help, black dogs face indistinguishable

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by lucky1, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. lucky1

    lucky1 Guest

    I am new to digital photography/photography. I recently got a Kodak DX6490.
    I like it and have gotten what I consider to be some good pictures. But am
    having trouble with one of my favorite subjects, my mostly black German
    Shepard. It seems no matter which way we face in the sun or inside her
    solid black face is too often indistinguishable.

    Any tips, advice, rules appreciated.

    TIA
    Bill
     
    lucky1, Mar 19, 2005
    #1
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  2. "lucky1" <> writes:

    > I am new to digital photography/photography. I recently got a Kodak DX6490.
    > I like it and have gotten what I consider to be some good pictures. But am
    > having trouble with one of my favorite subjects, my mostly black German
    > Shepard. It seems no matter which way we face in the sun or inside her
    > solid black face is too often indistinguishable.
    >
    > Any tips, advice, rules appreciated.


    Yes, all black dogs (I have two) are a problem. The problem is the camera sees
    the blackness, and tries to compensate by under-exposing. I assume your camera
    does not have a RAW mode, in which case the only option is to play with the
    exposure compensation setting, and using post processing.

    If your camera does have RAW mode, this has more levels than are available in
    JPEG, and you can select how to convert this to JPEG (ie, you can favor the
    darker area bringing out more detail or favor the lighter area).

    --
    Michael Meissner
    email:
    http://www.the-meissners.org
     
    Michael Meissner, Mar 19, 2005
    #2
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  3. lucky1

    DavidN Guest

    <<having trouble with one of my favorite subjects, my mostly black
    German Shepard. It seems no matter which way we face in the sun or
    inside her solid black face is too often indistinguishable>>

    1. use a fill flash
    2. in about 30 percent of the cases, your exposure meter will deceive
    you. This is one of those occasions. Try over exposing by 1.5. to 2 f
    stops.
    3. Get a decent book on learning the fundamentals of photography. If it
    has a conventional film orientation fine. The basics are the same
    whether conventional or digital. The manual that came with your camera
    will take care of the mechanics.

    davidN
     
    DavidN, Mar 19, 2005
    #3
  4. lucky1

    Tony Guest

    Add exposure with the exposure compensation adjustment on your camera. Start
    with one stop and see what you get. You will probably need more than one
    stop, but it is best to avoid going too high.

    --
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com
    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/links/mlinks00.html
    A sample chapter from "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/writ/hait/hatitl.html

    "lucky1" <> wrote in message
    news:7GL_d.82078$r55.28985@attbi_s52...
    > I am new to digital photography/photography. I recently got a Kodak

    DX6490.
    > I like it and have gotten what I consider to be some good pictures. But

    am
    > having trouble with one of my favorite subjects, my mostly black German
    > Shepard. It seems no matter which way we face in the sun or inside her
    > solid black face is too often indistinguishable.
    >
    > Any tips, advice, rules appreciated.
    >
    > TIA
    > Bill
    >
    >
     
    Tony, Mar 19, 2005
    #4
  5. lucky1

    Colin D Guest

    Michael Meissner wrote:
    >
    > Yes, all black dogs (I have two) are a problem. The problem is the camera sees
    > the blackness, and tries to compensate by under-exposing. I assume your camera
    >
    > --
    > Michael Meissner


    'Fraid not, Michael. The camera will tend to overexpose dark objects.
    The meter is calibrated to render an average subject as 18% gray, and it
    will try to render the dog's face as 18% gray. The problem is the
    surrounding area, particularly if fairly light-colored, will increase a
    general meter reading, thereby underexposing the dog. Spot reading on
    the dog and decreasing exposure by a stop or two should do it.

    Black animals generally are hard to photograph. What you are actually
    doing is catching the shine from the hair, which delineates the animal,
    leaving the non-shiny bits very dark, or black.

    Colin
     
    Colin D, Mar 19, 2005
    #5
  6. lucky1

    Frank ess Guest

    Colin D wrote:
    > Michael Meissner wrote:
    >>
    >> Yes, all black dogs (I have two) are a problem. The problem is the
    >> camera sees the blackness, and tries to compensate by
    >> under-exposing. I assume your camera
    >>
    >> --
    >> Michael Meissner

    >
    > 'Fraid not, Michael. The camera will tend to overexpose dark objects.
    > The meter is calibrated to render an average subject as 18% gray, and
    > it
    > will try to render the dog's face as 18% gray. The problem is the
    > surrounding area, particularly if fairly light-colored, will increase
    > a
    > general meter reading, thereby underexposing the dog. Spot reading on
    > the dog and decreasing exposure by a stop or two should do it.
    >
    > Black animals generally are hard to photograph. What you are actually
    > doing is catching the shine from the hair, which delineates the
    > animal,
    > leaving the non-shiny bits very dark, or black.
    >



    If you use a polarizer, shiny black dogs disappear entirely.
     
    Frank ess, Mar 19, 2005
    #6
  7. lucky1

    lucky1 Guest

    WOW, thanks for all the feedback. very insightful. yes, I have gotten
    several books on digital photography and am digesting slowly as there are so
    many situations and so many vairables. a bit overwhelming.

    When I add exsposure will it overexpose the background? Is this a damned if
    you do, damned if you don't?

    Thanks again,
    Bill
    "lucky1" <> wrote in message
    news:7GL_d.82078$r55.28985@attbi_s52...
    > I am new to digital photography/photography. I recently got a Kodak

    DX6490.
    > I like it and have gotten what I consider to be some good pictures. But

    am
    > having trouble with one of my favorite subjects, my mostly black German
    > Shepard. It seems no matter which way we face in the sun or inside her
    > solid black face is too often indistinguishable.
    >
    > Any tips, advice, rules appreciated.
    >
    > TIA
    > Bill
    >
    >
     
    lucky1, Mar 19, 2005
    #7
  8. lucky1

    secheese Guest

    On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 11:44:21 GMT, "lucky1" <>
    wrote:

    >WOW, thanks for all the feedback. very insightful. yes, I have gotten
    >several books on digital photography and am digesting slowly as there are so
    >many situations and so many vairables. a bit overwhelming.
    >
    >When I add exsposure will it overexpose the background?


    Yes.

    If you want the background AND foreground correct, use the fill flash
    method.
     
    secheese, Mar 19, 2005
    #8
  9. Colin D <ColinD@killspam.127.0.0.1> writes:

    > Michael Meissner wrote:
    > >
    > > Yes, all black dogs (I have two) are a problem. The problem is the camera sees
    > > the blackness, and tries to compensate by under-exposing. I assume your camera
    > >
    > > --
    > > Michael Meissner

    >
    > 'Fraid not, Michael. The camera will tend to overexpose dark objects.
    > The meter is calibrated to render an average subject as 18% gray, and it
    > will try to render the dog's face as 18% gray. The problem is the
    > surrounding area, particularly if fairly light-colored, will increase a
    > general meter reading, thereby underexposing the dog. Spot reading on
    > the dog and decreasing exposure by a stop or two should do it.


    Ok, I guessed wrong whether it was under-exposing or over-exposing. Thanks.

    > Black animals generally are hard to photograph. What you are actually
    > doing is catching the shine from the hair, which delineates the animal,
    > leaving the non-shiny bits very dark, or black.


    --
    Michael Meissner
    email:
    http://www.the-meissners.org
     
    Michael Meissner, Mar 19, 2005
    #9
  10. secheese <> writes:

    > On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 11:44:21 GMT, "lucky1" <>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >WOW, thanks for all the feedback. very insightful. yes, I have gotten
    > >several books on digital photography and am digesting slowly as there are so
    > >many situations and so many vairables. a bit overwhelming.
    > >
    > >When I add exsposure will it overexpose the background?

    >
    > Yes.


    Depending on how over-exposed it is, you can reduce the effects somewhat in
    post processing.

    > If you want the background AND foreground correct, use the fill flash
    > method.


    I would imagine with fill flash you have the green-eye problem (due to the
    difference in the way their eyes are laid out, cats & dogs eyes turn green with
    a flash, while humans eyes turn red). Some amount of post processing can fix
    this. An external flash can extend the range before the green/red-eye sets in,
    but I don't think the Kodak supports an external flash.

    --
    Michael Meissner
    email:
    http://www.the-meissners.org
     
    Michael Meissner, Mar 19, 2005
    #10
  11. lucky1

    C J Campbell Guest

    The black dog is the most difficult subject in photography. Not only is the
    dog black, but it is furry. It reflects almost no light. The dog is also not
    a solid black. There are three problems:

    1) The dog must be photographed against a light background, or you will not
    be able to see it, but:

    2) The light background is likely to cause the black parts of the dog to be
    underexposed, or

    3) The black dog is likely to cause the background and light parts of the
    dog to be overexposed.

    As with all dog shots, try to fill the frame as much as possible with the
    dog. This will help eliminate distracting background, along with its
    attendant exposure problems. Shoot on the dog's level -- get down there on
    your knees and be glad he isn't a Scottie. Of course, the moment you do this
    the dog is going to run right up to you to stick his nose in your face or
    worse, the camera lens.

    Try the backlit subject setting if you have one. This works a surprising
    amount of the time.

    You can try fill flash -- but watch the eyes. Dogs (and many other animals,
    including cats) have a third eyelid that is highly reflective; it is why
    their eyes glow at night. The usual redeye reduction methods will not work
    because it is not redeye. The eyelid does not contract, for example, with a
    preliminary flash. Besides, a redeye reduction flash is guaranteed to make
    the dog look away. You might have to just bite the bullet and edit the
    glowing eyes out later. Also, use diffused or bounce flash. Dogs usually
    hate flash and some of them will run from you upon seeing a camera. Another
    problem with fill flash is that if the dog has a shiny coat the flash will
    reflect on it.

    Bracket your exposures, or use a spot meter to expose for the dog. Practice
    until you come up with something that works. Digital film is cheap. And then
    realize that the settings that are perfect for your black dog will almost
    never be even close for your neighbor's Labrador. The key is patience.
    Getting a good picture of a black dog is time consuming hard work, but it is
    extremely satisfying when you succeed.
     
    C J Campbell, Mar 19, 2005
    #11
  12. lucky1

    Jim Townsend Guest

    C J Campbell wrote:

    > The black dog is the most difficult subject in photography.


    It's the second most difficult subject.. A dog that's half
    pure black and half pure white is a nightmare to expose :)
     
    Jim Townsend, Mar 19, 2005
    #12
  13. lucky1

    DaveC Guest

    On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 11:44:21 +0000, lucky1 wrote
    (in article <pgU_d.85761$Ze3.12208@attbi_s51>):

    > WOW, thanks for all the feedback. very insightful. yes, I have gotten
    > several books on digital photography and am digesting slowly as there are so
    > many situations and so many vairables. a bit overwhelming.
    >
    > When I add exsposure will it overexpose the background? Is this a damned if
    > you do, damned if you don't?


    Your camera probably has a flash control button. It allows you to force the
    flash to flash even in daylight.

    1. Always use the flash when photographing your black dog.

    2. If your camera offers an exposure adjustment option, try overexposing a
    little (typically the choices are +0.3, 0.6, 1, and more).

    3. Center the image in the viewfinder on the black of the dog and press the
    shutter button half-way down. This locks the exposure on the black.

    4. While holding the button down half-way, re-frame the photo the way you
    want it (ie, if you don't want the dog in the middle of the photo, point the
    camera where you want it).

    This will, unfortunately, frequently overexpose other areas of the photo that
    are not dark. That's due to the difference between the way our eyes and
    cameras render a scene, and the nature of photography.

    Some improvement in this difference can be accomplished in a post-processing
    computer program such as Photoshop.

    Good luck,
    --
    Please, no "Go Google this" replies. I wouldn't
    ask a question here if I hadn't done that already.

    DaveC

    This is an invalid return address
    Please reply in the news group
     
    DaveC, Mar 19, 2005
    #13
  14. lucky1

    Big Bill Guest

    On Fri, 18 Mar 2005 20:20:51 -0800, "Frank ess" <>
    wrote:

    >Colin D wrote:
    >> Michael Meissner wrote:
    >>>
    >>> Yes, all black dogs (I have two) are a problem. The problem is the
    >>> camera sees the blackness, and tries to compensate by
    >>> under-exposing. I assume your camera
    >>>
    >>> --
    >>> Michael Meissner

    >>
    >> 'Fraid not, Michael. The camera will tend to overexpose dark objects.
    >> The meter is calibrated to render an average subject as 18% gray, and
    >> it
    >> will try to render the dog's face as 18% gray. The problem is the
    >> surrounding area, particularly if fairly light-colored, will increase
    >> a
    >> general meter reading, thereby underexposing the dog. Spot reading on
    >> the dog and decreasing exposure by a stop or two should do it.
    >>
    >> Black animals generally are hard to photograph. What you are actually
    >> doing is catching the shine from the hair, which delineates the
    >> animal,
    >> leaving the non-shiny bits very dark, or black.
    >>

    >
    >
    >If you use a polarizer, shiny black dogs disappear entirely.
    >

    And if you use a Cat lens, they will attack the camera.
    --
    Bill Funk
    Change "g" to "a"
     
    Big Bill, Mar 19, 2005
    #14
  15. lucky1

    Frank ess Guest

    Big Bill wrote:
    > On Fri, 18 Mar 2005 20:20:51 -0800, "Frank ess" <>
    > wrote:
    >
    >> Colin D wrote:
    >>> Michael Meissner wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>> Yes, all black dogs (I have two) are a problem. The problem is the
    >>>> camera sees the blackness, and tries to compensate by
    >>>> under-exposing. I assume your camera
    >>>>
    >>>> --
    >>>> Michael Meissner
    >>>
    >>> 'Fraid not, Michael. The camera will tend to overexpose dark
    >>> objects. The meter is calibrated to render an average subject as
    >>> 18% gray, and it
    >>> will try to render the dog's face as 18% gray. The problem is the
    >>> surrounding area, particularly if fairly light-colored, will
    >>> increase a
    >>> general meter reading, thereby underexposing the dog. Spot reading
    >>> on the dog and decreasing exposure by a stop or two should do it.
    >>>
    >>> Black animals generally are hard to photograph. What you are
    >>> actually doing is catching the shine from the hair, which
    >>> delineates the animal,
    >>> leaving the non-shiny bits very dark, or black.
    >>>

    >>
    >>
    >> If you use a polarizer, shiny black dogs disappear entirely.
    >>

    > And if you use a Cat lens, they will attack the camera.


    I'd forgotten about that. Trauma-induced memory loss, no doubt. "My dog
    ate the camera". Just two-thirds of it: somthing about "internalizing
    the rules".


    --
    Frank ess
     
    Frank ess, Mar 19, 2005
    #15
  16. lucky1

    Frank ess Guest

    Frank ess wrote:
    > Big Bill wrote:
    >> On Fri, 18 Mar 2005 20:20:51 -0800, "Frank ess" <>
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >>> Colin D wrote:
    >>>> Michael Meissner wrote:
    >>>>>
    >>>>> Yes, all black dogs (I have two) are a problem. The problem is
    >>>>> the camera sees the blackness, and tries to compensate by
    >>>>> under-exposing. I assume your camera
    >>>>>
    >>>>> --
    >>>>> Michael Meissner
    >>>>
    >>>> 'Fraid not, Michael. The camera will tend to overexpose dark
    >>>> objects. The meter is calibrated to render an average subject as
    >>>> 18% gray, and it
    >>>> will try to render the dog's face as 18% gray. The problem is the
    >>>> surrounding area, particularly if fairly light-colored, will
    >>>> increase a
    >>>> general meter reading, thereby underexposing the dog. Spot reading
    >>>> on the dog and decreasing exposure by a stop or two should do it.
    >>>>
    >>>> Black animals generally are hard to photograph. What you are
    >>>> actually doing is catching the shine from the hair, which
    >>>> delineates the animal,
    >>>> leaving the non-shiny bits very dark, or black.
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> If you use a polarizer, shiny black dogs disappear entirely.
    >>>

    >> And if you use a Cat lens, they will attack the camera.

    >
    > I'd forgotten about that. Trauma-induced memory loss, no doubt. "My
    > dog ate the camera". Just two-thirds of it: somthing about
    > "internalizing the rules".


    PS: Not all dog pictures have to be explicit and detailed overall
    http://www.fototime.com/2C1348A65F44A19/orig.jpg
    nor neat and clean
    http://www.fototime.com/74B52B093D2ACC4/orig.jpg
    nor even intelligible (CP995)
    http://www.fototime.com/5D645419D962B5C/orig.jpg
    (speaking of green-eye) though they might come through with a bit of
    Photo Shop and crop
    http://www.fototime.com/CDE634F124A2E9B/orig.jpg


    --
    Frank ess
     
    Frank ess, Mar 19, 2005
    #16
  17. lucky1

    lucky1 Guest

    well, did he/she get sprayed?.....yikes


    "Frank ess" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Frank ess wrote:
    > > Big Bill wrote:
    > >> On Fri, 18 Mar 2005 20:20:51 -0800, "Frank ess" <>
    > >> wrote:
    > >>
    > >>> Colin D wrote:
    > >>>> Michael Meissner wrote:
    > >>>>>
    > >>>>> Yes, all black dogs (I have two) are a problem. The problem is
    > >>>>> the camera sees the blackness, and tries to compensate by
    > >>>>> under-exposing. I assume your camera
    > >>>>>
    > >>>>> --
    > >>>>> Michael Meissner
    > >>>>
    > >>>> 'Fraid not, Michael. The camera will tend to overexpose dark
    > >>>> objects. The meter is calibrated to render an average subject as
    > >>>> 18% gray, and it
    > >>>> will try to render the dog's face as 18% gray. The problem is the
    > >>>> surrounding area, particularly if fairly light-colored, will
    > >>>> increase a
    > >>>> general meter reading, thereby underexposing the dog. Spot reading
    > >>>> on the dog and decreasing exposure by a stop or two should do it.
    > >>>>
    > >>>> Black animals generally are hard to photograph. What you are
    > >>>> actually doing is catching the shine from the hair, which
    > >>>> delineates the animal,
    > >>>> leaving the non-shiny bits very dark, or black.
    > >>>>
    > >>>
    > >>>
    > >>> If you use a polarizer, shiny black dogs disappear entirely.
    > >>>
    > >> And if you use a Cat lens, they will attack the camera.

    > >
    > > I'd forgotten about that. Trauma-induced memory loss, no doubt. "My
    > > dog ate the camera". Just two-thirds of it: somthing about
    > > "internalizing the rules".

    >
    > PS: Not all dog pictures have to be explicit and detailed overall
    > http://www.fototime.com/2C1348A65F44A19/orig.jpg
    > nor neat and clean
    > http://www.fototime.com/74B52B093D2ACC4/orig.jpg
    > nor even intelligible (CP995)
    > http://www.fototime.com/5D645419D962B5C/orig.jpg
    > (speaking of green-eye) though they might come through with a bit of
    > Photo Shop and crop
    > http://www.fototime.com/CDE634F124A2E9B/orig.jpg
    >
    >
    > --
    > Frank ess
    >
    >
     
    lucky1, Mar 19, 2005
    #17
  18. lucky1

    Steve Guest

    Michael Meissner wrote:

    > An external flash can extend the range before the green/red-eye sets in,
    > but I don't think the Kodak supports an external flash.


    *Any* camera with an internal flash will "support" an external flash:
    http://tinyurl.com/5jvqm


    --
    Steve

    The above can be construed as personal opinion in the absence of a reasonable
    belief that it was intended as a statement of fact.

    If you want a reply to reach me, remove the SPAMTRAP from the address.
     
    Steve, Mar 19, 2005
    #18
  19. lucky1

    Don Dunlap Guest

    "lucky1" <> wrote in message
    news:7GL_d.82078$r55.28985@attbi_s52...
    >I am new to digital photography/photography. I recently got a Kodak
    >DX6490.
    > I like it and have gotten what I consider to be some good pictures. But
    > am
    > having trouble with one of my favorite subjects, my mostly black German
    > Shepard. It seems no matter which way we face in the sun or inside her
    > solid black face is too often indistinguishable.
    >
    > Any tips, advice, rules appreciated.
    >
    > TIA
    > Bill
    >
    >


    I had the same problem with my previous camera which was a digital point and
    shoot - an Epson 3100Z. I have a Canon 20D and the following two shots are
    fairly good at capturing the dog's features. I did quite a bit of
    manipulation with PS CS. The gray on the dog's face is probably a factor.

    http://www.pbase.com/dondunlap/image/40984299

    http://www.pbase.com/dondunlap/image/40984300

    You still have to have the right background and I found that a dark area is
    best.

    Don
     
    Don Dunlap, Mar 20, 2005
    #19
  20. Steve <> writes:

    > Michael Meissner wrote:
    >
    > > An external flash can extend the range before the green/red-eye sets in,
    > > but I don't think the Kodak supports an external flash.

    >
    > *Any* camera with an internal flash will "support" an external flash:
    > http://tinyurl.com/5jvqm


    But as I said in an earlier article, you have to be able to adjust your
    camera's settings (turn down flash intensity, use aperture priority or manual
    modes), since it doesn't realize the slave flash is going to be firing at the
    same time, and some of the simpler cameras don't give you those controls.
    Also, I vaguelly recall that Kodak cameras were one of the digital cameras that
    don't do a preflash, in which case you need the slaves for film cameras
    instead.

    Note, slave flashes don't work too well when you are using them in situations
    that other photographers are present, such as at weddings.

    --
    Michael Meissner
    email:
    http://www.the-meissners.org
     
    Michael Meissner, Mar 23, 2005
    #20
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