“JD” finally shows more!

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After 4 days the elusive Jade Dragon Snow Mountain revealed some of its peak Tuesday evening. I have some images that require work so I will show a Pano taken on my iPhone with the Der Man Dar App. The city of Lijiang rests in the shadow of Jade Dragon  Snow Mountain an amazing peak, so I am lead to believe. Jade Dragon is pretty much to the right of the center of the image, hiding behind the big bank of clouds.

To add drama to the moving clouds we worked with a Circular Polarizer to add 1-1/2 stops and either a 3 stop or 10 stop neutral density filter to add to exposure length. I expect to post an image from Tuesday night or another success in a future post.

There is a great amount of patience required to tease the best out of long exposures. Mirror lock-up (Canon buries the option in Menus where Nikon provides a simple switch!) I have since added to My Menus to avoid the drilling into Menus. Canon wins with the new “Q” button on the 7D and 5D MKIII. Some sort of remote control helps remove the chance of camera shake and most important a SOLID Tripod.

An educated guess will provide a good starting point for a test image. You can see how much data you are capturing and then adjust accordingly. It will usually take 1 to 2 stops of over exposure to bring the best out of clouds. When working with heavily stopped down exposures focus on your subject without your filters and then turn off Auto Focus, then reattach your filters. With a 10 stop ND filter you cannot see anything through the viewfinder.

Even though JD did not show its stuff this still was a great learning exercise.

One Reply to ““JD” finally shows more!”

  1. Great pano Terry – I will however add to your statement “educated guess.”

    When using 10 stop Neutral Density Filters, you are quite correct that you can see nothing through them. Focus and composition have to be locked before the filter is put in place. As far as the exposure goes though, spot metering the brightest area of cloud and adding between 1 to 2 stops of exposure compensation is the next starting point.

    I would take that test exposure and then check for any clipping of the whites, and the overall capture of the dynamic range in the scene.

    Should the land be overly dark, one has to consider taking multiple exposures BEFORE using the ND Filter to ensure a better amount of “Harvested Light”

    Once you have determined your “brights” exposure without the ND, adjusting the shutter speed by the required 10 stops and then taking the exposure with the filter should deliver suitable results.

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