“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you.” John Muir
Photographing in full sun.
Red Rock State Park lies about 15 minutes outside Las Vegas. On our way to LA in 2016 we took a tour of the park and I captured a few images for Mallory’s senior portfolio.
Photographing in full sun is not my first choice, but when it’s my only choice I have to make lemonade outta lemons. I took the photo’s above at high noon. Not only did I need to properly expose Mallory, I needed the mountains in the background to tell the story. It took me awhile driving around to find the right location within the park, but once I did, me and my girl worked fast due to ever-changing lighting scenario.
Here’s how I set up the shot:
- Positioning: Making sure I was facing into the sun and placing Mallory in front of me was key.
- Exposure: To properly expose for her skin, I used the desert floor as the natural reflector.
- Clothing: Having her wear dark colors meant I could expose properly for her skin without blowing her skin-tone or any highlights.
- Background: Having the mountains take up most of the background, I knew there wouldn’t be a blown out sky which would be a common occurrence.
- Direction: When photographing her face, I had her turn towards me, away from the sun, to cast even light on her face.
- Challenge: The wind. With her long hair I could only photograph her face in one direction so her hair wouldn’t cover her face. Pulling her hair up was not an option, and provided the movement I needed in her photo since she was stationary.
Lens: 50mm ISO 100/f 2.2/ SS 1/5000
**Having a camera body that has the minimum capability to dial the shutter speed to 1/4000 would be ideal and produce better results.
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