How I got the Shot? Three Photographers share their Tricks

July 11, 2017 ZEISS LENSPIRE Team

Learn from James Cawley , Peter Gruener and Luke Woodford.


How I got the Shot:James Cawley


>> Follow James on Instagram

Image Concept

It was a rare rainy day in the Canyonlands in Southern Utah and the light was amazing due to the rolling storm clouds.  I was using the ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35 to produce a series of time lapses for a short piece called, “Canyon Light”. My concept for this shot, contrasting tones and depth on a massive scale, was inspired by the effect the clouds were having on the vast landscapes.  Typically when I’m in this area of Southern Utah the only chance to capture natural dramatic lighting is at sunrise/sunset, but the clouds were producing amazing diffused lighting and dramatic patterns across the canyon wilderness on this day.

Camera Settings

For this time lapse sequence I kept my camera settings at ISO 100 – f/11 – 1/15s.

Get outside and be inspired by the natural light and beauty that is always all around you.  Shooting in uncontrolled environments is challenging…however, the best shots always come from trial and error, a good concept in mind, understanding your equipment and taking the time to envelop yourself into the scene your shooting.  There are always amazing compositions all around us, take a few moments to observe the natural light and the effect it has on the environment around you.

Gear Used

My overall setup was rigged for time lapses and over the years I have trimmed this down to be very light to travel to remote places;

  • Tiffen Pro100 Filter Holder System and Tiffen NDs and ND Grad Filters
  • Benro USA Carbon Fiber Tripod
  • Alpine Labs Michron Time Lapse Device
  • Canon 5D MKIII
  • ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35 ZE

It’s always important to always have a good set of ND and ND Grads when shooting with natural light.  Nature will rarely have consistent lighting across your frame and you will be working with very over exposed subject most times.  In this shot, as well as the other clips in the short video “Canyon Light”, I utilized Graduated ND filters to avoid over exposing the sky throughout the time lapse sequence.  A sturdy tripod is also a necessity for time lapses as on this day the wind was gusting and a flimsy tripod would have produced motion blur and undesired movement.

Canyon Light from ZEISS Camera Lenses on Vimeo.


How I got the Shot: Peter Gruener

portrait_a_girl_wearing_a_grey_hoodie_in_front_of_beach_chair_

>> Follow Peter on Instagram

Image Concept

The idea was to make a relaxed, spring lifestyle portrait on the beach with a beautiful model. Sophie was great to work with. She knows exactly how to move in front of the camera.

Lighting and Technique

The sun was still very strong and despite having a reflector (Sunbounce Zebra) Sophie’s right side, the sky is slightly overexposed. But in my opinion fits well to the scene, capturing a certain ease of the moment.

Camera Settings

Nikon D5 + ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35 ZF.2, ISO 100, aperture priority (AV) set to f/2.0 with +3 f-stops exposure compensation. Shutter speed 1/1000s

Gear Used

I took the shot hand-held without a tripod. Due to this, I had to use a high aperture of f/2 giving the scene slightly more depth-of-field. I did not use any filters or flash, just the reflector to brighten up Sophie’s face.


How I got the Shot: Luke and Mandee Woodford


Luke_Mandee_Woodford
>> Follow Luke and Mandee on Instagram

Image Concept

Instead of our usual crazy work, we wanted to create some fairly simple shots just with the lens and beautiful sunlight. We went out in a local field on a beautiful day and just had fun. We shot everything wide open at f/1.4. We like to keep the sun behind Mandee to create a nice backlight and soft tones on the face. Mandee just did her fun and we enjoyed having a nice and relaxed shoot. We shot lots of images but really like the sun bursting through in both of these images.

Lighting and Technique

We use natural light with 99% of our photos and there is nothing different here. Manual focus on shots like this is ideal because shooting into the sun, it can be pretty hard to focus.

Gear Used

We used our Nikon D750 with the ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35 ZF.2 on aperture priority because we always like to control the aperture. The shutter speed was 1/4000.


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