Monday, May 22, 2006

Auto-Exposure Bracketing: An Idea Whose Time has Come

On this last trip to Yosemite, I finally tried out auto-exposure bracketing (AEB) on the Canon 20D. I had used this feature on earlier point-and-shoot digital cameras, but on an SLR it seemed a bit heretical. Aren't you supposed to fiddle with exposure and metering to get everything exactly right in one shot? Can't you slap on graduated neutral density filters and polarizing filters to keep sky detail from being blown out?

Well, it turns out there's nothing inherently wrong with using AEB on a good camera. I used it extensively to shoot landscapes, rushing rapids, waterfalls, and people in front of all of the above -- situations with a lot of dynamic range, or rapidly changing light, or unpredictable metering such as when you hand the camera to someone else to shoot a picture of you.

Along the way, I learned a lot about the 20D's advanced options for bracketing, and how to sort, choose, and combine the results in Photoshop. I'll turn these lessons into a series of articles on my new (yet-to-be-named) digital photography blog.

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