Is it normal or overexposed?

Started Apr 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jerry-astro Forum Pro • Posts: 10,140
A few thoughts

Teoh wrote:


I am using 7D and have not been taking photo seriously lately. I found out that most of my outdoor photo (background) were overexposed(turn white with no details). Is it camera lense problem or what? Anyone please help & comment.

Your lens is just fine.  Unfortunately, your camera is not capable of capturing the wide range of light that your own eyes can, so it will "see" a scene that you're photographing somewhat differently.  The bright background coupled with the darker foreground you tried to capture is simply too wide a range of lighting for today's digital cameras to cover.

You have a couple of options available.  There is actually more detail in that bright background available, but you'd have to shoot in RAW mode to capture all of it.  Then, using post processing software like Lightroom (or others like it), you can tone down the brightest parts of the image (the highlights) and both bring out detail and more closely match the lighting of your foreground.  That will help somewhat, but you still won't capture exactly what you're seeing.

Another option is something called HDR, which is designed to deal with situations like this.  It works by combining multiple images taken at different exposures and effectively averaging them together (a process called tone mapping).  Unfortunately, because it involves multiple exposures, scenes with lots of movement like this one don't work so well with it.  There is specialized software to help you create HDR images, though one caution... it's very easy to misuse the process and end up with a very fake and cartoonish image.

Best bet is to try different exposures.  Bracket your shot and take 3 exposures, each separated by a stop.  Then, work with them using your favorite post processing software and see which one gives you the best results.  Particularly if you shoot RAW, you'll be surprised what you can recover from blown highlights.  Learning how to deal with challenging lighting all comes with experience both with the camera and with post processing software.

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