Shooting in Contrasting Light

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For the outdoor photographer, shooting in contrasting light is always a problem, no matter what the setting. In this series of videos, outdoor photographer, Doug Gardner, takes you to Olympic National Park in the state of Washington for solutions to the problem of shooting in contrasting light in the rainforest.

When you photograph in a wooded setting, the ideal lighting is bright overcast or fog. This kind of natural lighting adds mood to the scene and helps with your color saturation. However, Doug is dealing with sunny conditions. He anchors his tripod deep in the forest, and when he encounters bright, highlight areas among the trees, he sets his exposure for the brightest areas. He uses a 200mm lens and isolates a few moss-laden tree limbs that form character to his composition. In the final photograph, the darker areas in the limbs fall to black and create a beautiful silhouette effect.

Doug recalls an old tip to help photographers make a decision on a photo opportunity. Cover one eye with your hand. If the scene still looks as good as it did with two eyes, then take the photograph. An old photographer myth? Maybe. But Doug says it’s been helpful to him over the years.

As the day wears on, Doug is faced with harsh, sunny conditions, creating high contrast. He shoots into the sun and through the back-lighted canopy of moss-covered trees. He handholds a graduated neutral density filter over his lens in order to reduce the sunny highlights. In the final composition, the trees fall to silhouette, and the sun peeks through as a star effect. The result is a beautiful image. Doug explains, “With planning and preparation, you can make memorable photographs in the contrasting light of the forest.”

Travel to Olympic National Park with professional shooter, Doug Gardner, tips on shooting in contrasting light in the rainforest.

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MORE IN THIS COURSE:

Capturing Olympic National Park Rainforest – Course Preview
Shooting in Low Light: How to Photograph a Rainforest
Shooting in Contrasting Light
Rainforest Photography: Tips and Techniques
Photographing a Coastline