Nikon soft­ware

Ge­orge Cairns ex­plains how to re­veal de­tails in shad­ows and high­lights

NPhoto - - Contents -

If the sky is too bright or the land too dark in a pho­to­graph, you can cor­rect it us­ing Nikon Cap­ture NX-D – we’ll take you through the process step-by-step

When shoot­ing high­con­trast land­scapes you could try to cap­ture an evenly ex­posed scene us­ing your Nikon’s Ma­trix me­ter­ing mode. This will cause your cam­era to an­a­lyse light read­ings across the whole scene and then cap­ture an ‘av­er­age’ ex­po­sure. This com­pro­mise ap­proach may en­able you to cap­ture a more bal­anced ex­po­sure, but it can still lead to blown-out high­lights that are hard (or im­pos­si­ble) to re­cover, es­pe­cially if you only have a com­pressed JPEG to work with.

By set­ting your Nikon to shoot in Man­ual mode, you can take a light read­ing from the sky and then ad­just aper­ture and shut­ter speed so that the bright­est ar­eas of the sky are cor­rectly ex­posed. This will cause the ground to look very dark, but if you’re shoot­ing in RAW then you can be con­fi­dent that Cap­ture NX-D’s Tone (De­tail) panel will en­able you to re­veal any miss­ing shadow de­tail. It’s worth pri­ori­tis­ing to ex­pose this high­light de­tail cor­rectly be­cause it is much harder to re­cover blown-out (clipped) pix­els if you over-ex­pose your land­scape’s sky. Un­der-ex­posed shad­ows are much eas­ier to re­cover, es­pe­cially if you’re work­ing with an un­com­pressed RAW file.

You need to treat the lo­ca­tion shoot as half of the im­age-making process, with your work in Cap­ture NX-D as the other half. When you view an un­pro­cessed RAW file on your Nikon’s dis­play, the shad­ows can lack colour and de­tail. How­ever, you can be con­fi­dent that the RAW file con­tains the shadow de­tail that was vis­i­ble to the naked eye while on lo­ca­tion, and equally con­fi­dent that Cap­ture NX-D’s se­lec­tive tonetweak­ing tools will be able to brighten up the shad­ows with­out over-ex­pos­ing the cor­rectly me­tered sky. Cap­ture NX-D – Nikon’s free dig­i­tal darkroom soft­ware – can also re­cover colours hid­den in the RAW file’s shad­ows (such as the heather in our source im­age).

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