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Can I do "sun shots" at one exposure or with an ND filter (Read 2502 times)
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Can I do "sun shots" at one exposure or with an ND filter
02/05/13 at 06:38:10
I just did my first spherical pano shoot in my apartment, and wound up with 33brackets per sector!!

Better to overshoot, but that's crazy and took over an hour.

Can I add a ND filter to use a different aperature for the sun shot, or brightest areas ( as one of the brackets ( as long as I do the same in each sector?

I shot this thing at noon through a south facing window at  about 2 feet off the floor to get maximum EV's in the shot for practice, but at 1 EV with one EV overlap, using a 3 bracket AEB it was crazy. 

The sun shot was so far from my intentionally unlit apartment wrt EV that I felt like I could have skipped a lot of steps once I got one proper bracket for the highlight.

To be clear, I didn't shoot the sun directly, rather I shot diffused light through a plastic privacy screen outside and privacy glass on my balcony door, but still it was full noon light in Japan ( brighter than the Canadian noon I grew up with ).

I shot at f22,  and the fastest was 1/4000 and the slowest was 30 seconds.

Can I shoot say one to three at f22 or with an ND ( hard with no mount for filters on my fish eye ) as the first brackets for each sector, then shoot the remaining brackets at a larger aperture, given that DOF will be better for higher the highlight shots?

If not how could I speed up a wide EV shot up to a reasonably short time.

Thanks for you insights,
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Re: Can I do "sun shots" at one exposure or with an ND filter
Reply #1 - 02/05/13 at 08:27:36
Hi Tim,

First... Wow,

33 brackets and an F22 for indoors...
A little bit overkill, as you already found out Wink

Start like this:

Remove the ND filter, step up(down) to an F11 and start off with 9 EV's, one EV apart.
Just test a little bit with exposures (and ISO if neccessary) to get an image with still some detail in the shadows and one with still some details in the highlights. Than calculate your middle exposure and shoot your sequence of 6+2 or 8+2 depending on your fisheye.
This should give you enough 'room' <pun intended> to work with to create the HDR.

Also, get some form of white balance tool to use later on.

I don't completely understand your explanation for the shoot indoors, but just set up your gear in the middle of the room and start shooting. No closed windows etc, just shoot your set.
This should take no more than 10 minutes or so, even without some form of bracketing tool like a Promote.

After shooting, the fun starts with the HDR creation and tonemapping.

I understand an F22 will get you no DOF, but most of us never shoot like this. I normally work between F5.6 and F11, depending on light conditions.
Most lenses have a 'sweet' spot between F8 and F11 regarding lens flaws anyway.

Also, what gear are you using?

hope this helps,

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Re: Can I do "sun shots" at one exposure or with an ND filter
Reply #2 - 02/06/13 at 09:02:20
What Rob says.

I'd like to add: Don't kill yourself in trying to capture the exact sun circle. There's a few discussion about this in my book on pages 473 as well as 581.

The essence of it is that the sun is so hard to capture that it makes everything a pain (exactly what you describe). And that's not justified, because the can easily be painted in, which I don't even recommend because such a massive intensity peak in such a small spot is also very hard to render with. The sun is a direct light source, so it is best represented with a regular direct 3D light.

Well, that was the short version - better read pages 473 and 581.

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Re: Can I do "sun shots" at one exposure or with an ND filter
Reply #3 - 02/06/13 at 17:58:31
You may also find that, if you do not use a camera controller like the Promote or OCC, you may be better off simply rolling through the shutter speed sequence manually.  If your camera is mounted on a sturdy tripod you won't get much shifting or displacement of the camera from touching the shutter speed dial.  This does two things for you: 1) it removes all of the redundant overlap exposures you seem to have from overlapping your AEB settings and 2) your resulting images will be ordered in increasing (or decreasing) exposure when you download them from the card.  It will also permit you to capture each pano segment much faster.

For example, my 5DII is set to increment shutter speed with the shutter speed control dial in 1/3 EV increments.  So, if I am shooting without my Promote, I shoot my first image, roll the dial three clicks, shoot the next, roll three clicks, etc.  You do not need to look at the camera, just roll the dial three clicks to the next full EV exposure.  You can do this with a very light touch, and, if you are worried about camera movement resulting from depressing the shutter release you can use a simple remote release or use the 2 second timer so that the camera will release the shutter after it has had time to settle from your touching the shutter release.  Using the timer will slow you down, though.

You might find that you run into stitching problems when shooting each pano segment takes as long as it did in your example - in an interior space where there may be very well-defined shadow borders on the walls, or floor (i.e., flat, diffuse planes) the interval between shooting one segment and the next may actually have been long enough to cause the shadow to shift due to the sun's movement!  The stitcher has a hard time trying to reconcile this if the shadow goes across a stitching border.

If there is detail that you absolutely must have in the pano segment that contains the sun, consider shooting a more modest exposure sequence that captures everything else sufficiently for the pano and then take an extra 2 or 3 images at the same pano segment position for just the sun image segment (even if you need to use a ND) and blend that in manually to your final LDR pano - I am assuming this pano is for photographic purposes, not IBL purposes.  If IBL, read CHristian's book - you can paint the sun spot in manually at the EV value of your choosing when the pano is in full 32bit format.

have fun!

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Re: Can I do "sun shots" at one exposure or with an ND filter
Reply #4 - 02/17/13 at 15:25:42
Thanks guys,

I recall your advice about the sun Christian, and it's actually not in the shots, but behind two light diffusing panels, still very bright though.

As for indoor shots, I mean, in my room at noon with no lights on as to get the widest EV range to practice with.

kirkt,  I actually started down this path of HDR from studying Blender, so I am considering all my shots as both photographic and IBL endeavors.

Thanks all around guys,
                        your information really helps me.

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