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Archive 2013 · Reflective graphics make image look dark
  
 
MRM4
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


I have been shooting racing for over 10 years now. I never used to have this problem until I moved up to my D700. A buddy of mine has the same problem on his D300. Certain cars that use certain kinds of reflective graphics cause the entire image look dark. The reflective decals are nice and bright, everything else is what's dark. Is there something within the camera or even the flash (using SB800) that can prevent these types of images?








Apr 08, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


This is a common issue with any thing reflective. Before your flash fires, there is a pre flash that the camera uses to meter the scene for flash. A lot of light gets kicked back from those reflective decals, so the camera decides it doesn't need much flash to expose for the scene. The same thing will happen if there is a stop sign or something similar in the background.

You can dial up exposure compensation on your flash, but this will only help if every car has the same sort of reflective decals. Otherwise, it will blow out the exposures. You could also have the flash off camera mounted somewhere to your right or left so it doesn't kick light directly back into the camera lens from those reflective decals.

Perhaps the greater issue is why you are having to use flash for these shots in the first place? This is not commonly done for shooting cars. It seems a faster lens with a higher ISO would be preferable to avoid flash. It would also make the shots a bit more dynamic where you don't freeze the wheels. Otherwise, it just looks like the car is parked on the track.



Apr 08, 2013 at 05:05 PM
MRM4
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


Ben Horne wrote:
Perhaps the greater issue is why you are having to use flash for these shots in the first place? This is not commonly done for shooting cars. It seems a faster lens with a higher ISO would be preferable to avoid flash. It would also make the shots a bit more dynamic where you don't freeze the wheels. Otherwise, it just looks like the car is parked on the track.


Most of us that have been doing this awhile are used to using a flash from the early years of inferior camera equipment and tracks with poor lighting.



Apr 08, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Ben Horne
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


MRM4 wrote:
Most of us that have been doing this awhile are used to using a flash from the early years of inferior camera equipment and tracks with poor lighting.


In the early days, film cameras and digital cameras weren't very good in low light. Things have changed and now some cameras can shoot ISO 25600 with excellent results. I would be curious if you've tried shooting high ISO with a fast lens.



Apr 08, 2013 at 06:06 PM
mshi
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


Basically it's underexposed. You need to ignore the meter and put the camera in manual mode or speedlight in manual mode if you still want to get it almost right in camera.


Apr 08, 2013 at 06:10 PM
MRM4
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


Ben Horne wrote:
In the early days, film cameras and digital cameras weren't very good in low light. Things have changed and now some cameras can shoot ISO 25600 with excellent results. I would be curious if you've tried shooting high ISO with a fast lens.


I would if I could ever get my custom white balance to set properly. I got a gray card and watched several videos on how to propely set it. But mine seem to come out too dark or the colors are off. I'm still working on nailing it.



Apr 08, 2013 at 06:33 PM
 

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NathanHamler
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


For the white bal, just shoot raw, problem solved....your ambient exposure is so far off...you need to boost your iso, and drop your aperture (if you can), whether you choose to keep the flash or not....if you do wanna keep the flash, put it on a light stand, and move it off camera, by a couple feet, if not more....


Apr 08, 2013 at 08:35 PM
wellsjt
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


According to the exif, that photo was shot in shutter priority, spot metering, and with auto ISO turned on. 1/250, f/4, ISO 280 with flash. Perhaps the spot meter caught something bright (the white numbering) and decided you didn't need much.

I could be way off base but I would think in that environment you would be dealing with relatively static lighting conditions. If so, shoot manual and dial in the settings the way you like them and you will have consistent photos from shot to shot. I would dial in the exposure without flash, and add the flash (if you need it) after you basically have the ambient correct. You need to ensure you are at or below the sync speed though - auto FP won't help you from that distance.



Apr 08, 2013 at 11:37 PM
MRM4
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


I changed some settings and got some better results with the same car at a different track with different lighting. Better than it was, I'll keep fine tuning it. Thanks for all the suggestions.








Apr 16, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Gregstx
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


I'm not an expert at this but I think you are always going to have problems shooting cars with reflective material used for graphics while using a flash. While the second shot is obviously brighter due to the higher ISO, I don't care for the glow from the graphics. However, the driver will probably prefer it to the first shot. I would think the challenge would be to pan with the car using a slower shutter speed and no flash. I don't remember who shot it on this forum, but there was an amazing photo of a drift car that was shot at 1/60th, if I remember correctly. The car was perfectly sharp but the blurred background made it obvious that the car was really moving. Great action shot.


Apr 17, 2013 at 01:15 AM
pburke
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


One option is to tell the guys who operate the car that if they want to get decent photos of their sponsor's decals to get rid of the reflective crap. Problem solved.

Otherwise, not to use flash is pretty much the only solution for this to look natural. Flash will stop the tire rotation and the car looks parked. Not a good action shot when that happens. Work on getting a good pan shot at lower shutter speed and shoot at 1/250th or lower, crank up the ISO to get you there with a fast wide open lens. If you still want to add some flash for pop, make sure it's rear curtain sync and only a fraction of the output you're using up there. the rear sync will make the blur look natural as the frozen moment is ahead of the blur at that point.









Apr 17, 2013 at 03:35 AM
JimFox
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Reflective graphics make image look dark


I am thinking you need to stop using the flash... I don't see how you will ever get a really decent shot of a car that is using reflective decals and numbers... it's like a big mirror out there and it's just going to reflect the light back at you. You have the D700, use some higher ISO settings and ditch the flash in that enviroment.

In the old days we all had to use flash, there was no choice when ISO 100 was it, or at the best, you could get away with ISO 400... we have new technology where ISO 3200 will look almost as good as ISO 100 when exposed properly... so take advantage of the new technology in this situation.

And as someone else mentioned, I would get out of spot meter mode, you will not get consistent exposures shooting cars with bright or dark decals on a dark or bright car. Shoot manual mode. Forget the WB, shoot raw.

Jim



Apr 17, 2013 at 07:28 AM





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