Choosing Your Exposure For Impact

December 10, 2023

Inner Kaikoura Range, MiddlehurstInner Kaikoura Range, Middlehurst

Inner Kaikoura Range, Middlehurst, NZ
Fujifilm X-H2, XF150-600mm f5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, f9 @ 1/80 second, ISO 125.

Automatic cameras are great, but what would they do with a photo like this? The original exposure was 'good' because it retained tone throughout. It held a touch of tone in the highlights and there were some grey tones in the shadows, but in the end, it was a bit of nothing.

As long as you keep an eye on your histogram, chances are all the information you need is in the raw file. In fact, when I'm shooting, I like to think I'm just collecting pixels. It might have been Les Walkling who first talked about this concept with me, I've been thinking this way for so long I can no longer attribute the idea. But once you've captured the pixels, you take the file into Lightroom or Capture One where you make some decisions. Now, I could have used masking to carefully select the three areas - the sky, the snow and the mountain - and ensured all areas contained some detail, but was this what I wanted to show?

What I love about fresh snow is the perfectly smooth surface, the way it blankets the land form below, filling in the gaps and accentuating some bumps. An average exposure was going to kill this image, so I simply darkened it down. Is the foreground too dark? What do you mean by too dark? It is black! I like it black - I don't need tone in every area of every photograph and by having a fully black mountain, I am forcing the viewer to marvel at that fresh snow.

And while we know snow is white, in this photo it's lots of shades of very light grey - and to my eye it makes me happy! There is plenty of detail and the eye is given time to linger. I hope!

Also making me very happy are the two books on Middlehurst we received from Momento Pro last week. Participants in our Middlehurst workshops contribute half a dozen images they took around the property from which we design a beautiful art book. The pages are thick 'album style' and the resulting publication is lavish and impressive!

Of course, while we'd love you to come to Middlehurst, you can also make your own book with Momento Pro. In fact, I have some aerials that need printing given all the air time I've had this year - a Christmas project!

If you'd like access to our Better Photography discount page for Momento Pro, try this link for Australia - momentopro.com.au/eastway - and in New Zealand -  momentopro.co.nz/eastway.  These pages have all the information you need!

 


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