Here’s a lighting challenge: A freight train crossing a big bridge against an overcast sky.
Expose for the train and the sky gets washed out (loss of detail). Expose for the sky and the train is too dark.
So what do you do?
I expose for the sky and then adjust the file in post processing.
Why? Because it is easy enough to lighten slightly underexposed areas, but once highlight detail is lost through over exposure it cannot be recovered.
To balance the exposure in post processing, I lightened the shadow areas globally. This took all of about 30 seconds to accomplish in Lightroom. I also made minor adjustments to overall color balance and saturation. Afterwards, I played with the file to make some outlandish versions for point of comparison.
Of the four, the second from the top is the only image I’d normally present. The bottom of the four is intended to be a little absurd.
The long days make for photographic opportunity. While modern digital cameras have the ability to capture scenes previously out of reach with film. Yet, sometimes there’s still work to be done after the fact.
The other day, Pat Yough and I were exploring locations along Amtrak’s former New Haven Shoreline at Madison, Connecticut.
“It’s the Acela.”
Working with my FujiFilm X-T1 fitted with a 27mm pancake lens, I had very little time to prepare for my image.
However, the colors of the evening sky attracted my attention and I knew I needed to use a relatively fast shutter speed to stop the action. I set the ISO to 6400, which allowed me to use a 1/500th of second shutter speed at f3.2.
(I set my camera manually.)
While the front of the Acela was exposed more or less as I’d hoped, the sky detail was washed out.
Later, using Lightroom for post processing, I was quickly able to produce three variations of the original image that brought back sky detail.
Admittedly the original file isn’t the sharpest image. But, I find one the great benefits of the digital medium is the ability to go back to the camera RAW file and adjust color and contrast sliders to make for a more pleasing final photograph.