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Nice sunny day with blue skies - settings?

CaptnSpaulding

Well-known Member
I went for a walk yesterday as it was a nice day and took my new camera with me and tried to take shots of Snowdown as it's covered in snow and looks great with the blue sky - only after coming home I realised all my photos look terrible.

What is the best settings for days like this? I know as much as to keep the ISO at it's lowest so have it at 100, and I've been reading and watching Bryan Peterson books/videos and have my light set to cloudy as he says it makes the pictures look warm. I tried taking photos using F3.5 up to F11 to compare them after but they all look terrible.

I thought about it after and wondered if I should have used smaller aperture as there was a lot of light available, but this lengthens the shutter speed (I think!?) and I didn't have a tripod with me.

Any tips guys as I might go out again today!?

These are the best ones out of about 120 I took, and still not too happy with these :thumbsdow


DSC_0018 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr

DSC_0017 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr

DSC_0030 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr

DSC_0041 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr

DSC_0048 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr
DSC_0046 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr
DSC_0072 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr

DSC_0085 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr

DSC_0093 by Chris Atterbury, on Flickr
 

Jammyb

Well-known Member
I don't think there's anything particuarly wrong with your settings, just some general points below:
-No need to stay at ISO100, ISO100-400 you'd be very hard pressed to tell any difference. ISO800 you should use if you need to. ISO1600-3200 I'd generally avoid where possible, but grain is better than blur. I'll use ISO6400 if I need to.
- Shoot RAW, then you don't need to worry about white balance and you'll have a lot more latitude to adjust and generally make your photos punchier at home
-The middle of the day is the worst time to take photos, especially landscapes, the lack of contrast due to the harsh sun being overhead makes them flat an uninteresting.
-A lot of your shots ignore the rule of thirds, so the horizon is half way up the shot

I think a lot of us are guilty of what you've done, wandering round in the middle of the day, snapping away, then getting home and being dissapointed you dont have 200 award winning photos. I know I am. It's just not going to happen though.

A workmate is a landscape photographer, he plans his shots weeks in advance, gets up before dawn, hikes to a spot he's predetermined, where he knows the sun will rise in a certain place at a certain time and waits for the perfect moment and gets his shot.
 

CaptnSpaulding

Well-known Member
Thanks both. I do try to remember the rule of thirds, but for such a simple rule/guideline it's pretty difficult! lol

I take photos in RAW and JPEG but no idea how to use editing software so just storing them for when I learn :)

Appreciate the comments, thanks.
 

Jammyb

Well-known Member
Try the lightroom 4 trial, I wouldn't be without it. Lots of good videos on youtube showing how to edit raws.

This one uses LR3 but it's similar
 

shotokan101

Banned
Personally I'd try just using the camera set to cloudy White Balance - I find that give a nice colour/tone boost - and set the Exposure Compensation to -1EV to help avoid blown highlights.

Jim
 

spannersatcx

Well-known Member
also filters will protect the lens, most people will have a UV filter on all the time, swapping to polariser or other when needed, its a small investment that will protect your expensive lens.
 

Jammyb

Well-known Member
I disagree that most people use UV filters all the time. I think most people manage without. I know I do. I've bought, sold and used lots of lenses and none of them have had any damage to the front element, especially anything that will cause an detrimental effect on the image. Whereas a UV filter can have a detrimental effect in the wrong light.

CPL's serve a purpose, but only in the right light conditions, they won't always do anything and they block around 2 stops of light. I've met people who have CPL's permanently mounted to their lenses, don't really know what they're supposed to do or the effect they have on shutter speed.
 

Dancook

Distinguished Member
I disagree that most people use UV filters all the time. I think most people manage without. I know I do. I've bought, sold and used lots of lenses and none of them have had any damage to the front element, especially anything that will cause an detrimental effect on the image. Whereas a UV filter can have a detrimental effect in the wrong light.

I too don't use UV filters on my lenses, I don't like the idea that it might have even the slightest detrimental affect on quality.
 

arthurdentpc

Active Member
Theres nothing wrong with your exposure, but your framing could be looked at.

Maybe try Michael Freeman's book The Photographer's Eye for a good discussion on what to put into a frame, frame dynamics, etc.

I'll give you an example, take the shot above DSC_0030 - crop it half way up (just use your hand to remove the top half) and it becomes a very good shot. As it stands half of it is just plain, boring blue. Stick in some foreground interest and it's a winner.
 

BigCam

Active Member
I went for a walk yesterday as it was a nice day and took my new camera with me and tried to take shots of Snowdown as it's covered in snow and looks great with the blue sky - only after coming home I realised all my photos look terrible.

What is the best settings for days like this? I know as much as to keep the ISO at it's lowest so have it at 100, and I've been reading and watching Bryan Peterson books/videos and have my light set to cloudy as he says it makes the pictures look warm. I tried taking photos using F3.5 up to F11 to compare them after but they all look terrible.

I thought about it after and wondered if I should have used smaller aperture as there was a lot of light available, but this lengthens the shutter speed (I think!?) and I didn't have a tripod with me.

Any tips guys as I might go out again today!?

Hi :hiya:
I'm just guessing that like me you've upgraded to the Nikon DSLR from previously been using a Compact for years
Like me you expected more from it
I admit I'm no expert
The last time I used an SLR was over 25 years ago
They say its like riding a bike but I'm still at the "Trike" stage with this DSLR :D

I was on my first walkabout with my New Nikon DSLR a few days ago and thought what's going on, all these photos are poor, I just expected them to be far "better" than the ones taken with my compact.

But its a DSLR and usually the main reason you get one is you want more control with settings ect when taking your shots and that's it, you have to take control

So looking at your distant shots
Images 17,18,72 were taken at F8 all are a bit soft in contrast and sharpness
But you can notice the difference right away in the other images 41/48 you took at F11
A lot sharper with more contrast

As you were getting shutter speeds of around 1/250 to 1/500s you could have afforded to stop down to F22 for those images17,18,72 that would have made the mountain stand out more
Yes it would mean lower shutter speeds at F22 but on a bright day it should be Ok
If you were worried about camera shake, switch on the VR mode for those shots

So try those shots again, providing you get a sunny day as before turn dial to A set to f16/f22 and compare to previous images
You should notice a big difference
Happy shooting
BigCam
 
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mucca_D

Well-known Member
So looking at your distant shots
Images 17,18,72 were taken at F8 all are a bit soft in contrast and sharpness
But you can notice the difference right away in the other images 41/48 you took at F11
A lot sharper with more contrast

As you were getting shutter speeds of around 1/250 to 1/500s you could have afforded to stop down to F22 for those images17,18,72 that would have made the mountain stand out more
Yes it would mean lower shutter speeds at F22 but on a bright day it should be Ok
If you were worried about camera shake, switch on the VR mode for those shots

So try those shots again, providing you get a sunny day as before turn dial to A set to f16/f22 and compare to previous images
You should notice a big difference
Happy shooting
BigCam

Sorry dont agree at all.

Saying to stop down to f22 is really bad advice IMHO. A good rule of thumb for a non tested lens(one that you have not found its sweetspot etc) are sharpest around f8-f11 so its counter intuative to move away from this.

Also to go at f22 in shot DSC_0072 would (to gain the same exposure) require a shutter of 1/30 Sod that! ok you can go up the ISO so a trade off can be obtained, but you have not said that!

This obsession that to get everydetail in focus when shooting landscape you must stop the lens all the waydown is well, erm, there are two between my legs!

Yes of course you can use (and I do) f16 as a starting point, but PLEASE read about hyperfocal lengh.
Its not as hard as you think, and will change your mind in a flash on how to shoot landscape! it will I promise :smashin:

Plus it is indeed often why that compact did ok! It will be on f2.8 (equiv)
YES that mountain will be the same focal plane at f2.8 as it would be at f22!

Bottom line the wider the lens the shorter the hyperfocal lengh is. If you focus at that distance, EVERYTHING infront and behind it WILL be at IN focus :D

I am way off being a good landscape photog, (would love to be) that said a few helpfull and polite posts above mine have indicated the real issue with some of your photos and thats the same problem we all have (or at least I do)
I think! hang on. I know what I am talking about. I have some of the best god dam equipment ever (canon of course) so lets go take a photo of, well everything and it will be awesome I tell you!

Nope! It bugs the poop out of me, but its that fact, that pushes me on and on to improve, and I do, and YOU will!

Again though, it does not happen, for most overnight.

Like David Baily said. "We all have at least one epic photo in us. He was just lucky enough to have two!" Ok I should of used an Ansel quote, but I like the DB one :)



Now get back out and shoot some more :)
 
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mucca_D

Well-known Member
Also looking through your shots again! many realy just need a little edit to bring them out!

I hope you dont mind. I picked one and did a super fast AUTO tone, crop and then ligtened back up the forground with a lighting brush (default Lightroom one)
 

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Magnusrn

Active Member
polarizer would bring out the blue in the sky and decrease the haze on the far away mountains. Could try playing about with your picture profiles if you're not into post processing.
 

Magnusrn

Active Member
beforeandafterh.jpg


That's showing what you can do with jpegs alone, I've never really taken landscapes so don't really know if I overdid it or what, but if you shoot raw you can basically adjust everything without it having an effect on anything else.

May have overdone it slightly, but you get the idea.
 

tapzilla2k

Distinguished Member
I too don't use UV filters on my lenses, I don't like the idea that it might have even the slightest detrimental affect on quality.

I'd rather loss a slight loss in quality over dropping the lens and smashing a front element and possibly losing the lens. Filters are cheaper to replace.
Each to their own.

As for CPL's I use one on my 17-40mm to cut down on CA and swap to UV when required.
 

DolbyDan

Well-known Member
I actually like your photos I also disagree with stopping down past F8-F11 diffraction will cause more softness just remember to focus in the correct areas. Stick to the rule of thirds, the ones you mess up a bit try cropping them abit. Try the Sunny 16 rule, experiment with a polarizer and my best advise, shoot RAW and use Lightroom 4 (graduated filter tool is great for blue skies).

Keep snapping, good start!
 

DolbyDan

Well-known Member
563342_2954178352704_2063929885_n.jpg


271023d1319667671-elephants-waterhole-s1220232.jpg


Just two bad examples how LR can give photos abit of punch
 
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