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NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Here’s how to en­sure you al­ways get the best pos­si­ble ex­po­sure in-cam­era

There’s not much point in shoot­ing brack­eted im­ages if you can get the right ex­po­sure with ease, so this is your ex­cuse to go out and look for the sort of high-con­trast con­di­tions that would nor­mally make you reach for an ND grad… or head home in de­spair if you don’t own one.

01 Learn to love con­trast! Brack­et­ing comes into its own in tricky, high-con­trast light­ing, when your Nikon’s sen­sor isn’t be able to cap­ture both the dark­est shad­ows and bright­est high­lights in the same shot. One of the main ad­van­tages of brack­et­ing is that you get a range of ex­po­sures to choose from.

02 Same same, but dif­fer­ent Al­though a tri­pod isn’t es­sen­tial for brack­et­ing, it’s al­ways a good idea to use one when you’re shoot­ing land­scapes in any case, and if you plan to merge your im­ages later on, a tri­pod will help keep the com­po­si­tion con­sis­tent, and make shots eas­ier to align in Pho­to­shop.

03 Set the stan­dard The brack­et­ing op­tions are in the Flash and brack­et­ing cus­tom set­tings menu. Use the stan­dard AE mode, so that the set­ting that changes is the shut­ter speed. If you’re shoot­ing in shut­ter-pri­or­ity mode, though, the aper­ture will change rather than the shut­ter speed.

04 Dial it in Higher-end Nikons, such as the D610 pic­tured, fea­ture a ded­i­cated brack­et­ing but­ton. On smaller D-SLRs you will have to use the rear LCD. Use the rear dial to set the num­ber of shots (eg three frames), and the front wheel to set the in­cre­ment be­tween shots (eg one stop).

05 Make a start Set the ‘cor­rect’ ex­po­sure as your start­ing point (ie with the ex­po­sure level indi­ca­tor lined up with the ‘0’). For our shot, we set aper­ture-pri­or­ity mode and Spot me­ter­ing, and then used the mid-tone of the grass in the mid­dle of the frame to set our av­er­age, ‘best-guess’ ex­po­sure.

06 Fire away Fi­nally, se­lect the self timer mode on your shoot­ing dial. This will al­low you to shoot hands-free and pre­vent any cam­era shake. Once you’ve pressed the shut­ter release, the cam­era will wait for the time you’ve spec­i­fied, then fire off three im­ages at three dif­fer­ent ex­po­sures.

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