Photography News Issue 32

Photography News | Issue 32 | absolutephoto.com

Technique 29

Your shooting technique is just as important to pack as any piece of kit, so don’t think that just because you’re presented with an exotic scene you can hose it down without due care and expect it to work. Whatever travel subject you’re shooting, you need to apply your hard-earned skills to it just as though you were shooting ten feet from your front door. After all, travel photography encompasses such a set of disparate subjects that you need to divide it into portrait, landscape, street and so on, applying the most suitable approach. You can apply more creative techniques, too, so if you have a favourite shooting style, try it out on location and your pics will certainly have a different look to the rank and file. For instance, the picture here is a fairly typical scene in Vienna at twilight, with lots of people and street food vendors. Instead of shooting it straight I decided to take two shots, one sharp and one with lots of camera shake, adding little light trails to the scene. Later, I blended the two in Photoshop to frame the sharp focal point with the blur. It’s just a simple example of how you can experiment and add something interesting to your travel shots. 5. Take your technique with you Whether you’re at a rural beauty spot or the heart of a bustling metropolis, crowds can be a problem, blocking detail, getting in your way and generally making the place less than pristine. If you’re on a tight timescale you’re unlikely to be able to wait them out, but good camera technique can come to the rescue, allowing you to remove moving people entirely or make them part of the scene in a way that adds to the subject rather than spoiling it. It’s worth bearing in mind though, that the ‘right kind’ of crowds can actually make some shots, providing a scene with scale and clues to the culture you’re shooting, where, if you remove them, the composition could otherwise seem sterile. Method 1: Slow the shutter This is the most traditional route and uses a slow shutter speed to blur the movement of crowds, making them soften or disappear entirely. To get that slow shutter speed without overexposing the scene you’re probably going to need a neutral density filter (like a Hoya 77mm Pro ND 8 at around £60) or a long-exposure filter like Hoya’s screw in 77mm Pro ND 1000 (around £79). Fitted to the lens (check your filter size) this blocks the light, allowing the shutter speed to lengthen, so all you have to do is fire the shutter and keep the camera steady, and anything moving, like milling tourists, will blur. Use speeds of over a minute (in bulb mode) and you can often remove all trace. Method 2: Find a better angle If you’re shooting a busy site with a wide-angle and from street level you’re asking for people to get in the way. Instead, switch to a longer focal length so that you can give the subject more separation. Another method is to find a vantage point where you have more physical separation from the crowd; even a few feet of extra height can help, so seek out something to raise your view, like a wall, chair or steps. Method 3: Shoot a multiple exposure Another way of tackling busy scenes is to make a feature of the movement using a multiple exposure technique. Herein you’ll take several shots from the same position and blend them, so that moving people show up as ghosts but the scene remains clear and solid. Many modern 7. Conquer the crowds

Time can be tight on tours and opportunities fleeting. So while you’ll want to take all the care you’d normally apply to a shot, it’s not always possible. This is particularly true when it comes to exposure, and you need to guarantee you’ve got a good one as there’s little chance of popping back. There are several steps you can take to ensure you’ve got the goods. The easiest is to make sure you’re shooting in Raw mode, so that you have some control after the event and can for instance control highlight and shadow detail more easily as well as the white-balance. Set Raw from the image quality options, but be aware Raw files will take up more space on your card than JPEGs. Raw can only take you so far though, and you may find that pushing the sliders hard enough to get the look you want causes the image to break up more than is acceptable. For that reason, also consider shooting bracketed exposures. You don’t need to do it for every shot, but if you’re faced with tricky scenes where the dynamic range is very high, ‘over and under’ the metered exposure is a great safety net. If it’s not accessed via a button on the body of your camera, bracketing can often be found within the drive modes menu. Finally, if it has one, try employing your camera’s HDR mode. This will record a burst of shots at different shutter speeds and combine them into a well-balanced exposure. The only problem here is that the file will be recorded as a JPEG, so it’s less useful in editing, but still a way to record the scene without losing highlight or shadow detail. 6. Nail the exposure

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camera up so it won’t move between the shots. Record a series of images – say five or six – at ten seconds apart and you should get a good effect. You can also shoot the separate shots in Photoshop and stack them as layers, then use the Layer Opacity control to get the same effect.

DSLRs and CSCs have a multiple exposure mode in their shooting menu, along with options to control how many exposures will be used and how they’ll be combined. Choose the average or auto gain mode so that a good exposure is maintained, then as with a long exposure set the

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