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Old May 23, 2007, 3:15 PM   #1
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My wife and I are getting ready for a trip to Yellowstone NP and the surrounding areas. I was wondering if anyone out there has any tips on capturing Old Faithful (or any othergeyser for that matter) With out blowing the highlights in the steam too badly.

Any help would be much appreciated.

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Old May 24, 2007, 10:45 AM   #2
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I haven't tried it, but lets think a little bit.
The water will probably catch the light, making it lighter. But you want it lighter, as that is how it will appear when you see it.

Does your camera support manual exposure? If so, I would take some test pictures of something a neutral color (green grass works fairly well) and look at the image on your camera to see if the exposure is correct. If so, I would look at what settings it used and switch to manual and dial in those settings.

That way, when the Geyser erupts, it won't throw off your camera and darken the photos because the water is so bright.

If it's cloudy, though, you might have problems. Because your settings will be correct for when you did the test pictures... if the light changes then your exposure will be wrong.

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Old May 25, 2007, 12:34 AM   #3
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As eric suggests, taking a couple test exposures prior to the event will help you sort out your settings.

As steam and flowing water don't have a lot of detail to begin with, I wouldn't worry too much about blowing highlights. If you think it is a concern, try a bit of negative EV compensation after finding your settings with the test shots.

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Old May 25, 2007, 4:31 AM   #4
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If your camera supports it, you can try using auto bracket set to +-1 and you'll most certainly get one good exposure in there, but I'd recommend you take a little more manual control over the shots and try to get them all to look good.

Definitely learn to use exposure compensation if that's not something you're used to. If your camera has a highlight preview mode (where in the LCD preview it will flash areas that are overexposed), enable it. Then when you take a shot, you can look to see if there's any flashing and quickly turn the exposure compensation down.

If you're using a DSLR, what I would do is shoot RAW at the lowest ISO and use exposure compensation to underexpose. The RAW will retain a very wide dynamic range, so even if you underexpose by a lot you should still be able to get a decent image.

P mode would probably do just fine, but I think if I were shooting it I'd use aperture priority and set it to f/8. That's usually the sweet spot on most lenses, and you don't want the aperture to go higher (smaller) because you'll want as fast a shutter speed as you can get.

Also, before the geyser goes off, I'd pre-focus on the geyser itself and set the camera to manual focus. There's a good chance that when the geyser goes off, the air will be so misty that the autofocus won't know where to look. You'll also be able to snap photos faster with autofocus turned off.

Good luck.
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Old May 25, 2007, 11:57 AM   #5
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Hi all,

Thank you for your advise. I guess I should have mentioned that my camera is a canon 30d. I am familiar with using manual settings and the ev control. So all the tips on using manual focus and pre set exposure are most helpful!! Thank you all again for your help. We I return, I'll post a few pictures

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