BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Ajit S. Pai
 

Landscape Photography


Hi, I own a Panasonic Dmc Fz5 digital camera. While shooting in very bright sunlight landscape photos (shutter speeds at 1/1300 - 1/2000), the photos appear very soft, miscoloured and slightly dark when viewed on a PC. The camera is set on program mode. There is no problem at speeds less than 1/1000. Could you tell me the ailment and remedy? Thanks


To love this question, log in above
2/4/2006 3:19:12 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  My immediate reaction reading your post is to ask why you are shooting landscapes at such a high shutter speed. Typically, high shutter speeds are used to stop action, not to capture a static subject – i.e. landscapes. The fast shutter speed may contribute to the softness of your image; however, it is probably not the main factor. If you shoot your landscapes in full sun – particularly very bright sun – the colors may appear washed out or not accurate to the colors you eye sees. Most landscapes, at least in my experience, are better shot in the softer light of early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower on the horizon. I have found that when colors are washed out, the entire image can appear soft or even blurred.
The fact that some of your images appear dark when “developed” (I know, it’s digital, so that means computer developed as it were) may mean that the very bright sunlight is tricking your in-camera meter to expose for the brightness while underexposing your actual subject. This is a common error when trying to compose and shoot any subject in bright light. Assuming that you can control both aperture value and shutter speed manually, my suggestions would be to stop shooting in program mode and start taking control by using either aperture priority or manual mode. Select an aperture value first – one that is chosen based on how much depth of field you wish to include – and then select the shutter speed that will provide you with a correct exposure. I think you will find that your images will come out better.
I am also a strong believer in using a tripod whenever I can – my handheld shots rarely have the sharpness I want. Anyway, I hope that this helps, and try loading a few of your images so we can see what you are talking about.


To love this comment, log in above
2/4/2006 1:17:26 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  Irene is so right, Ajit. Usually I only shoot 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset.
sam


To love this comment, log in above
2/5/2006 8:58:29 PM

 
Patricia A. Cale
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/25/2002
PatriciaCalePhotography.com
  I had a similar problem with a film camera. Every landscape I shot looked fine at 4x6, but at 8x10, the backgrounds were blurred. Thanks to Kerry Draeger and his on-line class here on BP, I discovered that setting your camera to program mode is not good for landscapes. Look at the apertures your photos were shot at. Most time program modes will set the aperature at f/7.1 or larger. With a larger aperture opening, you will blur the backgrounds. You need to set the camera manually (if possible) to a small aperture setting on your camera. I'm not familiar with your camera, but I have a Canon Powershot G2 and, when shooting landscapes, I set the camera to f/8 (the smallest aperture opening) and got beautiful images and everything in focus. I also shot this camera on a tripod. Even small cameras are prone to camera shake, so a tripod is a big plus. Now, I shoot with a Canon 20D (again on a tripod for most shots) and use f/16 or smaller for all landscape work. For portraits, I'm setting the aperture at f/5.6 or wider. One thing to remember: if your camera is giving you a really fast shutter speed, your aperture is wide open. And, for your best images, the magic light, as Sam recommends, is preferred.


To love this comment, log in above
2/7/2006 11:31:24 AM

 
Thomas Lam
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/24/2004
  Hi all,

Quesion: Would be possible if you use a lens UV filter to give a better view?

TL


To love this comment, log in above
2/10/2006 7:36:21 AM

 
Patricia A. Cale
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/25/2002
PatriciaCalePhotography.com
  Hi Thomas:

A UV lens would not help in bright, sunny light. You need a neutral density filter - either gradual or the whole filter to bring down the light level. Of course, a polarizer would give the same effect. However, no filter will make an image look sharp. The aperture helps with sharpness if set correctly.


To love this comment, log in above
2/10/2006 7:52:18 AM

 
Thomas Lam
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/24/2004
  Thanks Pat. Learn something new. :0)


To love this comment, log in above
2/10/2006 8:21:13 AM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.