Dec 21, 2011

Mission Impossible?

Overcoming high contrast condition is not a mission impossible in photography. We as photographers are often challenged by difficult lighting conditions due to the high contrast of a sunset sky and the darker landscape scenery of a landscape in front of us, as in this landscape photograph of a blue dinghy, green marshland, and surrounding woods on Cape Cod. Metering on the boat and landscape scenery provided detail and good exposure in that area but blew out the beautiful sky colors because of the longer exposure time. On the other hand, metering on the sunset sky provided nice sky and cloud colors but little to no detail in the landscape and blue boat because of the shorter exposure time. As a solution I used the exposure time from focusing and metering on the blue boat that provided a correct exposure setting for the marsh landscape and dinghy in the foreground. I then hand-held a 1 stop graduated neutral density filter in front of my lens, placing it near the edge where sky and landscape met. Applying the 1 stop split neutral density filter reduced the incoming light on the sky and clouds above the horizon, maintaining its colors while the blue fishing boat, marshland, wooden area, and sky reflection in the river were correctly exposed for a Serene Cape Cod landscape photography with impact and strong foreground composition.


  1. Excellent tutorial, Juergen. It's a good solution any of us can use. Thank you!

  2. Thank you Bonnie! I often hear that photographers take the photo and than think they can fix it in photoshop. I always shoot for the best shot in the field so I don't need to worry about photoshopping it later. I usually only do dust removal, minor adjustments on contrast, lighting, and color saturation before I sharpen the final image. I also prefer jpegs over raw for the same reason and because I get more pics on the cards. Raw photography is more forgiving like film in the old days and jpegs you gotta get right (like slides in the old days)... works for me ... glad you enjoyed the photo tip!