Less than optimal exposure…what can you do?

How many times have you looked over your shots and found images where the exposure could have been better?  Happens to me more often than I would like to admit; especially when I am shooting my D60 on auto ISO.  It is early in the morning.  A fair amount of the time I am driving down the road or just hanging out the car window.  I usually do not use a tripod in these situations. Needless to say, I get some less than optimal images.  That is o.k.  Sometimes.

I am not debating that the goal should be to get “it all right” straight from the camera.  That would be prefered, but what about those times when that doesn’t happen for whatever reason?  For me, if it is a shot that I really like, I will lean on a bit of post-processing to revive the situation.

The image below was shot right out of my car window on the way to work one morning.  There was just something about the farm shed, the sunrise and the sunrays that worked for me.  There are several ways to approach this correctly, but I didn’t have time or tools in hand to do so (more time than anything).  From past experience, though, I know I could work with the exposure I captured.

Original – ISO 800 | f/7.1 | 1/125 @ 46mm


In Lightroom there are a number of things you can do, most of which do not do much for me in regards to this image.  You can pull shadows, drop some highlight and pop a bit of clarity.  It really brings out the noise nicely.  Too much playing around and things look real bad real quick.  Like this…


My very next instinct would be to go black & white.  It is easy enough to burn in those areas where the grain is pretty extreme and still preserve enough detail in the image to make it interesting.  With any black & white, I also try strive to portray a full tonal range.  That isn’t always possible; if I hit 8 or 9 out of the 10 zones I am happy with that.  Silver Efex Pro can work miracles at times.


There are many other option besides black & white.  It just wasn’t working for me on this one.  Cyndie and I use Pretty Presets for portrait work; these presets also work great for landscape and other types of photography.  The application of the preset takes all of the low lights and creates a silhouette.


I don’t mind this at all, however I would like to see some detail in the low light.  That is accomplished easy enough – pull some shadow out and there you have it.

Final Image.



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