Shooting toward the rising sun creates exposure problems – unless you are prepared.
That’s the bad news. The good news? It’s the time of day for the most beautiful landscape images.
Good Morning World…
Here’s a detailed (14 part) HDR Tutorial of mine. Read it, get up early, and make your own beautiful sunrise images.
HDR is a relatively new solution to this exposure problem. It was preceded by the graduated neutral density(GND) filter (a film photographer’s only option). Read the explanation of this approach in this post of mine (illustrated with a beautiful sunrise at Acadia National Park (with the Queen Mary, in the distance, approaching Bar Harbor, Maine).
Shoot first using the GND filter, and then
Shoot a series of bracketed exposures for HDR (just in case)
I usually prefer the more natural-looking GND result
Going overboard with post-processing can be educational. How else do you learn what the myriad of options do? It also leads to interesting images.
I’m cleaning up my photo data base (all 254,176 files as of today). In the process, I came across this image which jumped off the screen and caught my eye.
Hemlock Springs Overlook, Shenandoah National Park
Early spring last year
Made with a point & shoot – weather & footing forced me to ditch the D800E & tripod
Basic post-process left-to-right:
B&W conversion using the Silver Efex Pro 2 Film Noir 1 preset; < 1 minute
Blend the B&W with the capture using Photoshop’s luminosity blend mode
Total processing time – less than 3 minutes
Afterwards used Color Efex Pro’s Lighten/Darken filter to remove the skyline and call more attention to the wildflower; the rest of the image is framing
Don’t recall how I did the cracked texture effect :(
Get it right in the camera and most of your work is done
Certainly the most important part is
The most important part – Composition:
Wildflower anchors image and provides foreground interest & depth perspective
Mid-ground – A green triangle formed by the steep sloping mountain plus a tree in the form of a dark green ball framing the left side of the image. If you think of a scene as composed of design elements such as shapes, lines & textures – and not grass & trees in this case – your visual design, i.e. composition, becomes easier.
Misty woods in background for a third layer – depth, atmosphere, mood
Avoiding overlap between the flower & tree is important.
To avoid the common problem of including too much in your image, ask yourself – what attracted me to this scene? Then do all that you can to eliminate everything that doesn’t add to your initial vision and remember – if it doesn’t add then it detracts. You’re done when the next thing you remove from the scene in your viewfinder makes the composition worse – and not before.
For example, the flower and tree attracted me but I decided that I didn’t need the whole tree to tell the story. Also I cropped (in camera, nothing was added/removed in post) to leave just enough of the hillside and mist shrouded trees in the background to complete the story of where my flower and tree were.
Think hard about what is the best camera orientation. I recommend always doing both vertical & horizontal – even if one doesn’t seem to make sense. This scene, to my eye, screamed vertical for the composition I wanted, but I’ll bet that most would have made it a landscape oriented shot (force of habit mostly).
Like most images that "break rules"
Don't just bend the rules a little; break them in halfYou want the viewer to know it's on purpose, not operator error
A lot of viewers (& many judges) don't care for this
And that's all right
Shoot for yourself and don't worry about it
Floral images were my 1st photographic love
It’s now twelve years later and they still are
The variety is endless
I could spend hours with a single flower
And still not exhaust the possibilities
With selective focus, you have lots of options -
1. Depth of field length which depends on
Distance from subject
2. Focal point about which DOF is centered
Here are a few examples; focal point circled in red
Click for full screen
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