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01-02-2011, 08:13 AM   #1
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landscape shooting questions

I want to shoot some landscapes with my K20d and the DA* 16-50 and have a few questions

1. what aperture to use? @f5.6 the lens seems to be at its best ... Is that OK for having most of the frame in focus?
2. should I use Enhanced Dynamic Range ? (and therefore ISO 200)
3. is it better to meter of the sky or scenery ?

I'll add more questions as I do some initial shooting

01-02-2011, 08:30 AM   #2
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Wow, that's a whole lot of questions, particularly not knowing what kind of landscapes you're gonna shoot. I do quite some landscapes myself, and these are my experiences.

1. I would say: go for a smaller aperture, say about f/8-f/11. That will give you most probably focus from about foreground to about background....
2. ISO 100, I'd say, otherwise you will loose detail --> I WOULD STRONGLY ADVISE A TRIPOD!!!
3. It's better to use a graduated ND filter from good quality! Otherwise it is impossible to expose both adequately. If you don't have them: meter both, shoot the intermediate values.... check the histogram, and adjust....

Good luck!
01-02-2011, 08:36 AM   #3
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well my plan was this ... I live near a very nice lake ... and now its snowing and tomorrow there should be some sunlight (but with clouds)
last time that was the case I didn't had a camera on me, so now, I'm planing ahead ...
my plan is to take some pictures of the snowy scenery (and hope for some red lighted clouds at sunset )... on a tripod
01-02-2011, 09:13 AM   #4
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Great! Remember: snow photo's tend to be underexposed, as your camera sees the 'middle brightness' in the scene as 18% gray. Just overexpose by about 2/3-4/3 stop, depending on the scene and the distribution of light.

On the other hand: with snow, the scenery is lighter, so the difference with the sky is less (so metering will be a little easier, I guess!)

01-02-2011, 09:18 AM   #5
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Morning (well at least here in Arizona),

I would echo the advice already given. f8 would seem to be a good aperture to shoot for. Why, well for several reasons. First f8 appears to be consistently good across the face of the lens - center, edge and corners. Here is an evaluation - scroll down, midway to MRF at 16mm (I am going to assume you are going to be around that focal length), and you will see that you give up a bit in the center, but gain in the edge and corners....Also, take a look at the depth of field....Dial in a Pentax K20, f8, at way 100 feet, and you get a depth of field from 5 feet to infinity.

So do you have to go to this extent every time. No - just dial in f8 and go out shooting.

I would also, set in the 2 second mirror up with the camera up on the tripod. Also after a couple of shots, I would press the bracketing button (upper left hand side), turn bracketing on (front wheel, with say 5 frames and 1.5 ev 2 ev tends to be too much for my K20's sensor) hopefully you have a wired shutter release, and hold down the button for the entire 5 frames. Then you can try out HDR with some trial down loads.....

I have to drive my oldest son back up to school in Flagstaff today - and they have about 2 feet of snow on the ground. Also, they have closed the roads several time during the storm, and they are now open, so its going to be an interesting drive. Hopefully, there will be some nice snow views - taking my K20, tripod and lenses... We will see how well I can do taking my own advice.

Have fun!!


Last edited by interested_observer; 01-02-2011 at 09:24 AM.
01-02-2011, 10:14 AM   #6
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Try all combinations and compare your results. Bracketing is quite helpful.

f 5.6, ISO 200 and average metering with a bit above 16 mm, say 20 mm, and whatever speed indicated will likely do it on a tripod.

Avoid noontime or take at other times as well and on bright and overcast days to get what appeals to you. Most good photos take a lot of work.
01-02-2011, 10:41 AM   #7
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Banana, a great website to explore techniques for landscape shooting is Nature Photographers. It's really worthwhile browsing their pages...!
01-02-2011, 11:52 AM   #8
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Lots of good suggestions above.
  • Use a tripod;
  • Use ISO 100;
  • Use f8;
  • Use the shutter delay;
  • Avoid midday - IMHO the best light is in the hour or so after sunrise or the hour or so before sunset;
My additions are:
  • Consider if morning or evening will give the best light at your choosen location;
  • Take the manual with you;
  • Check the exposure using the histogram function - adjust using the EV compensation until you get the histogram ending just before the RH side of the display. That will give you the brightest picture you can get without overexposing the image.


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