Lock in the Light

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I was standing at the top of a mountain when I took this picture (click to enlarge). The wind was blowing, my hands were freezing (even in Arizona, it’s cold at an elevation of 7600 feet in January), it was about 4:30 in the afternoon, and I was completely blown away by this LIGHT.

This extremely tricky light.

I’m standing in the shadow cast by the peak of the mountain. The sky is overcast. Beams of light are hitting the landscape from mid-frame all the way to the horizon. There are reflections on the water (that’s Roosevelt Lake there, by the way). All the time my eyes are soaking it all in, my brain is thinking, “Now how the heck is my camera going to translate THIS?”

Pretty darn well, actually, with a little know-how applied by yours truly.

My Canon 7D locks in the exposure when I press the shutter half-way. If I achieve the exposure I want but need to recompose (which often times will change the exposure), I simply press the * button on the back of the camera, and compose away. The exposure remains locked for multiple shots if I hold down the * button while pressing the shutter (which is handy for panoramas when you don’t want obvious changes in exposure from frame to frame).

In the case of this photo, I wanted to meter for the sunlight hitting the landscape. Generally, Evaluative Metering works just fine but I wanted to make sure I nailed the exposure (it was hard to tell if I was capturing it just right on the image preview). In this case I used Center Weighted Average, as the brightest point I wanted to expose for was at the center of the frame. Then just to make REALLY sure, I bracketed the shots at -1 stop, 0, and +1 stop. This shot just happened to turn out just fine with no exposure compensation. But, you know, it’s always good to be sure.

I did a bit of color and contrast correction (darn haze) and sharpening in Lightroom, and this was the result! Taken with a Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS at f/16, ISO 400, 1/125th.

Has there been a shot recently that you REALLY wanted to get right, and took extra steps to ensure that you did so? We’d love to hear about it, and see your results! Please share with us in the comments or on our Facebook Page.

Photo copyright Tiffany Joyce.

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  • http://twitter.com/ohnostudio ohno studio

    Magic Light ;-) A gem of a photo.

    “Has there been a shot recently that you REALLY wanted to get right, and took extra steps to ensure that you did so?”

    Yes I annoyed my friends my marking the calendar to go catch a sunset while the sun was at a particular latitude. I envisioned the shot in June, shot in in November. When the window of opportunity came, I was down to the site every day for a week, and then the magic happened. I can be kind of perverse that way LOL.

  • http://sap-refx.blogspot.com/ athena

    Nice photo!  Great post.  Thanks for the tips.  =)

  • http://sap-refx.blogspot.com/ athena

    Nice photo!  Great post.  Thanks for the tips.  =)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you athena!

  • http://www.landscape-photography-fine-art.com/ Gregrowe

    Yes, you are right, it’s all about the light!