Landscape exposure technics

mark4583

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whats your technic when getting the correct exposure for landscapes and night time photos?
Do you use a spot meter when there is a lot of tones? what do you read and how many do you read, just a basic rundown of what you would do at say a waterfall that is brightly lite with darker trees around and rocks in the for ground , and if its a night shot with building and you want the lights and buildings not to be clipped out. thanks
 

Ysarex

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whats your technic when getting the correct exposure for landscapes and night time photos?
Do you use a spot meter when there is a lot of tones? what do you read and how many do you read, just a basic rundown of what you would do at say a waterfall that is brightly lite with darker trees around and rocks in the for ground , and if its a night shot with building and you want the lights and buildings not to be clipped out. thanks

I expose to place the diffuse highlights at the sensor saturation threshold. I use the camera's live-view histogram to make that determination and I click the shutter.

Joe
 

weepete

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I expose to place the diffuse highlights at the sensor saturation threshold. I use the camera's live-view histogram to make that determination and I click the shutter.

Joe

^^ Pretty much this.

Saying that I'll also assess dynamic range. So landscape shots I tend to spot meter the highlights, spot meter the darks and if it's more than 4 EV I'll consider shooting an exposure for each. It's rare that I get a still enough day to though, as you need to account for blur due to shutter speed (like if there is wind or any movement). But my camera sensor is sensitive to raised shadows, and a stop or more can make the difference between best quality and should have been. Depth of field and light also come into pkay.
 

dennybeall

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Every shot can be different - the meter in the camera can do wide area to spot readings depending on the result wanted. To say always Do This! or always Do That is not right.
The answer to each of your questions is "Yes, sometimes."
 

Original katomi

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As I do panaramas made up of up to 20 shots I do a dry run with the camera, canon, in shutter priority making note of the f stop recommended fo r each pic th en I will do. A live run in manual with an average setting from the dry run. This gives me a middle ground, that is 90% of the time the correct exposure, as I shoot in raw I can the adjust independently each pic to exposure match.

Night photography..I take several test shots to determine values needed. For me that’s one of the joys of digital I can experiment
These were test pics, for an back garden shoot, which did not work out in the end
 

Strodav

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For static images with no building or street lights, most of the time I'll set the camera on a tripod with remote release, raw, in manual mode, Live View, lowest standard ISO, somewhere around f/16 and set the shutter speed where the camera thinks it should be set, and take a test shot then look at the histogram. I'll adjust the exposure accordingly. If the image fits all is good, but I'll still bracket up and down 1 1/2 stops (3 total shots). If it doesn't fit, ETTR, but bracket up and down 1 1/2 and 3 stops (5 total shots), sometimes 7 shots.

I use the same technique when building lights or street lights are coming on, but need to take bracketed sets of shots every minute or so because you want to catch the exact time when the lights are starting to get brighter than ambient light. It's easy to miss if you aren't ready and I keep shooting every minute or two until the ambient light is gone.

When you have a HDR (high dynamic range) situation, shooting in raw and bracketing are the keys. Now, if you are shooting a darker landscape with a very bright sky, then think about using a graduated neutral density filters.

For waterfalls or when things are moving, like trees blowing in the wind or clouds moving, you have to decide if you want to stop motion or stop the water or see the flow a bit or make it look more like fog, then I'll use the same technique except set both the shutter and aperture and vary ISO. If your ISO is getting much above 800, or 1600 and noise is becoming an issue, take a dozen or so shots at the optimal exposure(s), take into PS as layers, align them, then merge layers selecting mean. That will reduce the noise by a stop for every added layer. When you take multiple shots even at a high frame rate, you will blur any subject motion.
 

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