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Animals CritiqueRegarding Minnie's Grasshopper in Full Sun

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Charles Haacker
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Regarding Minnie's Grasshopper in Full Sun

Post by Charles Haacker » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:19 pm

These do not belong in this section but I thought it best to keep in in the same section since it is on the subject, raised by Minnie, of harsh light and mitigation. Many if not most of you know by now that I shoot nearly anything that passes in front of my lens, and I "play it as it lies," pretty dedicated to the Keep It Simple principle. I use compact cameras, rarely use a tripod, almost never a flash although I carry one, and lately have been exulting in raw capture and Lightroom, plus a little Photoshop when needed. If it's in open shade, great. If it's in full sun, no worries. I'm very fond of back light when I can get it. If it's raining, that's what umbrellas are for. If it's dark raise the ISO. If it's moving raise the ISO and the shutter. (If it's not moving, paint it. :D ) I usually can't hang around to wait for better light or conditions, so, "play it as it lies" and mitigate. :)

This pair is unusual in that the first one was part of a hand-held, 3-shot, 1 stop plus/minus bracket that I used to make the second one, which is a simple Lightroom HDR. This was a flower basket of marigolds (I think) in blasting full sun. I worked the first one over pretty good to see how close I could get it to the actual HDR. Close, maybe, but no cigar:
DSC01412-Edit.EMlr.jpg
The above is one frame of a 3-frame bracket, edited in LR to try to look as much like the next slide as I could manage.
DSC01412-Edit_HDR.EMlr.jpg
This is a LR HDR from the aforementioned 3-shot bracket
There's been considerable tinkering on both of these, but I was well satisfied that the HDR has the edge. The point, though, is that these are shot in full sun, which is supposed to be a no-no, but I often question Why?

I think maybe yellow is a favorite color since I tend to find a lot of yellow fl'ars in my collections. These are obviously in full unfiltered sun. This is a single raw capture in my Sony RX10, shot for only the reason that I was attracted to them. I suppose I could carry a white umbrella to make instant open shade but that flies in the face of my dedication to KISS. I've updated the PP just today as my skills evolve (we can hope).
DSC00961.MAX.jpg
One of the things I am noticing as I reprocess these is that, in full sun, one challenge is that the foliage is as bright as the flowers. It has been necessary to pull the shadow slider down, sometimes use radial or graduated filters, and HSL to lower the saturation and luminance of the greens so as to make the flowers "pop." That I presume is mitigation.
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:22 pm

Three more, all in full blazing sun...
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DSC01345.MAX-2.jpg
No clue what this is, but I liked it, so I shot it.
DSC00859.MAX.jpg
These are asters I think.
DSC00850.EMlr.jpg
This is yarrow I think.
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Post by minniev » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:20 pm

This is a topic near my heart because I shoot in any kind of light, too. I love my sunrises and sunsets but gee, there's 14 or more hours inbetween, and I am not gonna put the camera away when I'm visiting a wonderful place, just because the sun is shining. HDR is one trick I don't try often, but probably should. I do a lot of things in post to mitigate, by pushing back against the harsh contrast and shadows. Sometimes I'll flatten an image out till its hideous and sort of start over, adding the contrast back in selectively. The radial controls in LR are helpful with this balancing act. Polarizers sometimes help with the reflections on the foliage. The HSL sliders help tame the colors that get out of hand in the over-bright light. Umbrellas are good for more than rain, too - esp if you can hold your camera in one hand, or have someone who can hold the umbrella for you.

I like your rich yellow display but my favorite is the simple little weed (white fleabane, I think) I think they make wonderful photo subjects.
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Post by Charles Haacker » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:43 pm

minniev wrote:This is a topic near my heart because I shoot in any kind of light, too. I love my sunrises and sunsets but gee, there's 14 or more hours inbetween, and I am not gonna put the camera away when I'm visiting a wonderful place, just because the sun is shining. HDR is one trick I don't try often, but probably should. I do a lot of things in post to mitigate, by pushing back against the harsh contrast and shadows. Sometimes I'll flatten an image out till its hideous and sort of start over, adding the contrast back in selectively. The radial controls in LR are helpful with this balancing act. Polarizers sometimes help with the reflections on the foliage. The HSL sliders help tame the colors that get out of hand in the over-bright light. Umbrellas are good for more than rain, too - esp if you can hold your camera in one hand, or have someone who can hold the umbrella for you.

I like your rich yellow display but my favorite is the simple little weed (white fleabane, I think) I think they make wonderful photo subjects.

Thank you, Min! 14 hours without pitchers? Pfah! I also do very little HDR, to an extent because I always have the tripod in the car but I'm far away from it but I hate schlepping a tripod and never using it. :| In that case it was a handheld 3-shot bracket and I figured I could crack it off without moving. I've tried it handheld other times and the shutters are too long for a good meld, but I usually only bring the tripod out at dusk. I love love love what digital has done for us, the flexibility, the relatively low cost, the range available that never was in analog, the post processing... I was a wet darkroom guy but only in B&W. I could never have done in color what I can now (to the extent that I no longer "see" in B&W). It'sa gift I tellsya. :)
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Post by Duck » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:38 pm

True, many 'professional' photographers decry shooting in full sun because that is not the most pleasant, or easiest, light to work with. The thing to keep in mind with that philosophy is that it also depends on the look you want for your subject. A photo friend of mine that shoots fashion LOVES hard shadows and 'crispy' light, as he calls it.

Bright direct light is hard, it's contrasty and it really puts a gap in the dynamic range. So long as you understand the physics behind the light it shouldn't be a chore to work in direct sun. Don't like the harsh contrasts or the gap in the dynamic range? Reduce it. Grab something to block the light in order to open up the shadows. Simple.

The one note I would say about shooting HDR in full sun is that I often see it done the wrong way. Because of the greater dynamic range in high contrast lighting you can't do a blind "two up, two down" bracket. You will end up lacking the needed data range. You have to (have to) really pay attention to your histogram to make sure you are not clipping in the wrong areas. For example; let's take a blind 2+ 0 2- bracket. The 2+ exposure is designed to capture shadow detail but if the exposure range between white with no clipping and black with no clipping is too broad you can come away with an image that still lacks shadow detail simply because the exposure range wasn't evenly distributed. Meaning the difference between black with no detail and white with no detail does not diverge from the zero EV evenly to both sides. In other words, the scene may not be a perfect 2+ 0 2- but rather a 3+ 0 1- (or what have you.)

Not sure if you followed that... :-D
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Post by Ceropegia » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:49 pm

Your flowers are lovely. I'm with Minnie, the fleabane is my favorite!

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Post by Charles Haacker » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:26 pm

Duck wrote:True, many 'professional' photographers decry shooting in full sun because that is not the most pleasant, or easiest, light to work with. The thing to keep in mind with that philosophy is that it also depends on the look you want for your subject. A photo friend of mine that shoots fashion LOVES hard shadows and 'crispy' light, as he calls it.

Bright direct light is hard, it's contrasty and it really puts a gap in the dynamic range. So long as you understand the physics behind the light it shouldn't be a chore to work in direct sun. Don't like the harsh contrasts or the gap in the dynamic range? Reduce it. Grab something to block the light in order to open up the shadows. Simple.

The one note I would say about shooting HDR in full sun is that I often see it done the wrong way. Because of the greater dynamic range in high contrast lighting you can't do a blind "two up, two down" bracket. You will end up lacking the needed data range. You have to (have to) really pay attention to your histogram to make sure you are not clipping in the wrong areas. For example; let's take a blind 2+ 0 2- bracket. The 2+ exposure is designed to capture shadow detail but if the exposure range between white with no clipping and black with no clipping is too broad you can come away with an image that still lacks shadow detail simply because the exposure range wasn't evenly distributed. Meaning the difference between black with no detail and white with no detail does not diverge from the zero EV evenly to both sides. In other words, the scene may not be a perfect 2+ 0 2- but rather a 3+ 0 1- (or what have you.)

Not sure if you followed that... :-D

Thanks, Duck. I did indeed follow it. The fact is that I have done precious little HDR, and I only tried it on this as a spur-of-the-moment experiment, knowing that I could just pick the best exposure and process it normally, which I did. In the past I have seen too much HDR that was instantly "Oh yeah that's HDR!" Some of it was almost cartoonish to me and I never cared for it. When I discovered that Lightroom had a tool for it I was pleased to note that it never seemed what I deemed "overcooked," but for my own work I kinda question the need for it. I've been more than satisfied exposing for the highlight and developing for the shadow, and increasingly better noise control. In this particular case I feel the HDR is only marginally better than the straight shot. I am really with your "crispy light" friend! :thumbup:
Ceropegia wrote:Your flowers are lovely. I'm with Minnie, the fleabane is my favorite!

Thank you, Martha! I like the bane of fleas too, provided it works (I have a sprig stuck in the hinge of my glasses). :lol:
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Post by St3v3M » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:54 am

Charles Haacker wrote:These do not belong in this section but I thought it best to keep in in the same section since it is on the subject, raised by Minnie, of harsh light and mitigation. Many if not most of you know by now that I shoot nearly anything that passes in front of my lens, and I "play it as it lies," pretty dedicated to the Keep It Simple principle. I use compact cameras, rarely use a tripod, almost never a flash although I carry one, and lately have been exulting in raw capture and Lightroom, plus a little Photoshop when needed. If it's in open shade, great. If it's in full sun, no worries. I'm very fond of back light when I can get it. If it's raining, that's what umbrellas are for. If it's dark raise the ISO. If it's moving raise the ISO and the shutter. (If it's not moving, paint it. :D ) I usually can't hang around to wait for better light or conditions, so, "play it as it lies" and mitigate. :)
...

I'm much the same where I shoot what I see, and while I've lost a few images in the mid-day light I think it worth the effort to learn to work with what you have. It's not always an easy balance, but that umbrella of yours can make a great light modifier and keep the UV rays off of you as well. I understand that morning and evening light is soft, and beautiful, but so are shadows when used to tell the story you want to tell. Don't ever let anyone tell you when to shoot then, shoot what you love and learn to do it well! This is your story and these are the tools you've been given, use them! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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