Any suggestions for maintaining detail with darker parts of the photo and toning down brighter part?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 658
Re: Any suggestions for maintaining detail ....

Don Lacy wrote:

Quarkcharmed wrote:

mfinley wrote:

And now it is about trying to create, another universe of your own liking where everyone is running around spot-metering and locking exposures with AE buttons because you quote an article about one of many ways to accomplish something, and then a Canon camera manual, and this then becomes 'how it's done by everyone.'

I never said it was 'how it's done for everyone'. And never even implied it. Check this thread, I was commenting on the concrete recommendations in this thread. My links to external sources were just to illustrate the point. Also I said (in a message to you) that 'exposing for the highlights' is a confusing term which this discussion proves perfectly well. It's not a single technique, it's a wide range of different techniques sometimes not compatible with each other. In general they involve metering on the highlights and then dialing some compensation (or no compensation at all).

Do those techniques protect the highlights? - yes. Are they the same as ETTR? - no, and that was the point.

If there's a speed limit of 100 on a highway and you're doing 99, you're protected from being fined. If you're doing 50 or 70, you're also protected, but 99 is more optimal. ETTR enables you to do very close to 100; exposing for the highlights, whatever that means for different people, will give you less than 100 and sometimes close to 50.

I did not read all the post in this sub thread but what I did read was enough to make my head spin. You are both describing the same technique exposing for the highlights is ETTR in its basic form it is the same thing. I actually read the article on Luminous Landscapes when Michael published it.

And here it is by the way, the good old article

Note it never mentions 'exposing for the highlights' term directly, but describes the techniques similar to what was discussed here:

"If you underexpose an image to the extent that the shadows block, which is often what folk do to protect their highlights; then you will need to open them again to ensure the final image is as you require. The problem with this approach is that we only have 128 levels available to the shadows. You start pulling curves, etc to open the shadows and you’ll get posterisation, etc."

Exposing for the highlights is To expose the scene to the point were the highlights are about to clip even if this means the mid or shadow tones are at a darker value then the actual scene it does not mean underexposing the highlights and the mids and the shadows. ETTR is to expose the scene to the point were the highlights are about to clip even if this means the mids and shadows are at a brighter tone then the scene. It is the same technique with different goals.

Ok, purely from the technical point of view, the techniques that different people described in the beginning of this thread as 'exposure for the highlights' did not include a method/indicator that the highlights are pushed to the right and are about to clip. When you use in-camera spot metering, you inevitably use mid-grey as a starting point. You may use exposure compensation later on, based on rules of thumb. But it won't be producing the same results as ETTR consistently.

If you use spot metering as a starting point plus a histogram overlay and actually push the histogram to the right, then yes, it'll be the same as ETTR. But it wasn't mentioned here. Also I quoted a number of external sources who refer to 'exposing to highlights' but don't mention pushing the histogram to the right.

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