One of the most useful aspects of digital camera technology in the field is the ability to fully check the composition, exposure data, and sharpness of each image you shoot so you can be sure you’ve got the picture you wanted.
Once you know what you’re looking for and are comfortable with this three-step process, it takes seconds to check each image or set of bracketed images to be sure that you have the perfect shot.
The first step is to check the composition on the LCD screen. Even if you’re satisfied at first, try zooming in slightly and scrolling around the image to see if a slightly tighter, cropped version offers a better or more unique perspective. If so, recompose the shot, shoot it again, and then recheck the composition on the LCD screen.
The second step is to check the exposure. When reviewing an image with the highlight clipping warning active, any overexposure issues will be visible right away. It is equally important to check the histogram though, and to view the tonal detail throughout the image. Check to be sure the shadows areas have enough brightness and detail, and the highlights aren’t overexposed. The more you work with the histogram and correlate the peaks and valleys to tonal data and colour tones, the easier it is to check your images with a quick glance.
The third and final step is to check the sharpness of all the details that you would like to have in sharp focus. With the image on-screen during playback, zoom in to magnify the image. On most cameras it’s possible to see individual pixels at this magnification level, so back out one zoom ‘step,’ and then scroll around the image. Check the edge-sharpness of every part of the image, from the areas closest to the camera to those farthest away. Compare edges that should have similar sharpness, levels, such as blades of grass, edges of rocks, and branches, twigs, or the horizon line of distant mountains. If everything you want in focus has comparable sharpness, move on. If not, adjust the settings and shoot it again.
This process is the very best part of digital technology’s instant gratification. Never before have photographers been able to see in such detail the shooting information for an image they just shot. It’s much more than just seeing the picture you took— it’s the ability to have complete confidence that you have captured every piece of information necessary to create your vision.
101 Top Tips for Landscape Photography is where professional landscape guru Carl Heilman II gives the benefit of a lifetime spent shooting spectacular wilderness and mountain shots, offering a host of targeted tips and tricks that will allow photographers of all abilities to lift their landscape work to the next level. The reader will learn how to harness natural drama, use difficult lighting situations to your advantage and capture unusual perspectives, all the while benefiting from Carl’s clear instruction and beautiful landscape work.