When photographing birds in flight the most important consideration is the direction of the wind. Due to the need for the maximum amount of lift, birds nearly always land and take off into the wind.Read More
Last week I wrote on the virtues of a 50mm prime lens. This is one more trick using that lens. By reversing the lens using an adapter, you can focus very close to a subject and magnify the image significanly.Read More
The 50mm f\1.8 lens was the kit SLR camera lens until the late 1990's until it was displaced by the variable aperture mid range zoom lens. In many ways this was an unfortunate change.Read More
One of the main reasons I never switched from Nikon to Canon was the fact that Nikon has never changed its lens mount from the F camera in 1959 until today. [Several years ago Nikon published a list of their current lenses which would make the most of the then new D800E cameras]. The list was small and with very few exceptions the lenses on the list where very expensive. I own several of those lenses, and they are indeed fine lenses.
However for some types of photography, older Nikon Manual Focus lenses may be a better choice.Read More
The image above is of the camera I used from about 1969 until 1980. It's a Yashica 635 Twin Lens Reflex camera and it took great photographs. One thing missing from it and most cameras of its day was a light meter. While I had an external meter, it was marginal at best and most of the time I used no meter even though I shot mainly slide film which had very little exposure latitude.
Funny thing, most of the time the exposures were dead on. Back then when you bought a roll of film it came with a sheet of paper instructing you on how to set your camera to get the right exposure. Looking at the paper carefully it always said to set it in bright sunlight for f\16 and the reciprical of the iso speed of the film. So if shooting 100 iso film the paper said set it to f\16 at 1/125th (the standard speed) of a second. You could modify that at the equivalent settings of f\11 at 1/250th, f\8 at 1/500th, etc. It also said what to do in other conditions, add one stop of exposure for hazy sun, two for overcast, etc. Believe it or not, it worked very well. This is called using sunny 16 exposure.
What does it have to do with today with our super sophisticated matrix / evaluative metering beauties that seem to do everything by themselves. Actually quite a lot.
First if you believe in using standby settings, and you should, it is easy to estimate what approximate exposure you'll be needing and preset your iso settings to make sure you have a fast enough shutter speed for the aperture you think you will need to get the appropriate depth of field. So for example if I'm photographing Osprey in flight and it's mid-morning with bright sun, I know I want about f\8 to keep the face of the bird sharp and I want a shutter speed over 1/1000, so knowing I'm two stops faster than sunny 16, ISO 100 would be 1/400 and ISO 200 would be 1/800, I'd select ISO 400 and expect a shutter speed of around 1/1600. In fact I may manually select that and then check the histogram periodically so verify that's correct.
Also, believe it or not, sometimes our fancy meters are simply wrong. As you're shooting, if you notice the metering doesn't match what you would expect from the sunny 16 rule, it's time to start checking things to see if they're right. I had a problem several years ago with a lens aperture sticking and not closing down to the f\11 aperture I had selected. The shutter speed ended up being much faster than I expected and I was able to sort out what was wrong and change to another lens and get the shot. If I'd just trusted the meter. the depth of field would have been unacceptable. Often the meter guesses wrong, or you've forgotten to take off exposure compenstation or bracketing and you may miss the shot of a lifetime.
So spend some time and learn how to use Sunny 16 and you'll thank yourself for it.
This week's tip of the week is to use standby settings to reduce the chance of missing a shot.
If, like me, you've missed shots because you're in the wtong metering mode, have exposure compenstation set, you're in the wrong auto focus mode, have bracketing set, etc., you may want to have some standby settings you set your camera to when not in use.
Get into the habit of putting your camera into these settings when you're through shooting and then double checking when you start shooting.
You may also want to think through before a shoot, what settings you're liking to need in your camera and replace your standby settings with those.
Many of the newer cameras have a info screen which nicely summarizes what you have set. Get used to looking at this to doulbe check your standby settings.
Particularly when you're shooting action, having the camera preset, could be the difference between getting a killer shot or none at all.
This weeks tip of the week examines focus stacking to extend the range of sharpness of an image.Read More
Aligning the focal plane to make sure what you want sharp is sharp.Read More
How to make an image sharp from edge to edge. Hyperlocal distance and the proper focal length.Read More
A how-to article on how to make an image pop by blurring the background.Read More
A how to article on making a background element pop, by blurring the foreground.Read More
A how to article on photographing landscapes in the fog. Focus on the foreground!Read More
A how to article on making an image pop with contrasting the subject with the background, Light on Dark, or Dark on Light.Read More
This weeks tip of the week is to work your subject.
The image pictured here is a rose taken in my front yard. The rose is about the size of a dime, very small. I was out shooting and noticed the roses in bloom. I had a 200mm macro lens on the camera, which only magnifies to a 1 to 2 ratio. Taking several shots didn't do it for me, I went in the house and brought out my 105 which went 1 to 1, better but still not great. I added an extension tube, and liked what I saw.
I then brought the card from the camera inside and put it in the computer. It wasn't sharp from one side to the other. I repositioned so the rose was in the same plane as the camera and stopped the lens down as far as it could go, again checking the camera, I have what you see here.
I spent well over an hour working on the shot, often your best results are from repeated efforts to get things right
To learn how to make this kind of shot, I'm teaching a macro photography course On December 4th, 2015 check it out here.
Tip of the Week 2015-11-1
Storing your lenses
Having a working lens when you go out to shoot is obviously critical to your success as a photographer. Having two failures last year due to a sticking aperture led to a bit of research on the web. The problem is that when you stop down the lens and take a shot, the aperture stays open instead of shutting down to the proper setting leading to badly overexposed shots. This is caused by lubricant seeping onto the aperture blades from the manual focus helicoil.
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of this occurring. First do not store you lens with the front facing down, if the lubricant does seep with the fromt down it will seep into the aperture blades, facing up it will not. Second avoid placing your lenses in hot places, like the trunk of a car on a hot day. I believe this is what caused my two lenes to fail last year.