HOT SHOT #1
EXPOSURE 15 secs, f/11, ISO100 LENS 35mm f/1.8
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.
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.
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.
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.