Camera and gear packed we made our way to Sky Harbour airport in Phoenix last Saturday. An 8:30 a.m. departure meant we would be back home in British Columbia by mid afternoon. Geezers were everywhere. Each was accompanied by their personal advisor and booking agent. I felt right at home.
Other than the photographing grand children around the tree and a few other family events I have not planned any photo outings. I’ll reconnect with my camera clubs in January and spend time working with images.
My main objective before returning to Phoenix in late January was to download all the images I had captured in my photo shoots in Arizona, weed out the poor shots and determine which of the remainder I would work on. I also planned to begin the major ‘rework’ of the images that already were in my library.
I decided to start this process with 5 images my son had selected for his business in Michigan. He had chosen images that reminded him of the Rocky Mountains near Banff, Alberta and the westcoast of British Colombia near Tofino.
Disappointment filled me as I worked on these five images. My son wanted the images blown up to 16 X 20’s and printed on canvas. Good choice I thought. But the images that looked good on the computer screen looked terrible as I worked with them as full size renditions.
Compositions were generally good but the overall quality of these images was reduced because I had not exposed them properly. Areas were pixilated and highlights were blown out.
As I reviewed my library of images I could see that I’ve become better at determining a proper exposure for the scene I was working with. Experience and practice are partly the reasons for this improvement. Better camera skills are also an important factor in my growth as a photographer.
My camera, a Nikon d300s has a ‘highlights’ function that works in conjunction with its histogram. When I expose an image, highlight elements of the composition that are blown out will flash on the camera’s screen. I use this information to make an exposure that can deal with the highlights within the scene.
On a sunset photo shoot at Chesterman Beach last year I was attempting to capture the dynamic range of tones that were present. This example seemed to meet my objective despite the intensity of the sun itself. I shot this at ISO 100, at f11 with a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second. I applied a -0.7 exposure compensation to fine-tune the exposure. A tripod was necessary for this exposure. In addition, I used a 3 stop graduated neutral density filter. I process the image in Photoshop Element 11 with Nik and Topaz plugins.