Travel Photography – Breaking the Rules

Remember last month when I posted about the Highlight Alert (blinkies) and Highlight Tone Priority settings and how important it is to make sure your highlights aren’t completely blown out? Sometimes its necessary to break this rule to achieve a certain type of “high key” look in your image.

I’m somewhat of a history buff and love exploring the various historic sites in East and Central Texas. When I approached this bedroom in the 1830’s Barrington farm house, I knew I wanted to achieve a dreamy kind of soft focus look using the diffuse light streaming through this antique window. I knew that metering off the blanket chest would bring back some detail into the room but blow out the highlights in the window. So I ignored the “blinkies” and took a few exposures, adjusting the exposure compensation to obtain a good balance of light and detail. I finished the image using Nik’s “Classic Soft Focus” filter in Photoshop Elements to give it that dreamy, high-key look.

Window Light

Window Light
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 50D set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM hand-held. The exposure was taken at 35mm, f/5.6 for 1/60th of a second with + 1EV of exposure compensation dialed in. Shot at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional UDMA digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop Elements using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro filters. Click on the image above for a larger version.
BTW – For those of you that still think the EOS 50D can’t handle low light situations without creating noise, do a little pixel peeping in the shadow areas of this image. Go ahead, I dare you!

2 thoughts on “Travel Photography – Breaking the Rules

  1. Nice exposure in a tricky situation! I like the soft feel of the image.

    Do you typically shoot everything at ISO 100?

    • Thanks Sheldon. Yes, its always best to shoot at a camera’s “native” ISO speed which for Canon DSLRs is ISO 100 and for Nikon DSLRs is ISO 200. All other ISO settings are achieved by adjusting the “gain” of the sensor which decreases the signal to noise ratio. You can forget the technical stuff and stick with a simple rule, “Always use the lowest ISO speed possible for images with the lowest noise”.


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