RSS

Tag Archives: manual mode

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.

 

Advertisements
 
Comments Off on How to Use Steel Wool for Beautiful Light Painting Photographs

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Must-Have Filters for Landscape Photography

Must-Have Filters for Landscape Photography

By Nasim Mansurov

While I was photographing the beautiful scenery of the Glacier National Park at sunrise, I realized that some filters are pretty much required to get good results when photographing landscapes. While many photographers think that some of the built-in tools in Lightroom and Photoshop can simulate filter behavior, making filters redundant in the digital age, some filters in fact can never be simulated in software, while others help in getting even better results in post-processing. If you do not know what filters are and what they are used for, I highly recommend reading my “lens filters explained” article before you continue to read this one.

1) Polarizing Filter

B+W Circular Polarizing Filter

A polarizing filter is a must-have tool for landscape photography. It is typically the first filter landscape photographers buy to instantly improve their pictures and and add vividness and contrast to them. A polarizer can reduce reflections from objects such as water and glass and can be used to darken the sky, bring out the clouds and even reduce atmospheric haze, making the scene look much more vivid. For all normal lenses that have a filter thread in the front, you can get a circular polarizing filter, also known as a “circular polarizer”. A circular polarizer is very easy to use and once you attach it on the front of your lens, all you need to do is rotate it clockwise or counter-clockwise to get a different amount of polarization. Polarizing filters work by blocking certain light waves from entering the lens. Rotating a polarizer allows certain types of light waves to pass through, while blocking other ranges of light waves. Thus, you could turn a sky from light blue to very dark blue or increase/decrease reflections by simply rotating the filter.

The effect of polarization cannot be reproduced or simulated in post-processing, especially when dealing with natural reflections. Take a look at the below image:

Read more about Neutral Density Filters and more via Must-Have Filters for Landscape Photography.

 
Comments Off on Must-Have Filters for Landscape Photography

Posted by on January 27, 2012 in HDR, Landscape, Post Processing, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

 
1 Comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

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

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

How To Choose The Right Lens For The Shot

via How To Choose The Right Lens For The Shot | Fstoppers.

If you are a budding photographer, you are probably a lot like I was when I first picked up a camera: somewhat naive about lenses. Knowing when to use a wide angle lens verses a telephoto lens is both a creative decision as well as a logistical one. Readers often ask which lenses to buy over at the Fstoppers Forum, and recently Mark Wallace shed a lot of light on the topic in his latest Adorama TV episode: Choosing The Right Lens. Not only does Mark talk about the practicalities of using one type of lens over another but he also demonstrates exactly how perspective, distortion, and compression look at different focal lengths. Knowing the tools of your trade is extremely important so if you haven’t tackled this topic yet we hope this will be useful. We have also outlined a few of our favorite photo and video lenses on our Lens Guide.

 
Comments Off on How To Choose The Right Lens For The Shot

Posted by on May 7, 2011 in General, Inspiration, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Worth a Look

 

Tags: , , , ,

Tips For Getting Started With Time Lapse Photography

Image from fixthisphoto.com

Image from fixthisphoto.com

by Ian Sheldon on PictureCorrect

If you’re a keen amateur photographer or even a pro and want to have a go at time-lapse photography and time lapse film making, I’ve listed some top tips to help you get started. It takes time to learn how to make the amazing time lapse videos some professionals have put online, however, for simpler applications, and just to get you started, I’m going to give you ten top tips. Here goes…

1. If you have a camera with a built in intervalometer (timer) that’s great. If not, you’ll need to go shopping to buy an intervalometer. They are more commonly called ‘remote control triggers’ nowadays. But just make sure they have an ‘intervalometer’ function; that is a function that allows you to set up to take images at pre-set intervals. There’s no use me recommending any intervalometers or remote devises here – as it really depends on what camera you have. But a bit of web research should give you some ideas of which one may be best for you. Before you get started properly, get to know the intervalometer and what it can do.

2. Timing is all-important. Like a good comedian, a good time lapse photographer must get his/her timing right! The most common error for all time-lapse newbie’s is setting unrealistic intervals between exposures. If the intervals are too long, you wont have sufficient frames to do an edit. It is better in some ways if you have too many (as you can always ‘lose’ some). But just be aware that too many may mean your camera having problems with processing. Plus, you don’t necessarily want to work the shutter on your camera too much! Setting the interval time between exposures is something that will come with practice and experience. You end up getting an instinct for it. But, a few things to bear in mind to help you are to A) think how long you want the time lapse sequence to last, and B) hold in mind that your edit will be sequenced at around 25fps (frames per second). Think! You’ll have to get 25 exposures / frames for 1 second of sequence. Someone once asked us to take 4 frames over 24 hours for a week and edit a time-lapse sequence for them…….until we pointed out that the ‘sequence’ would only run for a fraction over 1 second!

3. Camera settings are important, and these all depend on the type of time-lapse you do and the various factors involved. It can get quite complex. But, to get started, just set the camera on AV (aperture value), set your f-stop modestly to around 4 and just a few hundred on your ISO (we don’t want noisy images). This should give you a nice balance between controlling your camera and letting your camera decide some things for itself.

4. Get a tripod. It may sound obvious. But we’ve seen people trying to do time lapse by perching a camera precariously somewhere where it can easily be knocked. Remember, time-lapse photography and film-making only works by getting images that are captured from exactly the same fixed position. If you see a sequence edited together from frames that are different – because of camera movement – you’ll see the whole sequence shaking and wobbling! No good! A tripod, locked into position will give your camera a nice stable platform.

5. Get a decent size memory card. It may sound obvious again, but it’s another common error. As the proverb says, ‘You have to cut your cloth according to your coat’. Take a test image. What is the file size that the image is coming in at? Now multiply this by the number of images you’ll be taking. Is your card big enough? No? Then you’ll need to do either the following OR a combination of the following: a) get a bigger card b) reduce the file size (quality) of your captures c) do a card-swap at necessary intervals (taking care not to knock your camera). The real experts may output to an external storage device…. They may insist on bringing their images in HD (high definition) and creating HD time lapse movies…. but I’m trying to keep things simple for you here!

6. Be aware of power issues. Again, if you are time-lapsing using a camera with a single battery, you’ll need to be aware that it will run out relatively quickly. You’ll know how quickly if you know your camera. To solve, you can use a battery grip to extend the time you have, or even better, get an ac adaptor and plug your camera into the mains!

7. Do indoor projects first. You can control your environment and the lighting this way. Outdoors, you potentially face greater challenges; the weather, changes in light, away from power sources and so on. We know people who have wrecked very expensive DSLRs by leaving them unprotected out and not noticing its been raining!

8. Stick to things that wont take too long to capture at first. What about an ice cube melting, for a really short time lapse? Then, as you become more ambitious and experienced, you could always progress to cress seeds growing or an indoor potted flower opening. A simple favorite is to deprive an indoor plant of water for a while, then water it and time-lapse its recovery! Another great one is to place a white flower in water, add food colouring to the water and time lapse the nice effect of the colour climbing up the flower as it drinks….

9. You have all your images. It’s time for the edit. What? You can’t edit? Well that’s fine. Although again, the experts put their images through a number of processes in post production – we are keeping things simple. And what surprises most people is that there is a simple way to edit. It wont be anywhere near as good as what the experts do – in fact the experts wouldn’t really call it editing strictly. However, it works for our purposes. The secret is throwing your images into one of the applications that just auto-sequence them together. I can’t mention any of them here…but do your research.

10. I said there were ten tips….. so here is the tenth. Get your work out there, share it. Look at what others have done, join a forum, swap tips, practice, and above all…have fun getting started with time lapse photography.

About the Author
Time Lapse Systems provide Time Lapse Photography solutions for the leisure, construction and security industries. We have experience in shooting both short and long term time lapse footage and editing for use on either DVD or the Web.

via Tips For Getting Started With Time Lapse Photography – PictureCorrect.

 
Comments Off on Tips For Getting Started With Time Lapse Photography

Posted by on April 25, 2011 in General, Technique, Tutes & Tips, Time Lapse, Worth a Look

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Landscape Photography at Twilight

by Stefan Hofer at PictureCorrect

"Head-On" captured by Mark Broughton“Head-On” captured by Mark Broughton

There are various phases of sunrise and sunset, however each phase repeats itself twice a day – once during sunrise and once again at sunset. All phases during sunrise are the same for sunset phases – the only difference is chronological order i.e. when each phase begins and ends. Therefore, sunrise and sunset are exactly the same, except that sunset reverses the order of phases seen at sunrise.

Twilight phases at Sunrise:

  1. Astronomical twilight
  2. Nautical twilight
  3. Civil twilight
  4. Sunrise

The phases of twilight at sunset are the same just in the opposite order. Let’s begin with sunrise and discuss each phase separately.

The length of twilight before sunrise and after sunset is heavily influenced by the latitude of the observer; therefore I will not discuss the length of each twilight phase since it is highly variable. The first phase of morning twilight is known as astronomical twilight. This period of twilight occurs when the center of the sun is between 12° and 18° degrees below the horizon and slowly increases before day time officially begins.

Most casual observers would consider the entire sky already fully dark even when astronomical twilight is just ending in the morning. Atmospheric colors consist of deep dark blue toward the horizon, and completely black when facing west. Astronomical twilight really brings cityscape photos to life. The deep blue mixed with warm artificial lights from city buildings, streets, and cars produce nice contrasts. Arguably, this is the best time to photograph cityscapes, but this clearly depends what you’re attempting to capture. Images during all twilight phases and during sunrise require a tripod. The photo will be blurry, regardless if your lens has vibration reduction or image stabilization.

Nautical twilight is when the center of the sun is between 6° and 12° below the horizon. The primary color cast across the atmosphere is usually a deep blue hue with noticeable orange and yellow tones at the horizon due to the rising sun. Light will begin appearing quickly throughout this phase, and the blue sky will get begin to get brighter and paler. Details will become easier to distinguish but will lack most edge definition. Again, cityscape photographs are nicely produced during this phase. Most landscape photographs will be uninteresting during this phase because there is not enough available light. Silhouettes begin to look interesting, and get better in the next twilight phase.

"Winter Solstice in Reykjavik" captured by Ævar Guðmundsson

"Winter Solstice in Reykjavik" captured by Ævar Guðmundsson

Civil twilight is the brightest phase of twilight and begins when the geometric center of the sun is 6° below the horizon and ends at 0° sunrise/sunset. The horizon is clearly visible and shadows are easily discernible. Objects are clearly defined and no additional light is needed in most cases. The light cast during this phase can be anywhere from warm golden tones to cool pink tones. During civil twilight, the colors of the sky are going to change quickly. Colors of pale yellow, neon red, and bright orange will dominate the sky. If clouds are present they begin changing colors, first from soft pink then to deep ruby-red. When looking westward you can see the twilight wedge, which is a mixture of Earth’s shadow and scattered light. The pink and blue hues of the twilight wedge are separated by multiple layers. Most landscape photos begin coming to life as available light increases and details become obvious.

When the sun finally rises, deep ruby-red and dark pink colors splash all over the terrain. Shadows come alive and retain purple and blue hues due to scattered light. The contrasts of red and blue are at a pinnacle, and will arguably provide for the best landscape pictures. The mixture of colors and shadows helps distinguish form, shape, and texture, and these compositional elements should be utilized. The color of light is quickly changing from red to yellow, and you must react very fast if you decide to change composition or frame. As the sun continues to rise in the sky, colors shift from yellow to white. This is why the first hour of sunrise and sunset is called the “golden hour“, because red light shifts to gold. After the first hour of sunrise the color of light begins turning whiter and is not conducive to most landscape photography. The only circumstances that could create gorgeous photos in midday are during storms when the sun breaks through high clouds illuminating spots of land. Otherwise, forget about taking good landscape pictures – they will not be compelling.

Photo captured by Denis Krivoy

Photo captured by Denis Krivoy

The best time of day to create evocative landscape imagery is during twilight and sunrise/sunset. There are rare exceptions when these “rules” do not apply, which is why if you are seriously considering landscape photography you must be out in the wilderness during these hours. Yes you will miss breakfast and dinner, yes it will be hard waking up very early in the morning, and yes you will be frustrated many times when the photo opportunities are just not there because it’s too cloudy, or no clouds, etc. But who ever said photography was easy? This stuff is not meant for the meek. As with anything in life you have to really want it. You have to be passionate about taking away a beautiful photo, even though it took many visits to the same spot to get your photo. This stuff can be grueling at times, but for me, the rewards far outweigh the repeated disappointments. I hope this article has helped those seeking to become landscape photographers.

About the Author
Please visit my website for compelling landscape photographs to witness some of the phenomena I have described above. http://www.stefanhoferphotography.com

via Landscape Photography at Twilight – PictureCorrect.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Featured, Landscape, Worth a Look

 

Tags: , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: