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07/31/2005 06:07:34 PM · #101
Nearly time to move along.

There is one more stop on our basics-of-exposure trail: White Balance. White balance isn't so much about how much light we let into the camera or how sensitive the sensor is ... It is about the quality of light from different light sources. The quality of light from the sun is different from the quality of light from incandescent lights, flourescent lights, halogen, candle flame, and so on. And they are in turn different from each other. If we can get white balance right, we can not only be sure that we have good tonal range, no blown whites, no lost blacks ... but we can be sure blue things look blue, red things look red, green things look green, and white things look white.

Turns out, many cameras allow you to adjust White Balance depending on the light that illuminates your subject. Some have an auto White Balance function. Some have white Balance presets. And some will let you create a custom white balance setting.

In our next exercise, we will explore this so I like to give you homework assignment 1 in advance. Drag out your manual if necessary and learn what White Balance features your camera has.

In addition, I'd like to give you homework assignment 2. At the end of our White Balance exercise, we will have covered the basics. With what you have learned, you should be able to recognize the quality of exposure you are getting and to predictably control your camera to get good exposures in favorable photographic scenes. Where would you like to go from here? We have some options: a) We could stop here and I can point you to a few books that will help you extend your knowledge; b) We can take up specific areas of exposure you're interested in or still feel are problematic and explore those further; c) We could get into post processing to a greater degree and explore how to manipulate exposure in Photoshop; d) We can go to greater technical depth in the areas we have covered (if this was Exposure 101, maybe tackle Exposure 501 although I'm not sure I'm qualified) and maybe cover some new ground (calibrating your monitor, for example.)

I'd like to see some debate here, in this thread, about what you want to do next, okay? Not just a, or b, or c, or d but what specifically you'd suggest we do next. Thanks.

08/01/2005 06:10:51 AM · #102
f3.2, f3.4, f4.0
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f4.5, f5.0, f5.6
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f6.3, f7.1
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With a smaller focal length I would have also been able to include f2.8, but other than that -- these are the aperture values available on my camera. I couldn't decide which 3 to leave out so I'm posting all 8 instead of the 5 requested.

Again, aperture priority did not handle the low light so I used manual mode. ISO remained at 100 while aperture and shutter speed were adjusted. The more light let in by a larger aperture, the faster the shutter speed. One thing I've noticed before and demonstrated with this exercise, is a shallow depth of field is very hard to get with the small sensor size on this camera -- the difference between any of the images is barely noticable.

David
08/01/2005 11:29:16 AM · #103
Originally posted by Britannica:

f3.2, f3.4, f4.0
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f4.5, f5.0, f5.6
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f6.3, f7.1
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With a smaller focal length I would have also been able to include f2.8, but other than that -- these are the aperture values available on my camera. I couldn't decide which 3 to leave out so I'm posting all 8 instead of the 5 requested.

Again, aperture priority did not handle the low light so I used manual mode. ISO remained at 100 while aperture and shutter speed were adjusted. The more light let in by a larger aperture, the faster the shutter speed. One thing I've noticed before and demonstrated with this exercise, is a shallow depth of field is very hard to get with the small sensor size on this camera -- the difference between any of the images is barely noticable.

David

The point of the exercise was to illustrate that DOF changes as your aperture changes. This is true.

We're getting a little bit away from "exposure" but several of you have indicated an interest in controlling DOF. Three additional factors impact your DOF. The first is sensor size, as David points out. In cameras with small sensors (you can't changesensor size w/o changing cameras), the effect is less noticeable. The second is the focal length of the lens (which you can change by switching lenses or zooming on a zoom lens). Longer focal lengths will tend to have shorter DOF than shorter focal lengths which can make telephoto shots more difficult. And third is the distance to the object you focus on (which you can change by changing your position). The closer the object of focus, the shallower will be the depth of field. This is one of the things that makes Macro photography more challenging.

For all: Check out this DOF Tutorial and DOF Calculator. Play with it some with the settings from your cameras: different Apertures, but also different lenses and focusing distances to get a feel for how the three factors work together.
08/01/2005 12:01:32 PM · #104
[QUOTE] We have some options: a) We could stop here and I can point you to a few books that will help you extend your knowledge; b) We can take up specific areas of exposure you're interested in or still feel are problematic and explore those further; c) We could get into post processing to a greater degree and explore how to manipulate exposure in Photoshop; d) We can go to greater technical depth in the areas we have covered (if this was Exposure 101, maybe tackle Exposure 501 although I'm not sure I'm qualified) and maybe cover some new ground (calibrating your monitor, for example.) [/QUOTE]

All of the above LOL
Ok, seriously, I'd like to get into post-processing of exposure errors as well as blending two images. As in my example of a problem (the headstone), I see now that the only way to make this a good photo is to take 2 pix, one exposed for the background, and one for the foreground and then blending them. I know there are plugins for this (like at FredMiranda), but I have not tried them yet.

Message edited by author 2005-08-01 12:02:24.
08/01/2005 02:45:48 PM · #105
Originally posted by Digital Quixote:

... Where would you like to go from here? We have some options: a) We could stop here and I can point you to a few books that will help you extend your knowledge; b) We can take up specific areas of exposure you're interested in or still feel are problematic and explore those further; c) We could get into post processing to a greater degree and explore how to manipulate exposure in Photoshop; d) We can go to greater technical depth in the areas we have covered (if this was Exposure 101, maybe tackle Exposure 501 although I'm not sure I'm qualified) and maybe cover some new ground (calibrating your monitor, for example.)

I'd like to see some debate here, in this thread, about what you want to do next, okay? Not just a, or b, or c, or d but what specifically you'd suggest we do next. Thanks.

I think my main issues with exposure come from two things:

The first is not taking the time needed to remember to get everything right. Only self-discipline and practice is going to help me there. When I take a shot I don't have a workflow grooved in so I do all that needs done as a matter of course. So I've been trying to create a good habit -- a personal workflow that flows thru the process of taking a picture the way I look at picture taking. The exercises so far have helped to line up what is important to me and thinking about them has helped to bring all the individual topics floating about me (light, shadow, bracketing, aperture, shutter, etc.) together into a single subject that I can use. I'm not all the way there yet -- but it's helping a lot.

The second is about the problem areas of exposure. Which, for me at least, all center around being able to handle the dynamic range (number of stops of light) of the image. The camera has a fixed dynamic range, which works fine when the scene has the same range; but if it has less dynamic range than the camera the image comes out dull and lifeless, while a scene that has more dynamic range than the camera comes out harsh and with blown highlights or blocked shadows. To state specifically what I am after, I want to "Learn to expose for the dynamic range of the scene (varies widely) with the dynamic range of the camera (rigidly fixed) with the intention of producing an image that has the dynamic range I want it to have(vairies widely)".

The first part of the above is being handled by my getting becoming familiar with the material we have already covered -- that is, I am getting comfortable exposing for any single area of the scene. But the last part is where the problems are -- there are ways to handle them of course. Ingrid mentioned one of the methods above (blending exposures), but there are many more. Again, the solutions to each of the problems are seperate subjects in my mind at the moment -- but I am working toward blending them all into the single subject of exposure.

The solution to both of the issues I have with exposure comes down to developing and being coming comfortable with a personal exposure-centric workflow that takes me from conception to the presentation of the image. What we have covered so far helps up to the moment I press the button and the shutter clicks. I have become fairly organized and comfortable up to that point -- but after that things get confusing rather quickly. The solution is, of course, for me to extend my personal workflow into post-processing, so I vote for the group to continue on thru the cycle of image making until we get to the finished product.

David
08/02/2005 12:00:45 AM · #106
Here is a previous assignment...I couldnt post intil after the challenge was over.. ISO changes with this camera.. I have played with this some all week I hope to actually figure this out, I sord of had to take a break this past weekend so I wouldnt blow a fuse ...:)
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And for the ruler assignment... I did get 5 shots, well I could say more than that because I tried this 3 different times with different rulers and as well with my other camera...
I think I could get better and a little more comfortable with the settings if I continue to use the settings changing the EV, Aperature, F stop, and flash brightness for awhile, in fact I know I will be...It defanetly makes more since now... With the DOF more details are in focus with the smaller aperature, its more like macro, I think..With the largest aperature you get a lot of details that are farther away...
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I feel like I have really learned a lot from all of this.
.. Thank you Charles and David....I do appreciate it very much..
I would love to go further and perhaps my weakest thoughts or where I am not so sure about is deciding when to change the the EV to get the correct exposure....Though I know that must come with practice.. .
I'd also like to understand more about how to fix the colors adjusting levels but this may come with another subject for post processing.

Message edited by author 2005-08-02 00:04:01.
08/02/2005 11:34:57 AM · #107
Hey guys I'm in Vegas I will try to keep up with the assignments. I'm a bit behind but w plan to catch up. After here I'm off to NY.
08/02/2005 02:53:18 PM · #108
Originally posted by tolovemoon:

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Tracy these are nice. I like the composition, colors and exposure in both quite a bit. As you said you shot the left image at ISO 125 and the right image at ISO 100. To tell the truth, I don't see appreciable grain in either one. And I would not expect to see any until the ISO got a bit higher. So one thing we've learned is a safe ISO zone to shoot to avoid grain.
08/02/2005 03:01:58 PM · #109
Originally posted by tolovemoon:

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I think you are experiencing some of the same results David did. Both your cameras have a small sensor and a relatively small apeerture range which diminishe the DOF effect. The good news is that DOF will be less of an issue for you to be aware of and manage. But when you want crisp focus you'll tend to shoot with a smaller lens aperture (higher F/Stop) to make it as sharp as possible.
08/02/2005 03:25:09 PM · #110
I know my biggest problem is not taking the time to stop and think about the scene I want to capture. Instead, I just grab the camera and start shooting, only to upload the photos and be disappointed because all the settings were wrong. Shooting in raw has saved me many times, but I'd really rather get it all right in the first place. I still have a hard time remembering to adjust the metering mode; and which mode is best for which scene, but I'm working on it. I think a more indepth study of that would be great.
Thanks to this mentorship group I've started to carry a small notebook in my camera bag with notes about each of the steps we've covered so far. It helps tremendously.
As far as where we go from here.....I definitely don't want to stop. I'm learning so much. I wouldn't mind some book titles to help me continue learning though.
I'd also like to learn how to manipulate exposure in photoshop. I can barely skim the surface of that program. I have a lot of photos I feel could be saved if I only knew a little more about it.
The idea of blending photographs for the proper exposure sounds very interesting to me. I've seen some examples of it and the final product usually looks pretty fantastic. Thanks to Ingrid for mentioning it.
I also think delving even deeper into what we've already learned would be wonderful.
Basically Chuck, everything you, and David, have taught us so far has been phenomenal and all of your options for continued learning sound great. You've brought us all this far, I trust you can take us even further. I look forward to learning more.
Whatever everyone decides will be fine by me. I just want to learn.
-Laura
08/02/2005 03:40:33 PM · #111
Originally posted by sheapod:

I know my biggest problem is not taking the time to stop and think about the scene I want to capture. Instead, I just grab the camera and start shooting, only to upload the photos and be disappointed because all the settings were wrong. Shooting in raw has saved me many times, but I'd really rather get it all right in the first place. I still have a hard time remembering to adjust the metering mode; and which mode is best for which scene, but I'm working on it. I think a more indepth study of that would be great.
Thanks to this mentorship group I've started to carry a small notebook in my camera bag with notes about each of the steps we've covered so far. It helps tremendously.
As far as where we go from here.....I definitely don't want to stop. I'm learning so much. I wouldn't mind some book titles to help me continue learning though.
I'd also like to learn how to manipulate exposure in photoshop. I can barely skim the surface of that program. I have a lot of photos I feel could be saved if I only knew a little more about it.
The idea of blending photographs for the proper exposure sounds very interesting to me. I've seen some examples of it and the final product usually looks pretty fantastic. Thanks to Ingrid for mentioning it.
I also think delving even deeper into what we've already learned would be wonderful.
Basically Chuck, everything you, and David, have taught us so far has been phenomenal and all of your options for continued learning sound great. You've brought us all this far, I trust you can take us even further. I look forward to learning more.
Whatever everyone decides will be fine by me. I just want to learn.
-Laura

Laura, I am about to post a White Balance exercise. When we finish that, I will send you all a recap of where we've been so far. I'll include some suggested reading and a suggested workflow for when you shoot. Hopefully the reading will let you explore exposure in greater depth and understand some of the science of optics that lie behind what we've been doing. The workflow may be helpfull to you to get better exposure recorded in the camera ... the first step toward adjusting exposure in Photoshop.

At that time, I hope to have heard from all of you about your interests going forward and I can plot out some next steps.
08/02/2005 04:52:45 PM · #112
White Balance Ė Part 1

I would like your help to conduct thought experiment 1. Imagine you enter a perfectly dark room carrying a flashlight that produces perfectly white light. Inside the room is a piece of paper. Use your flashlight and tell me what color the paper is.

If we really conducted the experiment, the flashlight would be the only light source. And being perfectly white light, the paper would reflect its true color and you could tell me what color the paper is Ö which would be helpful because I am color blind.

Now letís conduct a modified thought experiment 2. You enter the same room with the same flashlight. But there is one more object in the room, a color filter for the flashlight. Since the room is perfectly dark, you cannot tell the color of the filter. Now attach the filter to the flashlight, illuminate the piece of paper, and tell me what color the paper is.

In this case, the filter changes the color of the light produced by the flashlight. The reflected light from the paper is colored by both the light and the paperís color. It makes it much more difficult to determine the color of the paper.

Now letís return to the real world. When we take a picture our subject is illuminated by one or more light sources. Outdoors during daylight, itís the sun. Indoors itís room lights, possibly sunlight coming in through the windows, and maybe a flash. These light sources are not perfectly white. They each have a unique color. The light from a candle flame is a different color from the light from a fluorescent light, or the light from the sun. In fact, the light from the sun at dawn is a different color from the light from the sun at noon or sunset.

If we shoot a subject of a known color, say a white egg resting on a white piece of paper Ö our subject will be recorded by our camera in different colors depending on what color our light is. Unless we adjust our cameras for the dominant color of light that illuminates our subject, we cannot tell from the photograph what color our subject is. Or worse, things that are really white, or red, or green or blue to our eye, will appear to be a different color when recorded by the camera. We call this bad exposure, but really it is bad White Balance.

This may seem confusing. But David will come to the rescue. He has written a nice piece about the color of light in different circumstances. Please follow this link and read it.

Now to your camera. Most digital cameras have a setting for White Balance. What the white balance setting does is tell the camera the color of the dominate light source in our scene. Most digital cameras will do this automatically if you set your camera to Auto White Balance. Many digital cameras will allow you to use a white balance preset. You could set your camera for a cloudy day, or for fluorescent lights indoors, or flash, or other. And some digital cameras let you measure the light falling on a white or gray card, and set a custom white balance for your subject and its dominate light source color.

If this is confusing, go back and reread this, and reread David's white balance point of view. PM me with questions if you like. Reread your camera manual regarding its white balance settings.

Because in my next post, I will give you exercise 6.

08/02/2005 04:59:51 PM · #113
White Balance Ė Part 2

Exercise 6
Determine the White Balance settings available on your camera. Now shoot one photo of the same subject, with the same light source for each white balance setting on your camera. The subject will be a white egg and another object of your choice (preferably vividly colored) both sitting on a white sheet of printer paper. I want you to fill the frame with the paper and your two objects. Then post your SOOTC shots here and tell us all what you learned. Lighting assignments:

cpickett -- Bright Sun Outdoors
suemack -- Incandescent Lights Indoors
Britannica -- Candle Light
sheapod -- Fluorescent Lights Indoors
papagei -- Cloudy Day Outdoors
jtf6agent -- In the Shade on a Bright Day Outdoors
tolovemoon -- Dark Room Using Your Cameraís Flash
bcoble -- Early Morning or Late Evening (Sun above the horizon)

You are free to initially set ISO, metering mode and EV Comp whatever way pleases you, but leave them the same for the rest of the exercise. You may vary aperture or shutter speed to obtain a good exposure on each shot. A tripod may be helpful.

Donít like your lighting assignment? Itís okay to trade with someone (please don't ask me to broker trades) but I would like to get good coverage of various light sources.

Extra credit: If your camera can do a custom white balance, try setting a custom white balance and post that as well.

Deadline: It may take a bit of time to get the light you want; so lets say end of day Sunday.

Message edited by author 2005-08-02 20:31:34.
08/02/2005 09:30:25 PM · #114
I need to trade assignments with someone.

This is Kansas in August. We have no clouds. I wish for clouds. I pray for rain. It is not happening. It is 100 degrees and sunny day after day after day...you get the idea.

So I can do shade, bright sun, incandescent, or early morning/evening shots. Please email me (papagei@cox.net) or PM me if you can switch :)


08/03/2005 01:06:12 AM · #115
Originally posted by papagei:

I need to trade assignments with someone.

This is Kansas in August. We have no clouds. I wish for clouds. I pray for rain. It is not happening. It is 100 degrees and sunny day after day after day...you get the idea.

So I can do shade, bright sun, incandescent, or early morning/evening shots. Please email me (papagei@cox.net) or PM me if you can switch :)


Maybe Bill (bcoble) would trade with you. He lives in Oregon which has a better chance for clouds. Sorry, I didn't research where you were all from first. Opps.

Message edited by author 2005-08-03 13:30:03.
08/03/2005 06:21:57 AM · #116
Originally posted by papagei:

I need to trade assignments with someone.

This is Kansas in August. We have no clouds. I wish for clouds. I pray for rain. It is not happening. It is 100 degrees and sunny day after day after day...you get the idea.

So I can do shade, bright sun, incandescent, or early morning/evening shots. Please email me (papagei@cox.net) or PM me if you can switch :)

I'm not too far away, but the weather is calling for thunderstorms for the last half of the week. That, and I don't think my camera can handle the low amount of light a candle would put off. If your interested in a bit of candlelight I'll trade with you.

David
08/03/2005 12:42:26 PM · #117
David - I see that we might get clouds and showers. I don't believe them LOL I guess we will get some clouds and I can wait to see if it comes to pass.

I have never shot candlelight, but I am game to try it. I'll switch with you if you like :)


08/03/2005 11:25:24 PM · #118
10:24 pm and the weatherman predicts clouds tomorrow afternoon. I'll do my cloudy shots unless there is pouring rain :)

08/03/2005 11:56:57 PM · #119
There are no clouds the last few days here. Its been about 90-95 degrees.
08/04/2005 04:39:43 PM · #120
White Balance Exercise
Here's the order of the photos. I rotated 90 degrees and resized. Otherwise they are SOOTC.
AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Flash, Color Temp

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My assignment was fluorescent light indoors so here it is along with the custom white balance.
Fluorescent, Custom

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I used partial metering, ISO 100 and -2/3 EV Comp because my shots were too bright. On the custom setting I put the EV comp back on 0.0 and was surprised to see that it was overexposed. I didn't reshoot it though because I hoped someone would be able to explain it to me. I had thought it would be the best exposed shot of the bunch.
I learned that in this instance at least, the AWB wasn't that far off from the fluorescent light setting. Auto did seem a little more pink than the fluorescent however.
Daylight, shade, cloudy, flash and color temp were all too yellow with shade being the worst of them.
Tungsten was too blue.
The custom white balance setting was the closest to the actual color of the bear, but as I said earlier, it was overexposed. If I was to shoot the same subject again I would use the custom setting while adjusting the ev comp (lower), shutter speed (faster to let in less light), and/or aperture (larger #). I already had the ISO on 100 so I couldn't go any lower to reduce the amount of light that way.
It's extremely important to have the right setting or the color will be off and you'll have to play around ALOT in post processing. For me at least, I'd need the luck of the Irish to get the color correct. I'd much rather have it right in camera.
-Laura
08/04/2005 05:45:37 PM · #121
Originally posted by sheapod:

White Balance Exercise
Here's the order of the photos. I rotated 90 degrees and resized. Otherwise they are SOOTC.
AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Flash, Color Temp

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My assignment was fluorescent light indoors so here it is along with the custom white balance.
Fluorescent, Custom

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I used partial metering, ISO 100 and -2/3 EV Comp because my shots were too bright. On the custom setting I put the EV comp back on 0.0 and was surprised to see that it was overexposed. I didn't reshoot it though because I hoped someone would be able to explain it to me. I had thought it would be the best exposed shot of the bunch.
I learned that in this instance at least, the AWB wasn't that far off from the fluorescent light setting. Auto did seem a little more pink than the fluorescent however.
Daylight, shade, cloudy, flash and color temp were all too yellow with shade being the worst of them.
Tungsten was too blue.
The custom white balance setting was the closest to the actual color of the bear, but as I said earlier, it was overexposed. If I was to shoot the same subject again I would use the custom setting while adjusting the ev comp (lower), shutter speed (faster to let in less light), and/or aperture (larger #). I already had the ISO on 100 so I couldn't go any lower to reduce the amount of light that way.
It's extremely important to have the right setting or the color will be off and you'll have to play around ALOT in post processing. For me at least, I'd need the luck of the Irish to get the color correct. I'd much rather have it right in camera.
-Laura

Beautiful job, Laura, I'm proud of you! First you did a nice job of capturing good exposures. Second you did a nice job illustrating how colors vary with the different White Balance settings under flourescent light. And the last part of your post illustrates how far you've come in your understanding of exposure. And if that weren't enough, you picked a cute little fella as your second subject. You have certainly raised the bar for the rest of our merry band!

Message edited by author 2005-08-04 20:00:50.
08/05/2005 12:10:21 PM · #122
Ok, Houston, we have a problem.

We did get some clouds yesterday - at 6 pm and I had to go out to take an exam. Now the $#@*& sun is shining again, so no clouds for me!

I guess I will have to switch with someone - who????

Message edited by author 2005-08-05 12:54:32.
08/05/2005 04:52:01 PM · #123
Originally posted by papagei:

Ok, Houston, we have a problem.

We did get some clouds yesterday - at 6 pm and I had to go out to take an exam. Now the $#@*& sun is shining again, so no clouds for me!

I guess I will have to switch with someone - who????


If you can't find a trading partner, just pick another light source of your choice and shoot using that.
08/06/2005 02:03:05 PM · #124
I did my series in the blazing sun (110+ degrees). Haven't taken them off the card yet, but will post later. I couldn't do the custom WB as I could not see the display well and it was so bleepin hot....blah blah. Anyway, as soon as I feed my 25-yr-old son who cannot cook himself breakfast, but manages to study for his PhD and teach a class....I'll be back LOL
08/06/2005 09:32:01 PM · #125
Ok, here is my batch shot in full sun. I used several easter eggs of different colors so I could see the effects on colors in this experiment. I was also surprised how well the camera did on auto and did not need any EV Comp. All images STOOC.

Tungsten - Cloudy - Shade - Daylight - Auto - Flash - Fluorescent - Color Temp

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Message edited by author 2005-08-06 21:34:29.
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