|Clearing Storm Over The Valley - Stallion Springs, California|
In order to avoid blown highlights in the distant sky I chose to underexpose the foreground.
Every camera has a different dynamic range. Some cameras have a larger dynamic range while some cameras have a smaller dynamic range. According to DxOMark, the Nikon D810 has the largest dynamic range out of all the cameras that they've tested, while my Nokia Lumia 1020 ranks 278th.
Cameras have their largest dynamic range at their base ISO. As the ISO increases the dynamic range decreases. Any camera will have a noticeably larger dynamic range at ISO 100 than at ISO 1600.
|Rushing - Carlsbad, California|
I allowed the crashing waves to be overexposed so that the shadows wouldn't be distractingly deep.
This is a part of photography that drives me nuts, but it is a reality that all photographers must deal with. You will lose details in parts of your images. You will have blown highlights and deep black shadows. It's inevitable. You've just got to live with it.
It might be that you are more concerned with highlight details than shadow details, so you underexpose the image slightly to retain the highlight details at the expense of shadow details. Or perhaps you are more interested in retaining shadow details so you overexpose slightly.
|Fillmore & Western Stripes - Fillmore, California|
There are overexposed highlights and underexposed shadows, but balanced carefully it works.
Ideally, in a perfect world, you don't want blown highlights or deep black shadows in a photograph. But the world isn't perfect and ideal is rare. Besides, limitations can be good if you creatively use them to your advantage. Think about how the limited dynamic range can benefit your photograph.
Exposure is a careful balancing act. Too much light and your highlights are blown. Too little light and your shadows are blobs of black. Often you have to make small compromises to get it right. Carefully and thoughtfully consider the highlights and shadows when determining what the exposure should be.