Best Photography Tips – Shooting Landscapes 3

This article is in continuation to series on Shooting landscapes. If you have not read them , please have a look here. 

Capture rains creatively
It is rare not come across rains during a trek. Though we are a reluctant to use our cameras in the rains, using a protective covering and taking pictures can make very interesting pictures in the mountains.

To capture the streaks of rain noticeably visible in your pictures, put your camera on TV mode (in Canon) or S mode (in Nikon) and set your shutter speed to a slow value (somewhere around 1/60th of a second). You can alter it to a faster or slower value to get the desired effect. Since we are using slow shutter speeds, we should either have a tripod or place the camera on a steady surface (like rock) to avoid shake.

I will talk about protecting your gear in a trek on a different article.

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This picture was taken on the way to Valley of Flowers during heavy rainfall from a tea dhaba by placing the camera on a bench.

Change your Exposure Value (Exposure Compensation) while shooting in snow

Most of the snow pictures we shoot look dull and grayish. Why? The camera’s light meter is designed to calculate an average light intensity of the frame and set the exposure. Though this works most of the time, it gets confused and fooled when the frame is too bright or too dark. The results we get are under-exposed or washed out pictures.

Snow reflects most of the incident sunlight and hence looks very bright. Since the camera’s light meter thinks that the scene is too bright, it underexposes the pictures. This is the reason for the dull pictures that get in snow.

Solution – When in snow, increase the EV by half a stop or one, depending on the amount of snow in the scene and see the difference it makes to your pictures.

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This picture was taken during Roopkund trek with an increase of EV by one stop.  

Shoot in RAW
Did you ever go to the Image size menu of your camera and wondered what the RAW format is? RAW is the original ‘raw’ digital data that the camera captures and is often referred as the digital negative. During the processing of the images to JPEG within a camera, there is a huge amount of data that is discarded. Taking pictures in RAW preserves all the data that can be used later. For example, if you have some highlights in your picture, you can recover the colors of those areas to some extent if you use RAW format. Apart from this, RAW files indestructible – they can never be modified. All the changes made to a RAW file are recorded in another file. The White Balance and Exposure Compensation values can also be altered later during processing if you use RAW format. As for every good thing, you need to pay a price and RAW is no exception. You cannot open a RAW file unless you have the plugin for that specific model and manufacturer. You cannot share them on Facebook or Flickr. You need to process them to JPG first. RAW files create huge size files thus slows down the camera while saving files in the memory. If you are shooting lot of landscape pictures, I would strongly recommend shooting in RAW.

Use White Balance creatively

I’m sure you must have come across pictures that look more blue or red than usual. This generally happens when we shoot in lights of different colors. For example, while shooting in Tungsten light, the pictures have an orange colorcast. Incandescent lights add a blue colorcast.

How to we correct this – By changing the White Balance. In simple words, White Balance is the adjustment that makes objects look in their natural color. Though the Auto White Balance (AWB) does a good job most of the times, there are situations when it might not work. In those situations, you need to take control and change it to one of the values that come close to your light conditions. How it works – When we change the White Balance to Tungsten, the camera knows that there is more orange color in the frame, hence adds more blue to achieve a balanced color and makes the picture looks natural. Similarly, if we use WB as Incandescent, the camera knows that there is more blue color in the picture, hence adds more red to balance.

WB can also be used creatively to enhance the colors of your picture thus giving a mood to it.

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In this picture, shot at Gangotri, the WB was set to Tungsten, hence the camera added a blue colorcast.

Thank you for reading the post. You might like to read my previous posts.

This article is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a professional photographer and a photography trainer. He strives to ‘make every camera-owner a great photographer’ through his photo tours and Photography workshops.

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