favorite image from the weekend

favorite wedding image of the weekend

Walking back to the reception venue from where we were photographing the bridal party, I saw this patch of grass. I knew it would make a great location for the couple with the setting sun in the background. Shooting into the sun though, I was nearly blinded by the bright light and sweat stinging my eyes – so I shot several continuous sequences while moving in the grass. This was to make sure I get at least a few clear images when I finally choose a selection of photographs for the couple.

I pre-focused the entire sequence, by standing up, and focusing more towards their feet, so that the sun in the frame didn’t mess with the auto-focusing. Then, locking focus and recomposing, I was able to get sharply focused images. The depth-of-field at f/7.1 was enough to cover any focusing error incurred by the focus-and-recompose.

I used the Nikon D3 and the outstanding Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 AF-S. (B&H)
This lens is incredible, not just for its extraordinary edge-to-edge sharpness, but also for how well it controls flare … especially considering it is an ultra-wide zoom.

Camera settings: 1/400 @ f7.1 @ 500 ISO … just available light.
I had the lens set to 15mm, but cropped the images in post-processing it.

I envisaged this more of a panoramic image. You can see the final intended crop by clicking on the image above.


12 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1AlanB says

    Nice one. I much prefer the pano crop version.

    I’ve got a question on how you determine your preferred exposure. Do you first frame the shot and, based on experience, guess the amount of (what the meter would see as) overexposure…knowing you need to do this in order to expose for the subjects correctly…or do you first take a close up meter reading off of the subject(s) to determine exposure and then move back out to frame the shot with the sun in the frame? Whew…sorry for the run on sentence there! Thanks!!

  2. 2Jordan M. says

    I was curious about the same thing Alan asked about metering. I would like to learn more about shooting high-key images like you have here.


  3. 3Neil vN says

    Metering was simple – I pointed the camera to the ground in the direction I was going to shoot in. A few test shots then, and checking the camera’s preview confirmed I was good on the exposure.

    Since I’m shooting in manual, the sun and bright sky then has no influence on the exposure.

    Neil vN

  4. 4Pasquier says

    Very nice image Neil, especially the pano version.
    Am intrigued by the amount of different post-processing steps…. will have to have a look at these.
    I would never have guessed that it is taken at 15mm – amazing.
    Best, P:)

  5. 5Neil vN says

    Pasquier .. you have to keep in mind that the image at the top is a crop of the 15mm image. But just for comparison, here is the unedited full-frame image directly out of the RAW converter.

    Neil vN

  6. 7Dragos says

    I really don’t know what are you made from, you always make to seem all so simple…
    I think only a long experience will make fabulous photos.
    At least ISO 500 shooting into the sun… not in my mind.
    Thanks for inspiration, advices and answers.

  7. 9 says

    Beautiful shot, Neil. I definitely like the way you decided to crop. The building is a distraction and takes away from the “feel” of the image. I assuming your shot angle was down low (maybe waist level) shooting up ? To capture that grass in the foreground.

  8. 10forkboy1965 says

    If you don’t mind my asking, why did you shoot at ISO 500? Was it generally darker than the image would seem to indicate (because we’re looking into the sun)?

  9. 11Neil vN says

    forkboy .. that is where the spinning roulette wheel stopped.

    I didn’t increase the exposure in post-production. So the exposure is spot on. 500 ISO is good. It’s not a high ISO, especially on the D3. It’s just what I used with as much validity as the 1/400 shutter speed and f7.1 aperture.

    Neil vN

  10. 12David E. says

    Love it, as usual. I think I would have stopped down even futher, beyond f/16 and even to f/22 if possible… I find that this creates the “star” effect with the sun.

    Either way, lovely work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *