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Nature and Landscape Photography

Lesson 9 of 27

Exposure and Metering

John Greengo

Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

9. Exposure and Metering

Lesson Info

Exposure and Metering

so we are goingto jump into a new section now and this is on exposure so we're going to get the whole exposure thing hopefully gotten the equipment thing behind us we got that fairly well figured out for exposure there's a lot of different things involved let's start with the meter ring system in the camera most cameras we're gonna have two three maybe four mita ring systems on how it reads like and the symbols that they use are slightly different but we have in general multi segment which reads white area center waited more towards the middle in spot very much the middle so the traditional system is the centre waited meeting system and what this is is because it's looking at the middle sixty percent of the frame and it's heavily weighted tow what's going on right in the middle of the frame and this is the system that we had on cameras for many many years photographers wanted something more precise and so we got spot meters and the landscape photographers like spot meters because what ...

they could do is they could read the light value in the sky and in the rock and in the trees and then they could start figuring out well this is where we should have our shutter speed because it's a nice balance between the brightest spot and the darkest spot and there is a whole technique to using a multi spot meter checking out what's my highlights what what's my shadows and this is something that ansel adams was all over in his zone system and he needed to know the brightness of different areas and he wanted to hold areas to certain levels of brightness and it's gotten a lot easier in the days of digital because now we can shoot pictures we can see him out in the field and we have a better analysis of what we're getting in the field in the days of film it was a little bit more of educated guesswork and now I'm a big fan of the multi segment metering system and what this is is a way of breaking up the scene too many different boxes and it compares and contrasts the darkest areas with the lightest areas and gives you a nice balance between all of those and in general I have found that the multi segments system which goes by different names nikon calls it matrix metering and kanan calls it evaluative metering does a very good job in most situations it's not so important these days because we now have the ability to look at the history graham and the history graham is a analytical way for us to look at the look at an image and judge whether it is too bright for too dark the backing your screens are kind of close to accurate but they're not exactly accurate chances are in the back in your camera you have an info button or a display button if you press that button you'll get a history graham all cameras have it that have been made in the last six years if you can't figure out how to do it you need to learn how to work your camera better you need to get out your instruction manual and find out how to turn the song because it is really really valuable so the history ram it's a graph of the tonal distribution we're seeing where the bright areas are and where the dark areas are the vertical part of the graph is describing the number of pixels and as we go from left to right we're going from the darkest regions to the mid tones up into the highlights now the particular history graham that you see on screen here this one is kind of interesting because there is no pixels that are perfectly black and there are none that are perfectly white and the advantage to that is that I could take that into a post processing program and I can make this a little bit darker or it could make it a little bit brighter when you photograph something that is pure white there is nothing else that that khun b it is blown out if something is pure black it's dark there's no information and it's gonna be impossible to do anything with that so you have to be very careful about overexposing and under exposing and you should be able to look at a photograph and judge what type of history graham is appropriate for so I have a little quiz for you at home I have three photographs on screen and I have three history rams can you tell which hissed a gram goes with which photo and what you're looking at is brightness levels what's bright what's dark remember the peak on the right hand side indicates brightness and I think in this one the easiest one to figure out his picture number three it's picture of snow there's a lot of rightness with a few shadows which hissed a gram is shifted mostly to the right that of course is b now the other two could be a little bit more tricky the difference between picture one and pictures to is that picture too has a lot of dark area and a little bit of bright area picture one has some dark area and a lot of more middletown's and so let's go ahead and put these into the correct position and see if you got the right answer so c a b and the more you look at the photographs and the more you look at your history rams he'll start understanding the relationship and you'll be ableto make better exposures out there and so using this is a very very helpful tool when you're out in the field trying to judge what is the perfect amount of light to hit the sensor another tool that a lot of cameras have is something called highlight alert and this is a unique almost jarring feature when you see it for the first time because you're like what are all those blinky things going on and what's going on is the camera is showing you overexposed pixels by turning them white and changing them black just in this display screen and so it's a very easy to wait to see what have we blown out what have we lost information and so if you're curious as to where you have lost information you could turn on your highlight alert I'm not a big fan of it because it's very jarring to have this thing turning on and off of me but it could be a very valuable tool to have and some people like it quite a bit next let's talk about the dynamic range of your camera this is very important concept understanding the range of light from the darkest to the lightest area what can our camera capture so imagine a black pixel on the left a white pixel on the right in each one of these is either twice a slight or twice a stark as the previous one how many stops of light do you go between black and white and it varies from camera to camera is to the sensor as to what it can handle so I am going to try to ask the internet a question so we may have a little bit of a delay but internet the pictures that you see on screen now what common thread do they have among all of these photos what can you draws something similar between all of these photos and we're going to give him just a moment I don't know john our sole student in the classroom here if you can see here is something that you think is what's a common thread between all of these more dark than light okay let's uh we gotta wait for just a moment for the internet okay matt says hi contrast g growler says plenty of lights and darks scott says wide range of contests a contrast nothing blown out though shields and I think this might be a sun sunlight the role henry first out highlights they're all china yes they are obviously very contrast in the sense that there's dark darks and there's bright bright in almost everyone I'm photographing land and sky the only kind of exception is the first picture in the slot canyon maybe if you could see far enough there would be sky in there but it's it's land and sky so these air high contrast situations and if we were to look at the history graham from a couple of these images you'll notice that they are spread across the entire rage on the left hand side are the darks and the right hand side of the history ram or the rights and you can see it's almost like a u shaped valley we have a peak of darks and a peak of brights now if we were to take one of these images raw image and we were to take it into photo shop or light room or any other program you might be using and we were to adjust the contrast levels because you can adjust the contrast ladles levels later on and try to reduce the contrast we get the image on the right which in my opinion looks terrible I don't know what it looks like on your screen but it's horrible here because I've taken a high contrast image and I've tried to reduce the contrast later on and it just does not work out I'm trying to lighten up the shadows but they just do not look natural at all let's look a tomb or high contrast photos we're photographing land we have some bright light in emma's well you can see the history ram it really spreads across the entire range pixels on the far left pixels on the far right of that history graham are either dark or very bright so let's take this image at second beach that's our raw image let's take it into photo shop and try to compress things to try to pull up information in the shadows and I don't know what your screen looks like but the image on the left does not look good on my screen I looks like we've lost all the shadows they try to be lightened up but they just don't look normal at all and when I'm trying to tell you here is that you can't take a high contrast scene and reduce the contrast later it just doesn't work out in virtually every situation now let's look at the other end of the spectrum let's look at low dynamic range photos and so these are all images that have a low dynamic range the range from the brightest rights to the darkest arcs is not that big a difference now because there's a delay I'm not going to really ask you but what do these images have in common take a look at him what what's kind of common thread about these images and the answer is that they're either all of the land or if they're all of the sky the one image in the bottom left is all sky but there is no image that has both sky and land in it at the same time and that's where we get a lot of high contrast situations and so these air low contrast and they're very easy to capture with our digital sensors let's take a look at a couple of these images and look at the history grams these are low contrast images most of the information is right in the middle of the history graham it does not extend out to the left or to the right hand side let's take one of these images let's take it into light room and let's increase the contrast were kind of spreading that hist a gram out and that image on the right the dark's for a little bit darker the brights are a little bit brighter and that causes it to have a little bit more saturation and it looks a little bit better so we can take a low contrast image and we can increase the contrast and kind of give that an even better look then what are raw image originally captured and so this is one of the things that we look for is thies low contrast scenes because we can make those look really good it's very hard to make those high contrast scenes look really good in some situations here are two more images that are very low contrast you can see that that hist a graham does not extend either to the left side or to the right side if we take one of these images we can increase the contrast and there's a number of different ways that we can do this specifically in the different program but now the blacks become a little bit more black the color has become a little bit more saturated and so this is something that you can very easily do in pretty much any photo program on the computer taking a low contrast shot adding a little bit of contrast and it adds a little bit of pop a little bit of zing to it which could really help it out in many ways as well as giving it just that extra little boost of color as well that's not even working on the saturation at all that's just increasing the contrast of it so that's a very helpful tool and what to look for and what to be careful of when you're framing up your shots so that is the dynamic range and a lot of people are going to probably be wondering and don't write into don't write into canada right now what's the dynamic range of my camera because I'm going to tell some of you right now and I'm going to tell you how you could find it out if you're wondering who has the best dynamic ranging cameras right now at least as of the recording of this class the nikon d a ten a nikon d six ten and the sony a seven are the ones that have the highest dynamic range listed on the market some other popular cameras that are very popular I'm going to go ahead and just list them I'm not listening all the cameras I don't have room on screen for that the general thought among most professionals who deal with this is that twelve exposure value is a very good range tohave on your cameras and the ones in the night cons they're actually using sony sensors in those cameras and it's the sony sensor that is very good at a lot of landscape photographers really like very wide dynamic range which means it can capture the high bright lights and the shadow areas quite as well the canon cameras are hanging a little bit behind their still in an excellent category they're just not quite as good and where I'm getting these numbers from is website in a company that I think does an excellent job it's de xo mark dot com and if you want to go look up your camera you can see the dynamic range of your camera what you can look up is their landscape rating which is the dynamic range what's the range of tonalities that that sensor can handle not that it's going to change anything on the way you shoot you're just going to kind of know where your camera fits in the realm of things another philosophy that I'm aware of and utilized on ly too a little extent but it is important to understand it's something that is often referred to is e t t e r and it stands for exposed to the right which means you should kind of over expose your image is well they should be brighter rather than darker you still don't want to overexpose him that's that is almost a rule number one and so I'm going to show you three photos here the first one is what my light meter recommended this is what my camera thinks the perfect exposure is and so I took that picture and I said you know what it's got kind of a light colored leaf and it's a light colored background I think it should be a little bit brighter and so I did it to the best of my eye's ability of judging what exposure should be but if you look at that history ram in the middle you'll notice there's a fairly large blank spot to the right hand side which means I could make this even brighter and the tr philosophy is you want to expose it further to the right so that you are capturing the image kind of in the brightest way possible because if you darken the image so long as there is information in the highlights you khun darken an image and you will not damage anything if you light in an image you are going to damage the image in some ways you're going to get more noise in there you don't get noise for making your image darker you do get noise when you are making it brighter and so if you have room to make it a little bit brighter that would be a safe option and so this is something if you were in a situation that were yours not utilizing that brightest most part of your history graham capture your image at a third or a stop a little bit brighter than average you khun darkened it down to get the best image quality you know when I look at the actual images I noticed very very little difference but it might make a case in some situations not very common but it's at least a philosophy that you should be familiar with when it comes to the exposure the group the main goal here is to capture the greatest range of light whatever that means is for a shutter speeds and temperatures we want to capture the greatest range of light possible after that I wanna make sure that we're shooting raw files so that we can capture the widest range possible by the camera and kind of first and foremost is to protect the highlights means we don't wanna overexpose highlights because once they're gone they're totally gone and it generally looks very unnatural if there's a section of the sky that is absolutely pure white very unacceptable in a lot and most types of photographs and then e t t e r exposing to the right if you have that room getting it a little bit on the brighter side so that you can darken it down later

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Beautiful landscapes are all around us – they are a joy to experience, but a challenge to capture in a single photo. In Nature and Landscape Photography, you’ll learn the essential tools and techniques for taking photographs that reflect the splendor of landscapes and the captivating details of nature.

In this class, award-winning photographer John Greengo will use illustrations, animations, and photographs of destinations from around the world to teach you the thought process behind great nature photography. You’ll learn which gear is suited to the environment you want to shoot and how to plan for ideal light and composition. John will help you master exposure and focus so you get a better shot in camera and improve your edits by taking you through hands-on photo critiques.

From complicated cameras to challenging environments, several obstacles stand in the way of you taking a photograph that reflects the landscape as you see it. This class will help you take nature and landscape photographs that reflect your unique perspective.

This course is part of the landscape tutorials series. 

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Composition Keynote

Equipment Keynote

Exposure Keynote

Focus Keynote

Light Keynote

Subject Keynote

Timing Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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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.