Final tips from the professional photographer
Choose your position carefully
“Not only did the rapidly fading light mean David kept having to take fresh meter readings every few minutes for this coastal shot, but in order to get the close up of the surging water, he was stood where the waves were breaking onto the rocky beach, so had keep one eye on the scene, and one on the sea!
He had considered a lower camera angle to get foreground interest, but I warned that a sudden big wave could have disastrous consequences! I suggested instead that he angle the camera downwards to get shiny wet rocks in the scene, and hit the shutter just after the waves break to capture them as a milky blur.”
Use filters with care
“David was using a basic set of Cokin ‘P’ filters, but while these are a good option for beginners, watch out when shooting at wider angles,” cautions Adam. “At the 24mm end of his lens, the edge of the filter holder was clearly visible and had to be cropped out of his shots!
“Also, make sure you place the filters into the slots closest to the lens; David didn’t for this shot and the result is a nasty reflection. I recommend that anyone who’s serious about landscapes invests in a set of Lee filters.
“Not only are they optically extremely precise, with not so much as a hint of colour cast, but they’re physically bigger, eliminating the vignetting problem and allowing you to align the horizon exactly where you want it.”
How low can you go with ISO?
“I recommend shooting at ISO 100 because this gives the best possible image quality, but some cameras, including David’s Canon EOS 5D, actually have an even lower ISO 50 setting. This doesn’t reduce noise any further – so there’s no advantage in terms of image quality – but it does allow for slower shutter speeds, helping blur fast-moving water. As this is beyond the normal ISO range, this is only accessible by first setting a Custom Function – check your manual for how to do this!”
How to meter quickly with ND grad filters
The trick to getting spot-on manual exposures is to expose for the foreground, then use the correct ND grad to balance the sky. Once you get the hang of it, it only takes a second and should be done just before taking your shot…
Lose the sky
Once you’re happy with the composition, tilt the camera downwards by a few degrees so that the sky is less dominating in the frame, but don’t lose it entirely.
Adjust the shutter speed so the Exposure Level Mark is in the middle. Tilt the camera back to your original composition; the Exposure Level Mark will show overexposure.
Place the grad
Select the correct grad to compensate (such as ND2 or 0.3 for 1 stop over) but look through the viewfinder to see the effect of the grad on the sky as you push it into the filter holder.
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer & apprentice
PAGE 2: During the shoot – composing a forest scene
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear