“Can you fix this?” Jack and the cherry stalk ;)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/16, ISO: 200 + post-processed in Lightroom 3

I couldn’t quite get this shot the way I wanted straight out of the camera so this made the “reject” pile for my 365 Project, but, I thought it would be great for my new “Can you fix this?” series of photo challenges, where I ask YOU to help me. 🙂  My challenge was getting the right exposure and angle for these cherry buds while shooting into the bright clouds (6pm). The cherry buds ended up with lots of shadows,  their bright green color becoming almost invisible (see untouched photo below). Composition-wise I was trying give the perspective of this cherry stalk, loaded with buds (yaaay!), reaching for the heavens, and catching the parallel of the curving stalk with the curve of the clouds. It kind’ve reminded me of “jack and the beanstalk.”  In the first photo, I applied some post-processing in Lightroom 3, adjusting curves to lighten up the shadows, underexposed a bit, added some fill light, and some vibrancy. Anyway…if you have tips on getting the exposure right, without using flash, or maybe WITH flash?, please share. I’d love to know how to get it right, straight out of the camera. I’ve included the original pic below. Feel free to play with it and post your improved version. Happy Thursday and thanks for stopping by!

Shutter Speed: 1/60, Aperture: F/16, ISO: 400 (untouched photo)

8 comments on ““Can you fix this?” Jack and the cherry stalk ;)

  1. STEVE says:

    What you have is not an exposure issue but a “dynamic range” issue. Many digital cameras just can’t handle high DR scenes.
    Lucky for you the D5000 has some controls available to help. The bad news is you have to dig around the menus to find them.
    Check out the Dynamic Range topics in your manual and experiment with the controls. Perhaps you’ll find a setting that will get you closer to your desired result! “Automatic” DR control may not be best.
    You’ll probably see the best results out of your files using Nikon View or Capture.


  2. STEVE says:

    Sorry … I forgot to mention … you need to shoot RAW files. My opinion is you’ll never get the DR you desire from jpegs. Other will probably differ … 😀


  3. Steve (SLHPHOTO1 at Photobucket) says:

    Do you like this? Mine Left, Your Original Right



    • meelswa says:

      Steve: One thing I immediately noticed about yours is that some detail was lost? Like in the branch and when looking at the buds there’s an outline making the photo look more like a painting than a photograph. At least that’s what I see on my monitor. Granted, I didn’t give you a great photo to begin with. And, shooting RAW…I’ve done that before and because of my inexperience I probably didnt’ see the benefit in it. My goal is mostly to get better “straight out of the camera” but, for sure, RAW is probably something I need to re-visit. As well as look into the dynamic range settings in my camera. You’re always a font of knowledge. Thank you, thank you! 🙂


  4. Steve (SLHPHOTO1 at Photobucket) says:

    One more … 😉 You have already “thrown away” a tremendous amount of data by downsizing the image you posted for your challenge. Trying to adjust this “resampled image” will not bring out the best in the shot. Only by adjusting the original, full resolution image can one really “test” and adjust the image to see what is really “in there” or what can be done to it! That’s the real beauty of RAW files. There is just so much more there to work with! No jpeg destruction or loss of data.

    Delete the “image tags” before/after the above link. Sorry!


  5. meelswa says:

    oh, and here’s the link Steve shared with my before and his after: http://i399.photobucket.com/albums/pp76/SLHPHOTO1/AMELIA2.jpg


  6. Steve (SLHPHOTO1 at Photobucket) says:

    Here is a composite image using layers to hold the detail in the branch as well as improve the color/brightness of the buds. Unfortunately I don’t think you will EVER achieve this SOTC! Although it’s good to know that it is possible with some determined Photoshop work. 🙂


    • meelswa says:

      Thanks for sharing your image! And, I started to explore some DR controls by going through my camera’s menus but, I’ll have to dig out my manual and figure it out there. Thanks for your tips! 🙂


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