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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Special Techniques For Landscapes

Excerpted from Rob Sheppard’s new book, The Magic of Digital Landscape Photography

This Article Features Photo Zoom

HDR images don’t have to be garish; here, the effect is subtle.
Black-And-White Infrared Photography
Infrared has always held a fascination with photographers because it lets you see something unseen with the human eye—how infrared light (a light beyond our vision) affects the landscape. IR, as it’s often called, used to be a real pain to use with film. Digital has changed this considerably. Sensors do see infrared; however, most DSLRs have special filters in front of the sensor to remove or at least limit the infrared (this allows for higher-quality normal images).

You can check your camera’s sensitivity to infrared (or IR) very easily by pointing a remote at your camera and pushing a button on the remote. Assuming your infrared remote doesn’t include a visible light to reassure the user, you’ll be able to see a light coming from the remote in your LCD or photograph that you couldn’t see with your unaided eyes.

If you get quite serious about using infrared, you can have many digital SLRs and some compact digital cameras modified for IR by having the IR cutoff filter removed (www.irdigital.net is one resource). This can offer stunning results without doing anything except taking the picture and doing some black-and-white work in the computer.

If you’re using an unmodified camera, you need an infrared filter to go over the lens (the Hoya R72 is a good one). The actual infrared image in color generally doesn’t look that great. Convert it to black-and-white in the computer. You’ll have to deal with long exposures through this filter (which is why many photographers go to modified cameras that don’t need that filter). You have to shoot on a tripod.

You’ll generally get lots of drama and impact from the infrared. Bright foliage and dark skies are typical effects of IR. You can photograph with IR in light that can be totally wrong for normal photography—a frontal light toward midday—yet that’s exactly the right light for IR. It needs infrared light being strongly reflected to the camera. This makes IR an ideal way of getting great shots from an area in ugly midday light!

Panoramic Photos
Most photographers today are building panoramics from images shot with a standard digital camera. This has become very easy to do, and while sophisticated tripod heads can make the process work smoother, they’re not a necessity.

To do this, you shoot a series of overlapping photos from one side of the scene to the other and put them together in the computer. One advantage to this is that you can use the equipment you already have.


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