Too Much Sunshine?

As much as I love sunshine and appreciate its many advantages in taking pictures, it can also be a real headache, particularly in capturing whites. This shot of Black-Bellied Plovers in non-breeding colors illustrates the problem


Plovers at Nisqually

There was not enough color left in the water to pull out the blues. Though digital photography is almost miraculous in its ability to pull colors our of shadows, and CRW allows you to recover slight overexposure, it’s not uncommon to blow all the colors out in bright areas, one of the reasons I often under exposure a full step.

The problem is increased when you’re trying to photography white birds in flight like this Great Egret:

Great Egret in Flight

Shooting at 1/1250 second helps to freeze the motion, but it almost insures that your initial exposure, before adjustments, will look like a white silhouette with few feathers showing. I’m not sure this really looks as white as it does in life, but it’s also impossible to see the feathers the way I could.

I was forced to make even more of a trade-off in this shot

Great Egret Landing

because it seems to me that the feathers are the most important feature of the shot. In reality, though, there was no dingy gray in the wings.

Like most good things, sunshine brings it’s own costs, and don’t even get me started on trying to take a good group shot of a soccer team on a sunny day. I’ll take a cloud-covered day every time.