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Landscapes – Capturing Impressive Scenes with the ISO Speed Setting and Live View Function

The Live View function is revolutionized on the EOS 70D with the introduction of a Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor. The following article explains some shooting techniques that professional photographers employ when using the EOS 70D. You are encouraged to challenge impressive shots by making full use of the Vari-angle LCD monitor, which eases shooting from bold angles, together with the broad range of standard ISO speeds. (Reported by: Aki Goto)

Capture impressive landscape photos by making full use of EOS 70D features

In landscape photography, which involves much walking by the lake, mountain, sea, or river, the weight of the camera is an important consideration. Thanks to the light weight of the EOS 70D, it does not add to your fatigue even after long hours of shooting. Also, the camera is capable of handling a wide array of scenes, and offers reassuring support with the diverse lineup of functions.

Display the Live View image on the Vari-angle LCD monitor when you are composing a shot or focusing. Doing so enables you to frame the subject freely from different angles, high or low, thus producing shots from an unconventional perspective. The LCD monitor boasts high clarity, while the steps for checking the exposure are intuitive, and focusing is also easy. The touch shutter is also highly responsive. By selecting a high ISO speed when you are photographing at a dimly-lit location, such as in a forest, you can capture handheld shots without having to worry about camera shake. Versatile enough to handle all kinds of scenes, make use of the EOS 70D to capture your favorite shot.

Recommended for Landscape Photos!

・Aperture-priority AE
・FlexiZone - Single
・"Landscape" Picture Style (For Cloudy Days)
・Remote Control

If you want to produce depictions with a deep focus at a low ISO speed and an image that is sharp up to the details, or during the darker hours of the day when the shutter speed tends to slow down, such as in the early morning or late evening, make use of a tripod and a remote control to prevent the undesirable effects of camera shake. Meanwhile, on a cloudy day when the colors are dull, selecting the "Landscape" Picture Style helps to reproduce the original colors in vivid tones.

Technique 1: Well-balanced shot of Mt. Fuji and the flowers using Live View function and touch shutter

Shot while squatting down

EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 70mm (equivalent to approx. 112mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (1/80 sec., f/11, +0.6EV)/ ISO 200/ WB: Daylight

To prevent the single color of the lavender blossoms from appearing too monotonous, I made use of the Live View function and Vari-angle LCD monitor to compose a dynamic shot, while paying attention to the depth and the direction they are facing. Here, I set the aperture to f/11 so that the outline of Mt. Fuji in the background does not look too blurry and still remains discernible.

Shot while standing

In the shot that was taken while I was standing, unwanted objects such as the houses and transmission wires caused the impressive scenery to be compromised. In contrast, by composing a shot with the Live View function and Vari-angle LCD monitor while squatting down, I was able to include only the flowers and Mt. Fuji in the composition.

Check the composition from a low angle using the Vari-angle LCD monitor

I ran into a flower carnival at the foot of Mt. Fuji. If I were to take a shot at the eye level, objects in everyday scenes, such as the transmission wires and houses, would also be captured in addition to the lavender and Mt. Fuji. This results in a photo without a well-defined theme. To prevent such unwanted objects from being included, I set the camera at a low position. While checking the image on the Vari-angle LCD monitor, I looked for a composition with the lavender as the main theme, and established focus on the flowers in the foreground using the Live View function.

The sky was slightly overcast on the day of the shoot. By selecting the "Landscape" Picture Style, I was able to reproduce the lavender blossoms in a vivid tone. To further convey the refreshing expression of the flowers, I made use of increased exposure.

Setting Tips

Set touch shutter to "Enable"
When you are performing Live View shooting from a low angle, tap on the LCD monitor to release the shutter once you have decided on the composition. The responsiveness of the touch shutter is excellent, and allows for intuitive operation.

Technique 2: Overlap the ND filter with the PL filter to slow down the shutter speed and create a silky texture in the waterfall basin

EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM/ FL: 10mm (equivalent to approx. 16mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (6 sec., f/22)/ ISO 200/ WB: Daylight

Water plunging down from Mt. Fuji turns out silky, thanks to the slow shutter speed. Here, I used a wide-angle lens to bring out the depth in the waterfall, which unfolds itself dynamically toward the two sides.

Waterfall basin turns out grainy when ND filter is not used
When filters are not used, the resulting depiction of the movement in the waterfall and water surface would leave much to be desired. To produce a silky texture, I used an ND filter and overlapped it with a PL filter to reduce the amount of light. Also necessary during the shoot are a tripod and a remote control.

Slow down shutter speed using a low ISO speed and large aperture value

In order to depict the silkiness of the waterfall, you need to slow down the shutter speed. First of all, I selected Aperture-priority AE, ISO 200, and the largest aperture setting of f/22. However, I had to attach a filter as I could not obtain a sufficiently slow shutter speed in the day. Even so, the ND8 filter I had was unable to produce satisfactory results, so I overlapped it with a PL filter to cut down the amount of light. Note that when you attach filters to a wide-angle lens, the filters may be captured at the four corners of the image, and vignetting may occur.

Determining the composition by subtraction
A wide-angle lens captures a broad area, so make sure to check even the corners of the viewfinder image when you are composing a shot. To prevent objects such as wild grass from being included in the composition of the main shot on the left, I determined the angle while reducing elements that were being captured, such as the waterfall, waterfall basin, and the green of the trees.

Technique 3: Capturing the dark ocean of trees with ISO 12800 and increased exposure

EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM/ FL: 10mm (equivalent to approx. 16mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (1/250 sec., f/16, +1EV)/ ISO 12800/ WB: Daylight

In this shot of an ocean of trees that stretches into the cave, I tried to bring out the vitality of the trees from a low angle. With little light entering the forest, the surrounding was slightly dark, which increased the likelihood of camera shake. Despite so, I was able to produce this handheld shot by raising the ISO speed.

ISO 100

ISO 12800

ISO 25600

Raise ISO speed to prevent camera shake

To bring out the refreshing feel of the greenery, I set exposure compensation to +1EV. However, this would cause the image to turn out blurry at ISO 100. Camera shake is not observed at ISO 12800, and noise is not negligible even at ISO 25600. Not only does a high ISO speed helps to prevent camera shake, it also allows you to stop down the aperture for expression with a wider area in focus.

Intentional use of a high ISO speed to depict the expression and texture of landscapes

This is a handheld shot taken inside a dark ocean of trees with a wide-angle lens. Light from the sky above penetrated through the leaves and created a soft ambience, so I brightened the image by compensating the exposure to +1EV. Although ISO 25600 belongs to the super-high sensitivity range, there is negligible noise. Raising the ISO speed intentionally to increase the aperture value allows for depictions such as those that show the expression or texture of a landscape, thereby widening the scope of your photographic work. Camera shake is unlikely to occur at a shutter speed of "1/lens focal length" or slower. This can be used as a guide for selecting an ISO speed.

Compose a bold shot from beneath

At a place that does not allow you to set up a tripod, lie down on the ground to look for a good angle. The visibility of the EOS 70D's optical viewfinder is excellent, while the 19 cross-type AF points can also be operated intuitively.

Setting Tips

Expand ISO speed to 25600
There are some places, such as tourist spots, that do not allow the use of tripods. For such scenes, try a handheld shot upon expanding the upper limit of the ISO speed range to H (25600).

Aki Goto

Born in 1972 in Kanagawa Prefecture and graduated from Sophia University and Tokyo College of Photography. Goto published a photo collection work titled "Land Escapes," and is also actively engaged in works such as “Water Silence,” an installation that merges photographs with videos.