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Sunrise Shoot - Working the Scene

Lesson 1 from: Photographing America's National Parks

Ian Shive

Sunrise Shoot - Working the Scene

Lesson 1 from: Photographing America's National Parks

Ian Shive

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Lesson Info

1. Sunrise Shoot - Working the Scene

Lesson Info

Sunrise Shoot - Working the Scene

Hello, internet and welcome to create of live we are here in the most spectacular location. My name is kind of classroom and I'm going to be your host. This is mr in show five and this is our three day workshop photographing national parks, america's national parks and we are live. We've never done anything like this before. We're here in the olympic peninsula, the olympic national park at a place called nature bridge olympic park, and normally we do a bunch of introductions, but ian, we're chasing the light, so we're going to do that in our second segment. So for now we are going to watch mr aaron, I you know, it's quite early morning here, early morning and now we're chasing the light so and I'm just going to throw it over to you let's, jump it, teach us about photographing son, right let's start! I'm already got my filters right hand my magic coat taken away. So olympic peninsula, as canada's told us, we're here on the nature bridge campus and the light is changing incredibly fast. ...

It's awesome, I'm summer in general is really tricky time tio be a nature photographer because you have these wild turn around so a few hours of sleep at night because he figured the sun goes down around eight, eight thirty especially if you're in the northern latitudes like we are in washington state right now by the time you're done if you're doing star trails its ten eleven o'clock at night by time you get dinner it's a gas station, some sour sandwich few hours later you're waking up, but at least you're waking up to this, so I'm going to jump right in and I've got everything sort of pre set up for it sunrise is equal to sunset as faras quality of light and is certainly different, though I think that the type of light is generally different sunset depending on where you are definitely changes. I grew up on the east coast, and so I've noticed that sunsets tend to be our sun rises rather tend to be much warmer where sunsets here on the west coast tend to be the warmer light, it tends to be a little the cooler, more blue here in the sunrise. So uh thankfully, nature bridge has this killer campus with these incredibly awesome canoe. I didn't even know if this qualifies as a canoe just this gigantic boat and it's a perfect prop there's a couple of them out here along the shoreline and I'm going to spend the morning just working the shoreline, working the light literally and seeing how things change and as things change sort of dialing in my process and walking you through that process that we get some great images you'll notice I've got my trusty filters in my hand I certainly love these, especially at this hour and especially for this particular scene, so I'm gonna walk you through the concept of it because for me one of the most compelling elements is pre visualization that is that is that component that you need tohave before you even begin anything so walking around getting here at night last night you still have a rough idea hey, the sun's gonna rise over, they're going to get a cast of light if you notice where the sun is rising, it's warmer and it gets cooler, more blue as you go over to the left. And so with the boat on the shore line, I'm thinking this is a great place to really play into all of the shapes and the line, so my pre visualization is really all about shapes and lines and in general, what I'm looking at is the mountains. I'm not going to go for detail in those mountains this morning for me, it's not about trying to capture trees, I can't see trees with my eyes, so I'm not even bother try doing it with my camera at this point, really? What I'm going to go after is using the water and the sky as a blank canvas too create an image out of us using the boat and its silhouette of the boat on it and using the sky and the colors as they changes as my textures as my paint for lack of a better expression so with that I'm gonna get started I'm gonna walk you through ah, what I've got going on got my tripod of course we're working in low light even when I'm not working a little light, I'd like to have the tripod slows down the process um, obviously I've got my filters I'm working with hard filters, hard neutral density filters hard referencing the type of grady in't that he's neutrally colored four by six resin filters ah have and so meaning I'm not going to create colors that aren't there um and that purpose for those is really to control the brightness of the sky that's guy's going to be at least one full stop or two? Ah darker I'm sorry, brighter than the water. The water has a natural sort of polarizing or darkening effect, whatever it is that it's reflecting. So I want my sky and my water to be very, very well balanced, so I'm thinking about how I'm going to use those and then think about how my composition is gonna work I'm more or less goingto work with the same settings through the whole scene I'm not going to be getting into a huge amount of technical uh alterations as I go along I'm going to focus mostly on ah course set of aperture which is going to be at least in the start half eleven um I may go up to twenty two as the light changes I'll start to reduce the amount of light that's coming in what's the purpose of this so aperture that's what's going to control my depth of field so af twenty two being very small aperture ah meaning I'm going to get the maximum amount of sharpness throughout my scene and my eyes o is not going to be my normal place where I would start with a lot of light and and it's very different thinking as faras sunset and sunrise because I'm thinking now in the sense that my life is only going to get brighter and so all my entire process is going to be the exact sort of sunset where I'm only going to get less light so in the case of ah of a sunset photograph I'm constantly making my sensor more sensitive by increasing my eyes so I'm going to be constantly opening my aperture larger which reduces my death the field in sunrise I'm going to be doing the exact opposite gonna start to reduce the amount of light as we get more of it to work with and then my shutter speeds essentially I'm working in aperture priority which means that I'm going to let the camera pick the shutter speed, but I'm using my aperture knowing what that shutter speed well, sort of b and I know that at f twenty two with a very small opening and that maximum depth of field at maximum amount of sharpness, I'm going to get a naturally longer exposure, which is the desired result because I want to smooth the water and playing in the different colors, and I might also do some frames where the water is not smooth, and I try and stop the motion a little bit, in which case I'll open up. Either way, I'm gonna be looking at my shutter speed, but I'm not necessarily going to be adjusting it. So with all of that in sort of a rough, very rough outline shooting in raw and high j peg, I'm gonna actually get started on the process and talk you through it says the light is just perfect. The first thing I'm noticing and it catches my eye, is how the color over here on the right hand side of the boat is, uh, is a lot warmer and it's a lot cooler over here, so I'm gonna literally work my way up the boat, I'm gonna just kind of travel on the side here. And I'm gonna try and not strangle myself, and we cable released like I normally would in the morning and the one thing about mornings versus sunset sunset you have all day to caf in eight were sunrise. You don't have a few minutes and that's a key element here, so I'm actually ocean travel around and I'm gonna work on my filter, so at this point, I'm not going to work on my composition, I'm simply going tio look at my light with a rough composition and I'm going to start with a nine hard neutral density filter and take a quick look and I'm going to use that hardline right on that hard line that exists here in nature and that line is the horizon line that you see stick my filters here, this is out of frame cable release will prevent me from shaking the camera. I'm every little vibrational make a big difference, and I'm at I s so for hundreds or more sensitive, this is more or less going to be a test. I'm doing a manual focus on this and let's just see what sort of results we're getting now manually, I'm focusing on the canoe about a third of the way in from the end of this thing and what's ah let's, fire a shot and see what we get. Get a five second exposure and ultimately when you're working with filters and you're working with rapidly changing like the back of the screen is really a great reference point for what you're what you're getting and so I tend to use it just because yeah, you know what you think you're going to be getting but not exactly the end results just because you're doing things like smoothing the water with a long exposure so immediately the first thing you notice is that looking maybe potentially a little dark or that the filters a little too low so I'm actually gonna snap in a live view, which in low light is very difficult um to really see but it does the job, which you can see me adjusting the filter I can figure out where it's most effective spots are and right about there where we're still getting a little glow on the horizon and I've got a slight angle on it because I'm getting a lot of shade from the left hand side here it's the darkest part of the sky that seems to be a great spot, so I'm gonna go ahead and grab one more exposure and thankfully the boat is on short enough that it's not rocking so it's a very fixed object, so in general, the filters looking good but one thing I'm noticing immediately about this composition is the fact that the very tip of the boat is going up into my line so my line the mountains that horizon line when I'm standing here at eye level there is a separation between the front of the boat and the mountain in my photograph because my camera's low but this was just a color setting color test it's going up it's jutting into that and I want to keep all of my line separate so I need to get higher up and I need teo to move my camera slightly forward so that I could get that separation by moving up so I'm gonna taking a step forward always minding the fact that I don't want to lose that whole shoreline because I like that line as well and you know these are the these are the the subject er the area that I call leading lines I've got a line leading my eyes they're here I've got a line leading my eye through here I've been a line at the horizon I've got the really great edges of the mountain on this incredible gorgeous lake and then you know you have this whole sky element now you're probably wondering why do I care that the boat is jutting into this this line it's just pleasing to the eye it's naturally pleasing to the eye to separate those two um it's a personal preference thing it's not like anything that we're talking about is a requirement everything here is the artistic process for lack of a better word it's it's sort of the the idea of trying different things and just figuring out you know hey did this work the bastard did it not I could extend the legs in the interest of time cause light's changing and the idea that I think I might drop back down I'm gonna try and get a little height and just looking through the camera I didn't get enough height so I'm going to use my teeth get in that hand and get some height, hair and eye like a hole hold my camera strap whenever possible because I probably attached that camera last night at the end of a long day and who knows how good a job I actually did all right, so now I got the camera little bit higher than me, which is all right that's what your toes or four and okay, I've got that separation it's looking really good I'm going to re focus because I've read composed of kind of jostled my camera focusing on that same spot and I'm not going to shoot I'm shooting with a sixteen of thirty five millimeter lens I'm not going to shoot all the way wide I'm gonna zoom in just a little bit on that because I'm getting a lot of dead space in my composition over here so we take the frame and show you what it looks like at sixteen, you see how wide it is, and I'll probably do another filter adjustment as well. I didn't do that. So you see, I have all this dead space and things going on, and I'm not really honing in on the the light and the light ultimately you have leading lines is it described the shoreline, the boat, the horizon line at the bottom of the mountain, in the horizon line at the top of the mountain, but your center of focus is going to be the color of the light and the way that it it rises and that it reflects off of the water and that center of that light that that point of reflection that's, the brightest on the water will be the center of my focus throughout the entire shoot is I work along the shoreline and eventually out onto the dock, and the light changes, so and then he used that center of light part gonna make this easier on myself and not stood on my toes, but that's, all right? I like the composition, and I'm going to do a filter adjustment and just bring it down. I'm not bringing the filter down into the water, amore bringing it down just below the top of the mountain, so may take a another test I've refocused, I'm shooting still f twenty two meeting a two second exposure at I s o four hundred which means the light's changing I could probably start to bring that I s o down and try and increase the quality and you could still see that the light is looking really great one thing that's tricky, especially when you're on your toes is making sure your horizon lines or straight is I say I'm like a broken record when I'm talking about her eyes and lines hate the crooked horizon line that's ever just so slightly crooked for me it's like walking into a room with a gigantic piece of art that's awesome and it's hanging a little sideways on the wall you just want to kind of tilt it up a little bit and that's a little bit of my own probably o c d but I'm looking at the horizon and it looks maybe touch crooked maybe like it's leaning a little bit to the left could be an optical illusion. I'm gonna use those boxes that when I look through my lands there's these little boxes, little guides of what's an even square and I can actually see that I didn't really line that up perfectly it is leading the direction I thought it was somebody just tilt the camera and, uh go again and that's looking pretty sweet and it's what's great is with light rising, I'm basically getting a giant soft box over may that's illuminating the inside of the canoe that's giving a nice um sort of ah xin across everything out here so light is really really even and you'll see all of the leading lines when you look at the image your eye travels through different places that will travel along the coastline along the shoreline into the boat into the distance and the distance is not so clearly defined it is ah it's an undefined place and that to me is what I love in photographs I want a photograph that um adds mystery as intrigue and something that I think a lot of photographers forget because you can sit here and dwell on story um I'm sorry you can't dwell on technical aspects like aperture shutter speed and all that and you absolutely have to get those right but if you get those right and you forget the one key element story already gave away my punch line but you you get the key element of story in there that's the thing that I think separates a technically good photograph from simply a great photograph it's the ability to tell a story and you know what story is he telling there's no character there's no caste um with the exception of maybe that bird that's swear circling me right now but there's no caste but there is there's a storyline and that's the person's imagination when they look at a photograph and I think that the for me the role of my own imagination, the idea of casting this this shadow in the horizon of where somebody might want to go or looking at this coastline that's a little wet a little rough and has some grasses along it and you you want to know what's around that next ben what's in the distance what would it be like to go out on that canoe right now? And you just never know you have to picture all of the different scenarios in which somebody might be experiencing your image because I think is nature photographers and as landscape photographers is this huge responsibility to also especially if your if you want your work to be seen and buy a large audience there's a responsibility to also knowing who your audience is and you know for me I know that, um this is my second career photography and and for me, when I when I used to sit at a desk and I'd enjoy my nine am coffee the best wayto sort of start my day was to look at a picture of a boat sitting on a coastline like this so how would I want to see that? How would I want to capture that and would experience is it that I can convey now all that so sounds great ultimately it has to be able to process the image but there's a two step process and I think that that two step process ultimately is both the technical as well as the ah the imagination the imagine the story within the approach that you tell on the images so now that I've got at least a great baseline shot, I'm looking at it the lights looking good, it's staying relatively consistent, getting brighter, which only means that I can start stop sacrificing so much quality and I could go all the way back down now toe so one hundred at f twenty two and I'm not going over exposed get a little bit more light in here we're using my exposure compensation well, I'm gonna go about a third of a stop to two thirds of a stop over and get a longer exposure time and getting about six seconds now and fired again using the cable release so I don't ah don't klutz out hit the cameron shake it and let's take a look at the results now you could see that between this frame and the last rain there's a difference in how the light on the wake is interpreted now I love that and I could have done this a little earlier um but you also see that the color and the sky is starting to change as well starting to get um a little bit ah more monotone a little bit more neutral and so it looks great. I could probably go a little bit longer and take a look at that horizon line look given optical illusion because I've got an object up here on the top right this tree over this mountain and my focus is looking good I'm gonna just double check is everything's looking super super solid on this shot so I'm feeling really good about this and now I'm gonna give myself a little variety I'm actually gonna go and shoot a vertical of this now vertical was going to change everything because if I go in I just tilt over and I'm gonna go in alive you and just take a quick look I'm gonna tell my filter up it's not bad, but I lose those elements that I had going for me over here. You can't just do a straight of vertical something to recompose and now I'm gonna use the canoe as the leading line through the frame on a vertical shot I'm still zoomed in by the way I'm at about uh twenty six millimeters somewhere in there and using the live you for the for the compositions to get a sense of ah what's ah what's happening there in real time with my filters and everything else and then I'm going to refocus and one of the elements that I really liked was the way that the coast here the beach has an in and out swirl I like the way that line looked and I'm kind of just barely catching it good I'm gonna give it a test and see how we're doing I'm not changing any of my settings and still f twenty two um a little bit crooked c that's the first thing that jumps out at me and I am cutting off a little bit of that over there so again I'm not just focusing on this canoe the canoes you're sort of a prop in a line that's leading through and I'm gonna back up so because by backing up I might be able to get a little bit more of that shoreline and I am but now I'm getting too much of this your line so what I'm gonna do is zoom in a little bit more because and you probably want to well why why do you keep making these changes? They're just big dead dark spaces they don't really do anything for me um same with over here that the goal is to keep as little as I can out of the darker areas and focusing again on that center of light out there so let me ah let me work my way in on a zoom and now if I zoom too much you start to lose the front of the boat so I'm gonna just tilt myself over and slide a little to my left we'll run another test making a filter adjustment again and again I'm I'm shooting ah about two thirds of a stopover in meaning I'm getting a little bit longer a shutter speed and getting four seconds at f twenty two but I s o one hundred quality of light is relatively preserved filter certainly help that I'd have a filter on here this entire foreground would be completely either blow now or this would be great and the sky would be gone and you just you get a really uh nasty sort of effect in fact actually I could even take the filter off for a quick second catch a frame and not bad I mean the worst thing in the world but if you look at a non filtered versus a filtered you could see how it's preserving the texture and color in the sky and of course shooting both wrong j peg I'm shooting you know raw with the idea that I'm goingto process this a little bit and ah and, you know, double check my color balance color balance referring to how warm how cool the images and at this hour with sunrise you know, I'm looking at my screen and it's almost looking a little magenta compared to what I'm seeing here, so I'll make a mental note of that I could certainly adjust my white balance in the field, but I don't want to spend the time um that's something I could do in post that will not have any impact on the overall quality of my image, so I'm not as well just to keep going and doing what I'm doing and worry about that later I'm not getting the whole shoreline but that's the best I'm going to do with this particular composition there's only so many ways to do this around spending time trying to get that and probably won't um I'm actually gonna get in the boat at this point and climb up in and actually get rid of the shoreline entirely and just start to get that true sort of imaginative style I'm gonna make sure it doesn't rock meal the tricky as we do this so so bear with me um and also lower my tripod down because I'm gonna probably get a lower little bit of a lower angle um I don't need this all the way up and I normally wouldn't use this middle bar very often on a wide angle on a very quiet still morning like this I might use the ah the middle ah raise on my tripod but um not going to this morning so let's see how this goes it's nice and calm out here all right there's no right way to do this I am tethered to the world right here right now pretty cool, all right you bad stability immediately looks like a problem but not really just means that you've got really embraced the whole zen photography experience out here and uh I'm gonna work my way towards the front of the boat a little bit and probably so I'm looking at it and tell me where do I want to be I'm going to go just to the point where the water s'more less that we're rather where the shoreline more or less ends so the idea is ultimately to get rid of it I could zoom in a little bit but I don't want to be out on the water because the chances are the more I get out there the better the chance I'm either going to float away or that the boat is gonna rock so much that I won't be able to get a nice stable image so I'm gonna just try and work my way in here um good pro tip is loose jeans or shorts work a lot better when doing something like this all right uh tighten your tripod and one camera take a nose dive at the last minute all right so this actually looks pretty good it's stable enough and it allow me why get forward and not just do manage obviously couple reasons I mentioned stability on dh not going all the way forward but there's also a benefit in that I want to maybe potentially take advantage of the full wide angle aspect of my lens getting the whole sixteen millimeters if I do it from back here, I'm still getting the shoreline, so why bother even getting in the boat at that point? And for this particular composition? Obviously don't have a lot of room to do the legs. I don't need a lot of room, I'm thinking, as rather than the typical rule of thirds or as we saw in that vertical image a few minutes ago, the big boat kind of comes up from the left hand corner and then kind of works its way up towards the ah, I'm sorry comes up out of the right hand corner and then worked its way up towards the left and so that's sort of the rule diagonals that I like to use its sort of plays on the rule of thirds, in a sense, that's coming up out of this one side going through here, kind of cutting your frame in half and separating in this case, I mean, embrace the idea of shooting straight on right up the center, um, and making the boat and less so the light lights going a little off the, uh, off the right side here of our boat, but I'm going to make the center of the boat our center of focus um, so and the reason being a of course variety um you know, I like to get a variety of compositions and you know, you could sit in sit well, I got my last shot it looked really good I don't feel like I really need to do any more and that's the easy way out the goal is to keep working the scene joy the light tell that story so let me, uh when you rework this composition and I really like it, it looks great on the center. It definitely has a different feel from the center of the boat, and so I'm gonna just shoot as an example wide angle here I'm going to give a filter adjustment and I'm also going to go back from being, um two thirds over I'm actually just gonna center my exposure compensation wheel that's the little thing that makes your picture dark, brighter and is my best friend when I'm shooting an aperture priority mood like I am so I'm actually noticing that every time I move a little bit I'm getting a little bit of a wobble so I'm gonna hold really still take a deep breath, hold it in and fire all right take a look pretty cool looking awesome um a couple different things I am noticing first that the same problem that I had earlier of a tip of the boat crossing my lines and so again, I want to separate those and it looks like it's just barely separated and zoom in a little bit and it is barely separated so it's not actually jutting up into that line on the horizon but it's close enough um that I want to get just a little bit more space you don't want to look too tight so I'm gonna rather than to try and extend the legs out here right now I'm just gonna use the quick quick release and raise I'm going to take a peek through and I would not typically endure shooting and eye level but this particular case because for me shooting a different perspective rouleau rely changes immediately the way a scene is perceived we experience the world of high level let's show the world as photographer, something new and something different so looking pretty good I'm not feeling like I'm necessarily centered on the boat and the reason for that is that I'm shooting a vertical and my camera's tilted off to this edge here so I'm actually going toe tweak it a little bit, you know it's not like you know clouds agree, you know, but when you get it still, even when it's clear and you have this kind of setting and you just stop and just take it in for a second yeah, you know I think some of it I would forget that yeah, they get out there and you're so busy making the shot and elbowing other people out of the way especially the national park were pretty lucky to be out here on nature bridge and have all this to ourselves at the moment but I do have a question for you sure so earlier you were talking about how you're looking at the brightest part of the water the brightest part of the image in terms of did you say that was the I understand the focus but you're very aware of focus yeah it's something I'm working around yeah is that because that's what your eye goes to the first when you're looking at an image that's a great question that's exactly it it's um you know, our eyes always attracted in the landscape in anything we'll be attracted to that bright spot I think you know and so if you're using that as your senator focus you at least know where it is and keep it aware because that reflection in that bright spot is essentially an element all to its own in the chute it's a significant as this boat in itself because when somebody looks at that picture they're going to look at that as well as this as well as all the other elements and so you want to take stock of all of the different elements that are in your scene and what role they play in your composition um it's a little known fact about me though now it's going to be out there for everyone is that I actually you know, thought music would play a big role in my career in the future at one point and I was ah a classically trained pianist twelve years really and for me I think there's a huge similarity to the role of notes and how they create sort of ah harmony together when played the right way and the right combination that I think the landscape really plays into that and I've heard of a lot of other photographers have also ah been piano players or you know, musically trained and and and I think that what you're looking for ultimately is and I don't think there's any coincidence in the fact that when you think of the word composition do you think of the word composition for both music and for photography you're composing and so you're looking for a harmony of element it's and so for me the canoe the light, the water, the mountains, the grass you know everything that's working in the scene are like different notes on this single page of music for lack of a better analogy and so when I'm looking at the um you're looking at the sun and the rot and the and the hot spots and all these elements I'm figuring out where do I place them in my mind and I think that's something that's really takes a lot of trial and error and being honest with yourself I think having honest critiques of your work is really, really important that's a great question and that's so beautiful I've never really thought about that composing and composing do you hear when you're out here? Are you well, not over that bird over the bird and all but do you explain that hearing I do yeah, you know, a lot of times I'll use music as an inspirational tool leading up to a photo shoot we know what I'm outdoors I really love the quiet and what comes with it and so I like to just kind of listen to the music that's nature's is out yeah um yeah so so when I shot this image, I noticed again that I'm still off center um and but using a long exposure, you know, now at this point the light is starting to get very equal where we're at and a big part of that is that this mountain and the fact that we've moved on we're getting a pretty even spread because the sun is now not coming up from one hot spot out to our right but rather coming out equally itt's getting higher in the sky and casting a light everywhere, including a little bit of pink up in the top of the mountain but either way I'm off center and that's because I'm shooting this ah, vertical! So what I'm gonna end up doing is actually shortening my leg here a little bit and actually there's a ledge inside this canoe I'm gonna add this leg onto and I'm going teo untie myself here a little bit now I'm gonna recompose because I've completely altered my setup and and again I'm just trying to center this canoe and I'm using the little guiding boxes in my cameras I'll take a picture here and you'll see that now I'm a little more centered, but I'm rocking a little bit I'm gonna hold my breath all right now I've done the job of separating whips and in tight my tripod I've done the job of separating the boat from the horizon line enough, but I'm looking at it and again studying the frame slow your process down I'd rather come away with one grade image than none we're realizing, oh man, this one thing I wish I had done that, so I'm gonna look at it and I'm looking at all aspects and corners of my friend so top right top laugh bottom, right bottom left but mostly at the centre elements I'm looking at the mud and the way the boats worn out looking at everything and I'm noticing that even though the horizon looks tray, I'm getting a crooked line on the foot of the boat here on the sikh that's in there so I don't think I'm gonna be able to easily get rid of that without sacrificing the horizon so I'm actually going to do is zoom in a little bit past it so it's less prominent and see if I can just angle a little bit more on my lens but I'm sacrificing that distant horizon and I don't want to do that and that's that crookedness on the bottom of that frame is really simply because of the curvature of the lens and the fact that I'm pretty wide but so I'm just gonna crop it out so it's not as lined up when the when you have a line any sort of line element whether it's this bar something like that at the bottom of your frame and it's completely on an angle contrary to the very symmetrical square that the frame obviously has it's a distraction so again moving that element out wait for the boat to stop rocking and just double check my filter I'm gonna bring that in a little bit and I'm getting about one point six seconds at f twenty two if you remember a few minutes ago it was only at a couple seconds so obviously the light it's changing pretty fast fire away and looking great so now I take a look at that looks really, really nice and I I'm getting more texture in the water as well with the shorter shutter speed um, you'll notice that the detail that ah, that comes with the ripples and the little breeze that's probably out there on the water right now, it's starting to show up because my shutter speed is not as long, so I'm not getting that nice glassy surface. A lot of people think oh, the colors and the glass scene is I must have used photo shop or something to remove elements or through that now it's all it's all just shutter speed, it's all in camera and ah, and a lot of questions I get are often about, um, neutral density filters and why do I use them in the field or not do them later in post production? And the truth is I want to capture ah, the scene as accurately as possible capture is the largest amount of information on my file is I can at the time that I'm shooting it and I'm also come from the end of the for the end of the film era, I guess that's where I learned that the very tail end of color transparencies and and in the way ethics and ah photo journalism ethics and all that has changed in the digital era has been very significant and at the time when I was learning and for getting published um you had to have the perfect image out of camera you couldn't make any alterations even if the switch to digital for for many years and of course still to this day there's rules though they've I think expanded greatly from ah from where they originated back when the first digital cameras were coming out but I've always kind of played into that first journalistic ethic or integrity if you will into the process but not needlessly holding onto that either in the sense that I feel creatively I'm getting a really great result by using nd filters and the field vs in the studio because I am only taking one exposure that um is graduate works it's I don't need to take five exposures emerge them later I could but for me there's also a a natural element and it could completely be my own interpretation but I feel that when I look at this image I just fired off it doesn't feel artificial to me necessarily where you have to be very careful with digital processing and shooting a lot of layers and how you blend them together if I could throw on one filled their climate this boat and get six different compositions along the way that feel very natural to me that's a desired result that is a personal choice that I think everyone just has to simply make and figure out what works for you um this is not ah something that we need thio ah live up to some hidden standard necessarily but rather it's the idea of art and what it is that you're trying to go after, um often I'm shooting assignments and those different outlets that I might be shooting for for magazines or whomever might have their own rules as faras what you can or can't do um to your images in the sense of digital manipulation so the rules are always changing a little bit, always evolving ultimately for shooting for yourself you simply have to do whatever you're the most satisfied with, all right? Our light is continuing to change and, uh I'm gonna alter my composition I think I've got this as faras I need teo I don't need to go out any farther my boat will rock more and I've got one one one bum leg on my tripod at the moment because I've shortened it for this edge I'm gonna make sure everything's tightened down. I'm feeling pretty good about it and the same filters worked for me the entire morning this nine andy because all I'm really doing is controlling the amount of light it's getting writer faster um but I'm really just controlling the amount of light that I have and uh and that light is is equal not getting any direct sunlight it's still sort of the same glow and just magnified but it's, not necessarily becoming mohr lopsided, is not getting so much greater in the sky that it is on the water. They're all equally illuminating as the sun comes up over time. And so one good filter really worked.

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


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.

Student Work