Back Modifications (6)
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The butler's room

By xwang
The photo was taken in Dunham massey.
It looks OK from the 'surface', but it is messy under the sink. It looks a bit 'foggy' and it didn't work when I tried to increase the contrast.
I'll upload the screen shot for you to have a look. Anyway to make it better please? Thanks.

Tags: General Interior Low light Room Butler Dunham massey

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banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4314 Canada
1 May 2016 5:41PM
Tiny image and very small file size Jasmine, - can you load larger? Theres no limit for size, and you can go to 2000 pixels. Unless this is a very, very small crop from a larger image, in which case, load the original.
xwang 13 56 8
1 May 2016 5:48PM
2000? OK.
Thanks Willie.
RobMacormac 17 7 2 England
1 May 2016 6:27PM
It may also lighten it some.
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1947 England
1 May 2016 7:15PM

I opened the 2,000 pixel version in Camera Raw, increased exposure by a stop and a half, and pulled back the highlights.

Now, you may have wanted a dark look to a historical building, but I think that the problem is exposure. I notice that you are still using spot metering and manual exposure: something I don't think I've ever done with a camera meter, and a guaranteed way to make life really, really hard.

The spot in a camera is far bigger than with a handheld spot meter, which has a 1 degree angle of acceptance, so that you could (for instance) meter from the shadow area under the cupboards on the right, or from the lightshade (or, if you are doing it really by the book, both...) It's therefore likely to introduce errors, because you can only meter from bigger areas (with tonal variations) unless you go in closer, then move back to take the picture.

My off-the-cuff guess is that I'd use Aperture priority (I do for most things) and plus half a stop as a starting point, to allow for hte light ceiling and the bright window. I believe in doing things right, but I also believe that a good first approximation is usually fine. Newton's Laws work for most purposes without the Einsteinian corrections for Relativity, and Good Enough is Good Enough for exposure (especially when it produces a better result than aiming for perfection with imperfect tools).
cbrundage 9 4 United States
1 May 2016 7:33PM
Love the photo, Jasmine - so interesting to see what someone's life as a butler was like. Your photo has so much atmosphere and the third version by dudler is better for seeing the floor and lower photo. Hard to choose between them.
dark_lord Plus
18 2.9k 824 England
1 May 2016 8:41PM
A decent shot, nicely composed. It's all down to exposure and post processing to bring the best out in the scene.

Flicking between your original and John's mod is akin to switching that lamp on and off!

You don't lose much detail from the outside by increasing exposure or adjusting as in the mod, so it's best to expose for the darker areas and not worry much about the bright area outside. You can always darken an image later to provide some mood and mystery than to try and lighten with the risk of too much noise (though your camera is pretty capable in that respect).

banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4314 Canada
1 May 2016 9:07PM
First, thanks for uploading a larger version, but its not 200 pixels, its 860 X 1000 pixels. The file size is larger though. Perhaps the 200 pix limit may be for your original, Im not sure.

What you are showing in V1 is not fog, its blacks showing noise because the blacks are being amplified in post processing; once thats done, you amplify noise, and it looks like a grey have. The biggest cause of noise in blacks is underexposure. This can encourage the user to address very dark areas by lifting shadows (AKA amplify noise), and also play with exposure doing something similar. You can take a shot at ISO 100, and have exactly the same eggect in shadows if the shot is underexposed, and for exactly the same reason.

I have one mod uploaded where the image is exposed to my liking, as the original is dominated by the need NOT to blow the window and the light.

You can see the same effect you are demonstrating thats actually worse, as its amplified even more; but to me the image looks better. If the original, when shot was given a higher exposure, then the amount of shadow recovery is much smaller, and noise/fog/haze is way lower; this of course suggests a multiple or bracketed exposure to get the windows right.

If I was the praying sort, I would pray that one day you would abandon spot metering, - its nothing but trouble in the environments you shoot in most of the time.


nonur 13 18 13 Turkey
1 May 2016 10:24PM
I used your screen image for modification. First made and adjustment in Camera Raw, then denoised it using Noiseless.
xwang 13 56 8
1 May 2016 11:28PM
Thank you Willie.
I remembered that Paul mentioned about the black blocks on one of the photos I took in German a few years ago. I couldn't find it at the moment,..
I processed the photo, but I didn't like the part under the sink, so this is the second time processing, only under the sink part, with layer mask put both together. I decreased the black(dragged the slider toward the right), because if the whole picture's contrast is right, the sink part would be too dark, totally lost the detail..
The window part was S:1000. I perhaps didn't do bracketing. Only a few shots. I might brightened it up a bit( or the PS did, I was going to ask you about my changed PS on RAW. It automatically changes my original shot settings, gives me an auto adjusted version every time when I open RAW, I don't know why.. )
P.S. About the meter
The truth about taking photos in this kind of conditions is, whatever the meter says on the left, it doesn't matter. Because either the contrast is too high, bracketing is needed, or too dark, I have to get the safe speed that I can handle without using tripod, regardless what(kind) meter says. At the end, a clear picture matters.
Sometimes I do use higher ISO to gain more shutter speed, not in there, this room was darker than others.
Another reason is that when we were there, one of the staff acted as a maid let us in, normally she was not allowed as we were told, because the butler was not in that day, she was allowed to go to this room.. she was waiting, I looked around, took a few quick photos and 'set her free'....
Thank you all for the helpful comments and MODs.
paulbroad Plus
15 131 1294 United Kingdom
2 May 2016 8:01AM
Not bad at all, Jaz, but as above, could be improved. Willie covers all and h is very right about spot metering. You use it a lot and it should be used with great care and with time to analyse the results. I would tend to use it much less. The best metering is with a hand meter, but that is even more time consuming.

xwang 13 56 8
2 May 2016 9:31AM
Thanks Paul.
Actually it had no metering at all. The reason as I said, it's always too dark, or a strong light contrast in these old houses. When it's too dark, I have to make sure the shutter speed is safe for handhold, and put the largest aperture the lens has to get as much light in as possible, and leave the rest to the PS. Spot meter is for the high light, in case I want to have some details of the lamps, and leave the bracketing to do the work for middle and shadow area if it is necessary.

The main part of his photo is S:60, it is still underexposed, but that is the safe setting I thought I could handle at that situation: Dark, and in a hurry( somebody was waiting to close the door...) Smile
Ah.. just noticed that the D and : were too close, made aGrin.. .... Grin..

It's Charter day today in Retford. I'll go to have a look. Do you have Charter day there? Good Day!
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1947 England
2 May 2016 2:10PM
Jasmine, I think it might be worthwhile setting out exactly what your process is for taking a picture like this. what you've said here suggests that you don't really meter, and bracket your exposures instead... That was a popular technique for film, though always showed a lack of confidence in one's metering, I felt. If you are really on top of meter and exposure techniques, you can take a single exposure, and be confident of near perfect results.

Then, there's not much need to sort thigns out in processing - you can just fine-tune the picture, and bring out particular detaisl that you want.

One good way to use sport metering is to take readings from the highlight and shadow areas, and set an exposure in between. This is only problematical when the two are further apart than the dynamic range of your sensor or film can cope with. In that case, you need to decide which to sacrifice...
xwang 13 56 8
2 May 2016 6:06PM
There is not much to say about the processing, John.
I have two photos, one is S:1000, one is S:60. I guess that when I walked into the room, my camera was not set at HDR mod, because the previous room I visited was not as dark as this one, so I thought the contrast might be OK for the camera to handle. I took one shot targeting at the high light, had a look at the LCD,it was too dark, so I tried to get the speed that I can handle and the Maxim aperture. Processing: Instead of "wasting" the S:1000, I put the S:60 one on the top, mask layer the window, only a few brushes work, hardly worth to mention.
From my experience, in those old houses, without window light, simply cracking up ISO, and set up large aperture to get a shutter speed as fast I can handhold, at least I get a clear picture, but even 5D markiii still produces noise when it's too dark, so if the content is "busy", I try to avoid ISO above 2500, otherwise I would lose detail. A lot of time, meter loses its function, it's for the controllable situation,or at least change can be done, there is no margin for me to change any setting under this kind of circumstance, because it is too dark in the room, if the given shutter speed is too low, as meter says, we say, below 1/30, you would be able to figure out the handhold result. As this one, I have to ignore the meter, it is underexposed, but it's the best I could get.

If the room with window light, most of the time bracketing is needed. Anyway, my camera can't handle, I don't know if there is any new models can. Because I didn't want to keep her waiting, as I mentioned above, hence the result. Maybe I should have set at HDR mode. Thanks.
Brilane 16 5 12 Wales
2 May 2016 10:33PM
Viewing larger helps also.
I haven't done much to the garden yet, I've not got the energy now, and the weather hasn't helped.
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1947 England
6 May 2016 11:22PM
Hardly worth mentioning? I don't think I've ever done that much processing!

I meant process - how you decide on the settings for the camera. As I understand it, it's largely trial and error, and you accept wrong exposure, then recover detail in processing.

If you expose for full detail in the shadows, you will get less noise, not more. Pulling the dark tones back from underexposure ruins quality, as Willie says above. Better up the ISO than keep it low and underexpose.

Matrix metering generally works well - if you inspect the histogram and dial in exposure compensation if needed, it rarely fails.

Spot metering/manual is like insisting on wearking hobnail boots or clogs instead of modern lightweight walking boots: you can do it, but why would you? It is less comfortable, and the results are often inferior.

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