This photo needs help

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Smoky

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I wanted to take a photo of Mount Mansfield (Vermont) from across Lake Champlain on the New York side.? I tried this two days ago.? It was a misty drizzly day.? The attached photo pretty accurately reflects the view we actually saw. But I wanted it to be more interesting.? You can barely see any detail, especially on Mount Mansfield.? I tried bracketing the view among trees, but did not do a very good job of that either.

Besides going back when the weather improves, what suggestions do you have for doing a better job either on the front end (camera settings, filters, etc) or the rear end, computer software?
 

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Shayne

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Just looks like a dreary cockeyed day to me Smoky.  Picture can only be as good as the subject.  Maybe you can retake on a better day.
 

Smoky

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Well one thing would have made it better would have been to frame the picture with trees or something to break the monotony of a dreary day.  I am also thinking not going on autofocus, and maybe the judicious use of some sort of filter might have helped.  Looking for ideas here.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Smoky said:
Besudes going back when the weather improves, what suggestions do you have for doing a better job either on the front end (camera settings, filters, etc) or the rear end, computer software?

Waiting for a better day "would" be my first advice as well -- for a number of reasons. Smoky, I'm not sure if the FZ30 has a spot metering option. I use a hand held 1 degree meter - and have had it in my bag for probably 20 years now. The reason I ask is that in addition to a lack of color, the picture has no depth.

The reason it doesn't is that the number of f-stops between darkest point in the image and the lightest is probably not more than 1-2. That's one reason it is suggested pictures not be taken in the hours just before and after noon. The higher the sum, the fewer shadows to show depth. We "never" shoot a portrait with a flash looking straight at the person -- but rather place it so the nose casts shadowing to give the face depth. When doing scenery, the first order of business for me is to measure the light w/the spot meter across the scene to make sure there at least 4 stops difference. If not, no matter what the subject, it will be a flat image so I won't even bother to shoot it.

OTOH, if there are too many stops difference - and they exceed the range of your settings, one end or the other will lose "texture" -- for example, bright sun next to dark shadows. In a shot such as the image you are exploring, you have a number of horizontal lines to work with. So if the sky is much brighter than, say, the Mountain or the water, a Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filter would be ideal. It would filter the sky only, thereby cutting brightness by however many stops of neutral density that filter yields, but leave the water and mountains as is. So it's nice to have several such filters -- according to the number of stops between the bright spot and the darkest.

And the picture is dull because there is not much "daylight" light. Objects do not have color, they have the ability to reflect, or absorb light. Light has color. Daylight light has all the colors. As the sun rises or sets, the number of colors in the spectrum decreases -- so various effects can be had at different times of the day. A shot like you have there would best shot either early in the day or later in the day. If shot a noon, it will look about as bad as what? you have now.

Hope I haven't over answered you question . . .? :)
 

Steve CDN

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When photographing in mist, rain or fog from a distance, the light is diffused and the image loses sharpness.  Some adjustments can be made to the color levels, contrast and brightness.  I tinkered with the image to produce the attached result.
 

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Smoky

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How did you know Bob?  It was indeed around mid day when I took that shot.  However no sun at all was visible.

The FZ30 has multiple, center-weighted, and spot metering, so yes it does have spot metering, but I am still learning how to use the metering.  the camera can also generate a histogram.  I have never used histograms before but yesterday began experimenting with it.  I mention this because you referred to light and dark points in the picture and the histogram is an analysis of the complete spectrum of dark to light in the picture at hand.  I wonder if there is a way this information can be of help for a problem of the kind I am displaying here?
 

Bob Buchanan

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>> The FZ30 has multiple, center-weighted, and spot metering, so yes it does have spot metering, but I am still learning how to use the metering.
====
That's good news, Smoky. Center weighted metering shooting in "P" mode is simply a point and shoot mode. It will work well for vanilla shots where the light is within the proper range and the number of stops between dark and light are OK - and you are working with daylight light. However, "your" camera will allow you to go "far" beyond that to where the really good stuff is.? :)

>> . . .? the camera can also generate a histogram.? I have never used histograms before but yesterday began experimenting with it.? I mention this because you referred to light and dark points in the picture and the histogram is an analysis of the complete spectrum of dark to light in the picture at hand.? I wonder if there is a way this information can be of help for a problem of the kind I am displaying here?
====
Yes. If you had looked at a HG prior to that shot, all pixels would be bunched in the center, or possibly leaning a bit to the left -- indicating a narrow range of stops across the scene. The left side would be blank as would the right side. Left is dark stuff and light is bright stuff. If you have pixels on the left gradually rising then falling evenly as you approach the right side -- then there are enought stops across the picture and the average intensity is covering enough across the entire shot to make it worthwhile.

So that feature gives you a tool that I don't have as yet with my older SLR. I would much prefer doing spot metering in "M" mode as that tells me exactly what intensity of light I have on exactly the segment of the image that I am concerned about that bar charts don't tell me. However, it takes me longer to do that than the projection of a HG would do on an LCD display. I look forward to that tool on my next SLR.

Just another example of how digital is opening up the world of photograhy by giving us more and more tools that were not available with film. In posting your image here and the questions you ask about it, to me, brings up the essence of photography. Our little discussion of light and it's intensity and color is what led to the Zone System as designed by Ansel Adams. Each new feature designed into digitals seems to have the purpose of allowing the shooter to get to and apply those principles in a much easier manner that he was able to do.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Sorry for these double posts. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Tom -- Help!!! I am only clicking <Post> one time -- then the entire message is double posted. I edit and erase everything. Then write this here instead.

Question: If I write a post, can I erase that post?
 

Smoky

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Thanks Bob for your very helpful posts.

The Internet can be a wonderful tool for improving photography, simply by posting photos and sharing feedback.? I am so glad you jumped in with your knowledge.? Might seem strange to talk photography on an RV forum, but it really is not all that strange.? After all, we have a fairly unique set of viewpoints and goals as RVers as well as obstacles.? In addition, so many folk here have been picking up the FZ 30 that this is a golden opportunity for RVers with the same camera to help each other maximize the effectiveness of the tool in an RV setting.

I have also made a number of double posts.? Some of them may have been my fault, but I also think some double posts have occurred of their own volition.
 

Tom

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Bob Buchanan said:
Sorry for these double posts. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Tom -- Help!!!

No apology needed Bob. I'll ocassionally post a double of my own. Clearly it's something emating from our respective PCs (probably something as simple as an unitended extra click or double click of the mouse button, although we both believe we've only clicked omce). Usually one of the staff will see it and delete the redundant post, so don't worry about it.

If I write a post, can I erase that post?

Deletion of posts by forum members is currently disabled. We could debate the pros and cons of this choice for a long time, but that's the way it's currently confgured.
 

Tom

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Smoky said:
Might seem strange to talk photography on an RV forum, but it really is not all that strange.

I agree that it's not strange at all Smoky and we've done so for many years, albeit intermittently. We have a number of keen photographers here and there's no better way to enable that hobby (or profession) that by travelling in an RV.
 

Jeff

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Smoky:

Photography+Singing+RVing+Golf==Not Enough Time For anything! ;D
 

Ron from Big D

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Smoky:

      I took a quick shot at trying to make the shot more acceptable, but I didn't go so far as to add trees and things of that sort.  Could add a boat I guess.  Anyway, see if it is better for your memories.

 

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Shayne

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See Smoky  Steve and Ron got the same picture on a clearer day. And without even going there to take it. 
 

Wendy

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It'd still be better if you went back and took the pic again. Unless, of course, the pic looks like what you saw when you were there??
 

Phil

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Smoky said:
Besides going back when the weather improves, what suggestions do you have for doing a better job either on the front end (camera settings, filters, etc) or the rear end, computer software?

Purchasing Photo Shop comes to mind.  I think you would love it.

Phil
 

Shayne

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Very true Phil, but if anyone is like me, I uninstalled it, cause I'm too dumb to use it.
 

Ned

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Most people don't need the full Photoshop program, Photoshop Elements has the tools that are needed most of the time.  Easier to use and a lot less expensive ($99 last time I looked).
 

Smoky

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Ned:

I just picked up Photoshop Elements 4.0 last evening at Staples.  $89 plus  $20 rebate.  I once had the full Photoshop (cost me $600 a few years ago, now it is over $800) and found it far more than I would ever need.  I have not had a chance to install Elements yet (likely will do so later this evening), but Ron did some editing of a shot I took of Sharon and with good results.

I am wondering what software Steve and Ron are using?
 
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