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Lesson 6 from: How to Get Started in Nature Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

6. Exposure

Next Lesson: Focus

Lesson Info


We're going to keep the exposure section rather short I talk about this a lot in my longer classes I there's a little plug I got I got a nature and landscape class coming up where I'm going to spend two days and I'll spend a whole section on exposure there are the auto modes on most cameras and I have weighed those like the plague I want to be in a manual mode where I have direct control over the shutter speeds and apertures because it's very important in this type of photography in general, I am pretty much always in manual exposure and the reason I'm there is because I have very direct control things were not going to change on me and generally I have time to make those setting adjustments and once you get used to it you actually get very, very quick at setting your camera and once you've set it up the first time for that day, you're just making minor changes from one spot to the next for the most part so here is kind of how I work. I got my camera in manual as you can see on the lef...

t hand side I'm working with my light meter overexpose underexposed now I need to make a setting adjustment and in the background s o is just set all right? This probably said it s a one hundred with my camera now I need to figure out apertures and shutter speeds and I need to make a choice one or the other it depends on what I'm shooting ah lot of times depth of field and focus is very important and so I'm going to set a fair bit of depth of field it could be any number for a variety of reese yes, but I'm going to set that one first and then I'm going to look at my light meter and I'm gonna adjust my shutter speed until they even out and no matter what shutter speed I get teo I can use it if I have a tripod if I don't have a tripod then I need to start making some compromises potentially making sure that I can hand hold the camera here's a good example of why I used manual exposure this is old faithful yellowstone national park yes, I know it's been photographed a million times I'm not the first person of photographic but you know what? I don't care I want to photograph it all right? So I'm shooting the syriza pictures and you know anyone who's been to how many people here have been old faithful raise your hand okay about half of you uh you know when old faithful erupts interrupts for a couple of minutes and then it's over and so you kind of stand around and you know about what? It's going to rap. And then you have, like, a minute minute and a half to get your shots before it's all over. So I had scouted out several different places that I wanted as different four grounds for a particular shot. And so I was quickly grabbing these shots. I had figured out my exposure ahead of time. Now you'll notice this is what my light meter did. Now I had set my light meter in the first picture on the left to be a little over exposed because there's a lot of white and snow, and so it should be a little bit on the over exposed side, but as I moved the camera around, the exposure indicator moved around quite a bit. Now the reason it's doing that is because composition wise and content wise there's a lot more white in the photographs as we move to the right hand side of the screen. Now let's, imagine the same scenario, but I'm in one of the automated modes, and when I say one of the automated modes, I mean anything other than manual. Okay, because everything other than manual, the camera has final control over how bright and dark your picture is, and this is what the camera would. Put out from the camera because what it's trying to do is it's trying to balance everything on my initial setting and so in the first picture I've set the camera at a plus one third over exposure because there's a lot of brightness but the second picture is even brighter than that and it's trying to make its own accommodations the camera doesn't know what I'm photographing all it knows is the amount of light coming in the camera and if you know what you're photographing, I think you should be in manual most of the time because you can set up the right exposure and keep it the same in a situation where the lighting is constant so in this situation the lighting is not changing at all and so I'm going to choose manual exposure this is the salt flat in death valley and ah lot of times photographers are trying to maximize the depth of field so let me just kind of run you through the thought process on how we shoot this most common standard of landscape photography have my apertures my shutter speeds my s oh it's a given that I want my camera at the lowest number so possible now there's some cameras that go down to a low one setting you don't want to go there unless you absolutely need to it's the lowest numbered setting that your camera has and that's going to range between sixty four and two hundred depending on the model camera you have my camera is I s a one hundred in this case I'm really trying to get the maximum amount of depth of field in this case I need to go to f twenty two and some people don't like going to have twenty two for something called the fraction we don't time to go into it and I don't care I need the depth of field and if I need the depth of field I'm going to go to f twenty two what sort of shutter speed do I want to go to? Well, it'd be really convenient to be a one hundred twenty fifth of a second that way I could hand hold the camera and I could quickly move the camera from place to place but if I look at my light meter you are way too underexposed I need to adjust something and it's the shutter speed that I'm going to adjust because there's nothing moving in this photograph and so this photograph was taken f twenty two two seconds that I s a one hundred critical having a shattered a tripod in order to get the shot especially one that gets extremely low to the ground now for those of you who have just purchased likas brand new camera that does not have batteries and does not have a light meter and sells for about seven thousand dollars okay, I've got nobody in the audience raising their hands here. Uh, but if you want it to be able to set the exposure without even looking at the light meter there's an old rule of thumb it's the sunny sixteen rule and you should absolutely know this if you are in full sun, the exposure is f sixteen and a shutter speed that is the same as your s o all right, so let's, look at an example. This is one of my favorite photographs from my winter trip to yellowstone earlier this year, so we are in full sun, right? And we want a fair bit of depth of field. All right, so what are we going to set here with the sonny sixteen? Well, we're going to assume we're at s o one hundred just to start with it's the sunny sixteen. So of course we're going to set f sixteen on the aperture. Now, what shutter speed should we set? Well, whatever is closest to it, so one hundred in number and that would be one twenty five and that's where this picture was shot out f sixteen one twenty fifth, one hundred sl you could set it at sixty would probably be pretty close this one's a little bit brighter than average, so one twenty five does a good job there? And so if you can remember that, you could just set that up as you head out the door on a bright, sunny day. Yeah, and that's. Kind of a good default position to be in just to start shooting pictures. But that's. The sunny sixteen rule.

Class Materials

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Nature and Landscape Course Notes

Ratings and Reviews

Danette Zak

I got this course for free thru View Bug and John Greengo is an amazing teacher. He explains nature photography with a sense of ease and he really makes you want to get out there and keep trying to get THE photo, that the day you go out there may not be the right day or right time, but to keep trying and you'll get it! He also encourages you to get out there to the same places other great photographers have been and make it your own, to get your own experiences. Yes, I recommend this course and any courses he instructs, I hope to take another one of his courses in the near future!

a Creativelive Student

Very instructive! And John Greengo is a great teacher. He knows very well how to go deeply without putting you in a difficult situation. I have followed almost all of his courses, and this one is one of the best! Don't hesitate if you are a beginner or even and advanced photographer interested in Nature photography.

Vilius Senkus

Perfect class, loved it. Short, concentrated, nice examples, pasionate speaker. Just want to grab my cam and go apply new knowledges.

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