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Sunlight problem
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Mar 29, 2022 22:13:06   #
trapper1 Loc: Southside Virginia
 
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On the Riverwalk here in town about 1800, the sun still very bright, I am walking facing the sun. A Great Blue Heron landed on the river's edge about 30 yards ahead of me but in a nearly direct line with the sun. I had no idea of how to cope with the sun in this situation but I took three pictures, one of which is attached. You can see how dark the image is. The bird is there, its head is above the bushes just below the square sign. I am using my Nikon D5600 and a Nikon 18-200 lens, my walkabout rig. The other picture is of an egret, taken about the same time of day a few days before but the sun was at right angle for that shot. I only had a couple of minutes to take the picture as a group had appeared at the far end of the clearing and they would have flushed the bird. In any event I would not have known how to reset the camera to minimize the glare of the sun even if that was possible. I would appreciate advice on how to handle the sunshine in such a situation if it should ever happen again. Keep in mind you are advising a newbie.





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Mar 29, 2022 22:20:39   #
Ysarex Loc: St. Louis
 
Save and process a raw file. Do you have a raw file for the first photo?

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Mar 29, 2022 22:23:37   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
Alas, you didn't store either attachment. Therefore, actionable feedback, based on the specifics of each image as stored in the EXIF data, cannot be provided.

Digital cameras are wonderful tools. But, they can't overcome each and every failing of the human. For the top image in March around 1800 near this water, consider (a) zooming in more specific focus / framing and metering on the bird and expose for that bird. Or, (b) walk to the other side of the bird so the sun is at your back. Or, walk the entire waterway from the opposite direction with the sun at your back.

The second image shows a better view, but absent the EXIF, we're unsure if you could have zoomed closer into the details. We're also unsure if you could have exposed more to the right and captured more of the shadow side of the bird. Rather than a right-angle, seek to have the sun directly behind you, lighting your subject. Skip the poorly lit subjects and seek / focus / shoot those well-lit with the sun behind you and directly lighting your wildlife.

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Mar 29, 2022 22:24:08   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA, United States
 
Use spot metering on the bird.

Too much contrast for averaging metering.
(Same problem with moonshots, only backwards. Moon bright, 90% of the frame is dark.)

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Mar 29, 2022 23:17:57   #
E.L.. Shapiro Loc: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
 
trapper1 wrote:
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On the Riverwalk here in town about 1800, the sun still very bright, I am walking facing the sun. A Great Blue Heron landed on the river's edge about 30 yards ahead of me but in a nearly direct line with the sun. I had no idea of how to cope with the sun in this situation but I took three pictures, one of which is attached. You can see how dark the image is. The bird is there, its head is above the bushes just below the square sign. I am using my Nikon D5600 and a Nikon 18-200 lens, my walkabout rig. The other picture is of an egret, taken about the same time of day a few days before but the sun was at right angle for that shot. I only had a couple of minutes to take the picture as a group had appeared at the far end of the clearing and they would have flushed the bird. In any event, I would not have known how to reset the camera to minimize the glare of the sun even if that was possible. I would appreciate advice on how to handle the sunshine in such a situation if it should ever happen again. Keep in mind you are advising a newbie.
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On th... (show quote)


I think you have a few issues working against you. Basically and left some of the foregrounds in shadow with little detail. The born in the first shot was nearly silhouetted the scene contrast is high and the meter read the bright sky. It is a bit difficult ul o go beyond that without the exposure data. With brig sunlight or skylight coming straight at the lens, a lens shade will not help and I don't think there is a significant degree of flare anyway. There are ways of addressing these issues by exposure control and strategizing as to post-processing weh you shoo. Thereis, however a bit more "information" in your file, even as it stands on the forum with a download.

I did some quick edits to illustrate how you can save the image in post-processing, If you like I will send it to you in a PM.

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Mar 30, 2022 07:41:04   #
pithydoug Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
 
I would look at youtube and find videos on exposure compensation aka noted as EV. It's an invaluable feature that most SLR/Mirrorless and many fail to take advantage of that help to control such lighting conditions. Videos will show you when to ise EV + or EV - .

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Mar 30, 2022 07:47:14   #
Linda From Maine Loc: Yakima, Washington
 
As a first step in understanding what you were dealing with, I recommend reading or watching videos about dynamic range: the contrast between the darkest and brightest areas that a camera can capture in a single exposure. Maximum dynamic range is the greatest range of light a digital camera sensor can capture.

An alternative to skipping poorly-lit subjects entirely is to compose and shoot for a silhouetted subject if your scene is relatively simple and the subject is clear of any background. Just a tip to keep in mind for future.

However, by taking the time to learn the terminology and tools you have available (mentioned so far in this thread: shooting raw and editing, shooting to the right, spot metering and exposure compensation), along with the limitations, you will be in the best position to decide how you want to pursue your photography hobby.

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Mar 30, 2022 08:37:42   #
Linda From Maine Loc: Yakima, Washington
 
Here's an older share topic I hosted in 2016, called "Shooting into the Sun." If you have interest beyond strictly technical, browse the 16 pages to get some ideas of creative solutions (compose for the light you're given, or seek dramatic lighting for artistic purposes): https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-359667-1.html

UHH member MinnieV is a huge talent. Her Birds of the Dam use high contrast light for stunning results:
https://luminous-landscape.com/the-dam-birds-luminous-endowment-grant-winner/


Or, you can just search Google Images for inspiration

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Mar 30, 2022 08:40:20   #
Linda From Maine Loc: Yakima, Washington
 
-

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Mar 30, 2022 10:06:31   #
autofocus Loc: North Central Connecticut
 
trapper1 wrote:
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On the Riverwalk here in town about 1800, the sun still very bright, I am walking facing the sun. A Great Blue Heron landed on the river's edge about 30 yards ahead of me but in a nearly direct line with the sun. I had no idea of how to cope with the sun in this situation but I took three pictures, one of which is attached. You can see how dark the image is. The bird is there, its head is above the bushes just below the square sign. I am using my Nikon D5600 and a Nikon 18-200 lens, my walkabout rig. The other picture is of an egret, taken about the same time of day a few days before but the sun was at right angle for that shot. I only had a couple of minutes to take the picture as a group had appeared at the far end of the clearing and they would have flushed the bird. In any event I would not have known how to reset the camera to minimize the glare of the sun even if that was possible. I would appreciate advice on how to handle the sunshine in such a situation if it should ever happen again. Keep in mind you are advising a newbie.
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On th... (show quote)


Now is the time to get your camera off auto or program mode and switch to manual, and full manual, not the semi auto priority modes. Obviously, photography is all about light, and being able to harness or control that light with your camera settings. And, shooting in manual will allow you to do that. It will force you to learn about all the variables that light will throw at you, and you have a built in meter and histogram to help guide you. I will assume you shot the above scene in auto, and as the novice you say you are, I suspect that was probably the case. Your scene had some very strong light conditions that you were shooting directly into. And the built in camera's meter (assumed set to matrix metering) was going to read all that light, average it out, and try to come up with what it thinks the proper exposure is. In those conditions, 9 out of 10 times the camera will get it wrong, at least on your strongly backlit subject. However, the bright sky and light on the water may be good, but your primary and tiny subject will be grossly underexposed. A few solutions to consider if possible: add some foreground light with a reflector or light, Probably won't help much in your photo here though. You can spot meter off the subject by walking up close to the subject, take your reading, and set your camera to that setting. But, again, there was not going to be any walking up to the subject in this case. Or, being that you now are shooting in full manual, and you learned that the camera seeing all that light is going to underexpose your subject the simple solution is to overexpose the shot, and maybe as much as 2-3 stops depending on the actual conditions. However, like everything in photography, you have to be able to deal with the compromises, and in the case of overexposing the shot in order to better expose your subject you will be blowing out the background.
Here is a strongly backlit shot I took of my daughter, and my choice of solution here was to walk up close to her, and take a spot meter reading, and proceed to take the shot using those settings in manual mode. What's nice about this kind of light is that it produces beautiful rim lighting around the subject. f/3.2, 125, ISO 2000
Why we shoot in full manual.... by Vince Montalbano (autofocus), on Flickr

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Mar 30, 2022 10:39:02   #
gvarner Loc: Central Oregon Coast
 
Your second shot is fine for a snapshot. Shooting into the sun like in the first shot is hard to do. Way too much contrast. Take several shots in similar light, adjusting the exposure compensation to -1 and -2, maybe -3 to see the difference. Shoot in RAW so you can edit the exposure, highlights, and shadows to bring out detail where you want it. Think ahead about making a photo instead of just taking a photo.

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Mar 30, 2022 12:03:12   #
R.G. Loc: Scotland
 
You've just learned one of the main lessons, which is that the direction of the light is key. The worst scenario is trying to photograph the shadow side of something against a very bright background or looking straight at a very bright light source.

In your first shot the preponderance of bright sky and bright reflections forced the camera to drop the exposure to the point where the main subject is too dark. You could have avoided that if you'd zoomed in on the subject and excluded the bright sky and some of the bright reflections.

In your second shot there is no sky but the reflections in the background are bright, plus the only well lit part of the subject is its front. You may have a dislike of peering into dark areas - well your camera doesn't like it either, but if there aren't any sources of brightness within the scene the camera can increase the exposure to compensate for the darkness.

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Mar 30, 2022 16:52:39   #
Boris77
 
trapper1 wrote:
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On the Riverwalk here in town about 1800, the sun still very bright, I am walking facing the sun. A Great Blue Heron landed on the river's edge about 30 yards ahead of me but in a nearly direct line with the sun. I had no idea of how to cope with the sun in this situation but I took three pictures, one of which is attached. You can see how dark the image is. The bird is there, its head is above the bushes just below the square sign. I am using my Nikon D5600 and a Nikon 18-200 lens, my walkabout rig. The other picture is of an egret, taken about the same time of day a few days before but the sun was at right angle for that shot. I only had a couple of minutes to take the picture as a group had appeared at the far end of the clearing and they would have flushed the bird. In any event I would not have known how to reset the camera to minimize the glare of the sun even if that was possible. I would appreciate advice on how to handle the sunshine in such a situation if it should ever happen again. Keep in mind you are advising a newbie.
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On th... (show quote)


From the point of view of having a nice walk and snapping pictures:
I use the same lens on a similar camera body. Great for walk around but not serious bird photography. Because:
You have to get closer. Much closer according to your results. 24mp can only take limited cropping.
If you do get closer you WILL be able to spot meter the bird in order to Make a Decision on the exposure level. You can not get it all shooting against the sun, so the winning combination would be to preset an exposure bracketing trio when in this general situation. You can pick the best shot later or combine them in Photoshop.
Second suggestion for this kind of situation is to keep walking with camera at chest level almost ready to shoot, stopping smoothly to raise and shoot when closer, and be (mentally) prepared for the bird to take off.
As your previous respondents have pointed out, planning is an important part of (bird) photography.
Boris

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Mar 30, 2022 19:02:11   #
Timmers Loc: San Antonio Texas.
 
trapper1 wrote:
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On the Riverwalk here in town about 1800, the sun still very bright, I am walking facing the sun. A Great Blue Heron landed on the river's edge about 30 yards ahead of me but in a nearly direct line with the sun. I had no idea of how to cope with the sun in this situation but I took three pictures, one of which is attached. You can see how dark the image is. The bird is there, its head is above the bushes just below the square sign. I am using my Nikon D5600 and a Nikon 18-200 lens, my walkabout rig. The other picture is of an egret, taken about the same time of day a few days before but the sun was at right angle for that shot. I only had a couple of minutes to take the picture as a group had appeared at the far end of the clearing and they would have flushed the bird. In any event I would not have known how to reset the camera to minimize the glare of the sun even if that was possible. I would appreciate advice on how to handle the sunshine in such a situation if it should ever happen again. Keep in mind you are advising a newbie.
Had the chance of a lifetime this afternoon. On th... (show quote)


In the vary old days of photography this was what armatures were told to do to make great photos from ho-hum situations. To back light the subject. This created separation from subject to the surroundings. But now you are doing digital work, and it is of great importance to the 'modern' out come.

So, first, totally ignore the light meter it is not your friend. Use the sunny 16 rule, exposure is 1/ISO and the f stop is 16. For better results I would sagest f16 1/2 or even f 22. Once you have the exposure then in post you will find that the shadows are blocked up, BUT the information is there. Using 'CURVES" in photo shop or similar programs, anchor your upper values and you r highlights then adjust the mid tones and shadows to adjust the 'look' of your shadows. It is actually quite easy and you will discover that many of your images will benefit from this action.

If you want to better 'understand' curves look at information on what is called an H&D curve, or also called a careerist curve. No need to read or do math, just look at what a standard curve should look lie and the make your curves look like that.

When shooting into sun for images there is a simple technique, put you and your camera under a cover that puts lens (and you) in shade. There are pop up 'reflectors' made for just this purpose, but a simple piece of card stock works well. If you want to get all professional, then glue some aluminum foil to one side and paint the opposite side matt black. The aluminum goes UP to reflect heat and the sun from both you and the camera keeping you shaded and cool. Last, if you want to be and look super professional, then a cheap sheet of black cloth thrown down on the ground in front of you is like icing on the cake! No stray light reflecting back into the camera lens, better than a lens hood or compendium.

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Mar 30, 2022 23:00:19   #
uhaas2009
 
The sun is backlighting the bird and there is no secondary light on the shade side. If you slow down the exposure or bigger aperture you bird would be less dark in the shadow but this increases the overexposure on the sunny side. You could use PP to open up the shadows. This is small info, you may need invest in some lesson or maybe a camera club would be helpful

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