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Capturing Vacation Scenery on Film


Capturing Vacation Scenery on Film

Here are some tips for shooting great scenics:
  • Don't hurry: The effort to record a site's beauty all too often results in quick snapshots hurriedly snatched with a tour group or during a sightseeing drive. Some places are spectacular enough that this approach actually works; most of the time, it's hit or miss.
  • Not all light is created equal: The best light of the day occurs when the sun is low in the sky. Early morning and late evening sunlight produce dramatic shadows and rich warm colors, as the sun's light is more red/orange than any other time during the day. If a site on your trip is particularly important, plan on being there during the "golden" hours, as photographers call them.
  • Keep it steady: It's best to have the camera mounted on a tripod while doing scenics. The added stability reduces the effects of camera shake and allows for a slower shutter speed. Reducing the shutter speed enables you to use a smaller aperture (larger f-stop number), which creates greater overall depth of field for the sharpest possible picture. If a tripod isn't available, try to find something sturdy to brace the camera on or against. Walls, car roofs, wooden chairs, and countertops can all make excellent emergency tripods. Bracing the camera vertically against a post or column will also help keep it steady.
  • That cloud looks like a . . . Take advantage of cloudy skies, which provide more visual interest than a plain, washed out blue sky. When the clouds are in hiding, compose the image so that is has minimal empty sky at the top of the frame.

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