Sunrise Shoot - Shooting Away from the Light
One thing has a nature photographer that's very easy to do is to look one direction and forget to look behind you. Um, so right now we've got some really great light coming out up here on the on the mountain, and I am going to see if there's anything to be done with it when you walk out here, you don't necessarily know exactly what you're going to dio every step of the way, it's experimenting a little bit it's important? Yeah, quick question for you why the nine nd just can you talk a little bit about for those people who are new to fill paris? Sure, so I'm losing about two to three stops on this water and the nine nd so the filters come in steps of ah and well, depending on, of course everybody's got their own style bomb or less that come in a standard steps of three, six and nine three being the least powerful six being in the middle and nine being the strongest and my filter holder will actually support stacking up to three filters and ill very often combined them in this particular...
case this nine you know, hold it up actually me ah, let me just buy my leg if you wantto say I'll answer that later because of the light feel feel free no it's fine I think people who are new definitely don't don't use filters a lot, or maybe especially the ones that you put a lot of time doing with filters and, you know, it's actually common question when the field people always want, what is that thing you got on the front of your camera? You know? And and it was, ah, I kind of felt like somewhat of a secret till now, but that's what we're here for, right? So this is the india hold it up, you can actually see what it does um, and it's neutrally color and the hard refers to the hard line. If this was a soft onda, soft would be so this is a hard line. You see, the the mountain literally ends at the water as far as that stark that's light that's a hard line and that what's great. Is that mountain work very perfect for what I'm trying to achieve in the sense of I can get this hard line lost out there in the shadow, and you won't see it soft would probably also work, but that grady in is so great such a cover, such a large area would be too much. You might not cover the sky as enough for there's powerful e um, a soft would be more if there was no mountain and and water went right into sky maybe like an ocean scenic or something like that where you want a softer blend from one object into the other that's ah that is that's generally the difference with them now that's sad the way these air used you could be really, really creative and get a lot of different effects so I will often use more than one sometimes I use one hard on a line on one soft to get a different radiant and so I sort of build my own credence depending on each scene this scene is very very straightforward to me because of the hard line and so I'm just working with this andy filter but again it really does wonders and controlling the light and now a good example actually of how I might use a soft would be the way this light up here on the mountains coming in it's it's not a hard line it's sort of uneven and um and and it blends down into the water and now if I were to stand over here and compose would be a great example of of potentially exploring the use of ah of a softer edge so it's actually take a look so we got that light coming up let's see if there's anything to be done with it sure that explains absolutely all right I've been using them for a long time um I'm gonna get closer here and I'm gonna get a little lower um I'm actually gonna stick that in my pocket and so what I'm gonna do is, uh I didn't really work short my legs up and if you're wondering why immediately when I come to this side I noticed the light is coming and catching off the edge of this boat it's got the name clipper rich I think is kind of cool but if for whatever reason we know a lot that um you can't always photo shop it out later um I typically would not, but that is a creative call so I'm gonna shorten the legs because I want to get less in the boat let's looking in the boat and using the boat more into this line. The other reason is that immediately upon walking over here I see a this little ball this little buoy out in the water that's a distraction um I've I've said and other uh other uh I didn't I didn't do it ah all enough what's trying to a little bit more um I like the comparison I've used it a few times um and it's one I reiterate a lot through this course which is a painter adds to a campus a photographer should constantly subtract and the goal of simplifying on ly the elements that you really really need um and I can't remember unfortunately who said it but I thought it really hit the nail on the head I wish I'd said because it's a great thing um but it really it really does I think identify what a photographer should be thinking especially a landscape photographer um why have something in a scene if it doesn't support your story if it doesn't support your composition so uh, keeping an eye at light is getting really hot on the mountain right now so let me take a quick look so I'm getting low I'm using the boat as a an element to draw my eye and picking up the edge of the dock I'm sticking with my sixteen thirty five I'm I'm shooting the morning landscape out here and, uh try and basically actually going to lose the name of that boat right there, which is great I get a little of that nature bridge logo we'll see if they, uh, night want this image. Okay, so this is a great example actually, of what I would call complex composition in the sense that there are a lot of different eye lines and elements taking place so I'm actually gonna fire one off so you can see what I'm saying and we're not going to necessarily have the best filtering in lighting but this is simply a let you see what I see shot and horrible so a few different things going on in here and I'm going to figure out how to address them as quickly as possible is that light is gonna keep moving down the mountain as the sun rises so ah first is the boat is moving because there's a little bit of ah increasing breeze probably on the water so the boat's starting teo to shake a little left hand side still picking up the doc? Um I'm breaking my horizon line with the I believe it's called the bow of this boat um some breaking in horizon, which I like the horizon line of the lake simply because it doesn't keep the clean symmetry that we've been building on all morning um now the one thing I am noticing from this is, um also how the light is being distributed throughout the scene I've got too strong potentially have a filter on that light up there. Um I could probably dial down to a six and may want to goto a hard I'm sorry to a soft filter let's take another look and then I'm also going to zoom in just a touch more cause I was catching that edge over there and let's see how we d'oh now complex composition being that we have a lot of different elements and things happening in it and what is otherwise a relatively simple scene boat mountain sunrise on quiet leak but you have an element that's not on a rule of third line it's rather coming out of the left hand side of the frame it's crashing through your horizon line you have a hot spot over here as far as the sun rising of a hot spot over here on the right, which is the sky reflecting off of the water um as the sun rises and then you've got sort of this v shaped happening down in the disc that's where the mountains come together and that the shape is a little white um it's a little it's my filters not quite reaching and if I push my filter all the way down it's going to start to darken elements I don't want dark such a za the the shadow on the side of a mountain the filters meant to create balance to create equilibrium and in this particular case it's just uh there's simply not working so this might be a good place teo to break out a soft filter or try a six so what I'm gonna do is get trying go after less of a dramatic effect I'm gonna pull out I got my filter still stashed over here in the boat and eventually by the end of the morning I'll have gear stashed all over the shore line I like little little secret stashes of ah filters and lenses so if you're ever looking to score some new great year just follow me around and pick it up is I leave it behind me. All right, so um let's try the six and if you recall earlier three, six, nine not a nursery rhyme now here's a key thing I'm used to having all the filters in the right place but I've got a lot of nines and no sixes so I'm actually go back to the bag and grab my other one and let's see you notice I've got a whole suite of these things not only do I tend to break them often and dropped them um but you gotta have three six in my opinion three, six, nine hard three, six, nine soft and then you could mix a match and often times I might want to nines that air soft or two nines that are hard and so you end up getting into this ah, this game of how many filters do you really need and how many? Um, how many do you going to are you going to use depending on the scene? And I have never used honestly okay, I got a six hard but try that first I've never used more than three filters at the time um I think a great place to start if you really want to get in the filter business is uh and you don't and you can do some photo shop as I mentioned earlier thank you you're so well from something I don't often have all right if you want the theater filled the business you decide you want to do this in the field like me and go up to the fact by the way one of those thing actually on the filters when thinking of it is they help me extend my exposure time in a way that yes, I could just use an end the across the whole ends and extended and then do multiple exposures as well blocking all the light that's coming in they sell circular nd filters that will block all of the light that comes through that's one way to do it the other way is my preferred way which is to simply use them part of the scene around getting a bunch of different exposures maybe get one maybe two depending I I don't think I've ever stacked I'll probably regret saying this but I don't think I've ever actually stacked two images together in my career at least any of the images that I have played around with it certainly but I don't think any of my actual published images um have ever been to images merged together it's almost always been this filter so if you're ever referencing some of my other work um that's definitely ah that's definitely a good point to think of and you khun you know that this is how I used it so I'm going to try this with a six and as I was mentioning I started to mention rather if you wanna get a filter business of three six nine hard three six nine soft um is a great place um if you had to pick one filter that I use the most sunrises sunsets it's either six or nine hard I say those are my my most popular filters for something like this so taking a look that six seemed to do the trick um it was simply just too hard and still get enough of a line and you know it's just having less of the power of that nine and creating ah hard bridge across that v in the mountains in the distance if you look at the frame before you see a big difference between the two and how they shift and this is a little more natural uh it's just too strong earlier now you're losing some of the detail on the left just above the boat but that's all right it's not a huge huge amount not loving the composition not hating it I actually think it's um could we could move it? We don't necessarily need to work with the boat um the other thing that you could always just look at is sort of the shapes and the horizon lines um just on the shoreline itself this's just nature photography and after all, they won't necessarily be a canoe on every gorgeous like that you're going to do so let's uh let's miss, move a few more feet over here to the right think we're good with that and I'm going to get into the weeds just a touch right? To hear this will be our spot they say how awesome it is to think that we're actually doing this from a national park. I get one of the coolest things ever every now and then I I stopped talking for actually three seconds, which happens every now and then ah, in real life as well and uh and then you realize, wow, we're really here doing this thing's pretty cool, so I said earlier stop and enjoy the scene and I really can't emphasize that enough if you're so busy doing this the whole time you're not doing this at all and you want to keep looking and seeing what's going on and the first thing I do notice by just stopping my process scanning the horizon for a few seconds is that the sun appears to be coming up behind that mountain in a way that's casting light a golden light up through the valley and sew my eye catches that hard to say whether it's something I can work with yeah, but it's something I'm gonna keep my eye on to see how it plays a role in what's going on here and of course this mountain will continue to get light on it but let's ah let's work this scene a little bit more time to go sand's boat huh? Get low and the reason being I see these little rocks here they're just above the surface of the water but not on the shore and they again catch my eye as elements for my composition there's something that I could try and work with and uh I also love that the grass these natural grasses are working their way out of the shore and into the water and so these are all really cool things to work with typically I would try and take the camera off the tripod and roam around with it until I find a composition I I like um so I'm gonna just show you briefly it's not something that's complicated to learn but it takes a little time to get used to because once your camera's on there and it's a habit I still continue to try and break to this day um you once you're on there you just have the habit of carrying that thing around with you everywhere you go and that will inhibit your compositions to that height and so a great way to break that process and break that cycle is too simply liberate yourself from the tripod so I'm gonna get low here and just take a look and look pretty cool really, really nice on you say it I want to go over here no no so my instincts sir pretty good in the sense that I don't like it so high I like it low I want to get lower than that tripod so it's good I got off that thing and I'm able to zoom and tweak and make all the little adjustments that come with your hands so let's do that so I found a composition I like and I'm gonna I'm just gonna fire a frame off with a very showered at the field to show you what I'm looking at and that's what I'm looking at now it actually looks nice even with the shot of the field what's happening freezing emotion on this to see if I can find a way to do that but getting mohr sharpness throughout the frame sure. So you've taken gone off the tripod at what point in your mind you know in terms of shutter speed that you're going to be able teo handhold that especially with that filter on there um well, it depends on what you're desired result is intimately um I may never handhold um in a landscape composition even if I can hand hold so the general rule of thumb is whatever the focal length of your lenses if your shutter speed is at least as fast as that, you can hand hold and typically you want to be a little bit faster than that and then that starts to get complicated, but technologies that are evolving with cameras so let me first break it down I'm shooting sixteen what's a sixteen millimeter latin's, right shooting a wide angle that means my shutter speed should be at least in theory one sixteenth of a second or more realistically, one twentieth of a second, which is the next closest shutter speed one twentieth of a second or faster one fortieth, fiftieth, one hundred days one twentieth is pretty hard to keep you got a steady hand. Yeah, I mean, if you get surgeon here, you could do that. I recommend getting a little bit past that like a fortieth is probably a good place to go if you're doubling it especially, but you know, it depends because there's someone's ahead of image stabilization built ten years if you've got, you know, image stabilization and that's basically a gyroscope that spins and helps reduce the amount of shake from handholding can add anywhere from a stop teo I think three stops depending on the model that certainly adds to that, so you might be able to pull off that one sixteenth of a second we're even one tenth of a second, and of course I've hand held at a quarter of a second sixteen absolutely didn't work, but it does work, but again, it's, you know you're kind of walking in position and you know, you might be panning, of course, and getting a desired motion result, but if you're looking for a sharp image, chances are your your shooting really shallot up the field and you only want one area to be sharp at that speed and it's your boiling down alak, you're rolling the dice at that point, so which is ok, which is okay, I remember the long lens would be the same thing, and of course, that increases the, um, because the long lens isn't captures, much light is the lining the lens will necessarily and so think of it. Imagine you're shooting with a four hundred millimeter lens, then you've got to be at least at one four hundredth of a second and so that's that means you need a lot of light with the longer lenses and so that's, of course, very challenging for wildlife photographers, where wildlife tends to exist the best and low light um, you know, I love shooting wildlife it's not my core thing, but it's always fun to do, but that little light situation along lines is air are not your friends so that's the general rule of handholding with a filter of course you're slowing down the amount of light coming in um you're still the same rule applies it's still going to boil down the shutter speed so the filters impacting the shutter speed but it's not going exactly it's ultimately always still going to be about that shutter speed with me an aperture priority I use amateur priority especially was a landscape photographer at my core because the um I'm always paying attention to both and I know just after years and years of doing this what that result is really going to be I know what f twenty two in this condition with this filth there are probably hovering somewhere around three to four seconds a za shutter speed in three seconds versus six seconds doesn't matter if you're photographing you know an athlete running down the field catching a ball and want to freeze them in the air you're paying more attention of that shutter speed or wildlife is probably a better example the natural athletes of the world um if you're trying to freeze that action, then in that case you're going to be paying attention that and what you might be shooting a shutter pirate at that point, but for me aperture is the most important because I'm looking at focus I'm looking at death how sharp, how how sharp is my foreground? How sharp is my background? That depth of field is the most critical thing for me great and then still tryingto maintain as little vanessa as you can see quality okay, you want to maintain his low of an ias so as you can you can definitely fudge around with that see what you want to do you know you could go to four hundred, two hundred whatever I typically we're pretty hard pressed to go over four hundred on the landscape photo. Okay, um this really isn't a lot of reasons to do that unless you're just shooting super low light or the shooting stars or something, you don't have a tripod or you don't have a tripod that's the other thing but if you know typepad that should be coming before the filters okay, come around the same time great that's great. Yeah, the tripod is it's indispensable and my tripod looking a little worse for the wear. I'm sure people trying notice I've got a I've actually think it's good luck when things start to, you know kind of break off from over use on di get very superstitious about my here for sure s so that's why I'm using a lot of some of the traditional pieces that I started with in many ways actually this tripod has been through it all I'm working in a very comfortable place like this um, this is the tripod I would use comfortable being I didn't hike six miles to get here on dates to get so to get so it's a mountain near and it's ah, carbon fibre and that's actually a really important point. I use carbon fibre because it's a lighter material and as a nature photographer, you're often getting some mileage. And so every little piece of weight tanking trim is great. The unfortunate side, of course, they're more expensive, you know, and that's that's, the rule and I don't think anybody is getting in. The photography is necessarily unaware of the expense, right? That comes with it. Whether that's through a really nice phone, you might be photographing with or not. But either way, the tripod is definitely dispensable. Carbon fiber get so, um, I'm also I have what's called a, uh it's sort of a ah it's like a swivel ball head. Um, this particular model I've really liked simply because it's very fast with two releases. And I could go from vertical the horizontal quickly. And then it also gives me that nice rotation on one axis or another. Worked out really well it's got the middle bar which can be an upside or downside depending and there's lot of variations on that this is simply the choice that's worked well for me awesome. So looking at just that few minutes we talked tripods and gear that light has continued to just explode out there behind the mountain it's really, really great. So I'm gonna get back to this composition I'm gonna show you just the the nature without boat composition of this and, uh I'm gonna get lo back to that same camera angle was that and I'm still, um still working with that six nd we'll see what we got. I'm going to get down here and you can get right in here with me if you want to see what's going on um let's see? So I'm going to kind of work with this curve right here. So this curve has been something that's been part of this entire shoot? Um, I've been going from the boat and paying attention to this curve along the shoreline it's the smallest thing in the world, but it catches my eye so I'm gonna keep working this curved line right here now I'm actually starting right in the middle of it where it comes out to use it as a foreground element along with these rocks that are slightly raised and if you remember that last shot I took he was a shallow depth of field was in f six I'm sorry of five six you got a sixtieth of a second, which means that these ripples air not ah, no longer being smoothed out, but rather being frozen s o the speed is being frozen by a fast shutter speed, you know, just an instant that thing's opening up a sixtieth of a second, and so I'm gonna make sure that when I compose and I don't want that tripod leg to be in there, so I'm gonna make sure I rotate that thing out shoot between the the you know, the last thing you want is your gear to become your center point of your composition, and I won't lie happens to me still, so all right, get back down to that lower point and in the mud here might take a little work to find a tripod leg, and you know, if you're having trouble because the legs are a little wider, you can actually just short in the leg up and get more of a sharp angle on the ground and that'll give you instant stability, alright, so I think that height looks pretty good and let's see, all right, so now I'm gonna work it a little bit and see if I can just zoom in I'm loving that light coming through the mountain over there so I'm gonna try and make that part of this composition and I'm gonna take it away from sixteen millimeters and shooting wide and go into a twenty four approximately millimeter scene and then I'm gonna using live you um which I know you can't see exactly unless you're looking at the back of the camera but I'm going to live you to manage my filter it's another way to see exactly where the filter is live view is similar in the sense of um the button over here on the side of some cameras in my case it's over here called the depth of field preview button the depth of fuel preview button basically raises the mirror because you're looking through ah um you're not looking through your lens ah per se looking off of the reflected image of a mirror if you want to actually see exactly what the depth of field is, you're getting that's the depth of field preview button when you push it if you're an f twenty two you're looking through that twenty two aperture the downside of that of course is you're not looking at a brightened lightened image that you're I would normally see you're looking at what the camera is seeing so twenty two very small aperture large depth of field not a lot of light which means the shot is going to look a lot darker. Um but that said, you can also tell if that element in the foreground or that element the background are sharp and especially if there's a lot of light and you can see well, like in the middle of the day, you really see the difference by using the depth of field preview live you function similarly, so either depth of field preview or live you is a great way to figure out exactly where that neutral density filter is hitting where that line is um so you'll have to just eyeball it by looking through here off the mirror so I'm going to use live you two just line it up because I just moved it a little bit and this is gonna be really tricky because the first thing I noticed, even when looking at live you and I think a picture to show you is that the a little dark in general? Um so first I'm gonna over bump that up a little bit of a slow or shutter speed a little bit more light and I'm gonna go one stop so rather than shooting of five six at a sixty, then we goto thirtieth their fortieth so you little more light in there, it's pretty um couple things aren't working one that shadow on the mountain is a little bit distracting I think this composition will work a little bit better just is that shadow hits the water and the reason being that it basically just looks like some sort of a line that's distracting I'd like to try and keep all the lines very clear it's compositional thing so I'm trying to keep that line clear the other thing that I'm noticing is that I like the way the water on the right hand side is coming into the frame but I'm not feeling fully uh gratified by how much of it you're seeing you kind of want to see the whole curve it's like a kind of curves and then curves back in but you never actually see that peak may or may not work I'm gonna back up and try and get it in there again just looking for that that flow at harmony of everything the other thing that I'm noticing is the grasses that's that's jutting out of the water is a great design element coming again composition is designed ultimately and so I'm designing the scene through my composition and moving around and it's that that grass is very close to the horizon because I am so low but I also want thes rock so I'm gonna try and get up a little bit higher separate the grass from the horizon I'm gonna move a little more to the right trying it more of the water and on the right hand of the frame I'm going to take another look but I'm gonna also kind of keep this place in mind I'm not going to be married to this moment and sit here and wait for this light to get better I'm going to keep it in mind take a few shots and I'm going to go work this light because I still think there's other compositions to be had out here, so I'm gonna work this light and go to other photos, make other photographs elsewhere and when then that shadow comes back to the lake. I'll come back over here later and actually get the shot that I that I'm envisioning it again, it may or may not work, but I'm not going to be stuck here in this whole spot and only go home with one or two photos from this spot I, manu get one now come back later and maybe I'll see something even better by moving around so again explore and have fun with it, okay, so I've separated the water. I've got that edge of the lake and that little curvature in I'm focusing about a third of the way into the frame, so for f twenty two and I'm not using a tilt shift lands a tilt shift essentially is a lens that will angle to the, uh, angle to the angle of the of the landscape from kind of think it the best way to say this, um if you've got a foregone element of background element, you kind of evenly go on that angle of those two and that will be a tilt shift and allows you to get, uh, greater depth of field in a sense more evenly a more uniformed capture for sharpness um this case I'm just using a traditional sixteen or thirty five f two point eight al siri's lens on my cannon manually focusing using this third of the frame in which means that anything up until it as well as everything out to infinity ah wilby wilby ah sharp so I'm gonna take a take a frame here line everything up so shooting it at five six I mean, I'm still getting that fast shutter speed so I'm not getting that depth of field and I just that up I forgot to do that get up to f twenty two s o one hundred I'm also shooting a full stop over mayan compensation wheel not in the middle not downnegative on plus one and fire away at a sixth of a second sixth of a second little bit slower and you'll notice the difference but I'm not losing all of the ripples and in fact ripples are becoming a really cool uh kind of give me a cool fact that sixth of a second is really really nice a sixth of a second, a fourth, sixth an eighth of a second for whatever reason has always been a really favorite spot for me teo blur motion but still sort of freeze it's that in between moment it's great when you're trying to capture snowflakes or rain and they're coming down of course depending on how hard they're coming down and after last winter especially here in the states and in new england you had a lot of hearts no coming down so you need a faster shutter speed but I found him forth to a six to an eighth of a second is a great way to get the streaks you want a streak of a snowflake or streak of a rain or in this case aboutthe same pace that this water's flowing in right now issued a wave at the same rate that snowflake might fall down and so forth to six to an eighth of a second it was a happy accident of twenty two just happened to be there but um I might work the filters I might go from a six to win three or six to a nine if I can to try and work that I might even cover the entire lens with a filter if if that's a desired effect but uh f twenty two to six which happen to be in that sweet spot and you're getting a really really cool little soft ripple but still getting the texture of the lake right now because you can see I've I've um I haven't really worked on darkening the sky I'm or just trying to preserve the light that's coming through that canyon so well is the hillside I like this composition it looks great I'm not going to sit here any longer I want to move around I want to get out towards the dock and work the shoreline here but this works for me now I'm going to remember it pencil it in in the back of my mind as the shot I didn't really completely finish because I think there's still more to be done is that shadow moves down. In the meantime, I'm gonna work the shoreline and find other compositions. Fantastic. Well, we have about twenty minutes, so let's, keep way, speed the sun up, we make it rise faster. Well, so we've been going for over an hour now, but let's, let's move along yeah, let's do it. And you're going to see how obviously we've been seeing how the light is changing yes, over that our time yeah, yeah, the light we'll light will change and that's that's the great part. I mean, you're constantly of new opportunities and, um, you know, I mean, you could you could work this this this one little area for you two, three hours easily, right? If anyone I absolutely have, yeah yeah, I mean, I think that's, the benefit of, you know, depending on where you are of camping outdoors or something like that, you know, is you wake up and you can work it. I mean, even looking here, you know, I wouldn't necessarily always use a wide angle lens, either. There's. A lot of ways of doing this with a telephoto. Um, we're semi telephoto, like a twenty four to seventy let's, say, at seventy would say seventy millimeter lens. I could shoot out across this grass and get these rocks and do something similar and get rid of this mountain entirely and just get that light that's coming through. So there's, a lot of different ways, toe work the scene, and I think that I think that you could easily spend, probably spend a week here.