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Photographing Landscapes with the EOS 5D Mark IV: 2 Different Approaches

In order to beautifully capture the most stunning moment while chasing the ever-changing moments of light, your body and camera need to be as one. The EOS 5D Mark IV is the answer to capturing the ideal shots that landscape photographers yearn for. In this article I will introduce 2 approaches which can give an impressive finish to landscape photos. (Reported by: Toshiki Nakanishi)


Approach 1: Capture a landscape in vivid colours while preserving its delicate ambience

Set the colour saturation to "+1" with Fine Detail in Picture Style

To convey the sense of humidity of a river flowing through a forest, I deliberately chose to conduct my shoot on a rainy day. This is because mist develops due to the difference in temperature between the water surface and air temperature, creating the favourable condition where the whole area is surrounded with moist air.

On the EOS 5D Mark IV, "Fine Detail" has been added to the Picture Style options. While you would have preferred to use “Standard” or “Landscape” on the EOS 5D Mark III for this type of scene, I would recommend using “Fine Detail” instead on the EOS 5D Mark IV. Only "Fine Detail" can create images that make the approximately 30.4-megapixel resolution and gradations stand out even more, with a variety of expressions that can depict right down to the fine parts of the subject.

The default colour saturation of "Fine Detail" is equivalent to that of "Standard". As the default colour saturation is not set so high, you can increase the value on the Saturation settings if necessary. Your photos will be beautiful enough even with the default settings, however a slight increase to the colour density will enhance the vividness of the fine expressions in the image. In my case, I like to add colour density to the fine expressive power, so I use "+1" as the base value and make fine adjustments according to the scene.

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM/ FL: 40mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 2 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 100/ WB: Daylight
The riverbank is lovely on a rainy day. The wet leaves and rocks, and even the flowing mist enhances the atmosphere. Select a shutter speed that is appropriate for the flow of the water.



Fine Detail

Colour Saturation + 1

It is relatively difficult to convey the details of the greenery with digital cameras. While the photo looks pleasing enough even in "Standard", you will see that using "Fine Detail" delivers even finer expressions while leaving the tones in the green. With Colour Saturation + 1, I was able to express even denser greens.


To increase the density, set Colour Saturation to +1

Press the Quick Control button to display the Picture Style screen, and with "Fine Detail" selected, press the Info button. In the displayed Detail Setting screen, set "Colour Saturation" to "+1". A key point for the "Fine Detail" setting is to set a positive value for the saturation.


Approach 2: Emphasize the highlights in the landscape

EOS 5D Mark IV/ EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 50mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 1/250 sec, EV-1.7)/ ISO 200/ WB: Daylight
With the magnificent landscape as background, rolls of hay are placed in the field, reminding me of the summer in Hokkaido. Concluding that the low angle light in the evening would make the photo seem impressive, I waited to take the shot at the right timing.


Set the Auto Lighting Optimizer to "High"

I believe that lighting is the most critical element in a photo as the final look and feel of the work will be greatly impacted by how the light is handled in the image. Light and shadow are two sides of the same coin—they complement each other. Taking the distribution of both into account when taking a shot will allow you to produce an even more impressive work.

For this shot I made use of the evening light and aimed for the moment when a ray of light pierced through, penetrating the hills. Although it is a scene with high contrast as it is, the highlighting stands out even further and the shadow narrower when I set exposure compensation to a negative value with the Auto Lighting Optimizer set to "High", giving the photo an impressive finish.


Preview Auto Lighting Optimizer effects in Live View

Press the Quick Control button to display the Auto Lighting Optimizer, and when you set it to "Low" or "High", the change is immediately reflected in the preview image so it is easy to see the difference between the effects in Live View.


Differences in the effects produced by the Auto Lighting Optimizer




The Auto Lighting Optimizer is used when you want to make a high-contrast scene stand out even more. While the contrast is still visible even when this function is disabled, you will be able to see how much more the highlighting is emphasized by setting "Low" and then stepping up to "High".


Use negative exposure compensation to reduce shadow

Setting the Auto Lighting Optimizer to "High" makes the highlights stand out and makes the photo slightly brighter overall at the same time. Using negative exposure compensation reduces shadow.


Tip: The Auto Lighting Optimizer has minimal effect in scenes with low contrast



In flat light conditions such as on a cloudy day, the effect of the Auto Lighting Optimizer is relatively reduced.


Also check out 5 Reasons Why the EOS 5D Mark IV is Ideal for Landscape Photography.


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EOS 5D Mark IV (Body)

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EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

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EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM

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Toshiki Nakanishi


Born in 1971 in Osaka. After learning photography on his own, Nakanishi moved the base for his photography activities to the town of Biei located in Kamikawa-gun of Hokkaido. While capturing landscapes that focus on light, he also produces works that bring out the figurative beauty of nature. Head of PHOTO OFFICE atelier nipek.


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