Shooting in Low Light: How to Photograph a Rainforest

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Shooting in low light takes a lot of thought and planning. In this series of videos, outdoor photographer, Doug Gardner, takes you to Olympic National Park in the state of Washington for tips and techniques on shooting in low light in the rainforest.

Doug positions himself in a tree-lined meadow and aims his camera at a small herd of Roosevelt Elk, the largest species of elk in North America. Doug says, “When photographing large mammals, the key is looking for behavior shots.” The elk may raise its head, ears alert, or interact with another elk, or even get into a fight. It’s important to focus on the eye’s catch light as your focal point. You will learn that centering your subject in the frame’s center isn’t the best idea, and that the elk should be looking through the frame, not toward the frame’s border.

Doug is shooting in low light in early morning. The density of the forest adds to the problem. You will learn to be sensitive to the shutter speed and depth of field, especially deep in the rainforest. To reduce the chance of camera vibration, you need to use a tripod and a cable release. He recommends setting your camera at a low shutter speed, in this case, two and a half seconds at f13, ISO200. It’s also a good idea to cool your white balance, which reduces the natural, green and yellow light. Doug shoots a stand of trees with a 17-40mm wide angle lens, and adds a circular polarizer filter for saturation, lowering the light reading by two stops. Add rain drops and fog. The result? A dramatic image of trees and hanging moss.

Travel to Olympic National Park with professional shooter, Doug Gardner, who gives guidance for shooting in low 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