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Getting details in white subjects
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Aug 31, 2018 20:24:44   #
Ed Walker
 
I have great difficulty getting details to show up in white subjects, for example a white flower or bird. Sample attached. Any suggestions will be welcomed. I'm pure amateur, but love making pretty pictures.


(Download)

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Aug 31, 2018 20:39:31   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
And it is a pretty picture, with a lot going for it! I've certainly seen worse "blown whites." You just need to learn how exposure works and how your camera measures the light.

A quick overview: https://digital-photography-school.com/metering-modes-and-how-your-camera-meter-works/

Your settings were f/9, ISO 320, shutter speed 1/250 sec. Had you changed the shutter speed to 1/500 sec or faster, your entire image would be darker because you're shortening the length of exposure time. A darker image would give you more detail in this white bird.

If you are shooting in automatic, learn one of the modes that allows you to adjust for tricky lighting conditions. Read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. Learn the terms "exposure compensation" and "spot metering."

I'll end here because you are going to get many more suggestions shortly. Expect certain advice to be repeated over and over since few people read what anyone else writes in these topics. If it seems you are getting some contradictory advice, it's because we all have our own favorite ways of doing things

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Aug 31, 2018 20:46:33   #
twr25
 
First expose for the white area. I see a very shallow depth of field … increase the f-stop slightly. The tree is very sharp so I'm think the focus was on the tree rather than the bird. I use a single point focus, highest speed possible (usually 1/1000 min) and keep the ISO on auto. Most cameras today have indicators that "flash" when an area is overexposed / underexposed … turn it on and adjust accordingly. Aim at the birds eye if possible. In portraits of people the closest eye is your focus point as the DOF at very low F-stop can leave the rear eye slightly out of focus; it can be that shallow. These are not criticisms of the above shot but generic suggestions. There are some apps for phones that give you the DOF range at various settings. Oh and it's still a really nice shot.

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Aug 31, 2018 20:58:28   #
rgrenaderphoto (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
I'll end here because you are going to get many more suggestions shortly. Expect certain advice to be repeated over and over since few people read what anyone else writes in these topics. If it seems you are getting some contradictory advice, it's because we all have our own favorite ways of doing things


Gee Linda, you know this place pretty well.

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Aug 31, 2018 21:01:03   #
burkphoto (a regular here)
 
Ed Walker wrote:
I have great difficulty getting details to show up in white subjects, for example a white flower or bird. Sample attached. Any suggestions will be welcomed. I'm pure amateur, but love making pretty pictures.


I’m guessing you saved a JPEG at the camera. Recording a raw image and post-processing it on a computer with a properly calibrated/profiled monitor would allow you to compress the 12 or 14 stops of raw data into the 5.5 stops a JPEG can contain. Good software has sliders for blacks, shadows, midtones, highlights, and whites, among others.

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Aug 31, 2018 21:12:16   #
MMC
 
If it is possible use bracketing changing exposures in continuous mode and after that HDR program. Also your picture can be improved in PP. I tried it. If you do not mind I can show my result.
Ed Walker wrote:
I have great difficulty getting details to show up in white subjects, for example a white flower or bird. Sample attached. Any suggestions will be welcomed. I'm pure amateur, but love making pretty pictures.

| Reply
Aug 31, 2018 21:22:26   #
SonyA580
 
Hardest thing I know of is shooting a white bird, or anything else white (snow, white clothing, etc.). I have to constantly remind myself to manually compensate. Shooting in RAW could make some difference but, if the shadows are not there, no amount of post processing will bring them out. Shooting HDR can some times work too. Take a newspaper out in the direct sun and shoot several shots at normal, and 1, 2 and 3 stops overexposed. See which one you can read the print on. This will give you an idea of how much compensation is required for your next white bird shot.

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Aug 31, 2018 21:30:55   #
Vietnam Vet
 
When processing try adjusting the highlights slider

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Aug 31, 2018 21:37:50   #
Strodav (a regular here)
 
Ed Walker wrote:
I have great difficulty getting details to show up in white subjects, for example a white flower or bird. Sample attached. Any suggestions will be welcomed. I'm pure amateur, but love making pretty pictures.


Some good ideas already posted especially shooting raw. I'd like to add looking at the histogram after you take the first shot. If the histogram hangs off to the right then save highlight detail by putting in negative exposure compensation. We have a similar problem shooting dark birds like the Common Gallinule as well. If the histogram hangs off to the left then to save shadow detail by putting in positive exposure compensation. Most of the time, I just bracket.

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Aug 31, 2018 22:10:11   #
User ID (a regular here)
 
`

Mebbe you'd take a liking to spot metering ?
You wouldn't hafta give up auto exposure to
use spot metering. You've already paid for it,
so you might as well check it out.

If spot metering works for you, you will likely
wanna switch the AE-lock button from "Hold"
to "Toggle".


`

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Aug 31, 2018 22:15:15   #
Ed Walker
 
Thanks for the ideas. That particular shot was from a boat while fishing. I kept the camera on Aperture Priority due to the fact that opportunities for pics were serendipity. That meant shooting immediately when the occasion arose. Lighting was never the same from one shot to the next. I really need to learn how to work with RAW.

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Aug 31, 2018 22:45:04   #
MMC
 
Please use "Quote Reply" to let us now who you are responding. BTW you did nor reply my question if I can post my attempt to improve your picture.
Ed Walker wrote:
Thanks for the ideas. That particular shot was from a boat while fishing. I kept the camera on Aperture Priority due to the fact that opportunities for pics were serendipity. That meant shooting immediately when the occasion arose. Lighting was never the same from one shot to the next. I really need to learn how to work with RAW.

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Aug 31, 2018 23:13:23   #
Ed Walker
 
Certainly. I would appreciate seeing what could be done with it.

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Aug 31, 2018 23:14:18   #
Ed Walker
 
MMC wrote:
Please use "Quote Reply" to let us now who you are responding. BTW you did nor reply my question if I can post my attempt to improve your picture.


Certainly. I would appreciate seeing what could be done with it.

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Aug 31, 2018 23:42:19   #
MMC
 
I am sorry if you do not like it.
Ed Walker wrote:
Certainly. I would appreciate seeing what could be done with it.


(Download)

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