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Problem with Skies

 
Edward Lever
Edward Lever
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quotePosted at 16:47 on 5th November 2013

It sounds like the sky is 'burnt out' i.e. you have exceeded the upper exposure limit of your camera's digital processing. I'm not sure which camera you were using, but many cameras have a highlight alert function on the replay menu. The usual indication of 'clipping'  is for the over-exposed area of sky to flash. Also, the exposure histogram (if your camera can show it) of an over-exposed shot will  be biassed to the right.

White skies are  problematical, because reducing the exposure to avoid the sky burning out will often make the scenery too dark. It really is up to the photographer to decide what effect they want.

Were you using auto exposure ? If your camera has an exposure compensation control, setting it to a minus value might help, or alternatively use a manual exposure setting. Unfortunately, the exposure range of cameras is not nearly as good as the human eye.

Landscape photographers sometimes use a graduated neutral density filter to reduce the brightness difference between the sky and the scenery to avoid the sky burning out.

This article in Amateur Photographer explains it better than I can

 

 

 



Edited by: Edward Lever at:5th November 2013 16:53
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Dave John
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quotePosted at 19:08 on 5th November 2013
Edward has hit on the nail I think. The eye can resolve a much greater contrast range than any sensor on any camera. The angle of the sun on the scene you are photographing can make a difference also. Shooting RAW can be an advantage but sometimes the contrast range is beyond the capabilities of editing programmes. A lot of my recent uploads were taken with blue skies but appear on here as quite bland.
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Vince Hawthorn
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quotePosted at 21:39 on 5th November 2013
  It is an old bug bear and if you have a burnt out area it is burnt out but those that shoot in raw can expose so that the sky still retains detail and then adjust the shadows to bring back the detail from the darkened parts of the shot. I think got that right, some cameras can be set to shoot hdr ie three shots at once at different exposures which are then combined. 
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Dave John
Dave John
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quotePosted at 21:59 on 5th November 2013
That is right Vince. basically the same rulings as when exposing slide film. Expose for the highlights, or in digital terms, expose to the right, which refers to the histogram as mentioned by Edward earlier. Shooting RAW does enable the shadows to be recovered, but only so far. If you push recovery too far you end up with obvious digital noise and very muddy looking shadows. HDR is a good way of getting the balance better but it is a very fine line to maiking the shot look realistic. So many people go over the top with HDR processing and spoil what could have been a good image. The best way to control the sky is, again as Edward suggested, by using ND graduated filters, but this really requires the use of a tripod, although can be done hand held but the results are a bit more hit and miss.
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Vince Hawthorn
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quotePosted at 22:25 on 5th November 2013
  Thanks for the confirmation Dave, re HDR I was refering to some cameras that have a built in HDR function so there is no going over the top, not experimented much with it but my TZ25 has built in HDR- must have more of a look at it. A classic shot of burnt out sky is the one I recently posted called " Soggy Squareabout"
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Rod Burkey
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quotePosted at 23:53 on 5th November 2013

One simple way of making skies a bit darker without Photoshop etc is to buy a graduated filter. There is a huge choice but maybe a grey or blue grad might be worth taking a look at. Polarising filters also are great for darkening the blue whilst keeping clouds pale. 

It is a constant problem when skies are pale, as you really have the choice of a pale sky or darkness beneath as, unlike the human eye, lenses and cameras can only try to go for one or the other or even worse an average. Editing is the way to go, but you have to invest in Elements, Photoshop, or one of a host of software options. 

HDR is a good tool but often looks "over cooked " and false. It also needs more than one exposure from a tripod.  Good editing should be subtle most of the time. 

 

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Rod Burkey
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quotePosted at 10:31 on 14th December 2013
Christmas time is great for a surprise filter in the stocking!
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Edward Lever
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quotePosted at 14:38 on 14th December 2013
Very droll, Rod, I always hope for a surprise stocking filter but haven't received one yet !
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Ron Brind
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quotePosted at 14:40 on 14th December 2013
You want your stockings filled, is that what you mean? lol
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Rod Burkey
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quotePosted at 18:53 on 14th December 2013
Suspended in anticipation. 
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