As long as I have been a photographer, there has been a lot of debate over exposure modes, and as many of you know, I have only one mode….and it is manual mode. I believe that once you master this mode, it is the easiest to use in all genres of photography.
Most pro photographers will agree with me when it comes to birds/birds in flight, especially when the background changes, but a few of them insist that AV mode is just as easy to use on landscape photography!!!! The images above were done using filters to balance the foreground and sky and if you used AV, how would you determine the correct exposure? So here is my throw down to those people: at pre-sunrise or just after sunset….how do you balance the sky and foreground in AV mode? In manual mode I have to use a split neutral density filter or a reverse neutral density filter…and most of the time, a combination of both (as in all the images in this post)……so how exactly do you dial in compensation in AV mode? What would your workflow be? As most of you know, I teach moving the filters during the exposure as well to minimize the filter line if placed in a holder….so how exactly do the “wannabe” landscapers get the correct exposure in AV mode? The answer is easy….they can’t!!! Don’t believe me….go look at their websites and look at the landscape images! They don’t have any or the images are marginal so how can they teach a mode when they don’t do that genre of photography? A vast majority of working pro landscape photographers agree with me but other nature photographers who “dabble” in this, will try to tell you otherwise…so look at their images and challenge them. Bird photography and landscape photography are as different as a proctologist and a throat doctor.
My first love is landscape photography and I was taught by some of the best in the business. I also learned wildlife photography from the best in the business…..so if manual mode is used 95+% of the time by dedicated professional landscape photographers…..and I use it 100% of the time, then there is no practical use for AV mode….no matter what bird photographers insists on. When they show us landscape images that take our breath away…..then….and only then… we might want to listen to them :).