EX­PO­SURE 15 secs, f/11, ISO100 LENS 35mm f/1.8

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To make the most of the day, Car­men met Adam at 4am at Blea Tarn, near Am­ble­side, for sun­rise. The plan was to spend the morn­ing at the tarn (lake), then work their way across the area pho­tograph­ing fells (moun­tains) and lakes, chas­ing the light and shoot­ing past dusk. First, though, Car­men sug­gested Adam change his usual ap­proach to land­scapes.

Tech­nique as­sess­ment

Shoot Aper­ture pri­or­ity Car­men says... For any­one get­ting started with land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy, like Adam, I rec­om­mend set­ting Aper­ture Pri­or­ity ex­po­sure mode be­cause this will give to­tal con­trol over the aper­ture while the cam­era takes care of the shut­ter speed. This way you can ini­tially con­cen­trate on get­ting the cor­rect depth of field, which is largely de­ter­mined by the aper­ture, with­out feel­ing over­whelmed by wor­ry­ing about get­ting all the other set­tings, like shut­ter speed and ISO, cor­rect. Play­back dis­play op­tions Car­men says... I al­ways en­sure that the High­lights and RGB His­togram op­tions are ticked in my Play­back Dis­play Op­tions menu be­fore I go out shoot­ing, and made sure that Adam did the same. This gives a quick vis­ual clue as to whether high­lights are clipped by flash­ing them in black and white dur­ing im­age play­back, and the RGB His­togram alerts you to any other clip­ping is­sues that you may be un­aware of. Ba ck-but­ton fo­cus­ing Car­men says... I showed Adam how to en­able back-but­ton fo­cus­ing un­der Cus­tom Set­ting>Con­trols>As­sign AE-L/ AF-L. He could then fo­cus by press­ing the AE-L/AF-L but­ton, while pre­vent­ing the cam­era from fo­cus­ing when half­press­ing the shut­ter re­lease. That meant he could pre-fo­cus, then hit the shut­ter when the light was right, with­out wait­ing for AF to lock on be­fore tak­ing the shot.

Our Ap­pren­tice says… Be­fore set­ting up my cam­era on the tri­pod, Car­men first sug­gested that I put my bag down and walk back and forth to find a com­po­si­tion I was happy with. After see­ing the re­flec­tion of the moun­tains in the wa­ter I de­cided to iso­late it, so I framed it up to ex­clude the fore­ground and fo­cused solely on the moun­tains and the wa­ter. I ini­tially started to shoot at f/5.6, but Car­men sug­gested I stop down to f/11 to in­crease my depth of field. That way I could be sure that the en­tire scene would be sharp from front to back.

Stay­ing solid

A sturdy tri­pod is the land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher’s best friend. Keep­ing the cam­era steady means ex­po­sure times can lengthen to any du­ra­tion, even min­utes. It also frees the hands to com­pose a shot pre­cisely. Car­men ex­plained to Adam that he should al­ways ex­tend the thick­est, top­most legs first, and only use the cen­tre-col­umn as a last re­sort. With the cen­tre col­umn ex­tended the cam­era can be prone to sway­ing in the wind, risk­ing blurred shots.

Crop­ping in

This shot was taken on a 35mm f/1.8 lens, but on a crop sen­sor DX body, like Adam’s D5100, the ef­fec­tive fo­cal length be­came roughly 52mm (tak­ing into ac­count the 1.5x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion fac­tor). That meant that Adam didn’t have to swap to a 50mm lens to get a sim­i­lar an­gle of view. How­ever, this mag­ni­fi­ca­tion ef­fect only crops out the edges of the frame; it doesn’t have any ef­fect on the per­spec­tive dis­tor­tion, which means that the im­age still bears the dis­tortive char­ac­ter­is­tics of a 35mm lens.

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