Author Topic: The BBQ  (Read 2542 times)

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Online ideasguy

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The BBQ
« on: May 04, 2008, 12:44:07 PM »
Heres a photo taken at our BBQ on Sat 3rd May 08 in my sons garden.
http://www.ideasforgardens.net/ideasguy/igc-forum/BBQ-May-08.JPG

Taken using Auto, with Flash. Light was fading , probably 8:30 pm.
Note the effect of the bright sky (left) and the dark background right. Any tips in how to get an even balance?

In the background you can see Berberis darwinii in full bloom.

More detail later about "who's who"
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 12:51:34 PM by ideasguy »

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008, 02:29:28 PM »
Nice line-up there George.  I can see some similarities in relationships but will wait for your "who's who."  ;)

Most of the time a camera's Auto setting works pretty well.  However, in this case the bright sky is competing with the darker background for attention.  The auto sensor is reading the brighter sky so adjusts its settings accordingly by exposing for the sky.  It's most likely giving a smaller aperture, which means less light is reaching your camera sensor, even when your flash has fired.  Ideally, you need a larger aperture to let more light in to capture your darker areas.  If you did this though your sky would be overexposed and look much darker.
To the human eye, the scene would have looked okay - no problem you might think.  But the eye is much more sensitive and interprets differing lighting conditions with much more sophistication.  A camera sensor is not as good as that, and needs a bit of molly-coddling and persuasion to get it right.

You have two main choices here.   I'll try to give you the easiest ways to achieve your best results.  The last thing I want to do is bombard you with a complicated list of button presses, where you can change numerous settings to achieve perfect results.
So, firstly, to get a correct balance you need to override the Auto setting, by going into Manual mode and setting a larger aperture.  You will still get a darker sky, but your background will be better exposed.
On manual cameras there is a term called 'bracketing', where you take several shots of the same scene by reducing and increasing exposure levels either side of the default reading, as given by either a separate exposure meter or an inbuilt one in the camera.  This gives a range of shots to be able to choose the best exposed frame.
With digital cameras you can still take control of these settings in Manual mode.  It's not ideal when all you want to do is quickly take a nice picture of your family and friends.  The last thing you want to do is keep everybody waiting whilst you play around with all the menu settings.

A familiarity with your camera's Scene Modes is best here.  If you have one that covers night-time parties or sunsets, for example, it's worth trying them.  Experimentation when not 'under pressure' of getting a particular scene is the best.  Try taking pictures of anything, maybe flowers, at different times of the day into evening time using various camera settings.  Take several photos each time so that you can compare the best results for a particular lighting condition.

Once you know which setting to use in almost all weather and lighting conditions, will make it easier the next time you are ready to take that all important shot.  You will be able to take it with confidence that it will turn out okay. 

The second option is to move your camera angle so that you don't have a large expanse of sky to contend with, so your camera sensor is not overwhelmed with conflicting lighting conditions.  During the daytime the sun is giving pretty much even light over a bigger area, so problem shadowy areas are not such a problem.  However, move into twilight when the sun is going down then you lose a lot of the overall good light.

You have a third option as well.  This is where your software intervention comes to the rescue after the event, especially when you are probably not able to get that same set-up of people again.
In your case George, Photoshop Elements' Enhance - Adjust Lighting - Shadows/Highlights would be a good place to start.  Here you can brighten the darker areas and at the same time reduce the highlights (the sky).

This may sound like a complicated set of procedures when all anyone wants to do is just 'point-and-shoot' and be done with it.
Some people are quite happy with the default results their camera gives them, no matter what the scene is, and that is perfectly okay.
If, however, you're like me (a perfectionist  ;) ), I like to go that extra mile and make the result the best I can achieve, by putting my camera in the best 'mode' possible to give me what I want, not what the camera wants.

Laurie.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 05:19:19 PM by Kathy & Laurie »

Offline whis4ey

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2008, 07:04:44 PM »
Still waiting for our first barbeque
Maybe this week :)
Great pic George ....

Offline greenfinger

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 08:25:42 PM »
Nice to see the whole band together, George! Lovely picture. Some of the faces I remember to have seen before, surtout the man third from the right side with the thinning hair and the look of someone who happens to be abducted  ;D ;D

Online ideasguy

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2008, 10:18:28 PM »
Yip, that abducted guy would be me!

Left to right, My eldest son Julian with son James, Yasmin then her mum Naomi (Julians wife), next is Mary, the birthday girl, my ever understanding wife, then Erin (Taras friend from Memphis Tennessee - met up at Uni in Manchester) then my 15 year old (6 ft!) grandson Jordan (Julians son) then daughter Tara, moi, then the recently weds, Keelin and my son Simon.

The camera was set to delay, so all present managed to get in the photo.

Tara and Erin gave us a lovely surprise on Saturday by arriving "literally out of the blue sky".
Simon was in on the secret, and met them at the airport. When they arrived at Dromore, I was cutting the lawn and waved at Simon & Keelin, unaware of the stowaways hiding in the back of the car.
Tara cheekily phoned my wife on her mobile, as if calling from Manchester.  Imagine her surprise as she walked through the door midway through the conversation!
Next trick was played on me. I was on my way to greet the arrivals, and met James - sent out to tell me that he'd seen Tara. 'Course, I thought he'd seen a photo of Tara on the net.
As I bent down to speak to him, out the door walked Tara, then Erin. I was flabbergasted  :)
Needless to say, it was a lovely re-union, and we had a lovely weekend.
We are just back from leaving them to the airport, but we shall all be meeting up last Saturday in May at my nephews wedding in Newquay, Cornwall. Meanwhile, Tara and Erin are off for 10 days to New York, and I'll be on my trip to Chelsea.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2008, 10:22:45 PM by ideasguy »

Offline whis4ey

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 09:49:15 AM »
Chelsea? Chelsea?  You heading off to the Flower Show?

Online ideasguy

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 01:00:10 PM »
Yip, I'm on the Ulsterbus Grand gardens tour:
http://www.translink.co.uk/resources/shortbreaks2007/grandgardens.html
I'm actually looking forward to seeing the garden gardens on the tour more than Chelsea.
Should be a great experience.

Offline whis4ey

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008, 01:36:01 PM »
A very busy agenda there George
You will be a tired wee boy when you get home, although armed with enough photographs for another Ideas Genie product
Don't forget batteries and loads of memory fingies :)

Online ideasguy

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2008, 04:45:24 PM »
I had thought about bringing a laptop, but decided against it. Travelling light, with 2 cameras, each with rechargeable batteries+ spares, so should be OK.
There'll be a lot of uploading to the computer on return. Need to keep notes to identify the photos  :)

Offline greenfinger

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2008, 09:16:44 PM »
Now I understand why you lost your breath ;)

Online ideasguy

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2008, 10:46:21 AM »
Thats something I wouldnt want to lose  ;D

Offline Lynda A

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2008, 01:07:37 PM »
Glad you had a nice BBQ, must admit we started in March here in Spain.  Saying that we have just had some rain yesterday but it means i don't have to water, just weed, weed............
Chelsea should be great. My camera has just broken as Photoshop elements6 arrived.
Have fun

Online ideasguy

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Re: The BBQ
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2008, 10:35:04 PM »
Believe it or not, we had a BBQ on Easter Monday here - it was absolutely freezing, but its almost a family tradition - my 2 sisters and my brother and all the extended family have been meeting up at a local park (varies) for over 20 years. We used to play football, but the "kids" have all grown up now (as have the daddies). Nice to enjoy a beer and the BBQ.
Weather here is brilliant. Ive taken 2 days off from my day job to wotk in the garden (and help look after my grandson) back to work on Fri, then its off for a week on that Great Gardens Tour.
Ive been printing off web pages from the web sites of the gardens we will be visiting - doing my homework!
I'm looking forward to it all!

Hiope you get that Camera fixed, Lynda! Looking forward to seeing more photos!