One thing that we photographers struggle with is shooting into the light. The best way to deal with this is to shoot bracketed images; by that I mean shoot the same image 5 times at +2 +1 0 -1 -2 stops and then merge them for an HDR image.
Well, most of us do not want that kerfuffle, for a simple image, and also its very difficult for wildlife, as they tend to move, which gives some bizarre results.
so what to do?
Here is an image of a Red-billed blue magpie that I took last week, against a very pale sky...and see the original image below that.
as you can see below, the image as shot (which was +1 exposure compensation already) is still very dark. There are reasons why I have left this underexposed...as I wanted to capture the details in the tail feathers, and these would have been blown out as highlights had I exposed for the other parts of the bird.
It took me around 15 seconds in post production to lift the shadows - and end up with the very pleasing image above.
Now, it is NOT always true that underexposing is always best (as the "rule" seems to be); for example, there is more image information in a RAW image in the right side of the histogram/greys and whites; and its often better to overexpose in low light and high ISO. Ill have another image to show about this effect tomorrow.