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Exposure Modes

Lesson 10 from: Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

10. Exposure Modes

Lesson Info

Exposure Modes

let's talk about exposure mouths you know these things that dial on the top your camera with the pictures on it and the letters where should we set that well these little icons down at the bottom of the screen that I cz set up for kind of general basic picture taking yeah it kind of gets you set up in the right areas for certain shutter speeds and apertures in some situations but it has a lot of child safety locks that don't allow you control we want to get in and be able to control our camera manually now the programme mode well the camera's figuring shutter speeds and apertures out but we can get in there and have some sort of input about what's going on so the camera is going to figure out shutter speeds and apertures in case you've ever wondered what is the program this master program what is it what's the dictating what's what's the rule of the program and the rule of the program is don't let this person have to slow shutter speed it has no idea that you might be on a tripod it's ...

thinking oh this person's hand holding the camera we better get him outta sixtieth of a second or faster and if you're on the tripod that would be totally the wrong decision in many situations so one of the things you have to be careful of in the programme mode is that with subtle different composition changes that you might make with the camera and the background changes just a little bit your camera could be changing shutter speeds in apertures so you could go well I liked the shutter speed an aperture move the camera one degree and suddenly the numbers are going to change on you this is one of the reasons why I don't use programme mode for landscape photography all cameras have a system of being able to shift the numbers either flexible program or program shift or some other name and what this allows you to do is by turning one of the main control dials on your camera it allows you to shift both shutter speeds and apertures at the same time and this is kind of nice if you said no I don't really like that combination can we try a different number over here well this works out pretty good but the problem is is that some cameras I don't remember this and so you might have it set into something that you really want and you wait thirty seconds and you come back to your camera and it's going to reset back to the default setting and this is just very very irritating on the other hand some cameras stay locked into where they're set out and you kind of forgot I had it set up for one thing and then I just went over here and randomly took a picture and it was set up for this passage situation and so the programme mode has limitations and I never use it for this type of photography shutter priority time value this is where we get to choose the shutter speed and the camera will figure out the aperture I'm not a very big fan of this one either on this one we're going to be able to choose the shutter speed and the camera will figure out the aperture once again we have to be careful because the camera will be looking at the background foreground everything judging exposure and the numbers are going to change on you according to the light levels the problem with this motors is very easy to exceed the range of what your camera can handle and what your lens can handle and so yeah you can set in a thousandth of a second but that doesn't mean your camera has the right aperture to use with it and so you have to be very careful when setting extremes on this it doesn't work out very well and so I am not a big fan of the shutter priority mode except for in some very particular and unusual situations because you could exceed the range of the camera one area where it can work out for instance if you're doing bird photography and you need to maintain a fast shutter speed but the birds were flying from the sunlight to the shadows and they're going all over the place using auto vessel which I'm not a big fan of talk about s o in just a moment but you could use auto eso and shutter priority combined together for some very random situations like birds flying in and out of bright bright areas into dark trees and so that's why and of my one exception on that particular mode setting I like aperture priority for kind of general photography I think it's very good for travel photography where you're not sure what your next shot is going to be set what you think is going to be inappropriate aperture the camera's going to pick a shutter speed and there are lots of shutter speeds that the camera gets to choose and any aperture you choose undoubtedly in almost all but the most extreme situations your camera is going to have a shutter speed that properly matches with that aperture priority so I think this is a good general purpose mode for many types of things it's very easy to adjust those apertures because there's really not that many apertures on camera but be aware that your camera is constantly adjusting the shutter speed according to what it sees in the frame that may or may not be your subject if there's a subject in the background that's either darker or lighter that's going to throw off your light meter and so aperture priority is not a bad way to shoot in landscape photography but my favorite is going full manual the problem with aperture priority shutter priority in program is that the camera is ultimately deciding how bright or dark your photo is and so in your viewfinder you're of course going to see your light meter and the indicator and it should hopefully be right under the zero as faras the default position but this is indicating how bright or dark your photographs are and so in this first photograph in yellowstone it should be a very bright scene but your camera thinks everything in the world is middle tone grey and so in a scene like this in an aperture priority mode what you need to do is you need to go to your exposure compensation dial or button wherever that is on your camera and you're going to need to brighten this up because snow is brighter than eighteen percent gray and so you're gonna have to dial this in any time you have a subject that is brighter than normal if you go into the forest a forest in case you didn't know it is darker than average eighteen percent gray and so you're gonna have to go into pictures like this and you're going to have to dial down the exposure compensation perhaps to a minus one level and so if you are using aperture priority get very comfortable using exposure compensation because you're going to need it on a regular basis whether you're photographing something bright or something dark and I don't like making these changes because unless the light on my subject is changing this just gets to be a lot of fiddle cem camera work that I don't want to be doing I do enjoy it for travel photography and I know there are some people that use this on a regular basis and that works fully well for them and that's that's great but one of the things to note because one of the tips I gave you earlier is about using the self time remote and using the auto exposure mode and the self timer mode is a recipe for a problem here's the problem is that in your camera the way your camera meters is that your main near is partially silvered mirror and light bounces down to a light meter in the bottom if you use a self timer and you are no longer blocking the light coming in the eyepiece light will stream in from the back of the camera it will go through the mirror which is partially silvered and that light we'll end up on the light meter in the bottom of the camera and it's going to throw off your images because it thinks there's more light coming in then there actually is and your pictures are going to result in being too dark what can you do about this well some cameras give you eyepiece covers for use when you're using the self timer you'll take that eyepiece cover and you'll put it over the eye piece to block the light coming in while you're doing a self timer shot so if you were doing a self timer shot you could clip that little piece on now some of the nice cameras have an actual lever on the back of the camera right beside the eyepiece and when you flip that lever it drops a blind that covers the eyepiece and this is kind of the hallmark of a very high end camera if it's got this little convenient switch in there so this is blocking that extra light which could throw off your light meter in any of the auto exposure modes it won't affect the manual mode it could potentially affect the meeting system so if you were going to set the camera up in a remote location for instance and a lot of cameras have a wifi remote now thatyou could activate and if you're going to put a camera over here and you're not going to be behind it you should close that eyepiece blind you should put the cover over or at the very least put a piece of gaffer tape over the back so that you don't have light streaming in the back of your camera if you are using any the auto exposure modes now let's get to the serious stuff manual full manual this is where I shoot pretty much all my nature in landscape work and it's pretty simple concept we have our shutter speeds we have our apertures and I'm going to pick one that I think is most important and I'm going to set it in many cases I'm setting the aperture first where well that depends on the subject we'll get to that in a moment and then what I do is I need to set my shutter speed and I set that by looking at the light meter and just start turning the shutter speed until the light meter hits the center area or wherever I think it needs to be for that particular type of situation and then I will commence shooting pictures lots of pictures in the same area so long as the scene is not changing in brightness so let me share with you an experience that I had at yellowstone this last winter I went to go photograph old faithful and I wanted to get lots of different shots in a short two minute period of time and I knew it was going to be kind of a light seen and so when I set up my manual exposure I exposed a little bit to the right hand side plus exposure about a third two thirds of a stop now as the camera if you could look over my shoulder while I was taking these pictures is the camera was reading much more brightness because there was a different amount of brightness in each of the photographs but all of these photographs are at the exact same aperture at the exact same shutter speed and I was in manual it's just the light meter was saying hey it's getting brighter here and if I had time to talk to the camera I would have said yes it is getting brighter because there's more bright stuff in the frame that's normal for what what's going on here if I had had the camera in an aperture a shutter priority or a programme mode where the camera is figuring out the light here is what would have happened in that situation as you can see in this example it gets darker as we go from left to right because is actually more brightness in the image and the camera is trying to compensate for the brightness by making it darker and this is kind of the problem with any of the auto exposure modes in the camera is that your camera doesn't understand subject content and how bright and reflective it is of the light of the light and so the camera thinks it's getting the right exposure but it's not the right exposure at all in cases where you have a lighting that is not changing so if you have consistent lighting and lighting during this two minutes was not changing very much I could set the exact same shutter speed in the same aperture can get nice even exposures with the best looking hissed aground possible in each of these cases and so this is why I shoot manual exposure most all the time it takes me a few extra seconds to get the first shot but every shot afterwards comes out much more consistently much even much more evenly and much toe a preferred place now one way of ensuring that you got the right exposure is exposure bracketing many cameras have this feature and what it allows you to do is it shoots anywhere from to usually three sometimes five seven or nine shot not at different exposure levels and this is something that people who shoot hdr photography and they shoot multiple different levels so that they can take this compress it all into one image and take the best information from each image landscape photographers in the past did it because they couldn't see their results on film and they wanted to make sure that they got exactly the right exposure it seems to be in much less necessary these days when you could look at the history graham but I will occasionally bracket just so that I can work with different types of images later on if you have the featuring your camera you should definitely be familiar with how to turn it on and off and how to use it because it can be helpful for making quick decisions out in the field because the camera well fire through and make the setting adjustments for you much much faster than you can make him yourself and perhaps you might want to play with hdr or some sort of exposure blending in the future and so you're going to use this with scenes that have a very high dynamic range or very tricky in lighting these tend to work best in aperture priority because you don't want the depth of field change between the photographs what the cameras changing when you're an aperture priority is it's changing the shutter speed and generally if you're on a tripod which you should be for being on bracketing because all the pictures need to be framed up exactly the same to have him the most benefit is that you want to have the same shutter speed excuse me you don't have the same depth of field and the shutter speed doesn't matter because the subjects are not really moving around another concept for exposure is the sunny sixteen rule and the stunning sixteen rule was a little bit more applicability back in the days of film back in the days we have mechanical cameras or for anybody who happens to have a camera that doesn't have a battery in it you could set the exposure simply by knowing the sunny sixteen rules quit states if in full sun the exposure is f sixteen and a shutter speed that is the same as your s o so let's give this a try out on a photograph okay so here's a photograph it's taken in full sun right well let's set the exposure using the sunny sixteen rule first off let's just assume that our s o is at one hundred that's generally the best setting on most of our cameras now what do we set next well it's called the sunny sixteen rules so let's set f sixteen on the aperture now where do we set the shutter speed well what is the one hundred what's the closest shutter speed do we have to one hundred and that would be one twenty five and so that is going to get us perfect exposure in that situation very easy to remember the sunny sixteen and you can always kind of double check your own light meter if you are working out in bright sunshine and so the sunny sixteen rule f sixteen and a shutter speed that is equal to your so can I throw it back over to you for just a moment see how things were going in the chat rooms we we do have some questions and then we have more content to get through in this segment but how about we take a couple does that work for you sure okay great let's see what does the camera change if you shoot out exposer directing a b a b a in manual mode does that make sense almost what does the camera change if you shoot a bb in manual mode so in the manual mode it depends on the camera but I think most cameras are going to adjust the shutter speed if you are in manual but you may want to double check and be sure on that one because you shouldn't be changing the so and you shouldn't be changing your depth of field you should be changing your shutter speed in most all situations I always have to throw that at the end of every answer in most situations great kind of brilliant to that have you ever done bracket with s o and what benefits over exposure you think it would have I mean can you do that what would that be like a manual thing that would be new ng trying to think of a good reason to do that and I can't really come up with a good one off the top of my head in general I have a camera that has so bracketing and I'm trying to figure out when when I use this it's like when I'm not sure that I would have the right eso it doesn't make sense for landscape photography of my mind this one has a vote on it always thought under exposure leads to noise in the file rather than over exposure when we're talking about shooting to the right they're correct under under exposed images will be too dark and you're gonna have noise if you try to brighten up a dark image so that is correct that they say all right

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Composition Keynote
Equipment Keynote
Exposure Keynote
Focus Keynote
Light Keynote
Subject Keynote
Timing Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Thomas Hamlin

Most of nature's beauty has been photographed by lots of people over the years. However, nothing compares to actually visiting famous places, buildings, mountains, etc. and taking your own photographs. John Greengo provides the necessary equipment information, photographic principles, and techniques in a manner which inspires you to put in the extra effort to take the best nature photographs that you can with the gear that you have. His unique illustrations, actual real life photographs, and easily understood explanations are top notch. I highly recommend this outstanding course. I have several of John Greengo's photography courses, and I highly recommend them all. His vast experience with film and digital photography, gained through traveling and working with some well known photographers, gives his courses a unique perspective.

a Creativelive Student

I love this course, John. It is one of my all time favorites. First of all I loved your effort scale. I knew as soon as you went through the scale that you are a guy that I want to listen to. To me, the effort part IS the fun part of photography. When you asked the question about one wish ... the first thing that came to my mind was that I wish I had more time for photography. I like the technology, but I do not wish for any special powers. To me, that would take the challenge away. Photography is wonderful because every subject challenges the photographer to get the angle right, the light right, the settings right ... I love that challenge. I think you do too, John, and that is why this course is so special. The attention you pay to every detail comes from the drive you have to meet the challenges with every thing you've got. That is why your class is so special. Your work ethic is exceptional. SandraNightski

a Creativelive Student

While delving more thoroughly into Nature and Landscape photography in a smaller format, John Greengo provides us with an amazing companion to his outstanding courses Fundamentals Of Digital Photography and Travel Photography. Here he gives us another necessary treatise to study before packing our gear and heading out in a car, a plane, a boat (or just for a long hike), and it’s as entertaining as the others. Thank you again John Greengo and Creative Live for these expert and brilliantly illustrated programs. I just hope you keep finding more subjects to photograph and provide the instructions for.

Student Work