Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 4th, 2018

The difference that comes from underexposing by three f/stops

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When I stopped again at Bow Lake along the Icefields Parkway on September 6th last year, in addition to taking the regularly exposed photographs you saw last time, I took a few that I underexposed by three f/stops* so I could include the sun without blowing out the pictures’ highlights. The technique allowed for some solar drama that would have been lacking in a conventional exposure. While that degree of underexposure robbed the water of its pretty blue, it partly compensated by allowing the sun to reflect some of its favored colors off the water’s surface. Also notice how clearly defined and regularly spaced the 10 rays of the sunstar are, thanks in part to a tiny aperture of f/22. Oh, the tricks we photographers resort to.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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* Cinematographers have long used that sort of underexposure in a process called day for night, whose purpose isn’t to control for the brightness of the sun but to simulate nighttime while filming in the convenience of daylight. One give-away when you watch a scene filmed that way is the presence of distinct shadows that shouldn’t be there at night.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2018 at 4:49 AM

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