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EOS 80D Shooting Techniques: Natural Landscapes

While it goes without saying that the EOS 80D delivers great image quality, it is this combined with the conventional EOS series operations and the convenience of the vari-angle LCD screen that makes the camera great for capturing natural landscapes that resonate with you deep down. Here, I will introduce some techniques to capture ephemeral and exquisite landscapes that are constantly changing. (Reported by Shirou Hagihara)



Manually tweak the colour temperature to enhance the hue of the setting sun

The Auto White Balance function is highly effective for creating photo finishes with the appropriate colour for landscapes in the daytime. However, it does not necessarily bring about an optimal solution for the strong redness seen during the sunrise and sunset hours. Rather, the vividness of the colours tends to be suppressed. Therefore, using Auto White Balance may not help you achieve the intended finish if you use it to capture the sunrise or sunset.

In this case, it is better to manually adjust the colour temperature. To add redness, you could use the standard settings, "Cloudy, twilight, sunset" or "Shade", but if you want to make fine adjustments, try specifying the colour temperature. The method of specifying colour temperature using a numerical value allows you to make rather fine adjustments, so that you can capture the delicate hues that reveal the natural landscape as intended.

EOS 80D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 35mm (56mm equivalent)/ Aperture-Priority AE (f/11, 1/60 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 200/ WB: 7,000K
I wanted to capture the strangely-shaped rocky outcrops with a finish that would make them appear to be dyed red by the light of the setting sun, so I set the colour temperature to "7000K" to enhance the redness. To select a bright area of the subject and automatically focus on it, I selected the One-Shot AF and FlexiZone-Single modes. Because I wanted to avoid camera shake, I mounted my camera on a tripod and used the 2-second self-timer when shooting.


The colour temperature can be adjusted in 100K increments

When you select "Color temperature" for white balance, it is possible to adjust the colour temperature in 100K increments. In the Quick Control Screen, select “White Balance”, and while "Colour temperature" is displayed, rotate the Main Dial.



Carry out Live View shooting and use Magnification MF for a more accurate focus on flowers

Focus is an extremely important element in landscape photography, so it's a good idea to pay more attention to it. On the EOS 80D, there is a focus magnification function available during Live View shooting that you can use for flawless focusing.

During Live View shooting, depending on the subject, the camera may not focus on the target position. For example, when targeting flowers, even if you want to focus on the stamen, it may be too small as a focus point, so the camera may end up focusing on the petals instead. At such times, try switching to Manual Focus and magnifying the focus point for greater accuracy. With the EOS 80D’s high resolution LCD screen, checking the focus is a cinch!


Focus using the Live View magnification function

Switch to Live View shooting, and move the focus point to the position that you wish to focus on. Make sure that the subject is positioned in the centre of the focus point.

Set the lens’ focus mode switch to MF, and press the magnify button. After magnifying by 5x or 10x, turn the focus ring to focus.

EOS 80D/ EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM/ FL: 71mm (114mm equivalent)/ Aperture Priority AE (f/5, 1/160 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 200/ WB: Daylight
I used a single amur Adonis plant in bloom on a slope as the main subject, and created a beautiful bokeh effect for the other amur Adonis plants and plum trees in the background, to express a typical autumn scene. To focus accurately on the main subject—the stamens of the amur Adonis plant, I opted to use the focus magnification function by setting the camera to Manual Focus and the drive mode to "Single shooting".

Get out of tight spots with the vari-angle LCD screen !

To stack the main subject onto the background, set your camera in a low position. The vari-angle LCD screen lets you shoot even in such low positions with less effort.



Use the Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) function when shooting scenes where it is difficult to determine the exposure

When shooting in JPEG, you need to set the exposure accurately for the scene. At such times, you can manually set the exposure compensation for each shot, or you can use AE Bracketing. When using this function, enter the custom menu to specify in advance how many bracketing shots to take (2/3/5/7 shots). You can later decide on the exposure compensation range and reference exposure when shooting.

When your subject is a bright object such as a cherry tree, or if the scene you’re shooting has an empty background, try setting a positive value for the reference exposure. For dark subjects, try a negative value. When using AEB, you only need to press the shutter for the set number of shots, so you can use this function in conjunction with continuous shooting mode to quickly take the required shots.

EOS 80D/ EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 165mm (264mm equivalent)/ Aperture-Priority AE (f/8, 1/320 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 250/ WB: Daylight
Here, I wanted to colourfully express the cherry trees in a strong pink colour. I selected the area with the densest concentration of blossoms, and shot using AEB. I felt that this shot, taken at EV+0.3, gave the best results. Because the subject may not be completely still due to factors such as the wind, I would recommend taking your shots as quickly as possible. To avoid changing the composition, I set One-Shot AF + FlexiZone-Single, and selected the high-speed continuous shooting drive mode.


Set continuous shooting mode and release the shutter for 3 continuous shots

By default, the camera will take 3 bracketing shots. When you set your camera to continuous shooting mode and fully press down the shutter, the camera will automatically take 3 shots. AE Bracketing is effective in situations where your subject has a strong contrast between light and dark, and it is difficult to decide the exposure on your first attempt. Depending on your subject, you could try setting 5 or even 7 shots.


EV +3


EV ±0


EV -0.3


EOS 80D Kit II (EF-S18-135mm IS USM)


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Shirou Hagihara

Born in 1959 in Yamanashi. After graduating from Nihon University, Hagihara was involved in the launch of the photography magazine Fukei Shashin where he worked as an editor and a publisher. He later resigned and became a freelance photographer. Currently, Hagihara is engaged in photography and written works centring on natural landscapes. He is a member of the Society of Scientific Photography (SSP).


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