Friday, January 21, 2011

Sunrise and some technical issues of photographing in lower light

I got up early this morning and decided to go out and try my luck with a Pine Valley Mountain sunrise. It worked out so well that I decided to include a panorama that I put together in Photoshop. There were no clouds in the sky, as was the case last night, so I included this old ruin of a homestead in the photo to add interest in the foreground. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Piner Valley Mountain-4.jpg

I promised to tell about a few of the technical aspects of these photos as well. So, here I go. I try to shoot from a tripod when ever it is possible. Especially when I am creating landscape images. This allows me to stop the lens down in order to increase the depth of field and keep everything sharp. I try to shoot in the middle apertures (f/8, f/11, f/16) because they tend to be the sharpest settings. You can actually loose sharpness on some lenses if you stop them down too far (f/22 and farther). This, of course leaves you with a slower shutter speed. Hence, the need for a tripod.

Piner Valley Mountain-2.jpg

I have discovered the advantages of using the “Live View” feature on my Canon 7D. It allows me to do several things. First of all, I can actually adjust the exposure visually. What you see on the screen is very close to what you get on the flash card. In order to do this you have to use the eyepiece cover that is supplied with the camera strap. This little gadget prevents stray light from entering the camera from the eyepiece which can mess up your exposure. The” Live View” function also locks the mirror in the up position so that it doesn't vibrate the camera when the it flops up during the exposure. Mirror flop is not really a problem with faster shutter speeds but can cause blurring, even with wide angle lenses, when you shoot slower than 1/15th of a second. Canon doesn’t tell you this little fact in the manual but it is an added bonus when you use “Live View”. The most important benefit of The “Live View” feature is that it lets me keep my hat on with the bill forward so that I don't look like a geek.

I also use the self timer when I shoot at slower shutter speeds. I set it on a 2 second delay so that I am not actually touching the camera when the shutter opens. This also helps to create sharp photos. Let me know If this information is helpful to you. Tell me what you think of the photos. Just for the record, I don't like the ruin of the building in the center of the panorama either.

Piner Valley Mountain-3.jpg


  1. Yes, the building is much better on the side as above. Good to know about the 2 second timer removing my movements from the moment the shot is taken. I'll have to start using a tripod more.

  2. Little things can make a big difference in the final product.