Join Justin Reznick for an in-depth discussion in this video Isolating a tree in a lush landscape shot, part of Travel Photography: Fjords of New Zealand.
- In this beautiful valley, we're able to spot this tree, just down the road, pulled in and began exploring. I don't know where the tree's gonna look best from, what perspective, so the best thing to do is to put on the lens you think's gonna work, here. In this case it's a wide-angle, and do a 360, just work the tree. I went through, what looked like grassland ended up being swampland, so I got pretty wet. But hey, that's okay. Took some shots from that side, some from the road, here. Now I'm kind of behind the tree.
It's interesting, every which way, and what I recommend is just working the tree. Just going from each location and taking some shots. Some horizontals, some verticals. What I've also been finding is, it's pretty windy in here, and the tree is moving pretty quick. I'm not getting a lot of green, here, it's almost like a silhouette. It's really about the trunk and the branches, so I'm actually gonna take the polarizer off. The benefit to taking the polarizer off is that I have a faster shutter speed, and this is really important. When I'm trying to get as quick a shutter speed as I can, taking the polarizer is gonna save me about one and a half stops.
We're gonna go ahead and put that away, and that's gonna keep me from pushing the ISO too high. I've been experimenting with some horizontals, with some verticals. In this shot, I've got fog on both sides of the tree which is really nice. I'm at f/8, really nice aperture, high quality. It's gonna give me enough depth of field here. ISO 400 is giving me a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second. That's fast, and that's plenty fast enough. We're gonna go ahead and focus right on the tree, and we've got the remote shutter, and we shoot away.
The thing to note here is your histogram, it's very difficult. We've got some really bright white from the clouds, and then the tree is very dark. I'm gonna have a little play with the exposure compensation, I'm gonna bump it up so that I'm trying to get more detail in the tree. I'm gonna bump it up even more. What we can is we can play it back and look at the histogram, and we can see in that histogram, the blinkies, and it's really flashing behind that tree. To me, that's problematic, so let's try and pull that back, let's go back.
Now, I'm only one stop over. I've got a little bit of blinkies in the upper right, I think I might have a little bit. To me, this doesn't scream HDR, I don't really want to blend images. I think I can pull a little bit of that white back. There's not a great amount of detail. It's also moving so quick, if I wait 30 seconds, chances are that could be gone. Let's try that again. There's no reason not to bring it down one more, see how that does. There you go. In this particular scene, I am two-thirds over-exposed, and yet I don't have any blinkies, so that's excellent.
On the left side of the histogram, wow, I'm pretty close to the left. I'm really, really pushing the tonal range of this image. Right up to the left and right wall. That's part of what makes it interesting though, is all that contrast. I'm gonna take a look in the viewfinder, zoom in, make sure everything looks sharp. Just kind of a reminder of what I've been doing here in terms of the viewfinder that's really important. Traditional DSLRs have wonderful live view. The live view on the Canon 6D that I use is fantastic.
But you're reduced to this. When we look through the viewfinder, it's an optical viewfinder, you actually see from, based on the mirror, what the lens is going to be seeing. You're basically looking at the scene in realtime. With the mirrorless cameras, they obviously don't have that mirror, therefore, they're giving you an electronic interpretation, we call them EVF, Electronic ViewFinder. In doing so, it's basically replicating what I see on the screen. It's almost like, it basically is an LCD within the viewfinder. The reason that I'm zooming around and checking each corner of the image to make sure it's sharp in there, is the same principle as a Hoodman Loupe.
If I just use this screen, here, I have peripheral vision blocking me, I have bright light coming in. When you look at the viewfinder, all your focus goes to the image itself. It's also enlarged in the viewfinder. Looking through here, and I can't describe it as much as I recommend, find a friend's camera, go to a camera shop and say, "I'd like to look at an EVF." It's amazing how large that image is, and it's really satisfying. Simply by going into here, I can see the image. What's great too is, this has a sensor, and most mirrorless cameras do, so that when I put my eye up, it automatically switches the viewfinder.
When I'm away, the screen is bright, I see what's going on. When my eye goes up, it goes black, and the viewfinder is where my LCD is. It's just a really neat feature of the mirrorless cameras. I feel like I've got this shot, I think I want to grab one more angle before we head out. It's so great to find a single tree that captivates you that way this one has for me, and I hope I can make an image from here, I really do.
- Essential gear, from tripods to lenses
- Shooting at water's edge at low tide
- Shooting handheld from a moving boat
- Capturing details
- Post-processing techniques