Exposure is a critical element in photography. Until recently it was common practice for landscape photographers to slightly underexpose image to increase highlight detail and increase saturation. But there is a new school of thought which suggests over exposing just short of blowing out the highlights will actually give you a better range of colours.

Film

In the days of film, I used to consistently under-expose by half a stop because the slide would retain more colours and so the resulting image would have a richer saturation.

Digital

With digital images, it was commonly practiced to boost the shadow details at the RAW stage, but now it is considered better to retrieve the highlight detail. Of course this can’t be done if it is burned out.

The higher stops on a digital camera can record over 2000 tonal values compared to around 60 with the lower stops.

Histogram

The technique would involve using your histogram display or the highlight warning on the camera preview display. Expose as high as possible without blowing out the highlight. Using some slight bracketing might help you get the right exposure quickly.

ISO

In cases where you would have to increase your iso to over-expose, it is now thought that you will get a better image than sticking with the low iso and exposing normally.

Svartifoss - tonemapped from the brightest exposure.

Svartifoss - tonemapped from the brightest exposure.


View more images on my main GALLERY pages.

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