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Old    Kristin DeLong (escapade4k)      Join Date: May 2006       05-18-2008, 10:34 PM Reply   
is it iso speed? I tried 1600, 800, 400, 200. Every single picture is dark. Some worse than others. Shutter speed was 4000. Aperture was anywhere from 11 to 5.6
Wakeboarding shots, of course!
Oh, I was taking them from 11:00 to 2:00.
I would love my camera more if I just knew how to work the settings!
Then I could just concentrate on taking the pics.
Old    Ryan Taylor (wakesurf12)      Join Date: Jun 2003       05-18-2008, 10:47 PM Reply   
Having your shutter speed at 4000 with an aperture of f11 will get you almost pitch dark images in some scenarios. Try a slower shutter. Still over 1000 but no more than 2000 and open up your aperture (smaller number = bigger opening). At iso 200 you should be fine. If you are shooting during the middle of the day there is no need to go higher than iso 200. There should be plenty of light.

Hope that helps! Enjoy!
Old    Scott (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       05-18-2008, 11:14 PM Reply   
Were you shooting in automatic mode? If so, your camera might have been metering the exposure on something bright like the sky or water. You might have accidentally messed up the EV setting in your camera, too.

post up one of the pictures...
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-19-2008, 4:38 AM Reply   
That's a metering issue as Scott pointed out. Read up on 2 things in the manual: 1) How to set the metering type (evaluative, center weighted, spot) and what areas they cover and 2) how to set EC (exposure compensation) while shooting in aperture or shutter priority modes. It also helps if you learn how to read the histogram your cam can display after each shot.
Old    Kristin DeLong (escapade4k)      Join Date: May 2006       05-19-2008, 6:47 PM Reply   
Thanks guys! I adjusted the settings myself. The sports mode is blurry, or focuses on the water, not the rider. I'll try lowering the shutter speed and opening the aperture. I'm really bummed, because I did read up before I went and thought I was doing it right. I got all kinds of great shots and all dark :-(
It breaks my heart!
Upload
Old    Scott (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       05-19-2008, 7:29 PM Reply   
Check the Exposure Compensation in your camera. I'm guessing you inadvertently set it to underexpose the shot by a stop or so.
Old    A. P. (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-20-2008, 9:26 AM Reply   
You broke a cardinal rule in photography. Don't shoot at noon. The reason is the harsh shadows. You can tell from the photo here that the sun is high in the sky and off to the riders left. It is casting a shadow straight down onto the right side of his body and under his board. Your camera exposed for the sky and the part of the rider that is in the shadows is underexposed. That is why it is dark. If you were to expose for the shadows then the sky and background would be blown out.

So either wait until the rider is facing towards the sun so he can be properly exposed (but his back will be underexposed) or shoot when the light is more even (early morning, late afternoon) Noon sun is so harsh it makes for bad photos.

P.S. watch your horizons. This one is crooked.
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-20-2008, 4:40 PM Reply   
Your cam is definitely underexposing, are you shooting an XT or XTI by chance? they are known for that.

You can save those shots using photoshop or the camera's bundled software if you have it.Upload
Old    Kristin DeLong (escapade4k)      Join Date: May 2006       05-20-2008, 7:01 PM Reply   
Rich-
Canon Rebel XT-- that is serious skills! I plan on editing them to save what I can, it is just the start of the season and I'm tired of being in the dark with my camera. Ha! Ha! So I thought I'd swallow my pride and ask for help.

A.P.-
Great advice, but hard for me to do for a couple of reasons.
#1- No boat of my own, so I don't get to pick the time, and have to rely on invites.
#2- Trace is an amazing rider and he took one run...between 1:30 to 2:30. I would hate to pass up the opportunity to shoot him, just because the sun is bad.
This is why I'm looking for advice about settings. I don't know what situation I'm going to get, and I want to make the most of any and all opportunites to take pics.
I don't know which I like better. My turn to ride, or catching a pic of a nice grab like this.
Thanks for the horizon advice and I'll pay more attention to how the sun is hitting the rider!
Old    Joe Umali (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       05-20-2008, 7:05 PM Reply   
tell trace to get his lazy ass outta bed early! i'm sure he's down to get up early if you tell him you wanna take pics of him.

or....

wait till late afternoon or early morning to shoot him.
Old    Joe Umali (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       05-20-2008, 7:06 PM Reply   
by the way, the horizon's not too bad in that pic. it looks like the boat's coming out of a turn at the river.
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-20-2008, 7:57 PM Reply   
If you're only comfortable shooting in auto mode at this point try switching the metering mode to #2 partial metering at center when you're shooting wakeboarding. (this is the closest the XT comes to spot metering) See if that increases your exposure levels. Other then that you'll need to get into the manual modes and set some positive exposure compensation.

There's nothing wrong with shooting midday if you learn how to expose properly. Sure you'll get better photos with magic light but if the only chance you get to shoot is during the day you've got to take advantage.

I agree with Joe about the horizon, it looks fine for a from the boat shot.
Old    Kristin DeLong (escapade4k)      Join Date: May 2006       05-21-2008, 12:14 PM Reply   
Umali- I guess not everyone is as obsessed as I am. To get up every morning and jump in a boat and take pics of riders...well, sounds like heaven right now.

Rich-Hate the auto mode personally. Seems to never fail at focusing on the water randomly. Makes me scream. I want to go all manual.

What I'd like is a wakeboarding photography workshop. Go out with those in the know. Shoot riders from the boat and from a chase boat. Learn how to adjust settings to deal with different conditions. I'm throwing it out there, because if you never ask, you'll never get
Old    Walt (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       05-21-2008, 1:22 PM Reply   
Kristin,
If you can wait until fall I'd be happy to help you.
Old    Bakes (bakes5)      Join Date: Aug 2006       05-21-2008, 2:59 PM Reply   
Don't wait for a workshop...just get out and shoot stuff. It does not have to be wake related. Until you have a firm understanding of how ISO, aperture, and shutter speed relate to making the exposure you are going to have a hard time figuring out what you are doing wrong.

Here are a few general tips

-- Avoid fully automatic...it keeps you down
-- Manual mode will keep the exposures consistent
-- Watch out for changing light in manual mode (like when you turn the boat around)
-- Best shots are when the driver is driving toward the sun
-- "Auto Mode" does not affect where the camera focuses. Auto mode just lets the camera decide on the aperture/shutter speed combo. One of the core differences between a pro and a consumer level camera is the autofocus. The D300 is probably the best autofocus deal there is out there right now ($1800 for a pro-level autofocus)
-- Horizons are EZ to straighten in Lightroom
-- Shoot more and post them up with the exif. Folks are more than happy to critique and give tips on exposure, composition and post processing
-- check your histograms while you dialing in your exposure
-- Did I mention keep shooting and posting?

later

bakes
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-21-2008, 8:14 PM Reply   
Start by reading these:

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-Photographs-Digital-Updated/dp/0817463003/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211425954&sr= 8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Shutter-Speed-Low-Light-Photography/dp/0817463011/ref=pd_bbs_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211425999&sr=8-3
Old    Kristin DeLong (escapade4k)      Join Date: May 2006       05-21-2008, 9:53 PM Reply   
Walt- Wow! Yes, thank you for the offer!

Bakes- Thanks for the tips! I've been shooting a bunch since I moved to Folsom. I went ahead and posted some of my other stuff on photos 7

Rich- Thanks for the book suggestions! That was awesome of you to look that up for me.

Huge thanks to everyone who has responded to this post. I really appreciate it!
Old    Kevin (ctrider)      Join Date: Apr 2003       06-09-2008, 11:19 AM Reply   
Rich,
I wanted to say thanks for the link to those books. I purchased them both and I am about half way through Understanding Exposure. I knew some of what he talks about but there is really good information on which I did not know or fully understand which has helped allot so far.

Kevin

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