I’m on the boat of Halong party cruise, and it’s a beautiful morning, and I’ve chosen this morning to come down here in large part because this morning we have low tide at sunrise. It’s just after sunrise, the sun has come up and we’re starting to get some lighton the lighthouse, and what I’m going for here because of the low tide, I’m able to get down lower, so that I don’t have to be in the water to get the angle that I’m looking for. And that allows me also to have a bit more of the rock and the foreground, the rocky coast here and the foreground below the lighthouse.
This lighthouse is up on a precipice, and so I’m able to get down a bit lower because the tide is low, and I can kind of choose my angle very carefully moving among the rocks, some of which are very slippery, of course. And now I can set up my exposure. We’re starting to get a little bit more light, just a little bit of light is starting to strike the lighthouse itself, and so I’m going to wait for the sun to get a little bit higher,but in the meantime I can get things set up. I’m using an aperture of F4, and I’m shooting pretty wide because I want to include a lot of the foreground rock in my shot, and so right now I’m shooting at about 18 millimeter focal length, and my aperture is set to F8 because I’m just trying to get adequate sharpness, trying to essentially get the sharpest result possible.
I’m not worried about depth of field. For one thing, I don’t have a whole lot of depth to contend with, I’m also shooting very wide, I’m focusing at a reasonable distance and so I’m going to have a pretty good amount of depth of field, almost regardless of what setting I use on that lens for the aperture. And at the moment, with the light that we have my base exposure at 100 ISO, at an aperture of F8, is a shutter speed of 190th of a second. And that’s working pretty well. The only issue is that while I’m retaining all the highlight detail, even with the sun striking the top of the lighthouse here, I still have a lot of dark shadow areas in the foreground.
So I’m actually going to capture an HDR. Quite frankly, I don’t think I really want an HDR shot in this particular situation, I really just want a straight photographic image, so to speak, but I want to give myself that option later, depending on the level of detail. And so I’m going to set up my auto-exposure bracketing. I’m just going to separate by two stops, capture three images. The darkest exposure will be essentially my baseline, what I think of as my normal shot, and then I’ll just capture a couple of additional images one at plus two stops, one at plus four stops, to really maximize the amount of shadow detail that I’m picking up in the foreground.
And so in this case to activate that, I’ve got the two stop separation with my darkest exposure set to F8 at a 90th of a second, and I’m using the two-second timer in order to make sure that I’m automatically capturing the bracketed exposure there with this particular camera. And so I’ll go ahead and configure that. Everything’s all set, so I’ll capture a test shot here. (shutter clicks) And there are my three exposures for the HDR, and in the darkest exposure we have a good exposure.
In other words, we have all of the information. I’m not clipping any of the highlights, it’s just the shadows that are very dark and a minor degree of clipping in those shadows. Not too much, probably not anything that I need to worry about, but again, I’d like to give myself some options. With the shot at plus two stops I’ve got a good amount of shadow detail and at plus four stops of course I have tremendous shadow detail, even in the little nooks and crannies of these rocks. And so, fortunately, being able to get down a little bit lower to the water, I might even venture down a little further from here, getting a more interesting angle from the light, essentially getting a shot that’s almost as though I were on the water photographing the lighthouse, except with a more interesting perspective because I’m able to get these rocks in the foreground.
Tomorrow there’ll be a high tide at this hour, so today’s the day to get this shot. Having done that research, found out when low tide was,when sunrise is, getting out here early, and getting everything set up, I think I’ll come away with some cool photos, I hope.0