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You're definitely getting the hang of it Kevin. I agree, the images lose a bit of life when exposure is diminished. The key is to get the exposure right when shooting. This is the reason I'm inclined to shoot with spot metering when working in bright light. I'll often use the auto exposure lock to make certain the brightest part of the image isn't blown out. No doubt bright light with shadows is very difficult to handle well. We need to simply keep working at it.
That is exactly what I did. For the yellow daisy, I thought about adjusting the EV to -.3, just thought about it after I left. I spot meter always on whatever is the brightest spot I see and adjust from there. I have two other shots that may be better as far as exposure goes, but not as clean or sharp. When I can get them into my computer at home, I should be able to give it a bump in exposure and be good...same with the rest. Historically, I have had to run with a -.7EV in this kind of noon harsh light, so I set it there and essentially forgot about it until I got these onto my work computer. Still happy enough with them to post, but they can look better.