Home > PHOTOGRAPHY: Inspiration and Assignments | In The Field | How To's > IN THE FIELD: Revisiting Familiar Places 3

IN THE FIELD: Revisiting Familiar Places 3


Bracketing exposures:

Whenever I am in the field, I like to bracket my exposures, if time and the situation permits. One reason is to see how adjusting the amount of light the camera records affects the subject or scene. And as good as camera meters are at predicting what settings to use for a “proper” exposure, sometimes an adjustment from the recommended setting may be needed to get a preferred exposure.

To illustrate what a slight adjustment to the shutter speed can make, here are two photos of the same scene taken at the Hopewell Furnace. The photos were taken within seconds of each other, yet they are different. Neither is an incorrect or an improper exposure. As the photographer, or the viewer, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

In this series about revisiting familiar places, all of the photos were taken with ambient  light. I wanted to capture the mood as it was occurring naturally, rather than adding an artificial light source.

These two shots were taken with identical settings except for the shutter speed. It was slowed by half (one full stop) which doubled the amount of light between the two shots.

Left Photo

aperture 7.1

shutter 1/50th

cloudy WB

ISO 200

Right Photo

aperture 7.1

shutter 1/25th

cloudy WB

ISO 200

  1. May 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Amazing what a slower shutter speed can do in this type of setting. I like seeing the difference compared side by side. The objects look more dimensional in the second photo. Thanks for the tips, David.

    • May 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      You’re welcome. Putting the photos side by side was Sharon’s idea. I think she was spot on with that one!

  2. May 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Thank you dear David, to share with us, I can see the difference, the second one for me too. Love, nia

    • May 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      You’re welcome Nia, I’m always willing to share what I know. Glad you liked this one.

  3. May 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Having seen them both side by side, I think I prefer the first one! The blacks and dark browns are more intense, the window seems (to me) perfectly exposed, and your eye is drawn more naturally to the centre – and I don’t think you have lost too much in the way of the lovely amber lighting. There is more of a sense of quiet darkness and mystery. But as you say, it’s purely a matter of personal taste!

    • May 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      You make a good point Jo. There is also a photo that was taken in-between these two which is more middle of the road. We felt it was best to show the first and last exposures to best illustrate the differences. I happen to like all three. The first for as you said the mystery, and the last for the golden color of the wood.

  4. May 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Great example David, of what you can get with an adjustment of one stop one click of a button. More light and warm glow in the second, If the highlights are just a little too bright , they can be adjusted, but want that warm glow.

    • May 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Isn’t it fun to experiment…especially in the digital age. I would have had to wait a week or so to see the results in the old film days. I’m with you…that glow is pretty nice.

  5. May 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Very cool! I haven’t been good at bracketing yet but I did recently have fun with metering and how the image would turn out based upon where I metered from. I like the left shot best.

    • May 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Bracket is fun and easy. You can set your camera up to do it automatically or you can do it manually. I use both methods. Isn’t fun to play with the light ? (meter here vs there) Best part is it doesn’t cost anything to play! I like them both but for different reasons.

  6. May 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Yes, Dave, what a difference a setting can make. On another note, if you bracket three exposures, i.e. one stop (or more) under, one stop over, and one normal exposure, then open them in an HDR program, you can get amazing results. I use Photomatix Pro.

    Note: Dave, I have been following you a long time, but recently I hadn’t been getting notices of your postings. Today, I finally realized why. A month or so ago, I was hacked and had to change my e-mail address. And of course, I forgot to change it on these blog that I follow. I will re-subscribe. 🙂

    • May 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      It is interesting to see the effects of changing aperture and or shutter speed settings. At times it will change the whole look of an image. I agree, by combining bracketed images through HDR will give results better than what the sensor in a camera or film can render. I haven’t tried Photomatrix yet. I’ll put it on my list.

      I also have been having issues with getting notices of blogs I follow. I am usually shown 7-8 of the 25-30 I follow so I have to look manually through the edit function. Oh well…just another step to do I guess.

  7. May 17, 2013 at 6:09 am

    I do love your tutorials. I wish I could have a day with you to learn properly how to make the best use of my camera! 🙂

    • May 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      I’m so glad you find my hints/tutorials helpful. I try to keep things easy to understand because it doesn’t need to be complicated. I like to share whatever I know to help anyone who may need it. If you are ever stateside, I would be more than willing to spend some time with you. It would be great fun! Hmmm, maybe I’ll start doing some videos…that would certainly save on travel expenses!

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