So….the day comes when you finally get your act together, you check your camera , filters and everything else you need and head out to do some long overdue shooting. You consult the weather forecast, it tells you things aren’t looking good but you go out anyway, sort of hoping for a miracle to happen while you are getting to your location.
Impressions - Volume Forty FourImpressionist photography utilizing intentional camera movement. At the location you quickly see that no miracle has happen, the light is indeed as dull and uninspiring as you feared to begin with. We are talking ’suicide grey skies’, light that renders the world two dimensional, almost without color. The light is so flat that you fear you have lost your depth perception.
This is when you need to take a depth breath and say to yourself “-I will not let this throw me out of balance, lose focus and start to shoot aimlessly. I will shoot with a purpose, not forgetting basics like exposure and composition.”
For some of you this might feel like I’m stating the obvious, you’ve been there and know what to do. You might not even be distracted by poor shooting conditions. In any case, I think it is an important topic to bring up. Why ? Because the last time I was out in these conditions I got so distracted that not only did I lose my vision, I also basically forgot about composition and exposure from time to time. It was as if it didn’t make a difference, as if I believed no matter what I did, nothing would work because of the light. All this happened on a subconscious level. After a while I managed to gather my thoughts, recognizing I was not paying attention to what I was doing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be sidetracked by poor shooting conditions. Be prepared to, if necessary, to chose a different subject, that perhaps is better suited for the conditions. Or, do some traditional long exposure or intentional camera movement photography, my experience is that these types of photography are much more forgiving when it comes to the light, it is as if the extra dimension from the motion blur makes up for the lack of dynamic light.
Impressions - Volume Forty ThreeImpressionist photography utilizing intentional camera movement. To sum up, stay focused, composition, exposure and other basics are -obviously - equally important in all shooting conditions. Also don’t forget, whatever you are shooting, no matter how flat it may come out, there’s always the possibility to do some magic in post production.
Reading books and articles online, a circular polarizer (CPL) is very often described as Gods gift to mankind, it reduce glare, gives the sky more definition, and over all enriches, the colors in your photographs. As long as you have a polarizer, you are golden.
If I Could Turn Back Time - Volume SeventeenNo CPL I’m telling you that you are wrong, or more correctly, if you have a camera that doesn’t handle high ISO very well, you do not want to get a CPL because you will get noise issues. Why? Because polarizers can steal up to three stops of light. This means that, if you for example are at ISO 200 with a shutter and aperture that you are happy with and you mount a CPL that steals three stops of light, you need to dial in ISO 1600 in order to be able to keep your shutter and aperture settings !
I know what you are saying, ISO 1600 is nothing these days, in most cases you are right. Three stops is a exaggeration, two stops are more like it, again in some cases, you are right.
The bottom line….before you consider buying a CPL. Ask yourself, in what situations will you be using it and at what ISO are you normally at in those situations ? At what ISO levels are you comfortable? In other words, will you get a noise penalty when using a CPL and if so, is it worth it ?
If you found this post interesting, I recommend that you to read the excellent article “Understanding ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture – A Beginner’s Guide”.