Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Moving water is a great subject for extended shutter times. The above picture was taken with the fast shutter speed of 1/500th of a second, notice how it 'freezes' the water, you can see individual droplets suspended in air. Personally, I feel this makes the photo image too busy.
Here is virtually the same picture with a slowed shutter speed, notice how the water is smoothed, and you can no longer see the individual droplets. I feel the smoother water effect has a large impact on the overall feel of the picture. One thing to bare in mind when extending your shutter opening times is lighting, the longer the shutter is open, the more light is allowed in, and the brighter your shot will be. In bright daylight, this can quickly become a problem and wash out your photos.
This little trick can be used for more than just water photography, it can be very useful at night, or in other low-light conditions. I switched over to bulb mode to catch these fireworks pictures. When using bulb mode, you have complete control over the shutter, it will stay open for as long as you hold down the button. Any movement here will effect the photo, so I highly recommend not only the use of a tripod, but also the use of a remote to help avoid any movement which may ruin your shot.
'Celebration 2'..4 seconds..f/5.0..24mm..iso100..0.00exp
So try extending your shutter times, you can get some cool effects that way. Night shots, low light, smoothing water, fireworks, car light-trails, and many more. Experiment, and see if you can discover any new uses or effects.
All images were shot with the flash off
The Pier and both Spillover shots were shot handheld, both Celebration shots were supported by tripod
All images had their size reduced for web posting
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Well, I have returned from my visit to Colonial Williamsburg. We had a pleasant time seeing the city and hearing the history, despite the heat (it was hovering near 100° with next to no breeze.) The sun was overbearing, and the crowds were big, so overall, the trip wasn't quite as photogenic as I would have liked, though I was still able to snap off a couple hundred shots.
I am still going through the photos taken, and will post some as soon as I can. The above picture is of a stone statue over the gate leading to the entrance of the Governor's Palace. It is one half of 'The Lion and The Unicorn", the symbol of Great Britain. They really were well carved, and were quite regal in appearance.
Another interesting shot I got during the trip was of this 18th centruy doll. There was just something compelling and sad about this little old doll sitting on this antique chair in a room all by its lonesome, like it was placed there so long ago and never played with again.
As soon as I finish going through all my photos form the trip, I will post some more. Also, the d2b Design project will be starting this week, so stay tuned for that as well. Busy, busy busy!
Both shots were taken handheld with the flash off, and both were cropped and had size reduced for web posting
Friday, July 24, 2009
There are three main obstacles when trying to get the perfect flower shots, lighting, wind, and angle. Lighting is the easiest hurdle to get over. Clear bright sunshine can make for some very well lit shots, though often during mid-day shooting, it can be too harsh and cause your photos to wash out. This can be overcome by shooting during the 'golden hours' or by seeking out a shadier spot or a different angle.
Overcoming the complications of wind can be more complicated. Movement can quickly ruin an otherwise beautiful shot. Try to take your shots when the wind is calm to limit movement of the flowers, particularly in low light situations. One useful tip I use to battle this obstacle (and that of lighting) is to take your flower pictures indoors, in a controlled setting. Go to the florist, and pick out the flowers you would like to photograph. Bring them home, set up your lighting, and get some perfect shots.
Angle can be the fun obstacle. Resist the urge to shoot your flowers while standing above them and looking down. This is how the world generally sees flowers, and tends to not make very interesting shots. Get down to the flower's height, and shoot it straight on, or see if you can get below it and shoot up. This is a much more interesting approach, as most people do not get to see flowers form this angle very often. Also, another tip, think about the whole flower. Though the flowers is face is typically the most beautiful part of the flower, sometimes you can some really interesting shots by shooting them from behind, or from the side. Use your imagination, remember, if you find it interesting, odds are others will as well.
All flower shots were taken with the flash off.
The two gerbera daisy shots were done indoors, supported by tripod. All others were shot handheld.
All images have had their size reduced for web posting.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Photo Title: 'Structure'
Shutter Speed: 1/400
Focal Length: 85mm
Location: Virginia Beach Conference Center, Virginia Beach, VA
Alterations: size reduced for web posting
Comments: It's a cool looking building anyway, and as I was walking the scene, I came across this interesting angle. The sky was such a nice shade of deep blue, it really helps pull the blue glass out. Strangely, this simple photo is one of my favorites.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Photo Title: 'Angry Swamp'
Shutter Speed: 1/320
Focal Length: 24mm
Alterations: grey-scaled, size reduced for web posting
Comments: the sky was very active, bright blue sky, sweeping clouds, and a nice breeze. It was around 4 o'clock, so the daylight was a bit harsh, causing the sky not to translate as well as I would have liked. Switching to grey-scale really helps draw out the character I witnessed on scene. The 'rule of thirds' was broken here, but I really feel that centering the subject helps convey the mood.
Currently, I use a Canon 400D, also known as the Digital Rebel XTi. Eventually, I may upgrade to the 50D, or preferably the 5D Mark II, but for now the XTi suits my purposes just fine.
The camera body came with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens. This lens is rarely on my camera, not that there is anything wrong with it, but I find the focal range to be a bit too limited, and I have absolutely fallen in love with Canon's 'L' series lenses. The Canon L-series glass is phenominal. For most shooting situations, I use a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. I find the focal range to be ideal for practically any situation I may find myself in. For longer shots, I use the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM prime telephoto lens, which, for the most part, is plenty long enough to get right into the action on those long nature shots, without disturbing or spooking your subjects.
For my tripod, I use a set of Manfrotto 190XDB legs with a Manfrotto 322RC2 grip action ballhead. What a combination this makes! Extremely stable, rugged and sturdy, yet surprisingly light and easy to carry on hikes and walks. There are situations where a pan/tilt head would be nice, but I wouldn't trade this combination in for anything. Also in my arsenal, is a trek pole with a removable knob, and a monopod ballhead.
When situations do not warrant the use of the large SLR system, I also have a canon PowerShot SD800 IS. This is really a nice p&s camera, nice and small, easily fits into a pocket, yet it is still packed full of powerfull features. Also, it has a surprisingly good macro mode, which has come in handy on many occasions. It is also capable of shooting video.
In the extremely rare occasion that I come across the perfect scene, and feel the overwhelming desire to capture it but do not have either camera on me, there is always the trusty old cellphone! Definitely only for emergency use, the cell's built in 3MP camera is shotty at best!
Stay tuned, I will be posting plenty of tips, tricks, techniques, and of course, pictures in the near future.