Focus

Focus

Depth of field is the limitation of perceived sharpness within a photographic image. The greater the depth of field, the more of the image from front to back that appears sharp. An image that is said to have a shallow depth of filed has a short and more specific depth of sharpness.

In photography, careful use of depth of field can be a very powerful tool. It can force viewers to focus only upon that which is sharp, by utilizing a shallow depth of field. As our eyes are not comfortable in viewing unclear images, we then tend to look at the parts of an image that is sharp, and our gaze will then focus upon that part of the image, rendering the other unsharp parts of the image as blurry and not worthy of our attention. This use of a shallow depth of field is particularly well suited to portraiture. As long as the eyes are sharp, most other things can be forgiven if they aren’t pin sharp. People and animals tend to look at the eyes first, and so the eyes really need to be sharp in nearly all portraiture photography.

Landscape photography is generally at the opposite end of the scale of depth of field, where the vast majority of landscape images require a very long depth of field. This is due to the fact that landscapes generally are trying emmulate an actual scene as we see it, and viewers are usually drawn into the image by its great depth of field.

Depth of field is controlled in two ways. The most commonly used is by aperture control. The smaller the aperture (the larger the number ie. F22), the greater the depth of field. The larger the aperture, (the smaller the number like F2.8), the shallower the depth of field. The apertures inbetween have a depth of field is that is directly proportionate to the aperture selected along the scale. The second means of controlling depth of field is by using a camera or lens that enables the lens to be tilted forward or back. This enables the focusing plane of the lens to be more inclined to the plane of focus of the subject matter, and hence providing a much better depth of field without a change of aperture. It is one of the major reasons for using bellows type cameras, or tilt lenses. With such a camera or lens, one can have a huge level of control over depth of field at any aperture.

Depth of field is also dictated by the focal length of the lens, and the camera format for which the lens is used. For instance, a wide angle lens always has a much greater depth of field than a telephoto lens. A very wide angled lens such as a 14mm lens has a depth of field so great that it almost doesn’t require focussing, wheras a 600mm telephoto lens has an extremely shallow depth of field, and unless focussed upon long distance subject matter, the depth of field will always be very limited. On the other end of the scale are macro lenses, which are made to be able to focus very closely to objects. Once you start moving in and start focusing very closely, the depth of field becomes extremely shallow. The closer you get to the subject, the less the depth of field, and in extreme close-ups just the slightest movement will cause the image to go out of focus entirely.

 

Great Landscape Photography

Great Landscape Photography

Be at One with the Land.

Buyers and collectors have accepted photography as art for some time, but only if it’s of significant artistic merit. Great landscape photography sells because the buyer is searching for escapism and the need to dream. As a species we have always been linked to and drawn to the landscape. Do you have a love for the countryside and a understanding of the landscape?

When you’re out in the great outdoors, away from the bustle, what do you see …

… sunlight filtering through trees and dancing on the landscape?

… snow on the mountains and a gushing river in full flow?

… coastal cliffs with the shimmering sea lapping onto the shore?

… a brooding sky casting a spell over the windswept moors?

… the warm glow of the sun setting at the close of day?

… or mists and changing patterns of wind, clouds and magical light?

Do you see the beauty and feel the connection?

To produce a great photo landscape you need to understand the countryside and how light affects it. You need to have a passion for the land and experience an intimate connection with nature. The best way of doing this is to explore an area on foot and become part of the landscape before taking any photos.

On your walk look for:

* Light (shadows and highlights)

* Shapes (round and angular)

* Colour (harmony and discord)

* Texture (rough and smooth)

* Composition (strong and weak)

* Tones (light and dark)

* Patterns (even and odd)

* Mystery ( ? and ? )

So the next time you’re out with your camera looking for that open vista of rolling hills and mountains, also observe the intimate details in the landscape and maybe just photograph a small section of the bigger picture.

Your personality and your vision must come through in every photo you take; it’s up to you to capture the essense of the landscape in front of you. If your photograph works, the person viewing your image will feel they can step into your picture and experience the emotion of being there. A great landscape photograph is a great escape.

Get the perfect exposure | Part 2 |

Get the perfect exposure | Part 2 |

If you are still unsure about getting the correct exposure, there is a cheap but very effective device called an 18% grey card that can limit your frustration, if used correctly.

 

When light falls upon a certain object; if the object is too dark your camera or meter will automatically give you an over-exposed reading. This also happens when we take a reading from something that is too bright – the meter gives us an under-exposed reading.

We need to find a mid-tone object for our meters to read the proper exposure.

Sometimes if we are taking pictures in a high contract scene a mid-tone object is impossible to find. 18 % grey is the mid-tone between pure white and pure black.

An 18% grey card will record the exact light that will touch any object. Start by placing the grey card where you are going to take your reading, point your camera or light meter at the grey card – your meter should read the exact light that falls upon the card.

These cards can be used for all types of photography. If you are taking a portrait place the grey card beside the subjects’ face. This will give you an exact reading and help to capture perfect skin tones.

We don’t need to understand the full science of how this works, but knowing a little doesn’t hurt. All light-meters are calibrated to produce an exposure of 18% The grey card reflects the exact same reading.

This card only costs a few bucks, and most decent camera stores should sell them. The 18% grey card should become an important part of your equipment. The grey card can be used if you shoot with digital or film cameras, and whether you use black and white or colour film.

 

Be sure to check out my eMail Newsletter if you haven’t already, I’ll tell you a bit more information here!

 

Get the perfect exposure… every time!

Get the perfect exposure… every time!

Did you ever look at your images, only to be disappointed in finding out that you got an image that was way too bright, or just plain dark and boring?

The problem is that you didn’t expose properly.

Whether we use a digital or film camera, we need to be able to calculate exposure properly. But first, we need to understand how the aperture and the shutter work together. We also need to know how film & cameras handle light, and the relationship between light sensitivity and f/stops.

Lets take a quick look at the main elements.

Aperture and f/stops: the aperture is an opening in the centre of the lens through which light passes. The amount of light which passes through an aperture is indicated by f/stops. The lower the f/stop the more light that passes through the aperture. Opening up one full f/stop doubles the amount of light entering the camera. F/4 admits twice the light of f5.6.

Shutter: the shutter is a mechanical device that controls the length of time that light is allowed to act on the film. Each time you open the shutter by one, we double the light, when we close down the light by one we half the light. Opening the shutter at 1 second allows twice the light as that of a ½ second.

ISO (ASA): stands for International Standards Organisation. The initials are used for film speed which rates light sensitivity. A film with an ISO number 100 is twice as light sensitive as a film with an ISO of 50. The faster the film, the more sensitive it is to light.

Most digital SLR have ISO settings built in to them. If you are taking a low light image with a digital camera use an ISO rating of 200 or upwards, depending on your aperture.

Getting the perfect exposure isn’t easy, but there are several different ways of making it easier.

 

Using a light meter: there are two types of light meters,

1. Reflected-light meter (the same that is built into your camera) works by pointing the meter at your subject.

2. Incident-light meter: instead of pointing the meter at your subject, you stand beside the subject and point the meter at the camera. The light that falls on your subject will also fall on your meter.

The most common way is to use the meter built into your camera. All modern day cameras have a reflected-light meter built in to them. But don’t point the camera directly at your subject from 10 meters. This will more than likely underexpose your image. Take the exposure reading up-close, then return to the starting position and take your image.

There are even plenty of Mobile Applications that you can now use to meter your light. These will provide you with settings that you’ll need in order to correctly expose based off what your phone’s camera can see. This can be incredibly useful when you are on the go, and provide you with an edge that a lof of upcoming photographers don’t have.

It doesn’t matter which metering system we use, if we don’t point them in the right direction our images will return too dark or too bright. The key is to know where to point the meter.

When I take a landscape image I normally take five or six different readings. I take an incident-light reading with my light meter to record the foreground and a reflected-light reading of the sky.

If you are unsure take three or four images at different exposure settings.

Don’t let a perfect picture moment pass by without recording it flawlessly.

 

 

 

Digital vs Film – Is Film Dead?

Digital vs Film – Is Film Dead?

The popularity of digital cameras may have enjoyed amazing increase but film has still an important part to play in photography and will continue to be important for some time, a few years at the least.

 

Film has many advantages that photographers continue to recognize. Major players in the production of film like Kodak is still putting into it millions though experts all agree that digital film will reign supreme in the near future. The popularity of digital cameras may have enjoyed amazing increase but film has still an important part to play in photography and will continue to be important for some time, a few years at the least. Film has many advantages that photographers continue to recognize. Major players in the production of film like Kodak is still putting into it millions though experts all agree that digital film will reign supreme in the near future. These are the reasons though why some photographers prefer film over digital:

1) Facilities and Investment

Ordinary people, not only photographers, have invested considerably in photographic equipments that use film. Cameras and lenses still have capabilities that digital photography cannot match. Compared with a high-end professional 35mm camera, a digital camera still lacks facilities that only the traditional camera can provide. A photographer who decides to switch to digital may find himself spending big especially if his lenses, flashes and other accessories are not compatible with a new digital system.

2) Wide Angle

The absence of extreme wide-angle lenses and a slow start-up time are two of the most disadvantages of even the best digital cameras. 35mm cameras modifies to digital bodies usually employ a CCD image sensor that is smaller, usually around 245mm x 16mm) as opposed to the 36mm x 24mm x 35mm film that results to a narrow angle. Photographers who are fans of wide angles may find the traditional 35mm more of their liking.

3) Action

Film cameras also offer an advantage during fast-changing and unpredictable photography scenarios. Unlike digital camera that uses batteries than can ran out in the most unexpected time, a 35mm camera can be easily switched on and ready for use whenever you need take a shot. Moreover, digital cameras usually take several seconds before you can use it which obviously is a disadvantage for photographers who wants to capture actions which can’t be repeated anymore.

4) Tough Conditions

Film cameras are also sturdier equipments than their digital counterparts and can withstand harsh conditions that photography may demand in the line of work. Count on film to be more reliable than digital especially when your are working in a not-so-good weather conditions.

5) Comparing Costs

When it comes to cost, film and digital advantages and disadvantages vary considerably depending on the usage. A photographer with a film budget amounting to thousands of dollars in one year may find digital camera more practical. But if you are not a busy photographer, your income may not defray the cost of going digital.

 

In my next post we will talk about how to Get the perfect exposure… every time!

Thanks for checking this out by the way, your support is much appreciated and I hope you have a super-rad day! Go make a milkshake! DO IT!