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

NPhoto - - Contents -

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...

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