Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Quickly fading light, part of Travel Photography: The Maine Coast.
- I'm on the beautiful coast of Maine, and I'm trying to work very quickly here because the sun is getting low in the sky, it's just about sunset, but there's been some beautiful light, some wonderful color, on the trees on the far side of the water here. There's a little bit of clouds that are catching the light above the trees as well, and more importantly, the water in the foreground, which is capturing, reflecting that color and just sort of expanding all of the color, because we've got the late afternoon light on the trees reflected into the water in the foreground. It's really a lovely scene, it's wonderful to just be here in front of it, but I'd like to, of course, get a nice photograph of the scene as well.
What I'm doing is establishing a relatively tight shot, and I want to focus primarily on the trees and the water in the foreground, with a little bit of the cloud. And really the clouds are primarily there just to pick up some of that pastel and golden light. It's not the key subject, I would say, I'm really focused on the trees and the reflection. So I'm going to set my focus for those trees. At the moment I'm at an aperture of F8 and that's giving me, at 100 ISO, a shutter speed of about a tenth of a second. And that works pretty well with this lens, I find I usually get my sharpest images right around F8.
But in this case, with the water in the foreground, there's a fair amount of texture just from the ripples of the water. And I'd like to slow down that shutter just a little bit, just to tone down the ripples. I'm not looking to get that really silky very smooth effect that you might get with a very long exposure, such as a 30-second or maybe a several minute exposure, I just want a little bit of a slow shutter speed, a little bit of a longer exposure time, to smooth out the ripples just a little bit. So I'm going to stop the lens down, I'm going to go all the way down to F22, and at the moment that's giving me a shutter speed of about seven tenths of a second, and so that'll work pretty well under the circumstances.
I'm also, in lieu of using a shutter release, a cable release, I'm using a two-second timer on the camera. Obviously I'm on a tripod, nice and stable, everything's set up properly. So, I'll go ahead and initiate that exposure, and that looks pretty good. So we've got some really nice golden light, it's fading pretty quickly, I've already captured a few images, I'm going to capture some more. I might even go to the effort of putting a neutral density filter on to the lens so that I can get an even longer exposure duration, just to smooth out that water a little more. And I can also see there are some thunder clouds building up over off in the distance, and they're picking up the light that is quickly disappearing from the foreground, so I might focus my lens on those clouds as well.
I don't have much time, so I'll try and capture a few more images of this beautiful scene. And of course, enjoy the scene, and hope there aren't too many bugs as I continue capturing some images.