For this scene, as the light is blocked from the lake and foreground by the terrain, exposing for the land would blow out the sky and water, wilst exposing for the highlights would render the foreground rocks and land too dark – an ND grad could be used to hold back the exposure on the sky, but this would then leave the reflection in the lake too bright in relation to the sky. In order to capture the full dynamic range, we’ll need to bracket several exposures.
2. How to bracket exposures
Set up your composition, focus and dial in the settings as you would for any landscape exposure. Then, turn on bracketing – this is usually done by holding down a BKT button and dialling in the number of shots you want to take, but varies from camera to camera. You'll also need to set the exposure difference between each shot, in stops of light.
3. Take your shots
Here five exposures were taken, each set at one-stop apart. The dashes on the top plate exposure dial indicate this. Before you start shooting, and as a precaution, set your lens to manual focus to stop it from changing focus between frames. Then, using a remote release, trigger the shutter five times (or however many you set) to capture the full bracketed sequence –
in aperture-priority mode, the camera will change the exposure between each frame.
4. Assess and reshoot
Assess the results and the histogram for the darkest and brightest exposures – the darkest exposure should have no highlight clipping, and the brightest should have detail in the shadows. You might find that the ‘middle’ exposure in your sequence hasn’t been metered for correctly in some scenarios. You can adjust this using the exposure compensation feature to set the middle exposure correctly, and then capture your bracketed frames again.
Now all you need to do is blend the shots together either manually or using an automated action. For a step-by-step on how to blend your HDR images, check back in on this blog Monday to see how the below image was made using the five exposures shown above.