Sunday, October 12, 2014

Shooting scenics on dirt roads out of moving Toyota Land Cruiser

Fuji X-E2, Fujinon XF 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/1700
While in Honduras I spent a long time in a Toyota Land Cruiser on dirt roads feeling like a bobble head doll.

Fuji X-E2, Fujinon XF 18-55mm, ISO 2500, ƒ/7.1, 1/500–Rain drops got on lens
Dirt roads like this one, we would be on for couple hours at a time.

I was in the front seat riding shotgun because I was 6'2" and the others were much smaller in the back seat. The others had been here many times before and were astonished that I was getting any usable pictures. They had bad experiences in these situations.

So how was I able to get sharp photos?

Fuji X-E2, Fujinon XF 18-55mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/7.1, 1/500
How I did it

1) Image Stabilization

I was shooting with my Fuji X-E2 camera and 18-55mm lens which has integrated four-stop image stabilization helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake that is normally inherent to low-light conditions and with longer focal lengths. This made a huge difference and helped me use technology to compensate for me being tossed around like a rag doll in the Land Cruiser.

2) Shutter-Speed

When you choose the Auto ISO on the camera the camera automatically chooses a sensitivity between the default and maximum values. Sensitivity is only raised above the default value if the shutter speed required for optimal exposure would be slower than the value selected for MIN. SHUTTER SPEED.

If the value selected for DEFAULT SENSITIVITY is higher than that selected for MAX. SENSITIVITY, DEFAULT SENSITIVITY will be set to the value selected for MAX. SEN

The camera may select shutter speeds slower than MIN. SHUTTER SPEED if pictures would still be underexposed at the value selected for MAX. SENSITIVITY.

I have set my AUTO ISO to have a range of 200 to 6400. The one thing I do go in change regularly is the minimum shutter speed.  I have it set for 1/500 when taking the photos from the moving vehicle.

If you look at the captions you will notice that sometimes the camera would go even faster than 1/500.  That is because I was in Aperture Priority and chose a ƒ-stop that bumped the shutter speed up.

I could have stayed in AUTO ISO and just gone total manual and the camera would then let me choose any shutter speed and aperture and adjusted the ISO for a good exposure.

Fuji X-E2, Fujinon XF 18-55mm, ISO 800, ƒ/9, 1/500

3) Hold Camera Steady

Do your best to hold the camera still. I tried not to rest my arms on the window, but float so when we hit a bump the camera was jolted as hard.

4) Depth-of-field

In general you are not going to be super close to subjects so shallow depth-of-field is not a great concern, but I recommend to capture the sweeping landscape to shoot high aperture like I did on some of these photos. 

On the first photo I am shooting at ƒ/4 and some of the photos ƒ/10. Just experiment and be sure you are not shooting such a large aperture that your shutter speed goes down. 

5) Roll down window

I see way too many people trying to shoot through glass and sometimes you have no choice. If you can roll down the window or slide it open do so. The glass will degrade the colors, saturation and sharpness of your photos.

Fuji X-E2, Fujinon XF 18-55mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/10, 1/500

This would be difficult to do with your camera phone since most of them come with almost no controls such as shutter speed or aperture. This is why you need to learn how to use your camera so you can adjust it to maximize it for each situation.

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