Monday, November 24, 2008

Instructor's Tip: Bracket to be Safe

Enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. The photo(s) in this post were taken by Russ.

Bracket To Be Safe
Certain lighting situations make it difficult for a meter to produce good exposures. Backlit compositions, night time cityscapes, sunsets and sunrises, and foggy conditions are just some. Add to these a lot of white, black or other bright or dark tones and the meter is further taxed. The more you encounter these conditions the more you’ll get to learn how your meter reads the light, but until you’re 100% confident about how to compensate for your exposure, bracketing is a great safety valve.

Bracketing produces a series of images that are both darker and lighter than the metered exposure. If you’re shooting digitally, I suggest you bracket in one half stops. Bracketing starts from the given meter reading in the camera. The degree to which you bracket should be determined by the lighting conditions - the more extreme, the greater the range of the bracket. As your familiarity with Photoshop increases, use the bracketed series with a feature called Merge To HDR which will optimize the high dynamic range of the image.


To learn more about how Russ captured this image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

To take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Russ' most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

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