Saturday, August 29, 2009

When a shot doesn't turn out the way you hoped it would

A thunderstorm cloud hangs in the distance, viewed from Sunset View Provencal Park, Souther Caribou region of British Columbia.

Have you ever had a time when you felt as if what you wanted to take photos of did not turn out the way you thought they would? Did part of the picture look to bight, or even not as dark as you thought it should be? I'm sure you've read this before, but always keep in mind that a camera, both film and digital, cannot see the way the human eye does. Sometimes that is a good thing, and other times not so much. If you are like me, not getting the image the way I want it with the exposure suggested by the camera, then there are a few things you can do about it. Control over exposure is one of the beauties of using the manual and semi-auto modes on your film, digital SLR, or higher end compact camera. In the semi-auto modes (P,S&A for Nikon Cameras) you can use exposure compensation to make up for such problems, and in manual mode you can manual under or over expose as needed. I tend to use manual mode when I am shooting landscapes because the light tends to change rather slowly, and my subject isn't going anywhere fast.

Another solution if things are too dark in your images is to use the built in or external flash for fill light. Even on a bright sunny afternoon a flash is a useful tool for capturing details in the harsh shadows. If you find the flash is creating too much or little light, just use flash compensation to bump it up or down as needed. Some newer cameras, like the Nikon D90 for example, while in Auto mode tend to pop up the built in flash in such conditions, so don't put it back down right away just because it is not dark out!

I've found that I tend to use exposure compensation to lower the exposure value far more often than wanting to bump it up. If I need faster shutter speeds I'll adjust the ISO as needed. For the picture in today's entry I underexposed the land behind the lake to get the correct exposure. By doing so I was able to correctly expose the water and the sky.