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Dawn/Dusk Photo Tips

Advance setup For a half-hour before the sun rises and after it sets, the sky is filled with a soft, rapidly changing light that has an almost magical ability to transform scenes. Starting with the first faint light at daybreak, colors brighten by the minute, going from cool blues through an ever- shifting series of pearly pastels to the warm hues that immediately precede sunrise. Forms that are, at first, merged into one shadowy shape gradually and almost imperceptibly become distinct and identifiable. In the evening after the sun stages its dramatic exit, the process is repeated in reverse. To take advantage of these twilight periods, it's best to be prepared. Because the light changes so quickly, scout a scene in advance for the best camera angle. And because the light is so dim, plan to use a high-speed film. Tools A tripod or other firm camera support is also advisable. You might want to use a fairly small aperture to get good depth of field, which will often require exposure times too long for hand holding the camera. A photo of a skyline taken about 10 minutes after sunset might require a setting of 1/60 second at f/8 with 400-speed film, allowing the camera to be hand held. But by a half-hour after sunset, you'll probably need a full second a f/8, and that scene can only be taken with the camera on a support. Exposure Check exposure readings frequently; the darker the scene, the more important it is to bracket your exposure a full stop or more in either direction. If you have an automatic camera, bracket by temporarily changing the film-speed dial setting to half and then double the correct setting. This not only gives you an acceptable picture, but also allows you to select the final image nearest to the actual effect you want. Twilight is also the time to take pictures that give the illusion of night. You should take these photographs during the few short minutes when the sky is deep blue, just after the darkness of night vanishes in the morning and just before it returns in the evening. The faint light still in the sky silhouettes subjects on the horizon while street lamps and other lights convey the impression of night.

Sunrise/Sunset Photo Tips
Dramatic images
Sunrise and sunset are two of nature's grandest spectacles. Whether they are the main subject of a picture or are included in a broader vista, they assure an image with a dramatically heightened mood. Fortunately, both sunrises and sunsets can be recorded successfully on film over a wide range of exposure settings, allowing you to determine the effect that is best for a particular scene. As an extremely bright source of light, however, the sun will cause your camera's built-in meter to respond inaccurately when it is included in the scene.

Sun as subject
If the sun itself is the subject of your picture, take you reading from the brightness of the sky and clouds -- not directly from the sun. This will slightly underexpose the scene and produce deep rick colors in the clouds. It will also darken the foreground so that trees, buildings or people will be silhouetted against the sky, forming a dramatic frame. The effect can be heightened by giving a scene an f-stop or two less exposure. Look especially for scenes with a slight amount of haze or mist, as the fine particles of water in the air will pick up and reflect the sun's colors. And try using a telephoto lens to make the sun appear larger and more dominant.

Sun as backdrop
If the sun is to be a backdrop for a more panoramic picture, angle your camera downward and take a reading off the foreground. This will prevent the foreground from becoming a silhouette, but the sun and sky will be overexposed, appearing lighter and closer to normal daylight. Similarly, you can often get more dramatic results by shooting when the sun is not in the picture -- when it is hidden behind a cloud or at the moment just after it sets or just before it rises.

Moonlight Photo Tips
We have a lot of associations with moonlight -- romance, mystery, peacefulness -- and it is relatively easy to record those moods on film. A scene illuminated by moonlight, however, is about two million times (21 f-stops) dimmer than one illuminated by direct sunlight. So in order to get a good image, plan to shoot on nights when the sky is relatively clear and the moon is full or close to it. Also use a tripod or other firm camera support so that you can take long exposures. And use a high-speed film, possibly one that you can have push-processed for a higher ISO rating. To get correct exposure, use the exposure table below or a very sensitive meter. The danger in using a meter is, surprisingly, that you may overexpose the scene. The meter is programmed to indicate settings that will make the scene appear of average brightness. By following the meter exactly, it is easy to make a moonlit scene look as if it had been taken in daylight. To avoid this result, use 25 to 50 percent less exposre than your meter indicates. On an automatic camera, set the exposure override control in the underexposure direction or reset your film-speed dial to twice its correct setting. This exposure adjustment is essential with slide films. It is less critical with negative films because the lightness or darkness of the image can be controlled during the printmaking process. The type of film you select can also have a major effect on the color in the final image of a moonlit scene. A film balanced for tungsten light will produce a cool blue cast. A daylight-balanced slide film or color negative film will favor the red end of the spectrum and give the picture a warmer appearance.

Moonlit Landscapes Table
ISO 64-100 125-200 250-400 800-1000 EXPOSURE 30 seconds at f/2 15 seconds at f/2 8 seconds at f/2 4 seconds at f/2

Tips for Various Kinds of Weather
• • • • Overcast Skies Fog and Mist Storms and Lightning Rainbows

Overcast skies

The quality of light can be excellent on dank, dreary days. Rather than producing harsh contrasts between bright highlights and deep shadows, light filtered through a canopy of clouds is even and diffused. Contrasts are soft and subtle. Colors are rich and fully saturated. Bright colors that would ordinarily clash with each other or overwhelm muted hues become more harmonious and part of a unified image. Scenes photographed on an overcast day usually work best when you move in close and fill the entire image area with shapes and colors, since the sky is often an uninteresting, washed-out grey or white. Sometimes, however, a bland sky can provide a plain backdrop that sharply sets off interesting foreground elements. But try to keep your horizon line relatively high so that there is more ground than sky, and, if possible, mask part of the sky with a foreground frame such as overhanging tree branches. Even when the sky looks grey, it can still be bright, and when it is included in a scene, it can mislead your camera's meter into making an underexposure that silhouettes the foreground. Take your reading off the foreground or an 18 percent grey card. The lighting on an overcast day is excellent for outdoor portraits. Its soft, diffused quality is always flattering because it gently reveals the contours of the face with faint, almost imperceptible shadows.

Fog and Mist (Back to top)
The soft, hazy atmosphere created by fog and mist can be especially effective in photographs because it obscures more than it shows. In fog and mist, the farther an object is from the camera, the more it seems to dissolve and merge with the murky background. Even a fairly cluttered scene, such as a forest, is greatly simplified. Only subjects close to your camera stand out, and colors are so muted that they look almost monochromatic. Fog, like sand and snow, is a bright, hgih-key subject and can fool a light meter into calling for underexposure. The best exposure will frequently be one of two f-stops more exposure than what the meter says. It's usually best to take the meter reading off an 18 percent grey card or a middle tone in the foreground. The best place to find hazy conditions is on or near bodies of water, and the best time of day is early morning, before the sun has had a chance to burn off the night's accumulation of mist. Look for strong, distinctive shapes, especially ones that stand out against the haziness as dark silhouettes. Because the lighting is usually dim, plan to use a high-speed film and, if you go out especially early, take along a tripod for the necessary long exposures.

Storms and lightning (Back to top)
br> Storms, especially electrical storms, are among the most spectacular shows staged by nature, and capturing them on film is challenging. Luckily, the most dramatic shots of storm clouds can be taken as the storm approaches or leaves. It is during these transitional periods that you can get striking contrasts between areas that are clouded and ones that are sunlit. Sunlight breaking through dark clouds or creating bright rim lighting along their edges is especially attractive. Since lighting conditions are uneven and rapidly changing at such times, be sure to bracket your exposures.

Lightning can usually be photographed only during the height of a storm. To protect both yourself and your camera, you should always take your pictures from a safe cover. It is next to impossible to photograph lightning during the daytime unless you are waiting with eye on the viewfinder and finger on the shutter. And even then you may miss it. You'll find it much easier to work and will usually get more dramatic results if you make a time exposure at night. Set up your camera on a tripod and point it at the area of the sky where most of the lightning seems to be occurring. Set your camera's shutter speed dial on B. Then open the shutter using a cable release and hold it open until a bolt streaks out of the clouds. Be sure to work in a dark area and to pick a scene that does not include light from houses or street lights. Exposure is mostly a matter of guesswork. Bracket by making several time exposures at different apertures. A good starting point is f/5.6 with ISO 60 film. Holding the shutter open for too long causes an overexposure of the surrounding area. Heat flashes between clouds can also ruin a frame.

Rainbows (Back to top)
In the aftermath of a rainstorm, nature sometimes provides us with one of its most delicate visual treats, the rainbow. A rainbow is caused by particles of moisture in the air that act as tiny prims to diffract the light, breaking it up into a spectral array of wavelengths of different colors. The phenomenon is not limited to rain-soaked skies; it can occur any place where there is an abundance of moisture in the air. A waterfall, a public fountain, or even a morning mist will often sport a miniature rainbow when sunlight hits at the proper angle. Rainbows are very transient, rarely lasting more than a few minutes. When you spot one, you have to act quickly. In composing your picture, the chief problem is usually trying to locate, on such short notice, foreground elements that will add interest to the scene. A rainbow alone is beautiful but not likely to be visually compelling. A foreground, such as sailboats, icy branches, or stone figures, provides a sense of place and completes the composition. In exposure, a problem can occur if a large expanse of relatively bright sky is included in the scene. In this case, it is best to take a reading off the foreground. Or, if you want to produce a greater saturation of colors in the rainbow, try underexposing one half-stop from the reading your derived from the foreground. On an automatic camera, termporarily reset your film-speed dial one ISO setting higher.

Tips on Using Filters
How they work Filters are used in both color and black-and-white photography to solve certain technical problems and to achieve special visual effects. For example, because film cannot adjust for the different colors of light the way the human eye can, filters are often essential in making the hues and tones of a photographic image correspond to those we see with our eyes. Conversely, you might want to use a special-effects filter to intentionally create a vision of unreality. Basically, a color filter permits light of its own color to pass through it and, to varying degrees, blocks the light of other colors. The extent to which this occurs depends on the color of the filter and its intensity. In general, closely related hues pass through while complementary colors are stopped. Thus, a yellow filter absorbs blue but lets most orange pass through. Only the light that gets through, of course, is recorded on the film. Filter factors Nearly all filters, because they reduce the light entering the camera, require the use of a larger aperture or a slower shutter speed. The change, though now frequently given in f-stops, is

traditionally specified as a filter factor -- a number that indicates how much you must increase your exposure. A filter factor of 2, for example, tells you that you must double your exposure -- the equivalent of a one-stop increase. These factors are useful even if your camera has a through-the-lens metering system. If you're using a pale-colored filter, such as yellow or amber, the camera's meter will be fairly reliable. But if you're using a red filter to darken a blue sky and your subject includes a lot of green foliage, the filter will block so much light from the scene that the camera would probably overexpose to compensate. If in doubt, take a meter reading in the program mode before attaching the filter, and then see what the exposure setting is after you attach the filter. Is the difference approximately equal to the change recommended by the filter factor? If not, meter the scene in the metered manual mode without the filter, and use your camera's exposure compensation feature to provide the correct amount of additional exposure based on the filter factor. For instance, for a filter having a factor of 2, set a +1 compensation. Types of filters There are basically two types of filters in common use: mounted glass disks that screw onto the front of the lens, and optical resin (usually referred to as plastic) squares that slip into filter frames and are fitted to the lens with an adapter ring. The size of a round screw-in filter is expressed in terms of its diameter in millimeters, and you simply match it to the diameter of your lens. One of the drawbacks of buying glass filters is that if you have lenses of different diameters you may have to buy the same filter in two or more sizes. Fortunately, the diameters of many lenses of a particular brand are now standardized, so this isn't as much of a concern as it once was. Filters of the square resin style are all the same size, so they can be adapted to any lens by using inexpensive adapter rings. Resin filters are offered by several companies as part of very large filter systems that include all manner of technical and creative effects filters: correction, multiimage, multicolor, and masking filters, among others. In most cases, the square filter frames are designed to hold two or more filters in combination, so that you can create even more elaborate effects -- mixing a soft-focus filter with a colored one, for example.

Exploring Large Format Camera Technique 4x5 view camera technique fosters creation of exceptionally expressive and well thought out individual images. In part, this is due to the photographer's desire to be more involved with the entire photographic process. Experimenting with a 4x5 field camera is easy, fun and inspiring. In fact, many photographers find that working in the 4x5 format improves their creative concentration and technical understanding of photography in general. The principles involved are timeless, straightforward and can be universally applied. Visualization Before setting your camera on the tripod, stop to think about the image you are going to create. This part of the process is called visualization. It sounds simple, but many photographers are automatically tuned into the speed of picking up a 35mm camera and just shooting away, only to find a few good images later. Because you are carefully considering the composition in your mind, you will also find that two lenses - a normal and wide angle - will serve most of your needs. Framing the Subject

Practice framing the subject before you set-up the camera. Buy a 4x5 cut-out black presentation mat to use as a "viewing frame," and a small ruler. Hold the frame about 6 inches from your eye and you will see the approximate area that a 150mm lens "sees." Bring it about 3-1/2 inches from your eye and you now have simulated the area viewed by a 90mm lens. In seconds, you can use this simple device to visualize any scene and select the best angle before you take the camera out of its case. Study the Scene Once you set-up the camera, you will see that viewing, focusing and composing on a 4x5 ground glass reveals exactly what you record on film. The image is projected directly through the lens onto the focusing screen. It appears upside down, and reversed from right to left. While at first, this may seem awkward, this abstraction is actually an aid to better composition. With experience, your eye will train itself to notice light, shade, form, shape and tonality more carefully. You will be less distracted by the world outside of your composition. You will learn to concentrate your mind's-eye on the large 4x5 area and to observe the direct result of changing focus, depth-of-field, and control of all the camera movements. All of this leads you to greater attention to detail, and a more refined sense of composition.

Shoot a Polaroid Polaroid instant materials are superb teaching and creative tools, used by beginners and pros alike. The resulting prints can be a valuable learning tool allowing you to instantly judge composition, lighting, focus and many filter effects. You can also use them to keep a log book of your experimentation with different camera movements. Getting Started With Image Control and Camera Movements: Creative Challenges and Simple Solutions Controlling Perspective and Parallel Lines Challenge: You want to photograph a building, or a stand of trees, yet keep all lines parallel even though you must angle the camera upwards to encompass the scene. Solution: Rise. First, align the camera back parallel to the subject. Then, by using the rise movement, the lens' point of view is moved above eye level, thereby keeping vertical lines parallel. Rise, fall and shift are all parallel movements that move the lens up, down and sideways relative to the center of the camera back. Increased Control of Perspective and Parallel Lines Challenge: You need more control of perspective than you can achieve with front rise, fall and shift. Solution: Drop Bed - Front and rear are tilted backward at the same degree and thereby kept parallel, giving the effect of increased Front Fall.

Incline Bed - Front and rear are tilted forward at the same degree and kept parallel, giving the effect of increased Front Rise.

Shift Bed - Front and rear are swung in the same direction to the same degree, giving the same effect as Shift, but with dramatically increased control. Increasing Depth of Field Challenge: You see a vast landscape with a field of flowers and distant mountains. You want to have both the flowers near the camera and the distant mountain in focus at the same time. Even if you used the smallest aperture on your lens, you might still need greater depth-of-field. Solution: Front Tilt. Tilting the lens forward will extend the plane of focus far beyond the effect of using a small lens aperture and allow you to get near and far objects in focus at the same time. Front tilt is usually combined with using a small aperture such as f/16 or f/22. It does not replace using a small aperture, but rather enhances the effect over a greater subject plane. Challenge: Imagine focusing on a white picket fence, running from near to far, diagonally through your composition. With ordinary cameras you can either focus on the beginning, middle, or end of the fence, use a small aperture, and hope to get most of it in focus. Solution: Front Swing. With a field camera, you can swing your lens to position it roughly parallel to the fence. This will allow you to get the fence in sharp focus from beginning to end, even with a wide open aperture. Selective Focus Challenge: You want to focus on just one leaf or flower and leave everything else in the scene a soft blur. Or, you want to recreate an effect you may have seen in a fashion magazine where only the model's eyes are sharp, and all the clothes are softly blurred. Solution: Front Tilt-Backward can be used to accomplish these selective focus effects with ease. Front swing can be used for a similar effect with objects to the left or right of your composition center. Swinging in either direction will bring objects in or out of focus. Correct or Distort the Shape or Size of An Object Challenge: You want to emphasize a large rock, or other visual element in the foreground of a landscape.

Solution: Rear Tilt. By tilting the back away from the lens, you will notice that the size and shape of objects in the foreground become exaggerated. Similarly, Rear Swing will pivot the back from side to side, manipulating the shape of objects to the right or left of the composition.