I have been asked many times how I go about shooting my landscapes so I figured now is the time to break it down on the blog. Keep in mind, there are many different ways to go about shooting scapes, but I am focusing on what works for me and the enjoyment I get out of it. Some photographers use HDR or manual exposure blending to balance the light but that just isn't my style. I prefer to use traditional photography techniques by using on camera filters to balance the exposure between the sky and ground. I really find enjoyment in going out in the field, at the right time of day, and waiting for the perfect light to capture a scene rather than sitting behind my computer and 'fixing it in post'. Turd polishing if you will. I will try to cover all bases but if you feel that I've left something out or you are unclear on something, please leave a comment and I will try my best to address it.
What you will need:
A good, sturdy tripod
A set of graduated neutral density filters & modular filter holder
A remote shutter release (or self timer on your camera to avoid camera shake)
Good light, nice clouds, and an interesting foreground (sunrise and sunset are ideal times to shoot scapes but also the trickiest to expose for)
What is an ND Filter? An ND filter (neutral density) is a filter that blocks out light in certain increments or stops. They come in many different varieties. Generally, for landscape photography a neutral density filter is used to block out light in the sky portion of the composition as the sky is usually much brighter and it acts to balance out the exposure throughout the frame.
Here are some types of ND filters-
Full ND- A filter that has solid light stopping power throughout the filter range.
Soft graduated -A filter that is clear in the lower portion and gets darker in a soft blend, gradually to the top of the filter. (best for most landscapes to hold back the sky)
Hard graduated - A filter that has a hard line in the middle of it that separates it's ND quality to clear portion in a distinct line. (best for seascapes where there is a distinct horizon)
Here is a full ND filter pictured below. In this case, it's a 9 stop ND for extremely long exposures in broad daylight.
I use a set of soft grad ND filters (.03 (1 stop), .06 (2 stops), .09 (3 stops) with my modular filter holder. The modular filter holder has a screw in adapter ring, and the filters slide in which is great for adjusting the horizon line to match the nd blend on the filter.
My landscape setup:
Things you should know:
I'll leave you with some of my landscape images using these tools and techniques along with the EXIF info. I hope you enjoyed this blog!
10mm, f/22, 25 seconds- .09 (3-stop) grad nd filter at sunset
24mm, f/22, 30 seconds. 9 stop full nd + .09 (3 stop) grad nd - midday, overcast
20mm, f/22, 100 seconds. 9 stop full nd + .09 (3stop) grad nd. Afternoon, just before sunset
20mm, f/16, 1/25th second. .06 (2stop) grad nd. Midday, overcast
10mm, f/22, 30 seconds. 9 stop full nd + .09 (3 stop) grad nd. Just before sunset. breaking the rule of thirds here.
10mm, f/13, 70 seconds. 9 stop full nd + .09 (3 stop) grad nd. Sunset.
10mm, f/11, 25 seconds. 9 stop full nd + 3 stop grad nd. midday 10mm, f/22, 60 seconds. 9 stop + 3 stop grad nd. Sunset
10mm, f/22, 20 seconds. 9 stop full nd + .09 (3 stop) grad nd. Midday, overcast.
Visit the main site for more landscapes: here
I will be hosting a workshop in Western Connecticut on these techniques in May. Drop an email for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for more information on the Facebook page here