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20 Things I Wish I Knew About Photographing in Manual Mode

1. ISO is an important setting. It controls how sensitive your camera’s image sensor is to the light. In bright light use a low ISO, in low light you can use a higher ISO.

2. WB or White Balance is a setting used to ensure you have even white and grey tones in your photos. Different kind of lights can make the whites in a photo appear to have a color to them. Fluorescent lights can make white sheets appear bluish. Tungsten lights (like a lamp) can make things appear yellow. Cameras have many settings for White Balance, but learning to use custom white balance is a great tool. Check out my blog about white balance to learn more about how to use the custom setting.

3. Aperture controls how much light is allowed through your lens by setting the f-stop. A lower f-stop (like 1.4) will let in a lot of light and a higher f-stop (like 16) will let in less light.

4. Shutter speed controls how long the image sensor is exposed to light. A lower shutter speed will let in more light, but may give your subjects motion blur if they are moving in the photo.

5. You don’t need to use manual focus to photograph in manual mode. Manual mode means you’ll have more control over how your camera reads the light, but manual focus will entail a few extra seconds to use the focusing ring in order to capture a sharp image. Many photographers auto focus so they can photograph and capture moments quicker and ensure they are tack sharp.

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20 Things I Wish I Knew About Photographing in Manual Mode » Photography Awesomesauce.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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How to Use Steel Wool for Beautiful Light Painting Photographs

Here’s an awesome tutorial that teaches you how to create beautiful light painting sparkler photos. The materials are pretty cheap: all you need is some steel wool, an egg whisk, and a rope or cable. Simply place the steel wool inside the whisk, light it on fire using a lighter or 9V battery, and swing it around at the end of the cable while your camera snaps a long-exposure photo. Just be careful not to start a fire!

Recommended Starting Settings:

Manual Mode
Tripod Use
Shutter Speed: 30 secs or Bulb
Apperture: F/8
ISO: 200
White Balance: Tungsten
Format: RAW

via How to Use Steel Wool for Beautiful Light Painting Photographs.

 

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Inspiration, Night Photography, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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Macro photography tips with example photographs and images

Macro photography tips with example photographs and images

by Tanya Puntti

Macro photography tips, images and photographs

Shown below is a set of 10 amazing macro photographs. Each photograph includes an explanation of the camera equipment that was used and tips on how it was taken. While many of the images have been taken with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, the settings can be reproduced with any real macro lens. You’ll aslo notice they were photographed with an entry level DLSR camera from quite a few years back now! My point being, anyone with a DSLR camera can shoot awesome macro photographs.Click on each image to see a larger version of the photograph.

1. Hoverfly in flightmacro example of a hoverfly insect in flight

Photograph of a hoverfly in flight was taken with a Canon 400D SLR entry level camera, a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and a Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX flash.

Exposure shutter speed: 0.005 sec 1/200
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 100 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Program: Manual
Metering Mode: Pattern

Macro photography tip #1: If possible, use a ring flash or twin lite flash when shooting macro. It will allow you to shoot at a reasonable speed, yet enable you to keep the aperture on a high f/11 for sufficient depth of field. Of course, I understand it isn’t always possible for fellow DSLR photographers to purchase such equipment. No problem, keep reading for other tips.

via Macro photography tips with example photographs and images.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Flash Photos, Inspiration, Macro, Worth a Look

 

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TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 2) Shooting at Second Light

By tom dinning via Light Stalking

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning who, besides being a professional photographer, teacher and mini-celebrity in the Light Stalking community, has also shared some very popular tutorials in the forums and in other posts.

If you have recovered from my recent post on shooting at first light, you might be ready for something a little more sedate. Enjoy breakfast with your partner, have an extra cup of coffee, even suggest your partner might like to come along (…on second thoughts, tell him/her you’re going to the dentist). Today we are photographing in that lovely light after sunrise.

Second light – Botanic Gardens.

I call this second light because, although I hate getting up too early, my preference is still for the light before sunrise. Still, it’s a great time to be out and about, especially if you’ve pulled a ‘sicky’ from work to join me.

I’m heading for the local Botanic Gardens for no particular reason than it’s there. My kit is made up of the usual suspects: a wide zoom (14 -24mm) and mid (24-70mm) but I’ve added a macro and a long focal length (200mm) for good reason as you will see.

Today is bright and sunny so I make sure I have all my lens hoods and a hat (that’s for my balding head). The tripod is always with me. In my experience, this time of the day can be deceiving. There seems to be heaps of light about but the shadows are quite dark so there could be some moderately long shutter speeds, especially if I want an extended depth of field.

(If you’re a beginner and I’ve just lost you with that stuff about depth of field and shutter speed, ask someone on Light Stalking to explain it to you. They’re really good at that.)

In my part of the world, this time of the day always seems extra saturated with the colours and the tonal contrast is amazing. So, I take full advantage of this. It’s what I call ‘shooting for the conditions’. I can’t change the climate but I can learn to live with it.

My eyes immediately begin to search the landscape for places where this saturation and contrast brings out the best in the frame. Deep green shadows are avoided. Speckled light is hard to expose correctly so I move out into the open.

Botanic Gardens are designed. So it’s worth looking for vista’s, frames within your frame, and nooks that have been purposefully constructed to catch one’s eye.

The low angle of the Sun provides beautiful backlight, rimming the tree trunks and highlighting the foliage. I walk and watch towards the Sun. seeking out long shadows that can be used to lead the eye.

Foreground and background are important but it’s easy to clutter the frame with too much. To avoid this, I take full advantage of my walking shoes and seek the best perspective before shooting; always endeavoring to keep that sun in the background.

‘But shooting into the sun?’ I hear you say. With a bit of maneuvering, the sun can be tucked behind some foliage or a tree trunk. You will need to  watch that histogram for blow-outs (sorry, there’s nothing wrong with the tires on your car). If you’re not sure how to use it, read the Light Stalking article on how to read a histogram.

Go for detail in the shadows if you can and let the sun burn out a bit behind the trees. It gives a nice halo effect and gives the impression of a brilliant sunny day. But don’t overdo it.

Since it’s usually quiet this time of the morning there’s always an opportunity for a self-portrait. Seats are placed strategically among the trees for effect as well as rest, so include them in your shots.

Also look for those special plants, unusual textures, surprising angles and, of course, the obligatory close-up.

One thing I learnt from this trip was to watch where I leave my kit. This is the time when the gardeners are testing their sprinkler system. At least it saves me washing this week.

For some reason, Botanic Gardens are not heavily frequented by wildlife. I have more birds in my back yard. I did find a few grazing geese and a spider, but other than a stray dog and a dead cane toad, I was the only animal in the park – and even my zoological status has been questioned by some.

Now its time to finish up. You’ll have enough time to download this lot before settling on a nice lunch and a glass of Chard. Then prepare yourself for the midday run.

Thanks for joining me.

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning.

via Light Stalking » TUTORIAL: What’s your time of day? (Part 2) Shooting at Second Light.

 

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TUTORIAL: What’s Your Time of Day (Part 1)- Shooting at First Light

By tom dinning via Light Stalking

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning who, besides being a professional photographer, teacher and mini-celebrity in the Light Stalking community, has also shared some very popular tutorials in the forums and in other posts.

Recently I had a browse through my files to see if there was any consistency with the times of day I choose to take photographs for my own pleasures. To my surprise, there was an even split between early morning, mid-morning, midday, late afternoon and evening. Its good that I’m not a creature of habit.

I though it might be a good exercise to examine each of these times of day in terms of the photo’s  taken and the issues that arise during the preparation stage and the recording of the images.

So here’s the first.

EARLY MORNING – COAST

First Light. Nightcliff Beach NT

I’m not good in the morning so the first preparation for such an event is to psych myself up weeks in advance for a possible 4am start. The next bit of preparation is to prime Christine for the awakening for fear she may be expecting something more than a gentle kiss goodbye. She’s even grumpier than me in the morning.

High tide. Myilly Point NT

Since I want everything to be just right for such a monumental occasion I check the sunrise times well in advance. I’m also interested in the time for first light, since I want some preparation time when I arrive at my destination. My preference for the coastline means I need to check the tides. Low tide is best where I live. It allows access to the beaches. It’s also more visually interesting since there will be many isolated pools along the beach for those nice reflections. All the information you need with regard to sunrise, first light and tides can be obtained through the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website (in Australia) or the equivalent in your country. While you’re there, check the weather. You don’t want to be caught out in the rain, but a few clouds add interest to the sky.

Casuarina Beach NT

Checking the equipment the night before is part of the routine. Clean your sensor. Those funny little spots will show up against a clear sky at small apertures. Charge your batteries and take a spare. I’m not big on long focal lengths but that’s just me. I find myself using wide to mid-range (anything between 14mm and 70mm). A tripod is essential since you will probably be shooting at shutter speeds slow enought to write in your diary while taking the shot.

Tidal pool. Casuarina Beach NT

Getting there before the first glow of light needs a torch if you have some interesting ground to cover. It helps to find your way, locate things in the kit bag, provides a reading light for your camera knobs and dials if you haven’t learnt to find them in the dark yet, and, if its a big enough torch, it will fend off the dogs and muggers ( and the odd croc in my part of the world).

Casuarina Beach NT

It’s always good to check out the scene from a vantage point and grab a few shots to start with but usually I reconnoitre the spot a few days before so I know what I’m in for. Moving around in the dark in unfamiliar territory is risky for an old bloke like myself.

Rock outcrop. Nightcliff Beach NT

Shooting from water level creates great foreground for the shots. Look for items along the beach that might serve as points of interest. Watch how the light reflects from the water. Look for points of contrast as focal points in your frame.

This can be a time of solitude as well. Encompass that feeling and get it in the frame. Simplicity and the light is all you need to work with.

Casuarina Beach NT

Think in B&W as well. The tones will be subtle but worth capturing.

Little Watego’s Beach, NSW

Keep your shutter speed long enough to blur the movement of water. If the clouds are moving as well, all the better. You can get some great textures in the sky.

Rocks. Byron Bay, NSW

Reflections work well. Seek out the pools left behind. Walk around the pools to find the best angle. Get the best depth of field possible for these shots and make sure the foreground is sharp. If the auto-focus isn’t working its because it can’t find enough contrast in the scene to focus on. Switch to manual. When the going gets tough on focusing, I set the manual focus to about 2m and the aperture to about f:18. This seems to take care of most situations.

Dripstone Cliffs NT

As the light intensity increases, life and focusing will get easier. But there will be another issue to deal with. Exposure.

That sky will be about 6 or 7  f:stops over the ground exposure level. Your sensor will probably have a fit. Bracket and deal with it when you get home and have had your first cup of coffee.

Outcrop facing East. Nightcliff beach NT

In spite of the sand in your shoes and camera, wet feet from the incoming tide, the odd dogs dropping you stood in, a grumpy spouse to return home to and the need for a Granny Nap during the day, it should be worth every minute of your timely effort.

Low tide. Lee Point NT

If it’s not, take up knitting.

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning.

via Light Stalking » TUTORIAL: What’s Your Time of Day (Part 1)- Shooting at First Light.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Composition, Featured, General, Landscape, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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SLR Camera Simulator

Learn Photography: Online SLR Camera Simulator!

This SLR camera simulator shows you visually how ISO speed, aperture, shutter speed, and distance affect the outcome of your digital photos. Here’s how to use it:

Fiddle with the settings; observe the green readings in the viewfinder

Click the “Snap photo!” button

Review your “photo” 🙂

Click below to have a play! (includes an 18-55 lens)

SLR Camera Simulator | Simulates a digital SLR camera.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in General, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

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The Most Important Secret I Know

The Most Important Secret I Know

There’s a secret phrase out there amongst photographers and they don’t share it easily. I just wanted some ball park starting places for different types of scenes. So very cleverly, I set up a spreadsheet listing all the most likely scenarios I would be shooting in. You know the type I mean. Harsh sunlight on a beach in the daytime, nighttime indoor shot during a party, macro of flowers in the morning light, sunset and sunrise, moonlit pictures etc etc.
We all have our favourite shots we take, so I tried to make a nice long list of all thing the things I liked to photo and the situation I would most likely be in. Then next to that list, I wrote out ISO, f/stop, shutter speed, lens size, flash/no flash etc etc allowing for all the different options I could think of.

Dial by Leo ReynoldsAnd then, I took this list to a bunch of really talented photographers I knew. And asked them to help me fill it in. Some were gentle and just laughed at me. Some became frustrated (particularly my husband) because I didn’t grasp that ‘every situation is different’. But I did grasp it: I just needed a starting point.

Then I met a gem of a man during a one-on-one course and he smiled slightly and said… let me tell you the Photographer’s Cheat Sheet formula and then YOU can fill it in.

So now let me share that formula with you!

The secret to taking amazing photos is simple: f/8 and be there.

This secret phrase has been attributed to a lot of people over the years but most seem to settle on Weegee as the originator of the phrase. But what the heck does it mean?

Put your camera in aperture priority (normally marked A or Av) and set your f-stop to f/8. Always. Every time.

Set your ISO to 100. Each and every time.

Then look at the lens you have on your camera at the time and half its longest length. If it’s a 70-300, then half its length, making it 150. If it’s an 18 -55 then half its length is 27.5. If it’s a 50mm prime then half its length equals 25. We’ll call this the magic number.

Ok… so here’s the trick. When you press your trigger button down halfway, it will show you on your screen what the Shutter Speed is. You want the Shutter Speed to have a faster speed than the magic number. so if when focusing, you have a speed of 1/250 and you are using a 70-300 lens, your settings are fine. And your photos will look GREAT.

If you have a speed of 1/50 and you are using a 70-300 lens, you are obviously going to be in trouble. So now you need to wind your f-stop down to a lower number than 8, as far as it will go until that speed goes up toward the magic number. If it arrives at that number at f-stop 5.6, then great, your pictures will be awesome. If you haven’t reached that magic number, then that’s okay. There’s a solution to that too. Now you want to increase ISO step by step until that magic number is faster than half the length of your lens.

If you do that, you can shoot indoors without a flash! This simple little formula works a treat. Now the second part of the saying is the most important part. Be There. Take your camera with you everywhere so you never miss a moment.

Some people believe that f/11 or f/22 is better as a starting point, but by applying the same rules and techniques to those original f-stops will hold you in good stead for great shots! Now if you have a camera with the right dials but you can’t remove the lens, don’t fret. Visit dpreview and look up your camera and it will tell you the length of your lens.

So remember the f/8 and be there rule. It makes finding that starting point oh so easy to find!

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Dial Images by chrisinplymouth and Leo Reynolds and licensed by Creative Commons.
Feature Image by egahen via SXC.
 
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Posted by on March 6, 2011 in Featured, General, Technique, Tutes & Tips

 

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