Camera's meter and exposure controls can
be used to make landscape images that look as much like the original
scene as possible but creative use of exposure is just as important,
though. If you're using slide or instant film, extra exposure makes the
picture lighter, and reduces the saturation of colors, so that they
come out more like pastel shades. Conversely, reducing exposure makes
everything darker, and makes colors look richer and deeper on film.
Cutting and boosting exposure provides a
valuable creative tool. With extra exposure you can make landscapes
look light, airy and refreshing, you can burn out highlight detail to
white, and focus the viewer's attention on shadow areas of the picture.
Cutting exposure introduces a somber note, and concentrates attention
on the highlights - shadows turn dense black.
If you use negative film, the printing
process masks creative use of exposure. To take full advantage of the
effects of exposure changes, you'll need to print pictures yourself, or
pay extra for a "custom print" or "hand print".
You can also "bracket" your exposure
(taking three or more pictures of the same scene with different
exposure settings) to be sure of getting what you want. Make one
exposure at the setting indicated by the meter, underexpose the next
frame and overexpose the one after. In most instances, one stop over-
and underexposure is sufficient, but in high-contrast situations such
as sunsets, it's wise to bracket at one-stop intervals over a five-stop
range: -2, -1, 0, +1, +2. It is hard to predict the results when you
bracket exposure but all the shots will inevitably have a mood of their
own and each need to be considered on its own merits not simply in
relation to "correct" exposure.