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Shooting Water, Sky and Panorama

Lesson 41 from: The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Ian Shive

Shooting Water, Sky and Panorama

Lesson 41 from: The Outdoor Enthusiast's Guide to Photography & Motion

Ian Shive

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Lesson Info

41. Shooting Water, Sky and Panorama

Next Lesson: Understanding Stock


Class Trailer

Bootcamp Introduction


Storytelling with Stills and Motion Overview


Elements of a Well-told Story


Storytelling in Motion


Choosing the Best Gear for Your Outdoor Project


Gear for Drones


Gear for Motion


Inside Ian's Gear Bag


General Advice for Preparation


Virtual Scouting




Permits and Permission


Model and Property Releases


Health and Fitness




Location Scouting Overview


Location Scouting in the North Cascades


Drone Introduction


Drone Safety


What Kind of Drone Should I Buy?


FAA Part 107 Test: How to Prepare


Telling a Story With a Drone


Drone Camera, Lenses and Movements


Selling Drone Footage


Why Does a Photographer Need Motion?


Establish the End User


Identify Your Audience


Build a Production Plan


Create the Story Structure


The Shooting Script


Production Quality


Composition for Stills


Composition for Stills: Landscape


Composition for Stills: Telephoto Lens


Composition for Stills: Macro Lens


Techniques for Capturing Motion in the Field


Lenses and Filters for Outdoor Photography


Capturing Landscapes - Part 1


Capturing Landscapes - Part 2


Capturing Movement in Stills


Shooting Water, Sky and Panorama


Understanding Stock


Editorial vs Commerical


Pricing Stock


Producing Stock


Shooting for Social Media vs Stock


Choosing an Agency


Assignments and Capturing Stock


Stock Photography Market


Create A Style Guide


Stock Shoot Analysis


Workflow for Selecting Final Stills


Initial Editing in Adobe Bridge


Reviewing and Selecting Motion Footage


Keeping Track of Your Story Ideas


Script and Story Structure Evolution


Editing to the Content


Music as a Character


Business Diversification


Business Strategy


Pillars of Revenue




Partnerships and Brand Strategy


Galleries and Fine Art




The Future of Photography


Q&A And Critique


Lesson Info

Shooting Water, Sky and Panorama

So only moments ago I decided to make the call to cancel the location I had thought would work really well on the wake. Just because we're kind of stuck in that bowl and the weather is getting stuck in there and only 152 100 feet down found another really great place. It's this kind of classic tundra meto do you get up here in North Cascades A lot of wild flowers, a lot of great pine trees. We've got a little natural water formation, and honestly, you've got a lot more opportunities disguise to open up to get really bright and sunny. And so I'm gonna work this scene building his landscape and also really just worked the compositional elements of it. And the thing that's really going to make this work is the combination of water here as a pool and as a foreground element and the sky, which at the moment is really cooperating. So I'm gonna move really quickly and try and build out some as many great landscape photos as I can while also probably donating a pint of blood to the local mosqu...

ito population. So, always mindful of the fact that there's existing trails and I'm going to just kind of move with what I have. I'm probably gonna need a filter set up. I'm gonna set up a little set up a little base camp right here. Just grab a couple filters. I'm gonna stick it in. My pocket is a big way of working quickly grab what I need and roll with it. So I'm gonna hand hold until I get my composition. So that part's not changing. And right now, it's pretty great because we have a lot of good elements coming together. And what's nice about this is this is not some gigantically like the last spot where you really were getting this huge bowl of reflection in the sky. But here we're actually framing the small area with pine trees with wildflowers with rocks and a lot of really, really great vibrant subject matter, not to mention the blue sky. And ah, and great spotty, warm light, the same place on the mountain. So this is looking pretty good, just as is I'm just going to compose right where I am. I'm gonna use the middle poll set up and try and get a nice level Okay, Good. I'm using a tripod, cause I'm gonna really want to use my filters. Very precisely. That looks pretty good. And doing isn't bringing this to valley walls down equally on either side. Oh, mosquitoes. So happens is the sun comes out and the mosquitoes come out. So once his filters on, I'll leave it on. And the way to really bounce out water and sky is the water is already acting as a polarizer to a degree or is a filter. And you're getting a darker version of the sky. So, really, the only area that I need to filter consider at this point is the sky. I'm gonna start there, and I might want to actually polarize the surface of the water and get rid of the reflection. But reflection right now is catching blue and some other cloud, so it looks pretty good I'm gonna do in 96 I'm sorry. A six nd filter with a soft grade. I'm doing that because I've got a pretty far distance out here of of, um features the mountains and the trees as well as, ah, lot of different kind of light. Sort of blending in. It's not a real hard line, and I don't want to be overly pronounced, so I'm gonna look through. Remove the six in when a focus in the foreground from the double. Check my settings. Make sure I'm not on auto focus. Turn off the stabilizer. I s 0 100 going to goto f 16. Since I don't have a very prominent foreground element, I'm a little further out. I don't need to go to 22. Don't pick up of a dust, and I'm going to keep the mosquitoes off the front of the lens. Why? Like that? And honestly, great results. I don't need to do a whole lot more. The only thing I might want to consider doing differently. I'm gonna take a bunch of frames because you can't see these little guys zipping around. They like to land on the front. So you want to just sort of fire away? Fire away? All right. Looks great. I don't see any clipping. Take a look at my history, Graham. Double check, and it's perfect. I've got a little room on the left. I've been a little room on the right. Very simple composition. Good light, opportunistic. Making the situation work for us. I need to make sure that my shadow isn't in there. So we'll take another look. The only way to really do that live you. So I'm seeing my shadow When the sun comes out, I do it all the time. It's very easy to do You forget and you're like, Oh, shoot. You really want to make sure you don't have a shadow? And so what I'm gonna do to get rid of that is I'm just gonna you live you and frame up more, get a little more sky re center a little bit on. I'm still getting a little bit of the shadow because we're getting so much, son, that we're actually getting pretty bright foreground. So what I'm gonna do instead of just cropping up and tilting the camera matching, going to zoom in a little because I don't want to have too much of a sky element in here. I still want to keep my foreground equal and fire a few frames, looks good and get a few more. Okay, that looks nice. And the truth is, I could also wait. I don't want to wait too much because I waited earlier and I'm not getting the shot I wanted. The weather is changing so much that I want to strike while it's going, so that's something that I do in general. I might say, OK, this is the composition I really want to get, but I'm not sure. Maybe I want to work in here, but I'm not sure. So what I'll do is I'll just start grabbing shots. I'll grab a quick shot here. I'll grab a quick shot there, get a little something so I don't walk away with nothing. And in the end, if it works out and it stays really nice, I could end up getting a lot more. And I'm able to make the different kinds of compositions work really, really well. So sometimes it's about running gun, grab a bunch of shots, make really fast compositions. So you have something you don't go home empty handed, And if the weather cooperates and the conditions cooperate, then you slow your process down and get what you want. So now I've got a shot. I know when good I'm taking a look at the sky. It's nice. So that's exactly what I'm gonna do. A kind of running gun. I got a shot here. I'm gonna now take this off the tripod. And really look at what compositions Aiken build and how I can really incorporate this beautiful sky and landscape with this water feature that we have in the front. This is normal summer attire for Washington state back country. And that's because we're being devoured by mosquitoes right now to bring this lesson to you. This is the pain you got to go through for willing to it for a lesson. You have to be willing to do it. For landscape photography, you have to give blood. Sometimes it's painful. If you don't do it, you're never gonna get the shots. And if you could see everybody right now, it's the funniest thing in the world because everyone's like that. All right, let's keep moving. So what? I want to dio because I can't hear myself talk. I'm gonna donate even more blood. I'm gonna take a look at this. So this is a really great little feature right here. It's, um, some kind of a wildfire. I don't know the name of this one, but I like it is a foreground, cause it's kind of doing this thing. And, you know, all these things just came out from under the snow, all these flowers and bushes and leaves and everything. And so that's why they look so fresh That I like the idea of this is a great compositional element gives me something more to frame the water with some of the mountains and sky working. The only downside is I'm catching the light straight across. So my own shadow is gonna be a bit of an issue. And I'll tell you, I mean, at least half the time your own shadow gets in the way, it really does. I mean, when you wanna work low to the ground, there's no way around that. I mean, this is gonna occupy 50% of my frame right here. So the trick is going to be how do I compose a shot? Still, keep the water feature still get this great sky and landscape in ah, and also draw my eye. I line in, which is what I'm trying to do compositionally with that, also seeing my shadow in there. So I'm gonna try and find a different angle and see if that would work and not really Okay, so son just went behind a shadow, so that might work. So let's just take a quick look and just see how this even works. It's not bad. Maybe my filter on my hand hold some shooting an F I might be able to dodge my shadow out of this. So right now I've got the info, accuse himself and my shadows pretty pronounced. I really do need a tripod this because the clouds are still pretty bright up there. And when I take a look, you're really seeing that The Shadow is very, very, very prominent in the shot. So it's not gonna work. So I need to just find another compositions. I'm gonna keep working the edge and see how we could make this thing happen. It's a pretty great spot. I mean, these meadows or great. So the entire time I'm here, I'm just kind of thinking about everything, trying to take it in. Um, so much of photography is about your mindset. And, you know, again I always come back to the fact that anyone can learn enough stops an aperture shutter speed I s O lenses by the best equipment but it's really about letting yourself go and taking it in. And even though there's a lot of mosquitoes out here, it's still pretty beautiful and thinking about how I want to convey that. You know how I want to get these big open meadows like we're here and able to experience this. But how do you bring that home? And so it's a real challenge, and it's something that you have to just constantly work through. Um, you know, I mean, this issue has been has been challenging because of the weather. But, you know, intermittent clouds and bad weather and unpredictable weather can sometimes give you the biggest investor prizes. And so you just got to stick with it and keep hammering away. So this could work, because this ridge is already casting and even shadow where my shadow would normally be. So I could maybe use these branches in this blue of the water and sky as a compositional elements. So I'm just gonna hand hold and take a look, and that is absolutely perfect. So I love this. It almost works pretty well, handheld, but I don't have enough filter happening up here. So what? I'm gonna do is I'm gonna keep it. Handheld. I want to grab the shot. I'm going through another filter on. I'm gonna boost my eye. Isoda 400. But as I boost my eyes so to 400 I'm also going to try and grab this and get my tripod and get another shot in a minute. But the tripod just slows things down so much that you can always have everything you want at the right time. Right? So let me find a stronger filter. Make sure it's clean. Grab the tripod with me as well. I remember where I was Get a couple shots while the lights. Right, So my shadows still still in their little So So there's a lesson. So I grabbed those shots Wasn't perfect. Wish I had more filter, but I think I can fix it in photo shop. The light in the sky have already changed. And now my shadows in here. So this ridge provided some protection, but it's still not providing enough. And so I can wait. But at least I have that one shot bank. So right here in five minutes, this process of at least making sure you have that safety net that safety shot just checked out for us. Now I'll keep working. So the other thing we lost with the brighter light was so bright. Now I'm coming across the water that you're losing the blue color as well. So if I were to shoot this now you see the difference about seconds makes and it's pretty pretty dramatic. So we'll hang tight for a second and see what happens. So while I wait, what I could do is set up the tripod for this and I might even want to try a polarizer. But that's back in the bag. So first, I'm gonna get this going up. Here comes the light, So probably ought to get the set up in time. This is why you want to practice a lot so you can do things quickly and efficiently. Here we go. And a filter tripod steady. So since I got tripod, I'm gonna boost my eye. So you know, I'm sorry. Lower my eyes. So the 100 boost my depth of field to 18 20th of a second and it's perfect. The shot, as far as I'm concerned, is good. I might try and just see what polarizer gets May. It might actually show me too much underneath the water, but I'm kind of curious to see if I might be able to get a little more texture out of This is an element, but good work pretty nicely. All right, so we got that. So I've got an nd and a polarizer. But I put the nd on first, just not what I want to dio. I'm going to re set up Hold on my strap When I'm working close to the edge Faxon's put it over your head like that while you're figuring out where your stability is gonna come from, That looks pretty good. All right, so now we find out what this polarizer actually gets us. So polarizer is with water. I mean, there probably, I would say, when working with water, it's the number one filter that you're gonna end up using is gonna be a polarizer. Um, second would be if you're using water, you're trying to capture reflections in the sky. You're most likely gonna want an nd so polarizer for the water. And probably one, maybe two nd filters, depending on how much light that will impact which strengthened is, but you probably want some of some kind. So So now I'm gonna figure out what this polarizer gets me by rotating it. So, really, what it's getting me is it's taking the reflection which I actually kind of liked completely off the water. So capture a frame just so you can see what I'm getting. But it's radically different from what we were getting before without a polarizer. So it really just comes down to the creative choices. You want to make my own shadows in there so once again will probably wait for a cloud to go by and then snapped the frame. Here it comes. All right, take a look. And because you got a lot of mosquitoes, you don't take a lot of frames. Looks good. The other nice thing about a polarizer and in nd is getting slower shutter speeds. So these ripples air getting smoothed out. That kind of getting classier, more placid looking, Even though this is not gonna stop flowing anytime real soon, that's kind of a nice effect. Help smooth things down and creates a nice artistry to the image. I'm really loving the water feature and the great sky that we have. I'm gonna try and capitalize on this light and and, ah, not just get a simple landscape shot like I got at this other spot down here was a single vertical or horizontal, but rather I want to put together a stitched image where panoramic image. So the way I'm gonna do that is going to get high up for this one because I want to be pretty close to high level on this, which I would normally not do. But I think in this particular case it's more warranted because I want to make sure that I'm able to see the water here if I get too low. Ah, I think all of these small trees and brush and things like that are going to get in the way. So try and keep it. I level, which is pretty good for this particular composition. It's not always a rule that don't shoot at eye level, but it's often the case. So first I'm gonna do is I'm gonna do this as a ah vertical stitch that will ultimately become a horizontal image and the way I'm gonna do that its first. But making sure I have a nice level tripod because ultimately, or at least a level camera, Because ultimately you don't want to be on a slant because then you're gonna end up having things fall out of frame at edges. So having it nice and level is very, very important when putting a stitch together. So try and get a good position. I'm really looking at my base plate here. I don't have a level on my tripod. I could use the cameras. Well, even that's always a little dependent. So when I ball and get level here, a lot of times, I'll bring a level. I feel like I'm gonna be doing a lot of these. We don't necessarily need it. It's pretty easy toe come up with a decent image without having that. And I don't want the polarizer cause I'm I'm honestly, really liking this blue that we're seeing on the water something. Take that off. Double check for dust and I got a little smudged. So this thing you're working outside, it's important to just check your lens regularly. Make sure that you're getting everything off of the front element. I might want my neutral density filters I'm gonna leave that there. Put that back on on on. All right, So now I'm gonna see and make sure I got nice and level I'm gonna undo the horizontal axis of my tripod had and just see how it goes. I mean, kind of tell it's already something. So make sure that I got my composition where I want. I like this tree. It's sort of right here in front. I'm gonna get a good focus, which I got an infinity focus. Turn off, man. Auto. I'm gonna go toe Max, step the field because I'm gonna have a lot of different pieces and elements that are closer and further away. Somebody gonna f 22 double check that swivel. Kind of still on a slant. Sure. It's really ultimately the same thing you should be looking for anyway, Which is a level horizon. So this side seems like it's still leaning a little Try again. Okay, I think I got it. So now what I'm gonna do, and this is kind of a tricky one. I'm gonna do one without the nd simply because I get over here my panoramic I don't want the top half of this mountain to be impacted by the neutral density filters. So I'm just gonna do one round without it. And basically, I'm gonna start here in the frame which is lined up with a tree ring here, fire frame, and I'm gonna shoot in F at 1/13 of a second, and then I'm gonna just make sure it's a little overlap. Actually, quite a bit of overlap doesn't matter if you shoot more frames, you'd rather have more frames overlapping than not enough, especially with a wide angle lens, because it's curve might distort things. And you want to undo that distortion. And that's all stuff you can do in the postproduction process. But ultimately, as you keep hearing me say, it's all about coverage, so unfortunately, we're getting some clouds back in. But that's all right. I think we got it. So I've got one round, and what I'll do is I'll work on those highlights and shadows in photo shops. I got one pass. So now what I'm gonna do on this one throw the Indy on. I'm gonna tilt it for each frame a little bit. And as I get over to hear the mountain. I go on an angle essentially, and then I get over here and I'm raising it up. Essentially, I'm customizing the position of the filter for each frame, and what we'll do is I'll do you some frame blending and Photoshopped dodging, burning and be able to rework that so that ultimately you never know. I used to filter and all of the images will stitch together, and I'll get a very high resolution image. That's the really great upside of a panoramic. Not only can they work very well as double page spreads, but they were great. It's fine. Art earlier is able to build a panoramic stitching. Several images together think it was about six or seven images, but it was all with a wide angle lens. And the wide angle lens has its own set of challenges because you have the curve of the lens, which slightly distorts the edges Also at the same time, though, you were able to capture a very wide area and able to crop and manipulate the image quite a bit afterwards. What I wanted to hear, especially with this beautiful backdrop behind me, is do a panoramic but instead of shooting wide because I really don't want all this shaded foreground elements all these rocks and things that aren't as interesting right here in this location. But really everything out here and I want to capture that span, I'm gonna use a telephoto lens. Telephoto lens honestly is very often underrated in landscape photography. It's associate with wildlife photography. I see things running around right here right now. Um, it's associate with portraiture, but most people don't think of creating big landscapes with big lenses. And so right now I would like to do is take the 7200 mil. I'm gonna put it on my camera. I'm gonna mount it on the tripod, and I'm gonna use a similar sort of process and stitch this background together. So I'm gonna put a telephoto lens on normal steps before every process. Make sure that you check just like carrying like a paintbrush around or these things are pretty great. Um, lens pens A. Make sure you dust inside the camera, especially if you're camera like mine has been all day in the field. I like to try and just make sure everything is super cleaned up and you around the edges. I don't just do those glass element, but also, this rubber tends to attract a lot of things. So and go ahead and through that lens on and tonight, I'll probably clean my sensor because then a lot of lens changes out here today. I'm only hearing one body. I want to try and travel light, but put the lens hood on. I'm gonna put it on just in case. I mean, there's no real directs the sun or flair or anything like that they need to worry about, but throw it on and keep the mosquitoes from probably landing on there, which is a good thing. So I probably don't need filters because there's enough highlight in this area right here that I'm actually just gonna go straight out of the gate like this, and I'm gonna try and get some height so that I'm comfortable. There's no real reason to be low to the ground or exceptionally high, because we're gonna be using this to create the landscape image. So So I'm just going to try and create a comfortable high and then has always find a good, stable place with a tripod. Okay, so pretty good. Now, this is gonna be a heavier set up. And so we're working with heavier set up is a lot of new things you need to worry about. You need to make sure that when you tighten, especially on a vertical panoramic, which is what I'm gonna do first, and then I'm also gonna do a horizontal. But you have a tendency of these things to sag if they're not kite or start rolling over on their side. So everything with heavier set up in general means you want to really make sure everything's secured. Um, it's one of those little tiny changes that makes a big difference. Do you think you're gonna notices amounting the camera that's center of weight versus over here? If I were to mount the camera right from the normal spot could be mounted here and have this lens that would sort of vibrate a little bit more by mounting it right here on the actual mounting ring, you actually prevent a lot of vibrations and other things that could ruin your images and with long lens. Vibration is your number one enemy. Because everything is magnified everything. Every little shake is magnified. Imagine using a pair of binoculars and you look at something in the distance and how hard it is to keep it in the exact same spot. Now imagine having to do that on a very precise level where it can't move it all. That's why we use a tripod. That's why we have image stabilizers. That's why we mount it right here in the middle, prevent the vibration. So the lights changed again. But hopefully you could still see the lights coming down in the lower part of the valley. It's getting brighter. Said to me, This says it's not over. So I'm gonna just start lining this up and again. You want your tripod level, so but secure and stable draped this thing over here. Goto live. You help the crouch too much and now I'm gonna see if I can. Well, let's see. Go yet. Turn off the image stabilizer because a lot of times I find with longer lenses, the image stabilizer will run when you're pushing the shutter and actually create vibrations. And so I want to avoid those vibrations. Do that the camera itself, because I'm gonna turn that off and take a look and go to aperture priority mode. Turn this screen off. It's a I see a little bit easier if I look like this. Okay, so it's actually really level. The only problem with telephoto is there's not a lot of room for air. So I'm at 70. I'm not even really that telephoto. So I'm gonna try and do around, and I'm gonna shoot this at, ah, to keep my my lens moving fast. I don't need a lot of depth of field because I'm shooting something far away, so I'm gonna just shoot it f eight and I mean under exposed, um, by fraction of a stop, I'm going to get to 50th of a second, which is great. It's pretty fast. And it's actually overexposing my highlights out there, So I'm gonna under expose even further, so I'm actually just running a test right now. See what I get. I'm doing it horizontally. I'm actually going to go and do two layers kind of cake in the sense that I'm doing a row on the top in a row on the bottom because I'm so telephoto did in that I am not actually able to capture the trees and the tops of the mountains at 70 mil. Goodbye. Go to 35. Do the same thing. But I really want the compression that comes with telephoto that pulls everything closer because, really, for me, the shot is the tree line here, the mountains. And then, of course, the cloud. So keep trying and see how it goes. Might want switch little try on air on everything part art, part science All right.

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Ratings and Reviews


Ian was an amazing instructor.; very fun, enthusiastic, encouraging, and comprehensive. I hope to be able to return as an audience member for another of his classes. It is a privilege and a gift to have access via Creative Live to such a wealth of expertise. Thank you!

Cindee Still

Ian Shive is a dynamic speaker with a wealth of knowledge he is willing to share. He has had a magical path that led to his success. He touches on so many aspects of making, selling and creating images as well as how to market them and make an income from your work. It is so much fun to be part of the studio audience. The Creative Live staff are always so warm and friendly and they feed you like your on a cruise ship! Wonderful experience.


What a great class this has been. Thank you Ian Shive and Creative Live! Recently retired, I have set out to learn everything I can about photography and pursue this passion to capture the beauty in the outdoors. Creative Live has served as an amazing educational platform to help me learn everything from how to use my camera, the fundamental technicals, and learn about software and tools. This class brought it all together. At the end of this class my approach to photography and my images are different. Ian shares so much valuable knowledge that will change the way you go about taking a picture; from scouting a location, to thinking through the story and adding elements to an image to evoke an emotional response. My personal growth has been significant and I have changed to the way I approach creating an image from an Outdoor Landscape to an Outdoor Experience. Loved every minute of it, sad the class is over.

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