I took this photograph yesterday afternoon at around 5:15pm EDT, about two hours before sunset:
The sky, in my perception, was bright, and my little subject is standing in the same lighting as the bushes behind her. She's well-exposed, but the sky and background foliage appear darkened — even though they were most definitely not in the shade. To my eye, everything was bright, and while I'm not unhappy with the contrast in the final result, it seems a bit strange.
This is a linear histogram of just the foreground subject (selected by hand):
and here's the same for the background:
and for completeness, the full-image histogram:
Here's an iPhone snap taken a few minutes later; she's in the shade in this, but when the above picture was taken, she was in the bright sun by the shrubs you can see in the center background, as are the shrubs themselves.
That's far from a technically-great image by any measure, but you can see the brightness of the sunny areas.
Here's the key EXIF from the image:
Date : 2012:03:23 Time : 16:12:54 Camera Model Name : PENTAX K-7 Lens Type : smc PENTAX-DA* 200mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM Focal Length : 200.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 300.0 mm) Flash : Off AF Point Selected : Center Metering Mode : Multi-segment Effective LV : 13.5 Exposure Compensation : 0 ISO : 160 Aperture : f/4.0 Shutter Speed : 1/1000
What's going on here? Is this somehow an effect of the 200mm focal length I used? And if so, how could that be? (I wouldn't think this to be the case, except it's not something I've really noticed with my more-typically-used shorter lenses, even in similar outdoor situations.) Or is it simply a matter of the difference in tones and reflectivity of her bright clothes and light skin as compared to the green bushes? Are my eye and brain compensating for the dynamic range such that my judgment of the scene doesn't match reality? That seems plausible, but the sky was definitely bright — we've been having uncharacteristically lovely spring weather in Boston — and it appears rather dim in the photo.