Last night I drove up to the canyon near our home to catch the end of the day light and work on my photography skills (as I resolved to do!). The weather is warming up the tiniest bit and the days are getting a little longer. This makes it a slightly easier to leave the warmth of my home on a cozy Saturday night.
All the photos were shot on a tripod with my Canon T2i and my newest lens, Canon EF 24 – 70mm f2.8L. I have a wider angle for landscapes but this one is new and I wanted to see what it would do!
So I arrived at the goldern hour and the dry winter grasses were reflecting the light in beautiful ways! These two shots are straight out of my camera.
I feel pretty confident with my settings when things are at a close or medium distance, but I want to work on the sharpness and clarity of my shots when they’re larger scapes. I love the way a low f stop looks, but need to remember that I’m just not going to get the outdoor shots I want if I don’t set it higher and get a more narrow aperture in certain situations.
I do most of my shooting in Aperture Priority unless I have a reason to really manipulate the shutter speed (like water or movement shots). In AP I can adjust the aperture, ISO and the exposure which usually works out to create a shot I’m happy with. The two photos above were shot in AP and at an f/8.0 and f/9.0 respectively with auto shutter and ISO.
As the light started to change last night and the evening was getting darker, I lowered my f stop to f/2.8 to see how much more light it would let in. The next photo is nice, but I did some sharpness adjustment in Photoshop and maybe that wouldn’t have been necessary if I had set my f stop higher.
And as the light continued to fade, the sky around the hills changed color and my main goal was to try and recreate the color and feeling in the shots. This picture was taken in AP f/5.6. The foreground is fairly crisp, but not the mountains.
And this picture…I finally moved the f stop up a bit to f/11, but manually changed the ISO to 800. The color is lovely but the over all photo is much softer and grainier than I would really like.
So…I would love some feedback and thoughts. I plan on heading back out on a similar night to try some other settings, but what do you think? Should I get out of AP mode and focus more on shutter speed…or manual? What is the trick to getting a crisper shot (especially in low light) when you keep your aperture very small to get a deeper depth of field?