How Was It Taken Series - Episode 3

In this episode, let's look at a landscape photo taken at Yellowstone National Park.

Location: Trail in the Mud Volcano area at Yellowstone National Park. Compared to other more popular locations within Yellowstone, Mud Volcano area has relatively fewer visitors. The boardwalk, like most other trails at Yellowstone, guides you through most of the interesting springs and geysers. 

Time: This photo was taken around 2PM, with the sun pretty high in the sky. Not the best time to take landscape photos. But for visitors like us, we don't have time to shot all locations in sunrise and sunsets. 

Technique: Because of the strong contrast between the sky and the foreground, we used a 3-stop ND filter to balance the exposure. The photo was taken in a perspective such that the boardwalk leads viewers' eyes to the distant, creating a good depth in the image. For such scenes, we generally want to maximize the depth of fields. Given that we didn't have a tripod with us while hiking there, we couldn't bring down the aperture to a number which would need a much slower shutter speed. So in order to still achieve a good DoF, we need to find the rough hyper focal distance, such that everything after the focus point, and everything between the focus point and the halfway to camera are acceptably sharp. A rule of thumb is to first find the closest point that you want to be sharp, and focus on the subject that is as twice the distance as the closest point. Note that this does not guarantee the exact hyper focal distance, but without other helps, it's a good rule of thumb to follow. The settings of the image are 1/100s, f/13, and ISO 400.


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