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Corra Linn

By ianrav
Corra Linn, Falls of Clyde.

I like this shot. However, I had a problem setting the exposure and as such would appreciate some advice!. It was a glorious but very cold day. Blue sky's, harsh light, lots of shadows and the rocks were covered in a thick white frost. I fired off quite a few shots (both in JPEG and RAW) and changed everything from colour temperature to camera mode (tried using the camera in auto and landscape modes - not good). Finally settled on this jpeg with manual operation but automatic white balance using a single point focus and single point exposure. My problem is the rocks at the top, being white and less in the shadows, have overexposed drawing your eye from the main subject. I could have exposed for the rocks, underexposing the waterfall and corrected through post processing. However, in this instance I wanted to get it right in the camera.

So, my question is, have i reached the limits of the camera in such conditions and is there a filter I should have been using to get the exposure correct on both the water and the rocks??

For info - settings:

1 sec (1)
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 94 mm
ISO Speed: 100

Tags: Waterfall Landscape and travel

Voters: WildLight, barbarahirst, jeanie and 6 more

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barbarahirst 9 27 12 United Kingdom
2 Dec 2008 11:24AM
Not sure of answers for you but do love the picture as is
I am a beginner in the photography stakes Sorry

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BillyGoatGruff 11 191 199 England
2 Dec 2008 12:44PM
A very nicely composed shot, Ian.

You've hit upon a fundamental problem for any camera - too big a dynamic range for the sensor to record.
I'm no expert , but I think there are probably several ways to cope with this.
(1) Measure the exposure difference between the top and bottom portions with your camera's spot meter, and then use a graduated ND - looks like about 2 or 3 stops here. Set your camera on manual to give the waterfall a "correct" exposure and use the nd grad to mask the bright rocks.
(2) Spot meter the brightest rocks at top and manually set the camera to +1.5 or + 2 EV, and the let the shadows fall where they may. This may make the rocks very dark, but their shapes would be described by the falling water, and could produce a very good shot.
(3) Use two (or more) blended exposures.

Trying to get it absolutely "right in camera" looks to be quite tricky in this case.
Personally I'd try to sort it in post processing, where you've got more control.

If you've got a RAW file of this, you could process it twice (so you don't run into registration problems) - once for the rocks at the top, and once for the waterfall itself, and then blend the two together using a layer mask (or masks).
If you've only got the jpeg, you could duplicate the background layer and set the blending mode to "darken" or "multiply" and play with the opacity to get the top rocks right, and then use a layer mask (or eraser) to gently get rid of what you don't need from that layer.

I'd also clone out the small white "thing" at bottom left, as it's a bit of a distraction.

Whilst getting it right in camera is often desirable and laudable, knowing your camera's limitations and compensating for them using all the tools at your disposal is equally so, imo!

Hope this helps.

ianrav 9 1 United Kingdom
2 Dec 2008 1:43PM
Thanks Bill - this does indeed help, and pretty much confirms my own thoughts that I need to invest in filters if I want to get it right in-camera. The problem I have had recently is a tendency to shoot in RAW, paying less attention to the exposure etc on the basis that I can always post process. On this occasion I thought I would try get it right on the day making me think more about the shot, although I do agree with your views that you should use all the tools at your disposal!

This picture is a jpeg and as shot. I do however have a RAW version available and as such I will post process as per your suggestion using layers.

Thanks again.
BillyGoatGruff 11 191 199 England
2 Dec 2008 2:10PM
No problem, Ian.

Glad to have been of some help!
I'm looking forward to a new version Smile

Falconer 13 16
2 Dec 2008 6:51PM
love the water and cool tones

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