Old 05-02-2011, 02:04 AM   #1
stlgevo51
Senior Member
 
stlgevo51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 759
Default Exposing and Processing Cloudy Day Images

I was passing through Dupo, IL, on my way home today when I spotted a UP manifest with two brand new SD70ACes. I quickly set up my video camera and, at the last minute, grabbed my 50D to take a few shots. I originally planned to get a few record shots, but I quickly found a mailbox to put into my image, so I shot that. I didn't have much time to set up, and I picked rough settings that I didn't know would work. I am not good with exposure, and they turned out underexposed.

How do you all expose cloudy day shots? Do you expose them based off of the sky or off of the subject (train)? Also, I have a gray card. Does anyone else use one?

So when I got home and started editing, I had no idea what to do. I added a little exposure, lighten shadows, brightness, and saturation. Unfortunately, the shot look even worse than before. Also, the shot looks grainy. The ISO was only at 250, which doesn't seem like enough to give it that much grain. Is the grain coming from the camera, the settings, or the processing? I tried the "reduce noise/grain" feature in PS Elements 8, but it didn't really have an effect. Are there any good noise reducing programs out there, or are they not worth the money?

My final question is: Could this possibly work on RP? It is newsworthy, and I tried to include something else in the image. But the clouds do suck. If it isn't an RP image, is it because of the clouds themselves or just because the image quality isn't good enough?

Thanks for any help!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_8380_edited-3.jpg (289.4 KB, 185 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_8380_edited-2.jpg (352.8 KB, 176 views)
__________________
Jake
Railpictures Shots RP stuff.
Flickr Shots All the RP stuff plus some failed experiments, wedgies, and junk.
Youtube Videos
stlgevo51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 04:27 AM   #2
magicman_841
Senior Member
 
magicman_841's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 1,024
Default

On a cloudy day, most pictures will be underexposed at first if you don't want to blow your sky completely.

I usually mess with the curves in LR to make the picture brighter.

I don't think this is RP worthy, because of the clouds... i.e. if this was properly lit and blue sky, it would probably get on (or get a PEQ... lol).
__________________
Mathieu Tremblay
Choo photos
magicman_841 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 04:35 AM   #3
troy12n
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,333
Default

As far as getting them on, are you serious?

Exposing on a cloudy day is just like exposing on a sunny day, just trust the meter. It sucks in that you have to use longer shutter speeds, higher ISO or larger apertures to accomplish what you need to. For trains in motion, longer shutter speeds are usually not an option.

Last edited by troy12n; 05-02-2011 at 04:43 AM.
troy12n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 04:42 AM   #4
stlgevo51
Senior Member
 
stlgevo51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 759
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by magicman_841 View Post
On a cloudy day, most pictures will be underexposed at first if you don't want to blow your sky completely.

I usually mess with the curves in LR to make the picture brighter.

I don't think this is RP worthy, because of the clouds... i.e. if this was properly lit and blue sky, it would probably get on (or get a PEQ... lol).
I didn't think it would be RP worthy either. But hey, sometimes cloudy shots get on for the weirdest reasons. I always try to underexpose the shot and bring it back, but like I said earlier, I'm terrible at exposure, and they come out to be way underexposed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy12n
Are you serious?
Thanks for your help. You answered my original question perfectly. I'm so glad there is someone on this forum to help out.
__________________
Jake
Railpictures Shots RP stuff.
Flickr Shots All the RP stuff plus some failed experiments, wedgies, and junk.
Youtube Videos
stlgevo51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 04:44 AM   #5
troy12n
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,333
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlgevo51 View Post
Thanks for your help. You answered my original question perfectly. I'm so glad there is someone on this forum to help out.
I was editing it while you were typing that.
troy12n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 04:47 AM   #6
Watain
-_-
 
Watain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Hiltons, Virginia, USA
Posts: 953
Send a message via MSN to Watain
Default

Nice picture of a mailbox.

Sorry I had to say it. Anyways, I try to expose for the sky and bring out the shadows and highlights in Photoshop.

My only real successful cloudy shot on RP, it was a special move however; if it had been just another southbound coal train with an AC4400 leading it probably wouldn't be on here..

I metered off the sky, however as you can see its still kind of blown out. I also shot it and processed it in.....JPEG... So the image quality is awful.. There would have been more detail in the sky if I had shot it and processed it in RAW.

Image © Wayne Stumbo
PhotoID: 275410
Photograph © Wayne Stumbo
Watain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 05:50 AM   #7
lalam
Senior Member
 
lalam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Pune, India
Posts: 177
Default

Is it acceptable in RP to convert the images that were rejected for 'cloudy' to black and white & give a try again?
lalam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 05:57 AM   #8
Joe the Photog
Senior Member
 
Joe the Photog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 7,899
Default

This shot is not getting in under any circumstance, IMO. It's just too dark and not interesting enough. The mail box looks like it got in the way, not like it's supposed to be an element of the shot. I'd at least like to see it sticking in the ground or even tighter on just the box. As it is, it's neither; it's just happens to be there. The shot is also unlevel CW.
__________________
Joe the Photog Dot Com
Joe the Photog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 06:07 AM   #9
nikos1
Senior Member
 
nikos1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,775
Default

This is probably a situation where you shouldve rostered the FXE SD70ACe's and sent them to loco photos, theyd be of more interest there.
__________________


Wedge shots of blue HLCX SD60's http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=7861

More wedge shots of blue HLCX SD60's http://nikos1.rrpicturearchives.net/

Video wedge shots of blue HLCX SD60's
http://youtube.com/profile?user=nikosjk1
nikos1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 10:36 AM   #10
bigbassloyd
Senior Member
 
bigbassloyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Hilldale, West Virginia
Posts: 3,755
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lalam View Post
Is it acceptable in RP to convert the images that were rejected for 'cloudy' to black and white & give a try again?
Black and White should not be used as a coverup for crappy lighting!

Loyd L.
__________________
The screening standards here only extend 20 feet above ground level.

My personal photography site

Last edited by bigbassloyd; 05-02-2011 at 10:38 AM.
bigbassloyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 12:56 PM   #11
milwman
I shoot what I like
 
milwman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Cedar Fall's, Iowa
Posts: 2,474
Send a message via Yahoo to milwman
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
Black and White should not be used as a coverup for crappy lighting!

Loyd L.
True but what makes a great BW shot is side light and a partly sunny day with puffy clouds, Flat light gray days are not helped by BW as far RPNet's thinking and most others.
__________________
Richard Scott Marsh I go by Scott long story

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22299476@N05/
milwman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 01:04 PM   #12
milwman
I shoot what I like
 
milwman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Cedar Fall's, Iowa
Posts: 2,474
Send a message via Yahoo to milwman
Default

My final question is: Could this possibly work on RP? It is newsworthy, and I tried to include something else in the image. But the clouds do suck. If it isn't an RP image, is it because of the clouds themselves or just because the image quality isn't good enough?

Thanks for any help![/quote]

What got you is it was under exposed to start and lightening the photo will do just that. Look like you shot it on P, That works some times on a sunny day but under clouds the sky gets exposed right and the trains to dark. Switch to M and set it your self, Not hard at all. Have or ask for some one to show you how.
__________________
Richard Scott Marsh I go by Scott long story

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22299476@N05/
milwman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 01:19 PM   #13
troy12n
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,333
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by milwman View Post
My final question is: Could this possibly work on RP? It is newsworthy, and I tried to include something else in the image. But the clouds do suck. If it isn't an RP image, is it because of the clouds themselves or just because the image quality isn't good enough?
.
And the composition...
troy12n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 08:34 PM   #14
JimThias
Senior Member
 
JimThias's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 9,800
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlgevo51 View Post
How do you all expose cloudy day shots? Do you expose them based off of the sky or off of the subject (train)? Also, I have a gray card. Does anyone else use one?
I usually expose for the sky...usually 2 stops over. Or, expose for the ballast (or anything gray or neutral colored if you can). If I take a test pic and a small fraction of the sky is blinking in the histogram, I know I have to best possible exposure just short of completely blowing out the sky and having no cloud texture (providing there is some) at all.
__________________
.
Rhymes with slice, rice and mice, and probably should be spelled like "Tice."

This pretty much sums it up: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Thias
JimThias is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 12:07 AM   #15
stlgevo51
Senior Member
 
stlgevo51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 759
Default

Thanks everyone! I know a lot more about shooting cloudy day images now!

The composition isn't great because I was rushed. I had to scramble to get my video camera set up, and I had only a few seconds to find a spot to shoot them.
Nikos- I would have shot a roster of them, but of course I looked down and saw "CF Full" on my LCD screen. I quickly tried to erase older images, but I could only manage a crappy, obstructed shot of them after making enough space.

I didn't really expect them to be good enough to get on, but I figured it was worth a shot. With rain showers seemingly continuous in the St. Louis area over the past 3 weeks, I'm hoping that I can finally get back to shooting sunny scenes soon!

Scott- I did shoot it on manual, but I'm not good at exposing cloudy day shots. That was kind of the whole reason for this thread.
__________________
Jake
Railpictures Shots RP stuff.
Flickr Shots All the RP stuff plus some failed experiments, wedgies, and junk.
Youtube Videos

Last edited by stlgevo51; 05-03-2011 at 12:10 AM.
stlgevo51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 02:07 AM   #16
Soo 6060
EMD > GE
 
Soo 6060's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 285
Default

You could add some fake snow, and they'll accept it.
Soo 6060 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 02:08 AM   #17
nikos1
Senior Member
 
nikos1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,775
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlgevo51 View Post
Nikos- I would have shot a roster of them, but of course I looked down and saw "CF Full" on my LCD screen. I quickly tried to erase older images, but I could only manage a crappy, obstructed shot of them after making enough space.
Nothing worse than that.....had it happen to me on several occasions, always when something good is coming too....
__________________


Wedge shots of blue HLCX SD60's http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=7861

More wedge shots of blue HLCX SD60's http://nikos1.rrpicturearchives.net/

Video wedge shots of blue HLCX SD60's
http://youtube.com/profile?user=nikosjk1
nikos1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 02:20 AM   #18
barnstormer
Senior Member
 
barnstormer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 374
Send a message via Skype™ to barnstormer
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo 6060 View Post
You could add some fake snow, and they'll accept it.
You can't be serious! Do they really accept shots with fake snow added?
__________________
Stay out of the train's way and they will stay out of your way.

See my shots on Railpictures
See my shots on RRpicturearchives
barnstormer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 02:26 AM   #19
crazytiger
Senior Member
 
crazytiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: NS Greenville District
Posts: 1,473
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnstormer View Post
You can't be serious! Do they really accept shots with fake snow added?
Next time you get a chance Google sarcasm.
__________________
Peter Lewis | Portfolio | Profile | Flickr | Facebook

Canon EOS 40D
Canon EF 50 f/1.8 II
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM
Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM


Quote:
Originally Posted by A Friend
everytime i see non-train photos of yours i think, "so much talent. wasted on trains."
crazytiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 02:48 AM   #20
trainboysd40
Senior Member
 
trainboysd40's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Calgary, Alberta on the CP Laggan Subdivision
Posts: 2,048
Send a message via MSN to trainboysd40
Default

Expose for highlights, develop for shadows!
__________________
got a D5 IIi and now he doesnt afread fo 12800 iSO
Youtube (Model Railway, Vlogs, Tutorials, and prototype)
My Website
Obligatory link to shots on RP, HERE
trainboysd40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 03:29 AM   #21
Holloran Grade
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: In the California Republic
Posts: 2,774
Talking Fake Snow....

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnstormer View Post
You can't be serious! Do they really accept shots with fake snow added?
Yes they did - and they were subsequently removed once the responsible party was outed.

It is good to see they can find some humor in that.
Holloran Grade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 03:33 AM   #22
Soo 6060
EMD > GE
 
Soo 6060's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 285
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holloran Grade View Post
Yes they did - and they were subsequently removed once the responsible party was outed.

It is good to see they can find some humor in that.
Who is "they"?
Soo 6060 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 04:40 AM   #23
Holloran Grade
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: In the California Republic
Posts: 2,774
Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo 6060 View Post
Who is "they"?
What difference does it make?
Holloran Grade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 12:19 PM   #24
Soo 6060
EMD > GE
 
Soo 6060's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 285
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holloran Grade View Post
What difference does it make?
Ahh I see
Soo 6060 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 02:25 PM   #25
KevinM
Senior Member
 
KevinM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,020
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by trainboysd40 View Post
Expose for highlights, develop for shadows!
This is sage advice. There are ways to bring out detail in dark, shadowy areas of a cloudy day photo, but if you blow the sky to hell, you're toast. Raw-shooters have a definite advantage, because they can push the histogram further to the right, catching some shadow detail and still retaining the ability to recover the highlights. The holy grail is then developing a post-processing scheme that results in an image that looks like a photograph, not like a painting. I've discovered that when it comes to that part of it, almost everyone holds their secrets very close to the vest.

If you find a good internet tutorial on processing cloudy day shots, please post it.
__________________
/Kevin

My RP stuff is here.

Link to my Flickr Albums. Lots of Steam Railroad stuff there from all over the US.
KevinM is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.