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Photographing America's National Parks

Lesson 3 of 37

Sunrise Shoot - Shooting with a Purpose

Ian Shive

Photographing America's National Parks

Ian Shive

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Lesson Info

3. Sunrise Shoot - Shooting with a Purpose

Lesson Info

Sunrise Shoot - Shooting with a Purpose

I'm gonna leave this six on for now because it looks like we're still going to need it in that sky were still pretty dark. We're here in the shade, on the shoreline to you always kind of keep ah, you know, ah, mindful of your surroundings, so I'm actually going to go back down from f twenty two, where I left off I'm gonna go down to where I can hand hold this so it looks like just by pushing the button in any sense about a forty eighth of a second, not really shooting, but you never know. I mean, I shoot and I'm I'm looking right now. So now again, I'm looking at a really distant composition and looks pretty cool, so I'm gonna fire shot off let's see if I can get it to go. What? What what's going on here? I think I got a, uh, mario and so now I'm just kind of floats announced that looks great and, you know, it's nice, I'm really dark on the right hand on the right hand side of that frame I've got this six on. So I'm gonna do is I'm gonna tilt the six and come across the water at the hi...

ghlight spot and rather than shooting at six three rather than getting a smaller depth of field rather than going down like a two point and I'm gonna keep it at sixty because I find often it to point and a zoom lens, especially on a sixteen you started giving me adding that's that dark sort of cloud around the edges of the lens so I'm gonna keep it around six three and I'm gonna increase my eyes so so they, uh up to four hundred, so I need a little bit of a faster shutter speed handheld and again, I'm just looking, and if I feel like I really love this or needed, I'll go and move to a tripod, but at this point, I don't think I do, and I'm getting still too much of that beach, so I'm gonna zoom in and just checking it out. And you know, this is tricky because everything looks even though my boxes, when I look through there, if you look at this picture, my horizon line looks straight to me when I'm looking through, but there's a huge optical illusion going on of what that really looks like. Now, this is a great opportunity actually to talk about color balance, and I talked about cool, hot, warm, cold, anyone you want to call it and everything works on something called the kelvin scale, and so the kelvin scale essentially is how you're looking at the that warmth there cold when I say warmer cold I'm talking simply about color temperature, not actual temperature so this shadowed area is very blue actually, the camera picks up the blues that's a cold area that would be a low kelvin temperature so that would be like, you know, maybe three thousand kelvin, where you get up to the warmer temperatures, they'd be the reds, anything that we think of think of fire nice ice cold blue fire warm, hot you have that option of adjusting your auto white balance in the field. And why would you want to do that simply just so that you know what your composition looks like? So I'm going to go over to the k for kelvin and I'm gonna manually adjust using live you my color temperature when you go really, really hot gonna go upto well, like ninety five hundred, I'm about ten thousand calvin right now and it's actually looking almost greenish warm but that's what I might do in photoshopped it might warm this up a little bit, get rid of the coolness. But I'm also getting a lot of warmth in the distance and my camera's not picking that up, so I'm gonna warm it up I'm gonna fire off a frame and you'll see the difference between the shop before it and the shot after and that's the difference between warmth and cool and really we're getting almost a magenta cast in here and that's an a magenta and green that's actually in photos show that would actually fall more under a tent adjustment rather than a a color balance that's a combination the filter as well as a reflected light and the way everything blending together out here that's giving in to that color but I called color casting but anyway it looks great we spent a lot of time on the boat I'm gonna keep working the shoreline and walk down here what I love is that you are working this it's really like in the c working way we've spent you know, over an hour in what somebody might come and take one image and walk away so it's really demonstrating how you're looking and seeing well lights constantly changing your time yeah there's a lot of opportunities out here and you know, I think ultimately I want to get out there on the dock is kind of my end shot in it least describe what I see is sort of today the whole process and that whole process really boils down to um do you need any other equipment to be good for now? Yeah, I think we can kind of wrap this thought like I said you could you could sit here and change lenses you could shoot tele photos right you know you can go and you know handholds you can get out on the boat I mean and go for a cruise and use the tripod and use a long exposures you streak through the water I mean there's a whole variety of different opportunities that you really have one thing that I that I sort of started our talk with, um this morning at sunrise about is pre visualization or having a concept in mind and so when I looked at this beach I had the concept of mind of course of the boat and all the different canoes and things that were out here and figure out which one would work best for us and as well as the stock and for me what I was thinking of was the one thing that, um that I visualized also was this dock and trying to figure out how to make that work right. And this morning with the cool I could've started out here and work my way back to the boat yeah, I just decided that I wanted to start up the boat and work my way to the pier no particular reason, but either way I knew I wanted to kind of do this shape and the thing that really struck me was of course thes adirondack style chairs that we're out here yeah three's number three is a great number the magic number so now for me, the way that what I was thinking was, and we're not gonna have enough time today right now, anyway, but this light I was anticipating knowing it's coming up over here is eventually going to come up over that mountain and just shine this entire dock. It'll be warm and it's going to be very inviting. And so the final composition, the way I was thinking about it and again, sort of playing into that idea of pre visualization concept was thinking about how to these chairs, you know, how can I use these is another design element and, you know, we're not just talking straight up nature photography or lance given its and even, you know, just taking a quick frame, taking a look that's really beautiful journalistically, I would never really move things around, but, you know, we're out here today just kind of making art, trying to learn howto use different objects is a is a conceptual uh, we're a compositional rather compositional element, and for me, I think he kind of he do one or two sometimes you see three might wantto, you know, think of it from a business side stock side saw photography, which is my world, and we'll talk about that later, I would think maybe, you know, a couple in retirement I might actually only look at two chairs in which case we're moving out of just traditional nature photography still working in nature and the environment using all the same elements but now going after a sales concept um and in which case you know I would look at this and then maybe and carefully not try to avoid going into the water that would be a quite unending and I think about those concepts and I'm just gonna keep working it until I feel like I got an idea of where it's going to be these polls aren't working for me so you know I'm gonna kind of move things around but this is where I pictured the ending and I know that later this light is you the awesome and I'm gonna use the exact opposite idea of no id or low light as my compositional element of light just striking the front of the lens giving me lens flare because again conceptually I'm going after warmth I'm going after the idea of maybe retirement security relax ation vacation after initially be retirement be any number of those concepts there themes I'm not thinking about exposure shutter speed thing a little bit about life but I'm thinking about themes the essence of what it is I'm trying to convey which again tying it all back together again relates to story exactly so what story can I tell and by composing the scene oh yeah yeah all right, so here's the uh here it is I got that season six still on there and it's great because it's not, uh it's not teo let's see, are you guys seeing everything okay? So I'm just shooting and again just beginning this composition and just figuring it out but leaving the six on hand holding I'm at s o four hundred okay, totally doable I think for what I'm working at it really love it I'll get the tripod out but I'm at six point three at a hundredth of a second hand holding at sixteen more than enough even have room to add more depth of field and we're walking and we're rocking exactly so great point I put that try bought up here and I didn't really long exposure probably useless anyway, so I might as well just keep working the scene handheld and ah and seeing what I can get and so again using that that focal point of light just working the scene as we said getting lower finding that environment and you guys getting all these all right now you can kind of see what the image captures and conveys and ah, and we just waited for that light to get even better, right? All right, tell me about reflection and and I haven't seen you do anything with the reflection yet at this morning is there good time for reflection good time in the day you know, there's personal reflection you have been doing that a lot of personal reflection out here this morning you know, there is obviously, you know, and that's something I'll work through this course a lot. You know, we got the opportunity to go do mount rainier and actually go to reflection wake, reflection, leaks and and you really develop on that idea of course low light situations or when something's hotter in the distance brighter when I say hot air usually I'm referring to almost like the luminosity, the brightness of it I'm not instead of the color temperature um but you know, if this mountain has got the light bouncing off of it here behind me and it's it's reflecting off the water that's where you gonna get your best reflection? But you know, you get him any time of day um, you know, I don't really use them huge amount if I really wanted to accentuate that mountain so that it looked as crisp on the water as it does above the water, I would use a long exposure. Um that might be a case where I do it and that's exactly what I'll do and mount rainier reflection lakes is go for that long exposure let and the long exposure smoothes and water out makes it classy it allows you to capture that scene. But right now, this morning in general, you know we were using, we were using a reflection in the reflection was nothing. It was the sky, and we're using that as a design element. Keep it bright, keep it open, um, and so reflection, isn't it? So I have to be an element does have to be a mountain. Um, it could simply be the color, and so this morning I was really focusing on the color of the sky. And I think once we get these shots into the studio and start to develop him out, we're gonna really like the results.

Class Description

Outdoor photography celebrates the varied and stunning landscapes of the natural world – in this unique course you will learn composition and shooting techniques for getting beautiful outdoor shots.

Shooting and teaching from two of the world’s most pristine parks, Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainier National Park, award-winning photographer Ian Shive will teach you new ways to create outdoor photographs that are powerful, captivating and fresh. You'll explore key elements of great outdoor photography including: composition, working a scene, selecting exposure, using filters to manage natural light, and scouting a great location. Then you'll learn how to put it all together to tell a story in a single image or series. After spending time in the field, Ian will move into the studio and present on the equally important tasks of managing and editing your work from the field.

Ian will show you how to capture images that are both technically and emotionally engaging. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to learn how to document the beauty of the great outdoors, in camera.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Field Guide to Photographing the American Wilderness

Icons of Nature Keynote

National Park Photography Intro and Setup

Photo Editing Keynote

10 Steps to Processing Perfect Star Trail Images

Business of Photography Keynote

Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I have taken quite a few courses with createlive and this was by far one of the best. Ian is a fantastic teacher and remarkable at describing what he is doing and his thought process clearly. There is so much good information in this course, I definitely plan on buying this class. Not only is Ian a great teacher, but he also seems to genuinely want to help other photographers and see them succeed. You can tell he cares more about seeing good pictures of nature than anything else. I cannot recommend this course enough. Whether you are a beginner who shoots landscape photography as a hobby or a professional who already specializes in landscape photography, this class has something to offer and will expand your skill set. Can't thank Ian enough and I hope he does another course soon.


Ian is a great teacher and it is great when some one who "can do", can also explain how he does it. Clearly, his experience and commitment are why he is good at what he does. There is a lot more to a great photo than getting the camera settings and filters right. Ian did his best to help us understand what to look for when "working the scene" and finding a good composition without distractions. A great course. Thank you, Creative Live and Ian Shive.


Amazing course. Ian Shive is a wonderful teacher, as well as photographer, and it all comes across. I was glued to my computer for the entire 3 days when the class was live, and just had to purchase it so I don't lose any of it. The bonus materials alone are worth the purchase price. I've got a trip coming up soon and will have the opportunity to put some of what Ian said into practice; and love that I can have it with me on my portable devices so I can refresh my memory and reinforce it all. Great to have on a long plane ride. If you are on the fence, get off that fence and go purchase this great course!!! You won't be sorry. My thanks to CreativeLive, and Ian Shive for giving us this wonderful opportunity to not only learn, but to actually be in the field with Ian.