Tips to miminize harsh lighting/weather effect on landscape photography


pete2322

New Member
Oct 8, 2009
95
0
0
#1
What is the best way to shoot a relatively acceptable pictures in the following condition:-

i) harsh lighting
ii) cloudy sky
iii) noon, clear and bright sky

For these condition beside the bright sky, for (i) and (iii) the building/bottom scenery are affected.

Would using using GND filter would minimise the above condition( which is not ideal for shooting a good photos) ?

Please advise.
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
21,660
68
48
lil red dot
#2
What is the best way to shoot a relatively acceptable pictures in the following condition:-

i) harsh lighting
ii) cloudy sky
iii) noon, clear and bright sky

For these condition beside the bright sky, for (i) and (iii) the building/bottom scenery are affected.

Would using using GND filter would minimise the above condition( which is not ideal for shooting a good photos) ?

Please advise.
i) shoot at sunrises right before or when the sun comes up, or sunsets right after the sun sets under the horizon.
ii) Cloudys are good for landscape during sunrise and sunsets, unless it is too cloudy, then you go back another day to shoot again.
iii) shoot at sunrises right before or when the sun comes up, or sunsets right after the sun sets under the horizon.

And no, GND will not minimize the problems in the conditions you stated. Finding the right time, and the right day to shoot will make it work.
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
6,041
17
38
The Universe
www.facebook.com
#3
My suggestion is to read up on the techniques of exposure. There are 3 main tools you can use here; each have theirs pros and cons. Having knowledge is like having tools, you can just pick and choose the knowledge and use it whenever necessary.

1) GND - not so good for buildings though, since you will not get the details in a backlit situation. Still, one of the most time-saving methods.
2) Exposure blending - time-consuming, easy to screw up if you're impatient and just want quick results, because doing it properly takes a lot of time even if you're used to it - can yield best results at times
3) HDR - faster than exposure blending, but tends to look unnatural. Buildings and especially backlit line-things (e.g. lamppost, tree branches) will tend to have haloes.

There is a fourth, which is the black-card method, but that tends to work better with longer exposures so you would probably want to use a ND filter to help you with this method if the ambient lighting is quite bright. Also can be hit-and-miss, though I've seen really good results off the web from experienced black-carders. :)
 

pete2322

New Member
Oct 8, 2009
95
0
0
#5
Thanks you all for the tips. I knew generally the best photos is to shoot at the right time but that's only possible if I'm travelling for photography. The reason I ask is if I'm travelling with the tour group or some friend who are not photography enthusiast, I might not have the luxury to shoot at the ideal time.

My experience is I arrive at the nice scenery but either is at noon with string backlight( either I'm overexposing the sky or the building. And even with proper expose of the bulding it just has a kind of string cast/shade). Wanting to produce a shoot similar to those travel magazine shoot my with that kind of condition is just too impossible to get close to it.

And for cloudy, there some occasion with it's cloudly and perhaps a bit hazy which can't be noticeable thru the naked eye but by the lens.

HDR, yes, I've tried that and very well agreed with edutilos. It's too unrealistic. no matter how I adjust the setting.

edutilos as for the GND solution is it a better than nothing solution? If it's still I have to get a bunch of GND with different stops.

How 'bout CPL? Would this would help to reduce strong harsh light to the building?

For strong harsh light , not matter how I adjust the exposure the detail just gone and it's like the color of the building get burn/dodge.
Would CPL would reduce the reflection from the harsh sunlight and thus retain some detail?

In this case even using a GND to recude the stop won't help ,right?
 

sinned79

Senior Member
Jun 18, 2009
10,868
3
0
Singapore
www.aboutlove.sg
#6
like DD123 says,
the best way is to shoot it with good lighting.

come back another time, or just live with it.
correct. no shortcuts. if weather is no good it is simply no good, come back another day. unless u can pray to the almighty one to change the weather for u :p
 

pete2322

New Member
Oct 8, 2009
95
0
0
#7
sinned79, if the weather is not ideal then any filter is useless?

And there's nothing I can do I make the photos looks much better than I shoot the straight ( proper exposure of the building and let the sky overexpose)?
 

sinned79

Senior Member
Jun 18, 2009
10,868
3
0
Singapore
www.aboutlove.sg
#8
sinned79, if the weather is not ideal then any filter is useless?

And there's nothing I can do I make the photos looks much better than I shoot the straight ( proper exposure of the building and let the sky overexpose)?
there is no tools in this world that can change the your photo to look better during bad weathers. so it is up to you as the photographer how you can use bad weather to your advantage to create a different mood and feel to the photo.
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
6,041
17
38
The Universe
www.facebook.com
#9
correct. no shortcuts. if weather is no good it is simply no good, come back another day. unless u can pray to the almighty one to change the weather for u :p
Do note, right weather doesn't mean nice nice sky, nice nice clouds.

Based on that definition, this photo would never have been taken: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squiver/6062589277/in/contacts/

It is one of the best photos I have seen of those trees in Namibia in my opinion.

Sometimes, it is a matter of finding the right subject. You may end up with wasted effort, but "bad" weather can often work in your advantage, if you know what to pair it with to great effect. :)
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
6,041
17
38
The Universe
www.facebook.com
#10
edutilos as for the GND solution is it a better than nothing solution? If it's still I have to get a bunch of GND with different stops.

How 'bout CPL? Would this would help to reduce strong harsh light to the building?

For strong harsh light , not matter how I adjust the exposure the detail just gone and it's like the color of the building get burn/dodge.
Would CPL would reduce the reflection from the harsh sunlight and thus retain some detail?
CPL only helps for non-metallic reflections. Glass will help, metal will not. Also depends on location of sun, etc.

If your key interest is on buildings then I guess indeed light can be very important - what I have mentioned earlier still applies, but it really depends on the buillding you have in mind. With strong form and shape it would probably be way better to have it in good, directional lighting, rather than overcast skies which would give you soft diffuse lighting. That said, at the end of the day, it is up to the photographer to choose and work with what he has (or live with it, as what catchlights says). In the worst of weather, you can sometimes come up with something great.

GND is good to have, but it is more for wider scenes, to balance out sky/foreground. Up till now you keep mentioning scenery but harp a lot about builldings. I'm still not very clear what you really like to shoot or whether a GND will be applicable, but in general, a set of GNDs will be useful for the landscape/architectural photographer - that much is true.
 

TWmilkteaTW

Senior Member
May 30, 2011
2,251
1
0
#15
Infact..most landscape shooter will own a set of GND filters.
They can be very useful.
 

Last edited:

Daoyin

Senior Member
Nov 25, 2008
2,808
6
38
West
#16
Thanks you all for the tips. I knew generally the best photos is to shoot at the right time but that's only possible if I'm travelling for photography. The reason I ask is if I'm travelling with the tour group or some friend who are not photography enthusiast, I might not have the luxury to shoot at the ideal time.

My experience is I arrive at the nice scenery but either is at noon with string backlight( either I'm overexposing the sky or the building. And even with proper expose of the bulding it just has a kind of string cast/shade). Wanting to produce a shoot similar to those travel magazine shoot my with that kind of condition is just too impossible to get close to it.

And for cloudy, there some occasion with it's cloudly and perhaps a bit hazy which can't be noticeable thru the naked eye but by the lens.

HDR, yes, I've tried that and very well agreed with edutilos. It's too unrealistic. no matter how I adjust the setting.

edutilos as for the GND solution is it a better than nothing solution? If it's still I have to get a bunch of GND with different stops.

How 'bout CPL? Would this would help to reduce strong harsh light to the building?

For strong harsh light , not matter how I adjust the exposure the detail just gone and it's like the color of the building get burn/dodge.
Would CPL would reduce the reflection from the harsh sunlight and thus retain some detail?

In this case even using a GND to recude the stop won't help ,right?
Your question is often faced by photographers out on a packaged tour group as your flexibility in choice of timing is often limited. Just have to accept it and choose your shots if you face harsh lighting.

Would a GND help? Maybe but maybe not because compositionally the building might get in the way, the lighting may still too strong etc etc. A CPL? Can only attenuate wavelengths that already exists. Under harsh lighting particularly with a sky filled with clouds, the light is diffused and it will not make it.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,517
31
48
Pasir Ris
#17
edutilos, I want to shoot those building and landscape similar as below :-
I won't be able to get a blue sky with the building proper expose.
Look at the light at the palace pic: it comes from behind, right hand side of the photographer. Here, a CPL can work and enhance the blue sky. If the sun is behind the palace it's gone case. The same goes for the Buddha pic. Find a position where the light comes in at a good angle. Get away from the standard compositions, sometimes finding a different spot (which suits the available light) can yield great pictures as well.
In the Buddha pic the shadows have been enhanced in post processing. You can set the exposure to slightly overexpose the sky, this should give enough light for the Buddha. Later in processing you can do further adjustments by reducing the exposure (regaining details in the sky) and open up the shadows.
When I was in Hanoi and there was overcast sky for days I used GND. It worked because most buildings are roughly of the same height.
 

Sep 17, 2008
3,656
0
0
#18
Last edited:

pete2322

New Member
Oct 8, 2009
95
0
0
#19
Daoyin, yes you're right. Thus that why I want to find a solution to minimize the effect of harsh lighting. If the direction of the light(due to limited time) and the building can't be changed(make sense), then I looking how does the ND, CPL or any other solution to get a photo a least it's much better than shoot it straight away.
 

canonmono

Senior Member
Nov 22, 2010
683
0
16
29
Yew Tee
#20
correct. no shortcuts. if weather is no good it is simply no good, come back another day. unless u can pray to the almighty one to change the weather for u :p
No need for almighty, Zhuge Liang will do ..
 

Top Bottom