PLANT + SHOOT GARDENER S PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES (GPS) GET GREAT GARDEN PHOTOS ON A CLOUDY DAY

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1 PLANT + SHOOT GARDENER S PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES (GPS) GET GREAT GARDEN PHOTOS ON A CLOUDY DAY

2 GARDENER S PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES (GPS) GET GREAT GARDEN PHOTOS ON A CLOUDY DAY Copyright 2017 Tonya Peele. All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Printed in the United States of America First Edition, 2017

3 When I began taking garden photos I thought a bright, sunny day was ideal for shooting outdoors. It wasn t until I overheard a gardener on a walking tour tell a friend how the cloudy, overcast day we were experiencing was perfect for taking pictures. That comment left me scratching my head and looking up at the flat, gray sky above us. Wait. Did she just say perfect? But after giving her comment some thought and shooting a few photos, it became crystal clear why clouds are a garden photographers best friend. For starters, clouds act as a diffuser of sunlight. Some photographers buy diffusers to limit harsh shadows and distribute light evenly throughout their shot. Clouds are naturally built into the scene and keep you from having to buy and haul extra equipment to the garden. When light is evenly diffused, it creates a more balanced exposure, thereby enhancing the important details you want to capture in your image. If you are shooting close-up, details are pretty important.

4 You ll soon learn that shooting in overcast (but not rainy) conditions tend to reduce the sharp contrast between highlights and shadows that often appear when photos are taken in bright sunlight. If not carefully composed, bright and dark areas can distract a viewers eye from the intended focal point, such as a tiny bee sitting on a Zinnia flower. In this e-book, I ll show you how clouds can dramatically improve your garden photography. By mastering three simple adjustments on your camera, you ll be able to get a great cloudyday shot from the get-go with little to no post processing. First, I ll explain why you need to shoot with a wider aperture to allow enough light into your camera. Next, I ll show you how to increase your ISO to suit overcast conditions. Then we ll make one final tweak to slow down your shutter speed. You ready? Let s go!

5 Take a close look at each of images below. The top image was shot on a bright sunny day. The photo on the bottom was taken on an overcast day. What differences do you notice between the two photos? See what I think about each one. Tonya Peele / plantandshoot.com Sunny day: Blown-out highlights, lacks detail Tonya Peele / plantandshoot.com Cloudy day: Even exposure, vibrant colors

6 #1 Wider Aperture aperture :: opening in a lens that controls the amount of light that reaches the sensor The aperture is simply an adjustable, circular opening in the lens that controls the amount of light that enters the body of your camera. The opening works like a diaphragm that opens and closes with the twist of the lens. When the aperture is wide open, more light can enter and reach the image sensor. When the aperture is small, less light can pass through. Photo credit: Aperture is expressed as f-stop, for example f/4. A smaller number indicates a wider aperture (and more light entering), while a larger number reflects a smaller aperture (and less light entering) - which can sometimes be confusing.

7 On an overcast day, light from the sun is softened or diffused by clouds. So to prevent your photo from being underexposed, it s a good practice to shoot with a wider aperture to allow more light to enter the lens. Take a few shots at lower apertures to see which f- stop produces the look and feel you want. Over the next few pages, I ll walk you through each of the settings I used to capture shots of Lantana camara growing in my container garden. Nikon D5500, Aperture: f/5.6 Tonya Peele / plantandshoot.com

8 #2 Higher ISO iso :: sensitivity of your camera By shooting at a higher ISO, you increase your camera s sensitivity which helps you get a better shot in low light conditions, like on a cloudy day. Try increasing your ISO in increments and take note of the effect on the quality of your photo. Be mindful not to bump up your ISO to the highest settings as a higher ISO will produce more graininess (aka noise) in your image. So as rule of thumb, don t increase beyond the second highest ISO number available on your camera. Tonya Peele / plantandshoot.com Nikon D5500, ISO: 200

9 #3 Slower Shutter Speed shutter speed :: amount of time your camera s shutter remains open The shutter sits in front of the image sensor and blocks it from light. When it s open, light reaches the sensor. When the shutter is closed, light is blocked. Shutter speed measures the amount of time (in fractions of a second) that the shutter remains open, thus directly controlling the duration of an exposure. Slower shutter speed, longer exposure and vice versa. On a cloudy day, slowing the shutter allows more available light to reach the sensor. Tonya Peele / plantandshoot.com Nikon D5500, Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec

10 What You Can Take Away From This 3 KEY CAMERA ADJUSTMENTS Don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't take garden photos on an overcast day. In fact, you can shoot some of your most amazing garden photos when the sky is filled with clouds. Just remember to follow these few simple camera adjustments and you ll find your gardens photos will have the wow-factor you ve been wishing for! As you shoot... Try a wider aperture Increase your ISO Slow your shutter speed Have fun!

11 For more e-books in the Gardener s Photography Series, visit or shoot me an at Happy gardening, ~Tonya

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