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The Sky Is White And Should Be Blue!?!

Sun Jun 24, 2001 3:08 am

When I photograph aircraft, I have noticed that the sky always turns out white in the pictures, not blue like it actually was when I took them. It is not overexposed or anything, it's simply not blue. Does this have to do with me not using a certain filter, mabye a UV filter or something? Or could it be the result of the limits of my print film, I am shooting fuji superia 100 and 200. My other theory is that it may have to do with metering the plane and as a result the sky goes white, but since I am using evaluative metering, how likely does this really seem?
Thanks in advance for the help.
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RE: The Sky Is White And Should Be Blue!?!

Sun Jun 24, 2001 5:48 am

It is overexposed... That is, properly exposing the main subject (I'd guess an aircraft  Smile/happy/getting dizzy leaves the sky (which is usually far brighter) way overexposed.
You can compensate by using a graduated neutral density grey or blue filter and positioning it so it covers the sky and little else.
I wish I were flying
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RE: The Sky Is White And Should Be Blue!?!

Sun Jun 24, 2001 6:42 am

try scanning the negative, i'll bet ya the sky is blue on the neg..

try it, if you have access to a neg scanner...

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RE: The Sky Is White And Should Be Blue!?!

Sun Jun 24, 2001 7:51 am

I have had the same problem for some time and still haven't totally figured out how to prevent it. I find that if it is a bright sunny day, using a polarizing filter will ensure that the sky is a deep blue. This often comes at the price of an getting an underexposed picture that sometimes has vignetting. I have been able to deal with the underexposed pictures by adjusting the gamma/levels in Photoshop, but can't edit out the vignetting.

The only other luck I have had is waiting to photograph on days where the sky is blue but has sort of a haze near the horizon. For some reason, this tends to give me results similar to using the polarizer, but without the vignetting.

I still have a lot to learn and will be watching the responses to your post so I can improve my own photography too. Good luck.

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RE: The Sky Is White And Should Be Blue!?!

Mon Jun 25, 2001 5:02 am

According to my experience, it depends also from the position of the sun. Were the pics taken at noon or later in the afternoon? Did you have the sun exactly in your back, or more from the side? Then, I think, it depends also, how much zoom you have to use on you lenses.

To really have a blue sky, I prefer to go later in the afternoon (that's for ZRH). That way I am sure, that I have the sun in the back, and the light conditions are much better, than on noon. The problem is only, that the interesting aircraft leave ZRH around noon and don't wait for the spotters ...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

I don't think, it has to do with the Fuji Superia. I have also used a few rolls of it in the past, and I am really happy with the results.


dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
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RE: The Sky Is White And Should Be Blue!?!

Mon Jun 25, 2001 9:18 pm

Any exposure taken in the conditions you describe results in an exposure problem - either the underside of the aircraft is going to be underexposed or the sky will be overexposed. You, as the photographer, have to make the creative decision as to how you want the image to appear and balance the exposure accordingly.

In the case of print films, however, the problem is made worse at the printing stage. Invariably in subjects like this the autoexposure system in the printer will attempt to brighten the underside of the aircraft and leave your skies looking very washed out.


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
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RE: The Sky Is White And Should Be Blue!?!

Mon Jun 25, 2001 9:42 pm

Colin, if I understand you right, then the negative might be better exposed, than the print, right?

dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
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RE: The Sky Is White And Should Be Blue!?!

Mon Jun 25, 2001 10:30 pm

Prints are "corrected" during processing for color balance, hue and exposure.

Look at this picture. This was a slide, although it could just as well have been a scanned negative.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Charles Falk

Unless you tell the processor NOT to do any corrections, (and assuming that he's not a part-timer 16 year old and actually knows how to operate the machine) you will never get a print back with so much blue, as the machine will automatically assume that the blue cast is unintentional, and will adjust the colors. The end result with this picture would probably be somethink like a blueish or even redish grey sky, and the plane of wierd colors.

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