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I am planning on visiting a desert country in a few weeks, and naturally take a few pictures there. While browsing Instagram and the internet in general, I stumbled across photos which (at least to my amateur eyes) exhibited a similar effect: The (cloudless) sky has a very soft gradient, and the sun's glare appears to be dimmed, like behind a veil.

I have taken a screenshot from this video: enter image description here

I understand that the result is most likely from a mix of conditions, equipment and post-production, I am not sure however, which of these factors prevails in this case.

My assumption is that some kind of ND or CPL filters have been used - is this correct?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Set the metering to be in small area not over or near to the sun. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2023 at 12:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov: OK, thanks. Does the metering mode play a role? Or do I need to manually override it anyway (because there are different light levels in the picture)? \$\endgroup\$
    – pat3d3r
    Jun 14, 2023 at 13:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov: This looks like it - thanks for the explanation, I will try it. \$\endgroup\$
    – pat3d3r
    Jun 14, 2023 at 14:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do not forget in post not to try to compensate/correct the overexposed sun. Just let it to be white (or yellow) and edit the scene to have normal illumination for the rest of the scene \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2023 at 15:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov: OK, I will take this in consideration too - thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – pat3d3r
    Jun 15, 2023 at 17:44

1 Answer 1

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Reduce contrast. The video frame grab has reduced contrast to try and fit more of the scene's dynamic range into the image. That makes edges between different brightness levels less distinct.

If you're saving to JPEG, do this via the camera settings before you take the shot. This will give much better results than trying to reduce contrast of a JPEG image after the fact.

If you're saving raw image data, you can set it in camera and hope that your raw convertor follows the instruction at the starting point it shows you. Either way, with raw image data you can change it after the fact with no effect on the original data. What you see on your screen is never "THE raw photo", it's only one possible interpretation of the raw image data as determined by your raw conversion application's default settings.

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