Digital photography is ever evolving and has come a long way since it began. But one of the most common complaints, especially with compact cameras, is the inability to deal with a wide range of exposure in a single shot. By this I mean a bright areas (eg the sun) get burnt out easily, leaving you with a tell tale white blob in the middle of your picture. So here a few tips on preventing burnt out from ruining your shot:
1) Shoot with the sun behind you
This technique allows you to use the sun’s light to light a subject as well as avoiding any nasty burn outs. It is really that simple!
2) Put a subject between you and the sun when shooting upwards & control the exposure
This Oceanic at Elphinstone was cruising just below the surface, and shooting upwards it was hard to deal with all the light streaming in. The best way to deal with this is to use the exposure controls on your camera. You want to try to set the exposure for the brightest part of the image. Do this by pointing the camera focus at the birhgtest parts of the image and half pressing. This will then lock the exposure. Keeping the button half pressed, you can then recompose the shot and fully press the shutter.
Another handy control to use is the exposure compensation (-/+ button) or on more advanced models, you can actually use the F stops and shutter speeds. By exposing for the brightest part of the image you will always make the rest of the image seem darker. But as there is no light on the underside of the shark (turn off the flash) then end result is an arty looking silhouette.
3) Use a bit of flash to fill the foreground
This is a really effective technique and can produce some excellent results. In this shot the sinlight coming through the Giannis D in Egypt looked beautiful to the eye but would have been something of a mess on camera.
I have used the steering column to block out the white light of the sun. It creates a pleasing halo effect but also stops the nasty blob from spoiling the shot. A small punch of flash in the foreground helps to light the steering column from the front.
4) Make a feature out of the burnout!
There are a few occasions where you can actually make a feature out of burn out! I quite like the effect of light streaming through portholes the Umbria wreck in Sudan. So whilst this shot is technically over exposed in areas, it still works as a picture.