Bracket for exposure
Tom Welsh explains how shooting three different exposures of the same high-contrast scene will ensure you always get your exposure spot on
Get detail throughout your shot and expose perfectly with exposure bracketing
Getting an even exposure across a very wide-angle landscape shot can be challenging, especially if you’re working in bright sunlight, when contrast is likely to be more pronounced. To help with this, all Nikon D-SLRs boast a feature called Auto Exposure Bracketing, or AEB. Bracketing essentially involves taking multiple versions of the same image at different exposure settings, to maximise your chances of getting at least one of them spot on – or at least as spot on as you can given the lighting conditions.
Here’s how it works: you take a photo as normal, using the settings that you think will give you the best possible exposure, then your Nikon automatically captures one image brighter than your chosen exposure, and another one darker. How much brighter and darker your bracketed images are can be adjusted from 0.3 to three stops, depending on your camera model.
As you can’t always be sure whether an image is correctly exposed until you see it on a computer, having a selection gives you more choice.
You can also merge the photographs in post-production to get the best out of each, creating an effect akin to that of using an ND grad (see page 48). Although you’ll have to spend more time in the digital darkroom than you would if you shot with an ND grad, the effect is far more flexible, as you aren’t limited to darkening what’s above the horizon – you can include whatever parts of the three exposures you’d like to show, wherever they are in the scene.
Whether you use Photoshop or not, here’s how to bracket your shots...