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Railfan Technology > Exposure
Date: 10/06/20 10:46
I am having trouble with my exposure darkening when I try to shoot a train head on and am focused on the nose of the engine and I try not to set the exposure saure on the headlghts. It even happens sometimes when I am at a little angle to the the nose f the train. What do you guys do to avoid this darkening of the surroundings and scenery and still get headlight in the shot if you want i?
Thanks for any help with this. I have a Canon 5DMark III and muy main lens is a Canon EF70-200 1 2.8 IS USM.
Thanks a lot for any advice
Date: 10/06/20 11:07
I pretty much shoot on manual 99% of the time for rail photography. Not hard, take test exposure adjust done.
Date: 10/06/20 11:32
Headlights can fool a camera's built in light meter even if you are not facing head on. If your camera is a DSLR or a new mirrorless camera, you can compensate by adjusting the exposure as if you were over-exposing or under-exposing. My Nikon can be adjusted in increments of + or - 1/3 of a stop. Most cameras can do something similar.
Date: 10/06/20 12:55
Try using a single point exposure. That should fix the issue. OR, you could set a manual exposure before the train gets to your location. I dont know about the 5D3, I use a 5D4 or RP.
Date: 10/06/20 13:16
Yep, try a single point for exposure and/or move that point low in the typical frame. Multiple points or averaging will let the headlight rule the exposure. Very common issue.
Also good to be familiar with changing the exposure mode quickly or moving the single point around. Lots of explanation on the www, maybe carry a cheat sheet.
Date: 10/06/20 13:35
Another vote for manual exposure as skyview wrote above. I also use matrix metering mode on my Nikon D850. (I believe Canon uses the term "evaluative metering" to mean the same thing.)
Date: 10/06/20 13:35
My Nikons all have an exposure lock button on the back of the camera. I compose and meter away from the headlight glare, hold the button down, then move the frame where I want it before snapping the image.
Date: 10/06/20 15:34
I've found evaluative mode on the 5D3 to be relatively bulletproof, to the point that usually I leave it in shutter priority mode any more and maybe twiddle with the exposure compensation a bit for challenging situations, like front-on headlights. I used to be far more of a manual exposure person, having grown up with a Canon FT, but I found that modern metering has gotten quite a bit smarter and a whole lot faster than I am. The only place I still tend to go full manual is when shooting in snow, and even that isn't as necessary as it used to be, especially with RAW files and some pretty wide latitude to just fix minor issues later.
What metering mode are you currently using?
Date: 10/06/20 19:12
Obviously, 'get it right in the camera' is the goal. But with a hotspot like the headlight, the best solution is to set exposure compensation up to bring up the details and let the headlight 'blow out' a bit.
The next step is to fix the problem as best as possible in post processing. Photo editors like Gimp (free), Lightroom (my favorite) and Photoshop Elements provide easy to use tools to tone down the highlights, brighten up shadows, white balance, sharpening and noise reduction in addition to cropping to 'level' the image is needed, as well as to 'reframe' the image to remove unwanted elements like a pole near the edge of the frame.
Also, the 5D3 also has a feature to automatically bracket your shots both plus and minus. Simply pick the best one that provides the easiest editing and go from there.
Lastly, I've set my 5D3 to send the RAW images to the CF card and JPGs to the SD card with as little in-camera editing as possible. RAW images provide considerably more leeway in editing, especially exposure and color adjustments. After downloading both to my computer, I choose which images I'll keep and edit from the JPGs (simply step through them in explorer), then select the corresponding RAW images to be copied to the folder I import into Lightroom.
Date: 10/06/20 21:27
Before the train enters the picture, press the shutter button to do the preview. Note the shutter speed, the ISO, and the f-stop. Then manually set those on your camera. That should get you really close. Of course, if a cloud rolls into the area just before the train arrives, you might need to make some quick changes. The built-in light meter is pretty good and should give you a decent idea of where to set the camera. I've done this in difficult lighting situations. On some occasions, I have carried an external light meter for the expected difficult situation (like snow.)
Date: 10/07/20 19:51
> I am having trouble with my exposure darkening
> when I try to shoot a train head on and am focused
> on the nose of the engine and I try not to set the
> exposure saure on the headlghts. It even happens
> sometimes when I am at a little angle to the the
> nose f the train. What do you guys do to avoid
> this darkening of the surroundings and scenery and
> still get headlight in the shot if you want i?
> Thanks for any help with this. I have a Canon
> 5DMark III and muy main lens is a Canon EF70-200
> 1 2.8 IS USM.
> Thanks a lot for any advice
> RC Lundgren
> Elgin, TX
With that camera you should be able to bring the detail of shadows out with no problem in RAw or editing software. The detail is there. Overexposed highlights have no detail, once you are at 0.0 there is nothing. there can be pixel bloom where light bleeds over from the headlights. Loss of sharpness in headlight areas or number boards can not be corrected. Unless you are grossly under exposed I would simple learn how to correct exposure in editing. Having said that if up the ISO a lot a canon is less able to handle noise problems then Nikon.
Date: 10/09/20 12:52
> I pretty much shoot on manual 99% of the time for
> rail photography. Not hard, take test exposure
> adjust done.
100% here. Then again, I still shoot film...
Date: 10/09/20 15:09
As NDHolmes says above, if you're in 'evaluative metering mode' you ought not to be having a problem. What mode are you using?
Date: 10/10/20 05:31
Evaluative metering on a Canon 60D. https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,5115394
My Flickr Shots
Date: 10/18/20 11:54
Use the little sheet that comes in the box, works pretty well, daylight photography not rocket science.