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Getting rid of blown out skies.

macmx

Member
Here in Denmark we have a lot of overcast weather, and this seems to be a big problem when using the CFV back and f/4 or less. The skies become blown out always, and the picture becomes terribly unbalanced and boring.

Does anyone have any helpful tips as how to avoid this? Technique and filter recommendations etc.

Any help is much appreciated.
 

macmx

Member
Here an example, which really isn't all that bad.
 

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First, I don't think "f4" has anything to do with the problem. The overexposed sky comes from an area far brighter than the foreground. Your exposure was obviously biased for the main subjects (which it should be). You could have darkened the sky by choosing a faster shutter speed with your chosen f-stop. OR vice versa. However, in doing so, your foreground subjects would have been rendered very dark.
Your "problem," in my opinion, is simply shooting scenes where the dynamic range from darkness to brightness exceeds the sensor's capability.
Your histogram would have warned you of this had you looked at it.
Michael H. Cothran
"Begin each trip with a full tank and empty bladder, and don't get them confused."
 

vandevantersh

New Member
Here in Denmark we have a lot of overcast weather, and this seems to be a big problem when using the CFV back and f/4 or less. The skies become blown out always, and the picture becomes terribly unbalanced and boring.

Does anyone have any helpful tips as how to avoid this? Technique and filter recommendations etc.

Any help is much appreciated.

HDRI for static scenes.
 
When you've got inanimate subjects, you can always bracket a few shots, and either blend them manually or through an HDR program. But with subjects that have the potential to move between exposures, you're only course of action is to exclude the bright sky from your composition.
There's no way to "post fix" a 255 sky, other than trying to crop it out. An overcast sky is often a lot brighter than it appears, compared to ground level. Keep an eye on your histogram for warning, and exclude the bright area when you can.
I think you could salvage this image with a horizontal rectangle crop.
Michael H. Cothran
 

macmx

Member
I realize that histogram can help me a lot, and I'm not surprised to see the result image at all. The reason I wrote f/4 is that this particular problem often appears when I'm shooting nature, where I want the highest possible shutter speed and HDR is not a possibility. For the subject to stand out well, I can't afford to underexpose the foreground too much.
I try to use a polarizer whenever I can.

Michael, I suppose you're right about the cropping. I guess I should reconsider my romance with the square format and crop the images more. I hadn't given much thought to your observation and simple solution. This will of course help a lot.

Next time, I think I will try to underexpose a bit and see if I can't brighten the foreground and recover some white detail in post. Maybe I will get a better result.
 

wbulte

Active Member
You could try a graded ND filter to offset the contrast.

This assumes a more or less straight "horizon" seperating high and low light areas.

Or shoot negative film (...) :z04_Flucht:

Wilko
 

macmx

Member
One day, I think a will try to tripod the same shot using same settings, with both CFV and film back. It would be interesting to see the comparison.
 

frozen_time

New Member
You could try a graded ND filter to offset the contrast.

This assumes a more or less straight "horizon" seperating high and low light areas.

Or shoot negative film (...) :z04_Flucht:

Wilko

Dou you think that film get this contrast? I am in doubt... ;)

Greetings Andy
 
I'm afraid that that this sky is beyond filtration or indeed film choice. The fact is that the image suffers by the inclusion of the sky. At times it seems that I've spent most of my life framing to avoid skies such as this.

So, the answer is simple, but what worries me more is the rendering of the out of focus tree canopy that borders the sky. Hopefully this rendering is a product of the small jpeg image rather than the camera/lens/sensor?
 

macmx

Member
So, the answer is simple, but what worries me more is the rendering of the out of focus tree canopy that borders the sky. Hopefully this rendering is a product of the small jpeg image rather than the camera/lens/sensor?

I think that in this particular picture, it was caused by the sunset behind the trees, which brightened up the clouds considerably in that directed and maybe even shun a bit through them..
 

fotografz

Active Member
Some people think filters are a thing of the past with digital ... but this is an example proving they are still valuable.

I use a Lee filter holder/shade and different strength 4"X6" ND Grads which can be slide up or down just enough to provide tone in the brighter sky area by closing up the dynamic range gap.

In situations like this I also underexpose a bit. Unlike film, digital has less exposure tolerance to overexposure, but it is often easy to "lift" the darks
and pull more detail from brights using Shadow/Highlight function in Photoshop.

Using Photoshop in this fashion is NOT a crutch ... it is like dodging and burning in the darkroom.
 
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