I captured this image using a Fuji X-T3 and a Samyang 12mm lens. The camera ISO was 160 and with the lens set to f/8.0 the shutter speed was 2.1”. I also used a Kase Wolverine 3 stop soft ND graduated filter on the sky to help balance the exposure with the ground. Had I not done this the heather would have been too dark or the sky too light. Ordinarily, where there is a clear “blue” sky I don’t bother with a grad but when the lighting conditions are tricky, such as here, I always take a test shot to check.
But what’s important about this image isn’t the technical details (which most people concentrate on) it’s the conditions at the time. This because most photographers would have given up and left before I took this shot. The reason I stayed to shoot the image is that I’ve learned some important lessons about light and my camera. I knew that it’s possible to capture a good image even though it looked dark to the eye. Let’s look at a few important points.
Firstly, the lovely flowering heather in this scene is dead. When the flowers of the common heather die, they turn a dull orange-brown colour. In daylight, this is obvious, but not after sunset if the light is right.
The reason the heather in this scene looks purple is because of the blue and magenta light at this time of day. What’s also important to make this work is the direction of the light. For this image, I turned 180 degrees, so my back faced where the sun had set.
Secondly, because I used a wide-angle 12mm lens for this image, you can see the sky on the right of the frame is a slightly different colour and brightness. It’s important when capturing a scene like this that there is enough latitude in the RAW file to balance out the brightness and colour during post-processing.
The third and final point to understand is that the sun had set some 15-20 minutes previous. Even though the moon was out, it was quite dark and yet the camera was able to achieve an excellent exposure with plenty of colour and detail, but very little noise. Today’s digital cameras are simply amazing in low light conditions. If you don’t normally shoot after sunset, you should try a few test images. The results will probably surprise you.
I hope this gives you some idea of the types of lessons I learned when photographing in the landscape. I figure that if I can learn something from every trip, I’ll eventually feel satisfied with my skill as a photographer. Or perhaps not.
New Lenscraft Content
I’ve been busy over this past month adding new tutorials and rewriting old ones. You may find the following interesting.