What sort of filter do I need in the case of this picture?
I'm new to photography, and all my outdoor pictures are turning out like this where everything is overly white (particularly the sky), and in some cases making the foreground dark..

I'm not sure whether to get a polarizer, ND or grad ND filter..

Judging from the following pictures, which one would be recommended? The day I took the picture was extremely sunny..



Comments (6)

None of them. You're experiencing a dynamic range issue with these photographs..

A graduating ND filter would work if the horiazon were linear and you could reduce the exposure on the top half, but in this case you have the subject up into the sky..

If you wanted to get into HDR or blending, you could gain DR, but that's a different story...

Comment #1

Try a circular polarising filter. The blue sky areas in your picture look washed out and too pale, which can in part be corrected with a CP filter: it helps to eliminate 'glare' from reflections of sunlight on dust particles in the atmosphere, making the sky darker and giving it a richer, more saturated blue colour..

As the previous poster pointed out, an ND grad filter would not work for these shots..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #2

Techhit wrote:.

I'm new to photography, and all my outdoor pictures are turning outlike this where everything is overly white (particularly the sky),and in some cases making the foreground dark..

I'm not sure whether to get a polarizer, ND or grad ND filter..

This a common problem with a host of different solutions, none of them perfect..

1) ND Grad filter. I mention this first only because you suggested it above - it's not necessarily the best solution. It can work quite well if the horizon is fairly straight and if you have the correct density of filter..

2) Yes, a polariser can sometimes help but it only darkens blue sky, and most of the problem you describe comes from white clouds. Surprisingly perhaps, blue skies on sunny days often contrast less with the ground than white cloudy skies..

3) Shoot with the sun behind your shoulder so that the foreground is brighter..

4) Take two shots, one for the best foreground exposure and one for the best sky, and merge them in Photoshop..

5) Take one RAW shot (if your camera supports it) and process twice, once for the best foreground and once for the best sky, then merge in Photoshop..

6) Use Photoshop's Highlight/Shadow tool to bring detail out of the shadows and hopefully recover some detail in the sky..

7) Wait until the light is better - early morning or late afternoon for example..

None of those solutions will work every time, but usually one of them will, or perhaps a combination. You should learn all these techniques so that you can choose the best for the situation...

Comment #3

Thanks for the tips all. I don't know how to use photoshop (yet), but I'm going to start learning. Just need to find the right book! Seems like a natural progression after buying your first DSLR...

Comment #4

As well as shooting RAW which gives better control, it is a good idea to adjust the contrast settings for JPG images. Reduced contrast will help keep the subject brightness within the visible range.Regards,Peter..

Comment #5

Some things just can't be shot, or at a minimum, can't be shot unless you wait for better light..

Photoshop Elements 6 is an excellent program for Windows users..

We have two books about it; Dummies and the Visual Quick Start one. The VQS is a very good book, with color photos, and would be a good choice. (Dummies was good enough to buy, but we like the other one better).

At shooting: the polarizer, and manual exposure so that the bright sky would not fool the light meter, causing the tower to go so dark..

After shooting and in the computer, Elements would let you adjust contrast, and it would also allow you to make the blue darker..

And life would be a lot easier if you could wait to take the shot until the sun was shining on the front of the tower, like in your second shot...

Comment #6

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