Snapshots, Lesson #2: Clouds hide the sun

Started Sep 15, 2004 | Discussions thread
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David Chin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,670
Snapshots, Lesson #2: Clouds hide the sun

Please read this only once you have mastered and are comfortable with what was presented in "Tutorial and Workshop: Dull Picture Be Gone!", the link for which is http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=10261215 .

The main thrust of that thread is to use Auto WB -2 for most situations in which the good ole Sun is shining directly on the subject, and hey, works well for flash illumination too. If you've been exploring diligently what works with those settings, I applaud your efforts since after taking about 50 or 100 shots, you'll be starting to get an AHA! in your head which basically means you now have an inkling of what some posters mean when they say check the histogram, or postprocessing, or fill-flash - but let's save those for another day, we're still in Square 1 ... and a half :-))

So, now, what if the Sun is hidden behind clouds, but the light from which is still hitting or illuminating the subject directly --> this is so very important, that the light filtering through the clouds must still be illuminating the subject directly . In other words, if the subject is standing in the shade, that does NOT count - subjects in the shade are reserved for another "Lesson". And please, haze or pollution that may render the light less than pleasing are not considered here too. Well, more advanced users might use the Cloudy WB setting, micro-adjusting it to -1, -2 or -3 depending on preferences - but, well, we're still in Square 1.5, so here's what I normally do, just set Auto WB all the way down to -3. Yup, that's it. And here's where it gets a little more tricky. It works rather well in the tropics, but if you're up in the mountains or way north or way south, your clouds-blocked sunlight may be way more blue than what we get here in Malaysia. So, give it a try, post your results, and let's see if it works for you - if not, consider the use of Cloudy -1, -2 or -3 --> to taste.

Here're two of mine for yesterday, with EXIF data. Remember, we're not considering composition or whether the pic looks sharp or not, or even whether there're blown highlights. What we're emphasizing on here is how NOT to get dull and dark pictures out of the dang camera. And I'm quite confident a fair number of you self-proclaimed, so-called "newbies" can get photos a thousand times more inspiring than these, all you needed to know was that Auto WB -3 really can do wonders on a dreary day. Looking forward to your pics! Oh, and please, set EV to +0.3 to brighten that photo, even if it's against your better judgement - sometimes there ain't no way to cure a pre- or misconception except to swallow a bitter pill. But I'm guessing a number of you would be perfectly pleased with the outcome.

BTW, even though we're still exploring the basics, more advanced users or even those of you who've already rapidly progressed to the "intermediate" stage, please do point out whatever "faults" you can see in the pictures - this'll help immensely the "education" process.

Focal Length: 28mm
Optimize Image: Normal
Color Mode: Mode Ia (sRGB)
Noise Reduction: OFF
2004/09/14 18:16:14
Exposure Mode: Programmed Auto
White Balance: Auto -3
Tone Comp: Auto
JPEG (8-bit) Fine
Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
AF Mode: AF-S
Hue Adjustment: 0°
Image Size: Large (3008 x 2000)
1/60 sec - F/3.5
Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached
Saturation: Normal
Exposure Comp.: +0.3 EV
Sharpening: Auto
Lens: Nikkor 28-200mm F/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED
Sensitivity: ISO 200

Focal Length: 105mm
Optimize Image: Normal
Color Mode: Mode Ia (sRGB)
Noise Reduction: OFF
2004/09/14 18:17:05.1
Exposure Mode: Programmed Auto
White Balance: Auto -3
Tone Comp: Auto
JPEG (8-bit) Fine
Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
AF Mode: AF-S
Hue Adjustment: 0°
Image Size: Large (3008 x 2000)
1/60 sec - F/5.6
Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached
Saturation: Normal
Exposure Comp.: +0.3 EV
Sharpening: Auto
Lens: Nikkor 28-200mm F/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED
Sensitivity: ISO 250

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