to the right to lighten the exposure on the body enuf, but now you can see details of the feathers, the pupil of the eye, and , of course, the beak - which was the problem all along.  The shot was taken in late afternoon - a lighting problem in itself.

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