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Jameson

glaring mushroom question

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Today I tried taking some pics of chanterelle mushrooms as I found them, and then pics again after I had cleared some of the forest litter away. All of the pics with the litter cleared away turned out poorly. I think the term is overexposed, not sure. Any quick tips for this novice? I am shooting a point and shoot set on macro with most functions set on auto.

2671097489_bbb0b35e00_o.jpg

2671921426_1b8841075e_o.jpg

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There are others here that can give you a better answer than I, but basically what's happening is that on auto, your camera is looking at the exposure in a very general type of way, and is manipulating the settings to expose for the dark background. My suggestion would be to see what your camera is shooting at at auto (f/8 @ 1/200 sec, etc) set your camera on manual to those settings and adjust the shutter speed shot by shot until you have what you want. You are going to need a faster exposure (or smaller f/stop, that is a bigger number). If you have a camera that has a histogram or highlights alert, so much the better. Getting the mushrooms exposed correctly will darken the background considerably, so you have to choose one or the other, or try to blend a couple of shots on your computer afterwards. Hope this helps.

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Jameson,

Spent just a couple of minutes using Steve's magic blending method and brought the glare down a bit. More work could do a better job.

shroom.gif

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I would also suggest you get closer to make the mushrooms larger in the frame. That way the automatic meter, with mostly mushrooms to meter and not as much background, will do a better job.

Most meters on the point-and-shoot use a system that averages the whole scene and arrives at an exposure that tries to get it ALL just right, and with bright white subjects against a dark background, there's too much contrast (dynamic range) for the meter to do the job well.

In this case the flash also was too hot, so the camera's fully auto system was not up to the task. I believe the meter saw too much black soil and the flash shot hot because it thought it had to illuminate the soil, not the already-white mushrooms.

If you set iso at 400 and put the camera in macro mode and then disable the flash, you'll probably get a better exposure. There are other ways to take care of this, but I'm unsure what type of settings are available on your point-and-shoot.

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Nice blend.

One more thing Jameson. Normally, when you are shooting something with a dark background, you are going to have to under expose some, especially when the subject is much lighter. When shooting something with a bright background, you need to over expose to compensate. I'll normally set my camera to Av and then use the exposure compensation dial to adjust the exposure properly. In this case you would have needed to set the EC to -2/3 or so.

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Thanks for everyones help and replies. Looks like I will need to learn the buttons a little more.

Looking at the camera's (Panasonic DMC-LZ6) features I notice that setting the EC looks simple enough. Thanks Stfcatfish for the tip about trying to get closer to the mushroom, I'll be giving it a try in the future.

Pulling the exif data for the pics my camera was shooting at f/2.8, iso 100, exposure time of 1/30. For both pics.

Battling the skeeters and heat today I did come away with even more respect for nature photogs. Stopping to take some quick point and shoot photos was frustrating enough for me.

Would a small tripod enable a better picture? I happen to have a mini-tripod I could use. Not sure if I would have the patience with the skeeters and heat, though.

Thanks again!

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If you are shooting down to 1/30 of a sec, a tripod would be a good idea. Also, check the ISO setting. You might be able to bump that up, which will increase your shutter speed capability. Point and shoots that I've had (not for awhile) would allow ISO's up to 400. Don't know what your sensor is like - when you up the ISO's, you can increase shutter speed but might suffer some degradation of image quality. All things to experiment with!

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Along Ken's line of thought, Jameson, the sensor you have will do very well at iso200 and well enough at iso400. Above that and you'll have a lot of digital noise and grain to contend with.

And the closer your subject is (the more it fills the frame), the more important it is to use a tripod with slow shutter speeds or bump up the iso (which allows a faster shutter speed), because hand shake is more pronounced on a subject that fills more of the frame.

You've got a really nice point-and-shoot there, BTW. It's one of the series of P&S cameras I recommend when people ask, partly because of that fine Leica lens and the capability of opening up to f2.8.

Before you look at using exposure compensation, look at the histogram (the bell curve type graph on the back of the camera) and check to see if there are "blinkies" blinking on the LCD view of the image. Blinkies indicate blown out highlights, and if you have blinkies on your camera they would have been blinking like crazy when you reviewed the LCD image of the mushrooms you posted.

If you have blinkies enabled and they are not blinking when you look at the image on the LCD, you don't need to use exposure compensation. As X-T said, if the blinkies are a blinking, use EC to underexpose until they go away.

Uh, mosquitoes, what mosquitoes? gringringrin

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I'm glad others find the lowly mushrooms interesting grinI threw a spin on Jameson's image here and came up with this one....toned the blow outs a tat and had some time to "add" a few things grin..kind of neat to try and see what one can do to bring the best out of a photo...not all is lost....

Frame_mushroom81-1.jpg

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Looks like the camera has a histogram, but it doesn't look to have "blinkies." Is their a certain way the histogram should look?

...It's one of the series of P&S cameras I recommend...

I noticed smile . . I am extremely happy with the camera.

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I'm not that knowledgable about histograms, but I do know that every image will show different info and different types of bells and curves. I think the most important thing to watch for is to make sure the bell doesn't run off either side of the histogram.

If you "google" histogram, you'll find info on understanding histograms. It can get a bit deep, but you'll get the jist of it.

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If the right side of the histogram is cut off, that means you have blown-out highlights and should use exposure compensation to underexpose enough and move the histogram back to the left enough so the right side is not cut off.

The right side of the histogram shows highlights, the left side shadows and the middle shows mid-range.

There's no way a histogram "should" look, necessarily, because different subjects and different lighting will all produce differently shaped histograms.

But if you can keep the left side from being cut off and the right side from being cut off using EC, you'll be doing just fine. Sort of like using the steering wheel to keep your car between the lines on the highway. gringrin

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