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An exposure query - correct tone v retaining detail in the highlights

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  • An exposure query - correct tone v retaining detail in the highlights

    Hi, i hope you can help direct me with this exposure query.

    I get that when photographing a snowy scene that I need to overexpose to ensure that I place the white snow as white and not mid grey. However, my Olympus E520 has a narrow dynamic range in the highlights so a 2 stop over exposure results in horrible clipping. Is there therefore a balancing act to be done here between rendering snow as white and maintaining the details without clipping? If so I assume the detail comes first and the tone replication a close second? Or am I totally of track here?

    Many thanks

  • #2
    You don't want to overexpose the snow to the point of clipping....
    You only "overexpose" if the metering system is being fooled, and then only as much as necessary.

    With a wide DR scene and a narrow DR sensor, about all you can do is bias the exposure for what you care about most...or multiple exposure/HDR type workarounds.
    the Photographic
    SharpShooter Industries
    My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog


    • #3
      Try shooting with what looks like an underexposed effect (all but the very brightest parts of the picture probably looking grey but with no or minimal clipping. You can then use post processing, particularly fine-grained control of the curves, to get closer to the result you want.

      Film was a more forgiving medium but remember that every film picture you saw had to be developed through a chemical process. Digital sensors give less margin for error but allow instant feedback, more adjustment (you don't have to swap out the roll of film to try a different ISO setting) and plenty of scope for effective image processing without fumbling round in a dark room with dangerous chemicals!

      Wulf Forrester-Barker << Sites: blog / flickr >>
      Gear: Nikon D40, Nikon AFS 18-55mm f/3.5 - 5.6G, Nikon Series E 50mm f/1.8, Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6G, Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 macro, Raynox DCR-250, Lensbaby 2.0k, SB600