Take A Warm Camp Candid Like A Pro

Let the sunlight stream in so your campmates look the way they feel: alive, refreshed, and free.
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Let the sunlight stream in so your campmates look the way they feel: alive, refreshed, and free.

Find the light

Backlight is the key to fun, funky lens flares, so shoot toward the sun. This is easiest when it’s low, within an hour of rising or setting. Position the sun just outside of the frame, or let your subject,
the horizon, or a tree partially block the brightest light.

Expose for shadows

For once, don’t worry about ending up with a white, blown-out sky. Instead, zoom in and set the exposure for your subject, who will be in shadow, then zoom out to let the light flood in. Review your images and check that only the sky is overexposed, not any foreground details; this is easiest to see if your camera has a highlights playback mode that makes overexposed spots flash on-screen.

Assist your autofocus

Direct sun interferes with focus sensors. Use your hand or a sleeping pad to block the sun for a moment; focus on your subject, then lock focus to manual mode so it doesn’t change. Don’t move forward or back too much or you’ll have to start over.

Keep shooting

Lens artifacts (rainbows, spots, etc.) that appear with backlight are unpredictable, so shoot a few frames, review your images to check the flare, adjust your position, and reshoot until you get the effect you want. Try to avoid flares blocking faces, especially eyes.

Refine at home

You’ll need to adjust backlit photos in a photo-editing program for them to look their best. Expect to add blacks and contrast and increase the saturation. Adjust the white balance so the light looks warm and golden.

Shooters Choice

f-stop Satori EXP The world is full of great backcountry packs and camera bags, but only the Satori excels at both. A U-shaped zipper around the backpanel of this 62-liter carrier gives quick access to a removable camera case (sold separately; you choose the size), while standard pack features like a padded hipbelt, aluminum stays, and a hydration sleeve make it a legit load monster. “I’ve dragged it around the world,” says our staff photographer. “It’s not only perfect in every situation, but built to last.” $379; 4 lbs.; fstopgear.com

Photo details above:
spot: Mirror Lake, Wallowa Mountains, OR
Specs: f/6.3, 1/200 sec, ISO 200, 27mm Focal Length
Tools: 16-35mm Wide-Angle Lens