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Here’s a surprising little tip that a pro once shared with me when thinking about contrast in images. It’s not really conventional but it works!
When setting up an image to shoot you can assess the contrast levels in a scene and see how the camera will ‘see’ it by squinting.
More specifically – close one of your eyes completely and then squint with the other.
With eyes wide open we’re able to take in a lot of visual information from a scene – more than even the best camera is able to process but what you’re doing by squinting is reducing the range of what you’re seeing and are leaving yourself with the highlights and shadows (ie you’re taking out a lot of the mid-tones).
Give it a try – you might look a little silly (probably not as silly as the guy in this shot) – but it might just help you improve your images a touch too!
PS: One of our readers ‘boyan’ also made this comment on this technique:
“Galen Rowell recommends the same technique in one of his books, but in a different context – it allows you to concentrate on shapes rather than colors, and helps you compose better. An alternative is to stop down the lens and use the DOF preview button – I believe that I read that on Thom Hogan’s site.”