Ex­pose for at­mos­phere

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Learn how the amount of light you choose to cap­ture can de­ter­mine mood and depth

Be­yond the es­sen­tials of ex­po­sure man­age­ment such as main­tain­ing high­light and shadow in­for­ma­tion, the bright­ness of a file has a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the tone of the im­age. As bright­ness in­creases, ap­par­ent colour sat­u­ra­tion falls, some­times pro­duc­ing a washed-out look that di­min­ishes the rich­ness of tone ex­pected by view­ers. While over­all ex­po­sure can be pulled back by in­creas­ing the shut­ter speed or clos­ing down the aper­ture, se­lec­tively con­trol­ling high­lights is a com­mon chal­lenge. The high-con­trast na­ture of the golden hours means that even if colour and de­tail are ren­dered well in shadow ar­eas, high­lights can still ap­pear de­void of sat­u­ra­tion or struc­ture. While there are nu­mer­ous meth­ods of con­trol­ling con­trast, ex­pert land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher chris­tian her­ing takes sev­eral steps in-cam­era to in­crease shadow and high­light drama. “Bring a tri­pod – shoot­ing at base iso helps to use the full dy­namic range of the sen­sor, but hand­held shots will be im­pos­si­ble. hav­ing a set of grad­u­ated nD fil­ters handy helps to cap­ture the whole dy­namic range of the scene,” says chris­tian. Fur­ther dif­fi­cul­ties arise when shoot­ing highly tex­tured sub­jects or when mov­ing wa­ter is pre­set. The ‘peaks’ in the to­pog­ra­phy of these sur­faces can be­come over­ex­posed and form dis­tract­ing points of light in the frame. Wa­ter is a com­mon chal­lenge, since the sur­face of streams and oceans can quickly lose high­light in­for­ma­tion. Fur­ther­more, the hori­zon is of­ten the bright­est area of the frame and can not be eas­ily man­aged by nD grads. Many of these prob­lems arise be­cause the pho­tog­ra­pher for­gets to com­pen­sate for the rapidly chang­ing po­si­tion of the sun. in these cases, first try ad­just­ing your shoot­ing an­gle, de­pen­dant on the time, to con­trol how many bright high­lights are in­cluded in the com­po­si­tion. se­condly, use a hard-edged grad or a strip fil­ter, so that the lower sky re­ceives ad­e­quate fil­tra­tion. For a more creative use of light and colour, try un­der­ex­pos­ing by two or more stops to work with sil­hou­ettes. Lower your cam­era an­gle to cre­ate good sub­ject sep­a­ra­tion from the en­vi­ron­ment and a clearly dis­tinct graphic shape. con­versely, over­ex­pose by around half a stop to pro­duce a bright, airy feel in dif­fused light.



Most fre­quent just af­ter sun­rise, low-level mist or haze re­duces vis­i­bil­ity and colour sat­u­ra­tion. Aim for a brighter ex­po­sure to ex­ploit the del­i­cate tones, which can de­velop band­ing if un­der­ex­posed

Left mid­dle


use this light­ing to fo­cus on de­tail and tex­ture more than tone. shoot at 90 de­grees to the sun for max­i­mum ef­fect, but also try 45 de­grees for a defin­ing rim light on trees and rocks



This light can be harsh and is prone to lens flares. how­ever, by bal­anc­ing ex­po­sure via dig­i­tal blend­ing or us­ing neu­tral den­sity gra­di­ent fil­ters, de­tail can be with­held and rich colour em­pha­sised



Ad­just the bias of your com­po­si­tion for the land and sky, where the great­est colour and drama of the scene are found

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