What if you want to expose everything well? Fortunately, it is possible with a special type of lens filter called a Split Neutral Density Filter. It’s basically a square filter (you’ll need a filter frame for it) that is gradiated so that one half is darker than the other. You would position and rotate the filter so that the darker half covers the brighter side of your scene. This narrows the dynamic range of the scene so that your camera can achieve more detail in the darker areas. A standard Neutral Density Filter will help a tiny bit as well. While you won’t get the same results as a split ND filter, it will help to reduce the contrast in the scene slightly. It’s not a perfect solution, but it certainly helps if you have no other option.
To get a better understanding of your camera’s limitations, I would highly recommend that you take some shots of high contrast scenes such as the one shown here. To be a good photographer, you need to be fully aware of the limitations of your equipment.
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