Yesterday, the official Earth Day, was cloudy and spitting rain when I got off work, so I ditched. I had in my mind what I wanted to do, and decent light and no rain was necessary. Today was perfect, and because I had to be into work at 6:30AM, I was getting off way early. Late afternoon light - perfect. I headed for one of my favorite spots in Richmond - James River Park at Pony Pasture. Here's the result.
This is along the James River. I am facing more or less eastward with the sun coming over my right shoulder. I used a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L set to 27mm, and Aperture Priority with the f/stop set to f/22. I let the camera choose the rest: the shutter speed was 1/50, ISO 400. I used a circular polarizing filter to bring out the blue in the sky and add contrast to the clouds, as well as take some of the glare off the water in the river (which was roaring along at about 6.3 feet - a couple of feet above normal pool of about 4 feet). The interesting part about this photo is that I can be seen! That was accomplished by using fill flash. I knew the camera would try to meter for the large amount of bright sky. And if I metered for me, the sky would be blown out with no pretty blue and puffy white clouds. I put my Speedlite 430EX on the 6D and turned it on. On modern cameras with a newer flash, that has a TTL or ETTL mode (meaning Through The Lens exposure metering), the camera will fire the flash and expose the scene properly by measuring what comes back to it. It's a good way to bring out a subject when lighting is not ideal, or you want nice backlight which generally flatters subjects of portraits.
Here's a few pictures for comparison.
Side note: All the pictures with me in them were taken with an infrared remote trigger. It sure beat scrambling over the rocks between the camera and the boulder
Even many less expensive DSLRs and some point-and-shoot cameras can do fill flash. On the DSLRs with a pop-up flash, pop it up and it usually functions as a fill flash, firing when you take a picture and metering the return to properly expose the scene. On the point-and-shoots, get out the book (ARGH, READING?!?!?!) and see if there is a "forced flash" or "fill flash" setting that you can turn on. Oh, and you can use it to just make a picture better when you take it.
OK, this got long, but here's two I took just because they were pretty.
JamesRiverPark_GlobalSelfie.kmz file and choose "Open with Google Earth".