How to bracket a shot when you are shooting into extreme bright light?

5 months 10 hours ago #693657 by Pat White
When your shot you want has a very bright light source and your foreground is much darker, what can you do to get the shot without being blown out or underexposed?  I've tried using my 4 stop grad ND, but that doesn't make as much difference as I would need.  

Help please.  


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5 months 10 hours ago #693659 by Nikon Shooter
Hey Pat,

the better way to do it is to use the bracketing exposure
feature your rather recent camera has. See your manual,
it is quite simple.

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5 months 7 hours ago #693664 by garyrhook
I've learned that declaring something "simple" or "easy" comes across as condescending and/or dismissive. Worse yet, when you say that to a friend. 

This problem is not "simple" to solve if one does not know how to approach it.

An ND won't help because it will treat the entire scene the same way. So what is already dark just gets darker.

You have (at least) two possible choices:
  1. Move, either yourself, the subject, or both, if possible.
  2. Either use a tripod or stay very still, and take two images. Expose one for the background, and expose the other for the subject. Combine in post. PS will allow you to align two images (layers), even if they're not identical, and composite them.
There may be other options of which I'm unaware.


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5 months 7 hours ago #693665 by Nikon Shooter
"Oh Wise One"

Really? Come on, now, you can't be serious.

Done in camera offers more precision… and did you think
in all your wisdom that some may not have Ps or the skills?

To make it sound so difficult and suggest that your solution
is simple won't help anyone. It needs to be learned.

Hold your horses buddy and back off.

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5 months 6 hours ago #693667 by Pat White
Hey thanks to both of you.

Now to combine in post, is this something a 'novice' can do?  I'm not a Photoshop wizard. 

Again, thank you!


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5 months 5 hours ago #693671 by Nikon Shooter
When done the easier way, in camera, all there is to do
is select to have Nikon do it on board and it will process
the takes — two or more — into a jpg rendition.

One way or the other, there is some not so hard learning
to do. Have fun! :P

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5 months 1 hour ago #693676 by Ozzie_Traveller
G'day Pat

If it were me .... I would be using the JPG features in your camera to create an HDR image
You may need to look it up in your UserGuide or pop into the Menu options and see how to set HDR

In my cameras, I can select HDR, then also dial in a) how many images I want the camera to shoot in continuous mode, and b) how much variation I want between brightness and darkness of the scene

So for a scene similar to the one you describe, I might select HDR > 7 images > +3 EV thru normal down to -3EV for the brightness range. These 7 images, each shot with a 1EV variation between each image will then be combined in the camera to produce a single, hi-res JPG image ready for you to do with as you will

Hope this helps
Phil from the great land Downunder
www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/


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5 months 9 minutes ago - 5 months 6 minutes ago #693683 by garyrhook

Nikon Shooter wrote: "Oh Wise One"

Really? Come on, now, you can't be serious.


You do understand that those titles are generated by the PT forum based on points, right? And that we have zero control over them?

Therefore, despite the implication that I gave that to myself, you'd be incorrect. You don't like it, no one's forcing you to hang out here. Have you considered informing yourself with facts before casting aspersions?


Done in camera offers more precision… and did you think
in all your wisdom that some may not have Ps or the skills?

To make it sound so difficult and suggest that your solution
is simple won't help anyone. It needs to be learned.

Hold your horses buddy and back off.


I don't use in-camera HDR because on a Nikon it requires shooting in JPG, even on a D850. Thus, I don't suggest it due to the compromises that I believe would have to be made. I made a suggestion based on what seemed suitable to the situation as it appeared to be described by the OP.

I never said compositing was simple, or complex, or anything in between. I said that dismissing something that one already understands as simple is insulting which is what you did in your post. And I implied that I have done the same myself in the past. And have regretted it. And learned from it. Which is more than most folks are capable of. If one is not clear on the subtleties of the language, perhaps one should refrain from commenting?

If creating a JPG in camera meets the needs, so much the better. As I stated in my post above, other suggestions would be made. Which you did not do in your first post when you mentioned bracketing (which has nothing to do with the HDR feature... it's just a way to capture images). I am not responsible for incomplete thoughts posted by others.

Newsflash, "buddy": anyone can post any idiotic thing they want to here, as long as it doesn't violate the rules of the forum, and that includes bad advice, arrogant comments, or spamming the photo forums with dull photos. Because, apparently, none of that will get you evicted.

The main difference between me and most other people is that I already know I'm an ass. It's unfortunate when others are unable to find some perspective.


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4 months 4 weeks ago #693707 by Baydream
I honestly do not use any in-camera processing. I use Affinity Photo (a $50 one time purchase) to merge the photos. It is automatic but allows you to make adjustments to each layer. Then one click aligns, de-noises the image and creates the image. Quite easy and allows you control in case you mis-guessed on the bracketing selection.. It allows more creativity and, I think, better images.  I also have Photomatrix which is designed strictly for HDR. It does have more dramatic options and is a quick learn. Letting the camera do it is the easy way but to me is like shooting in Auto mode. Quick, easy but takes away some of your control. Just my opinion and I use HDR a lot to get dramatic images. Check out Affinity Photo (from Serif) for your post processing. YouTube has several quick videos showing how to merge into HDR. I often shoot hand-held and the software aligns for me. Good luck and happy shooting. 

Shoot, learn and share. It will make you a better photographer.
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4 months 4 weeks ago #693708 by Shadowfixer1
I have generally found the HDR in camera to be pretty weak and not very adequate for remedying the issue with an extreme dynamic range. Whether you are a guru or not, it's best to learn bracketing and then exposure blending in post if you want to improve your skills and images. If you don't want to bother doing that, then you will just have to settle for what you get. There is no one single magic bullet. 

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4 months 4 weeks ago #693712 by Nikon Shooter

Shadowfixer1 wrote: I have generally found the HDR in camera to be pretty weak


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4 months 4 weeks ago #693713 by Nikon Shooter

Baydream wrote: I honestly do not use any in-camera processing. I use Affinity Photo (a $50 one time purchase) to merge the photos. It is automatic but allows you to make adjustments to each layer.  

I use AF too!

Shadowfixer1 wrote: I have generally found the HDR in camera to be pretty weak

To a beginner not having an edition software not the skills to
use it,  the quickest way is through the camera's HDR.

Learning and biding time!

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4 months 4 weeks ago #693715 by Shadowfixer1

Nikon Shooter wrote:

Baydream wrote: I honestly do not use any in-camera processing. I use Affinity Photo (a $50 one time purchase) to merge the photos. It is automatic but allows you to make adjustments to each layer.  

I use AF too!

Shadowfixer1 wrote: I have generally found the HDR in camera to be pretty weak

To a beginner not having an edition software not the skills to
use it,  the quickest way is through the camera's HDR.

Learning and biding time!

Except the in camera HDR won't even come close to handling the situation described. Sure, they can try it but I can almost guarantee the results will not be acceptable. If the range is fairly close, maybe. I've never seen a result from it worth two hoots. 

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4 months 4 weeks ago #693725 by Nikon Shooter

Shadowfixer1 wrote: Except the in camera HDR won't even come close… 


Can't anyone remember when they were beginning?

Pat looks capable to learn and I trust he will come to
his own conclusions.

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4 months 4 weeks ago #693736 by Shadowfixer1

Nikon Shooter wrote:

Shadowfixer1 wrote: Except the in camera HDR won't even come close… 


Can't anyone remember when they were beginning?

Pat looks capable to learn and I trust he will come to
his own conclusions.

I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of rice in China. What I'm saying is in camera HDR isn't very effective. I have made no statements about anyone's experience or capabilities. I don't care if a person has just picked up a camera or they have been shooting for 40 years, in camera HDR is fairly meaningless, in my opinion. If someone can prove me wrong on that statement, I will consider myself educated and no longer ignorant when it comes to in camera HDR.

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