Detail In Your Low Lights

Posted July 2nd 2013 by

australian panoromic photographerIf you have ever wanted to know how to get that photo that shows the colour of the sky when you are taking that wonderful sunset photo but also giving your detail in the water and not getting the typical dark area of one half of your photo, keep reading as I am about to explain how I do this for you.

As the sun has set in this photo I will explain what I did to obtain this shot for you. Using a Minolta spot meter I took my base reading from the water, taking my readings in various parts of the water , this will let you know if your camera sensor or film will not have any clipping or blowout. It would be safer to expose closer to your highlights in the water and not your lowlights as there will be more chance of loosing detail if you expose for your lowlights, this potentially could ruin your photo.

This can also be done with your digital camera if you don’t have a hand meter, your camera should have a metering setting that allows you to set it to spot metering, if you use this then it will give you the same readings as I would get.

Lets say for the purpose of the blog, my exposure is 1sec @ F16 for the water, I will then take a reading for the sky and doing the same as I did for the water, I check various locations in the sky. If my reading is 1sec @F32, then I will add a 2 Stop soft graduated ND filter,  by adding this filter it will give me a photo that is balanced across the film plane and I will have detail in the water as well as detail in the sky. Lee filter make an excellent range that are not cheap, but will not give you a colour cast in your photos, so what you see on the day will transcribe to your photos in the camera.

If you a not able to afford the Lee filters then Cokin make an excellent range as well. But I guarantee that it will make a huge difference to your photography once you employ this.

Photo below was taken at Adelaide’s Larges Jetty on a Fuji G617 using Velvia 50ISO Film.

Stay tuned as next week I will do a blog post on how to get photos of waterfalls without loosing detail in the water.