Stephen Studd Photography

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Photographing Into the Sun

USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2019 with Stephen Studd grand canyon sunrise

This can be tough to get right, but I’ve found that the latest camera sensors seem to be dealing with this difficult lighting situation really well. Experiment with your camera to see how it copes and create beautiful dreamy contemporary images.

I am using this technique in both my travel and garden photography and clients really love the feel it gives.

Here are a few tips for shooting into the sun.

KEEP YOUR LENS CLEAN

Dust, grease and scratches increase the risk of getting distracting flare. If you have a lens protecting filter on, take it off as sunlight can bounce in between the filter and the lens like in the shot below.

digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to America USA American South West Canyonlands hosted by Stephen Studd

Without the filter.

digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to America USA American South West Canyonlands hosted by Stephen Studd

USE MANUAL MODE 

Choose the ISO you want, shoot in RAW and manual focus. Choosing your own aperture and shutter speed gives you the desired control over the effect you are after. Underexposing the image by meter reading for the sun will give you a dark silhouette and what I call a 1970’s feel which is dated to say the least.

digital travel photography holidays vacations workshops courses photographic tours to  Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Burma, South East Asia and USA America hosted by Stephen Studd Photography

For the shot below I got my exposure reading by pointing the camera to the far right (away from the sun), once I’d set the meter reading in manual mode I pointed the camera into the sun and got the perfect exposure with detail in everything, the subject has a blown out highlight which is the bright sun giving a more contemporary feel.

digital travel photography holidays vacations workshops courses photographic tours to  Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Burma, South East Asia and USA America hosted by Stephen Studd Photography

The shot below same technique, meter reading away from the shaft of sunlight, then moved the camera position on a tripod and then the image taken into the light, leaving detail in the surrounding rock formation at Upper Antelope Canyon.

USA america american travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2019 with Stephen Studd

TRIPODS MAKE LIFE EASIER

When shooting backlight with the camera on a tripod, it’s easier to move the camera angle to control any distracting flare. The shot below is on a tripod, see lots of flare.

USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

ISO 100  f22 @ 1/8th sec

This type of flare I don’t like. Once the camera was on the tripod I shielded any bright sunlight getting into the lens by ‘flagging’ to block light and protecting the lens from flare. I use my Lee filters black filter pouch placed above the lens until flare disappears. This can take a few goes to get right. In the photo below the black Lee filters pouch is in the top of the frame. However you can already see the flare has been reduced with more contrast.

_MG_4405

ISO 100 f22 @ 1/8th sec  with 0.6 Grad soft ND

This is the shot I was after below. Fully flagged and no flare shooting straight into the sun. To hold more detail in the final image I used a 2 stop soft graduated ND filter.

USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

ISO 100 f22 @ 1/8th sec with 0.6 Grad soft ND

ND GRADUATED FILTERS 

These will help balance the exposure in your photograph. Remember to keep your filters clean.

As the sun was obscured behind a small cloud in the photograph below there was less chance of flare so I kept the ND grad on. Again I exposed for the far left of the frame, then pointed the camera into the sunrise light for a clean, fresh and modern sunrise feel.

USA america american landscape photography tour tours workshops holidays vacations with Stephen Studd Photography

0.6 Grad soft ND

HIDE THE SUN BEHIND AN OBJECT

Placing the sun behind an object gives you less chance of flare and can create a beautiful feel to your photograph. The shot below was taken for Paul Hervey-Brookes show garden for Viking Cruises at the RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show.

_MG_0387

The shot below taken again on Paul Hervey-Brookes garden at the Chelsea Flower Show .

Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,  11 Lansdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB, England, UK. landscape garden designer Viking Cruises Wellness garden gold medal RHS Chelsea Flower Show London UK 2018 photography by Stephen Studd photographer, Built by Gar

EXPERIMENT

One thing to take into consideration is that various camera models do act differently using this technique. Get to really know your camera model and what the sensor can deal with. Have fun and try out different apertures and lenses to see what effects they give. Once you’ve mastered the technique with a tripod you can use it in other styles of photography where a tripod can’t be used.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays vacations tours workshops to  Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Myanmar, Burma, Vietnam, Morocco Marrakech Marrakesh hosted by Stephen Studd

BLACK AND WHITE

The technique also works well when converting images to black and white. At the Grand Canyon the moody dramatic conditions immediately made me think I wanted a black and white image, the conditions were crying out for it. I shoot in colour in RAW, then convert to B&W later in Lightroom. You can see on the left side of the photograph the sun was shining through the clouds. I again used a 0.6ND soft graduated filter to hold detail in the stormy rain filled clouds.

USA America Nevada Utah Arizona south west travel landscape photography tours workshops holidays vacations 2018 2019 with Stephen Studd

Do you use this technique in your photography? Hope you found the tips useful so you can put the technique to good use, I would love to see your results. Thanks for taking time to drop by the blog.

I have a blog post all about converting to B&W HERE


WARNING: Be really careful, don’t look into the sun for too long as it can damage your eyes. The main reason this technique works really well with a tripod is once the photograph is lined up you don’t need to keep looking through the viewfinder into the sun. With hand held shooting into the sun you can blind yourself.


My photography tours in Cambodia, Vietnam, Marrakech the USA and the Gower, can be found here: http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

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‘May the light be with you’

Stephen Studd Photography: www.stephenstuddphotography.com



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Photo Tip Friday; Take reference shots

When out on a long days shoot it is easy to forget exactly what has been shot that day.

With digital photography there is a very simple solution. Get into the habit of shooting the first shot of a series of a label or a sign that tells you exactly what you are shooting. For example this shot below was my first shot.

Clematis Omoshiro label

Clematis Omoshiro label

Subsequent shots I then knew were of a Clematis Omoshiro.

Clematis Omoshiro

Clematis Omoshiro

This tip works with any type of sign, label, information point etc. It works well with travel photography too.  Remember take the first shot of the sign, the rest of the subject.

When you come to a new subject just take the first photograph of the sign or label the rest of the photographs of the subject. This technique makes it much easier to caption your images when editing.


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Photo Tip Friday

Rear LCD monitors on cameras are getting bigger and clearer but don`t rely on this as a means of judging pictures and editing in camera. Most pictures look good on the camera monitor but wait until you get them home before editing them. Yes of course if you have made an obvious mistake like you`ve photographed the floor then its ok to get rid of those type of shots.

However for good editing, wait until you see the images on your computer screen, take them up to 100% to make sure they are sharp, then its ok to get rid of those out of focus or blurry images.

Don`t edit your images in camera by looking at the rear LCD monitor, it`s only on your computer monitor that you can do a proper edit.

Follow us to have a regular photography tip each Friday.


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Photo Tip Friday Deleting images on a Memory Card.

Deleting images on a Memory Card.

This week I have been photographing at the RHS Chelsea flower show where I used multiple memory cards as each day started with dawn shoots.

When using multiple memory cards it is a good practice to have two sections in your camera bag;

The first section will have memory cards that are to be used with free space.

The second section will have the memory cards in with images from the days shoot.

The reason why you should keep them in seperate sections is you don`t want to inadvertently delete the images from a memory card that has images that haven`t been transferred to your computer. This can easily be done when you are shooting fast and are tired and have all your memory cards in the same place. Plus when you have a seperate section for memory cards that are free it saves valuable time when a memory card becomes full, especially if the light is changing fast.

When you come to transfer the images to your computer you will know straight away where the images from the days shoot are, as they will be seperate from the unused section.. When transferring them, back them up to at least a  second location. I always back mine up to 2 external hard drives one of which I can take out of the home for extra security.

After transferring and backing up the images you will have to delete them. Triple check that the images you are going to delete are actually transferred to your computer. Then delete them in camera as this is less likely to lead to a corrupted card in the future.

Remember to place the free memory cards in the section of your camera bag for cards ready to be used for a shoot. If you follow this practice you won`t delete important images from a days shoot.


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Photo Tip Friday ISO changes

One of the great features of digital cameras is the ability to change the ISO at any time on a shoot. The majority of my images are shot at 100 ISO but there are occasions when I change this to a higher rating, especially if the image is only for web resolution.

Have I ever forgotten to change this back to the lower setting? Yes! So now I double check, especially before a shoot that the ISO is set to the speed that I want for the particular scene that I am shooting. (My default is always set back to 100 ISO)

The easiest time to forget is when you have finished a shoot on a higher than normal setting, put the camera away and next time you start photographing forget that its on a much higher setting than is needed for the shot.

As best practice its good to check the cameras ISO setting when you put the camera away and again when you take the camera out. Also if you have changed the ISO for a particular shot on a shoot don`t forget to change it back when the higher ISO isn`t needed and don`t be caught out with unwanted noisy images.


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Photo Tip Friday; Battery charged

My first photo tip for Fridays probably seems one of the most obvious, however sometimes it is the seemingly obvious that catches us out.

Has your camera battery been fully charged before going out photographing? This first one just popped in to my head as I was on a 3 day garden shoot recently and one of the events crew asked me at 5.30 in the morning whether I had a spare battery as they had forgotten to recharge theirs.

You really don`t want to get to a great location and be faced with no battery, no photo`s. Fortunately this one hasn`t happened to me, but there are plenty more tips up my sleeve from mistakes I have made along the way.

See you next Friday.