Public Lab Research note

exposure settings to balloon mapping

by mjain26 | July 29, 2014 19:51 29 Jul 19:51 | #10994 | #10994

Details about the problem

When conducting my youth balloon mapping workshop, I ran into the issue of the images being overexposed. So I played around with my camera, and along with the help of the Public Lab community, I reached a solution....

My solution

There are four important settings other than the continuous shooting.

1. ISO To make the camera less sensitive to light, choose a lower ISO. Meaning, if it was very bight out, you want the ISO to be lower than if it was dark. On my camera, you can do that by 1) hitting the center button with "func. set" on it, 2) scrolling to the ISO setting, and 3) adjusting it from there.

2. White balance Before shooting, make sure the choose the correct white balance setting. On my camera, they are classified by your environment (e.x. day light, cloudy, fluorescent, etc.). To do this, 1) hitting the center button with "func. set" on it, 2)scroll to the white balance setting, and 3) adjust.

3. Infinity Make sure the camera is on the infinity setting, no matter the weather conditions or the environment. On my camera, it is the button to the left of the "func. set" button. You can choose between "macro", "normal", and "infinity".

4. Exposure Before shooting, point to lens towards the sky and adjust the exposure setting accordingly. On my camera, it is the button right about the "func. set" button. Click it and scroll from side to side. You will be able to notice on the screen the adjustment. Choose the clearest setting.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Good tips. Did you figure out which settings caused your balloon flight photos to be overexposed?
It looked like some of your photos were exposed well, while others were overexposed. Were any underexposed?
It's harder to explain variable exposure like that. The white balance and focus mode would not cause poor exposure. Over exposure could have been because ISO was set very high or exposure compensation was set to a positive number. I think exposure compensation is what your refer to in your number 4 (the square icon with +/-). Another possibility is that the camera was set to manual mode and the exposure was set wrong, but not all cameras have manual mode. What kind of camera did you use?
For a bright day, typical settings might be:

  • ISO at the lowest (80 or 100),
  • White balance on sunny or cloudy,
  • Focus mode on infinity,
  • Exposure compensation on 0 or -2/3.

How did you trigger the shutter? If you used a rubber band, that could explain everything.


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Indeed, we did use a rubber band with a knot (er...small ball of gaf tape) underneath per the instructions here

determine how you will trigger the camera, (we suggest a rubber band)

and here

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