Thursday read – understanding basics in “Exposure for Outdoor Photography” by Michael Frye

The author
Michael Frye almost needs no introduction. He is a well known professional photographer specializing in recording the beauty of the Yosemite. He leaves close to this unique place, which allows him to utilize the rarest weather and great light to create evocative images. Many of those you can see on his popular blog, where he shares photographic tips and technique regarding both hardware (camera) and software (Lightroom) use, as well as inspiring and very informative image critiques. A lot of videos!

He is also an author of several hard copy books, e-books and iPad apps, links to all of which you can find on Michael Frye’s blog.

The e-book
“Exposure for Outdoor Photography” by Michael Frye is an interesting twist on learning the basics of photography craft. The e-book consists of two parts- first being more theoretical (but not boring) introduction to terms and concepts, second expending on the theory through discussion of example images called case studies.

In the first part, you will find detailed explanation of The Exposure Triangle, metering modes, and shooting modest of modern cameras. Maybe too basic for many, but helpful nevertheless in fully understanding the later pages of the e-book. Everybody can use some reminder on working with natural light form time to time. And this introduction makes the “Exposure for Outdoor Photography” by Michael Frye accessible to photographers at all levels, including beginners.

This is followed by the 10 case studies. They let you to take a closer look, like in a slow motion movie, at the process of creating photographs by Michael Frye. The images are carefully chosen to illustrate the solutions to one of exposure problems which may arise in complex light situations – like too much dynamic contrast for example. For future reference, each case study has a title explaining the problem tackled in the chapter. There is a wealth of knowledge hidden in those case studies, expanding on the concepts explained in the introduction. They are also accompanied by the creative exercises, some with step by step recipes to achieve the desired effect. They will really help you to feel more comfortable to come out from Automatic to Semi-automatic modes or even try Manual from time to time!

Each image in the “Exposure for Outdoor Photography” is accompanied by the histogram- one of the most useful yet not so well understood tools the digital photographers have. With explanation of histogram in the introduction, by the end of the book you should be able to take advantage of this tool, too.

If all of the above have not convinced you to take a look at the “Exposure for Outdoor Photography”, there is one more hidden gem. The Zone System, explained in practical terms, on just a few pages, in a way that you are able to go out and start using it right away. It really can be that simple.

And the main cocnlusion coming from the “Exposure for Outdoor Photography” is that the “correct exposure” is not the technical perfection but an aesthetic choice. We often forget about it. In fact, last few images in the e-book are examples of maybe technically not valid images, but showing exactly the photographer’s intent.

The one lesson I took from “Exposure for Outdoor Photography” is the creative use of ISO. It is the lesson from Case study 6. I am typically so preoccupied with Aperture and Shutter Speed settings and so afraid of generating digital noise, that I forget the third component of Exposure Triangle. And the ISO can be changed to help achieve the effect by both lowering it (in bright light) and by increasing (in low light).

Do not read through pages too fast, though. Take real time studying Michaels amazing images in “Exposure for Outdoor Photography”. I skimmed over the image on page 2 and only noticed the amazing light, the ray of sun hitting the trees in the valley. Only on the second look much later I realized that there is more to it. The snow covered trees in the shadow are contrasted with green trees in the sunlight, making the image not only about light, but also about two seasons. Now I appreciate this image even more.

The specials
As usual, the new released Craft&Vision e-book is accompanied by the special offer. In the next five days, when you buy “Exposure for Outdoor Photography” by Michael Frye, and use the code EXPOSURE4, you will get it for just $4. Also, if you purchase five or more e-books from ever growing collection (see here the reviews of other e-books), and use code EXPOSURE20, you will save 20%. Don’t wait, the codes expire at 11:59pm PST on Monday, February 20, 2012.

The links in this post are affiliate links. I was also provided a free review copy of the e-book via affiliate program. See details of our affiliate policy here.

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