Dynamic range advice

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Jones0610
Jones0610 Regular Member • Posts: 173
Dynamic range advice

Not sure this is the right place for this question but I have a D810 and the advice I seek is probably common knowledge among high end Nikon camera users who frequent this forum.

My degree is in Electrical Engineering. The properties of light has always seemed like a black art to me.

D810 set in full manual, Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AIS MF lens, [a good] UV filter. Been shooting DSLRs since around 2002. Prior to that, 30-odd years with film so not a total novice.

I'll attach a few images that are quite washed out and would like to know what I can do to get better images. Improve my technique, better gear (lens with a different coating, filters, etc). What will NOT be helpful is advice saying to return when lighting conditions are better. I *KNOW* how to take great images in perfect conditions. What I want to learn is how to take better images in crappy conditions.

In these test examples, the sun is not in the frame but is at some angle less than 90 degrees left or right of the target. When the sun is behind me, I rarely have a problem.   On this trip, as usual, most images shot with the sun to my back (or in 100% cloudy situations) came out fine.

The histogram looks fine and the images seemed to be properly exposed. The example RAW files looked really bad going into Lightroom. I was able to improved the image a lot but it's obvious that none of them "pop". In fact, they look pretty bad to me.  Meta data is included in the images.

Any thoughts, advice and so on will be greatly appreciated.

Everything above the horizon is very washed out. It was a little hazy but not nearly as bad as this image.

It was overcast but the scene wasn't nearly this grey and bland in real life.

Ditto here.  Not much contrast and overall colorless.  In real life this wasn't a stunning scene but it looked a lot more impressive than what I got out of my camera.

 Jones0610's gear list:Jones0610's gear list
Canon PowerShot S100 Nikon D7000 Nikon D810 Nikon AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D +6 more
Nikon D810
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