Landscape Photography - analyze this

Above is a favorite Iceland image that I made in July with my Canon 5D Mark IV (pre-production model) and Canon 17-40mm lens – mounted on my Really Right Stuff tripod with RRS ball head.

The image, with excellent detail in the both the shadow and highlight areas (thanks to the dynamic range of the 30.4 mega pixel image sensor), illustrates several basic - and important - photographic techniques, illustrated by the marked-up image below . . . which I composed using Live View (which I recommend to all my photo workshop students).

But first, take the time to analyze your images. The process will help you determine which are your very best photographs. Try it, you'll like it . . . I promise you.

1) The black line shows the movement of the water running through the image.

2) The corner-to-corner white arrow shows that everything in the scene is in sharp focus, a goal I try to achieve in all my landscape images. For max depth-of -field, use a wide-angle lens, small aperture and focus 1/3 into the frame. You can use the touch screen to focus!

3) The circles on the intersecting lines of the tic-tac-toe grid illustrate the "rule of thirds" composition technique. The two waterfalls are the main subjects.

4) The open area at the top of the frame illustrates breathing room.

5) The letter "E" is placed over the brightest part of the image. The tip here: expose for the highlights (by checking your histogram and highlight alert).

The image also illustrates an important tip for waterfall photography: Experiment with slow shutter speeds to get the desired effect - the degree to which YOU want the water blurred. Here I used a 1.3 second shutter speed.

For more on composition and exposure, see my latest book: Creative Visualization for Photographers.

Hey, if you are in the Costa Mesa, CA area on October 6, I hope you can come to my landscape and seascape photography seminar at the Canon Live Learning Center. Click here for info.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. FYI: the new Canon 5D Mark IV camera has a built-in GPS, so I can easily find this exact location when I return to Iceland. The full touch screen is also very cool. And, for photographing in Iceland, the improved weather sealing is most welcome!

It's "Hey Rick, What's your f-stop?" Friday #7

Hey Rick! What's your f-stop?" That's the question I get asked most on my photo workshops. I reply, with a smile, "My friend. What is your creative vision, what is your goal?" Those are the important question for photographers to ask themselves.

In this blog series I will share with you my goal and camera settings for some of my favorite recent photographs, which will be featured in my next (#37) book, Evolution of an Image (September 2016 publication). Each chapter, by the way, has complete and detailed info about the lead photograph, as well as my outtakes and unexpected shots. Detailed Lightroom screen shots are also included in every chapter.

Here goes.

Location:  Black beach opposite the Jokusarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland.

Goal: Convey the beauty of the grounded icebergs – gems of frozen water – framed by the slow and graceful moving surf and positioned against a background of powerful, crashing waves.

Thought process: Compose a scene that includes the icebergs, the beach, the waves and the sky. Experiment with different slow shutter speeds, from 1/60th second to several seconds, to convey the power and beauty of nature.

I took dozens of photographs of the same scene, from a single position that morning on the beach. This image is my favorite shot for several reasons, the most important being the mood and feeling of the image, created by overcast sky, beautiful jewels of ice and the movement of the waves.

I also like the movement of the incoming waves on the beach and the burst of water on the iceberg in the background. I also like the way the foreground iceberg frames the background iceberg.

Tech Info
Camera: Canon EOS 5Ds
Lens: Canon 24-105mm IS lens.
Filter: Tiffen 0.9 ND filter.
Tripod: Really Right Stuff tripod and Really Right Stuff ball head.

Camera settings: 
• Manual focus – to maintain sharp because moving waves could change the focus setting, as well as slow down the auto focus process;
• Rapid frame advance ­­– to capture the subtle differences in the flow and position of the waves;
• ISO 100 – for shooting at long shutter speeds, f/20 – for good depth-of-field), 1/6th second – to blur the movement of the water. EV -0.67 – to prevent highlights from being washed out.

For more tips, tricks and techniques, see my current best-selling book, Creative Visualization for Photographers. Also check out my KelbyOne on-line classes.

Explore the light,
Rick

All the images in my books are recorded on Lexar cards. Click the image above for details.

Two-Part On-Line Class: Transform Your Home Into a Pro Studio

Transform Your Home into a Professional Studio Part 2 is live! It's my latest (and 13th) KelbyOne class.

Before you watch Part 2, see Part 1 - Transform Your Home into a Professional Studio. Start with the basics, then move on to some more advanced techniques.

You'll also find some portrait/people photography tips in my latest book, Creative Visualization for Photographers.

Explore the light,
Rick