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Category Archives: Photography

Nice Shot of Baby

First, let me advise you never to use a wide angle lens for a baby picture. The foreshortening of a 28mm focal length lens will be sure to (1) make the baby’s nose appear larger, (2) reduce the size of their ears to looking smaller and out of shape, and (3) probably cause an overexposure of the image due to the closeness of the flash to the subject. One the other hand, a short telephoto lens (100mm) will reproduce our angel’s features to a normal proportion, all of his (or her) different parts presented in the proper ratio. Even a small distortion of proportion has a definite (and detrimental) effect on the features.

While I’m not excluding taking pictures at night with a flash, I am recommending that you wait for daytime for that wonderful light coming from your window. Turn off the flash or cover it with two layers of white handkerchief. A setting of 200 ISO should be sufficient for a good exposure. The bottom pane is the one with the most photogenic light, so if you can, close off the upper part. Try raising the mattress in the crib so that you can see the baby without looking down. Soft light from the sky or light reflected off clouds produces a three dimensional rounded effect especially flattering to a baby’s face. If the room is furnished in dark colors, place a reflecting surface near the baby to fill in the shadow. Use a tripod or other support and shoot away.

Try different angles: a high angle looking down, a position on the opposite side of the crib (turn it around), or even through the bars. Avoid using the macro setting on a zoom lens, since this setting most often incorporates a wide angle focal length. Find the closest distance possible on your short telephoto lens (85mm – 120mm) and stand at that distance. A two diopter close-up attachment lens could halve this distance for super close-ups.

For twins, try to have one sit and one stand. The diagonals produced in the composition introduce a dynamic note to the picture. Important is to have all eyes pointing in the same direction. A squeeze toy helps.

Silhouette Photo

In the area of photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background. More specifically, it is where your subject appears as a plain black shape against a brighter background. It is an artistic photography expression that many photographers like to refine and perfect in their images. This effect can be achieved with any bright light source with the sun being the most common. In a sunset silhouette photo, the sunlight in the background is exposed correctly forcing everything else in the photo to be underexposed causing the effect.

When you are preparing to take a silhouette image, there are many things to keep in mind. These tips are equally effective for both digital and film photography. First of all, you need to make sure that there is not too much light on your subject, even if it is being reflected on to your subject the stray light will ruin the effect. If there is not enough light in the background, your subject will appear grey instead of black. The effect is just multiplied when you have multiple colors of bright lights in the background. Some photographers focus on artificial lights, others focus on the sun at certain times of the day, the possibilities are endless.

I usually take my silhouette images when the sun is just above the horizon. I prefer the time around sunset because the sun causes the sky to be brighter than everything else for greater contrast. Another technique I use is to align the sun directly behind the subject so it causes a glow effect around the main subject. I usually use a relatively big subject so it creates a more drastic effect then a small insignificant subject.

I always use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) so the camera captures the whole scene with a high depth of field so everything is in focus. I usually use the aperture manual mode on my camera so I can control what the aperture will be and then the camera automatically selects the right shutter speed necessary for the photo. If you are trying to create the effect with a point-and-shoot camera make sure you compose the photo with the background light by pointing the camera at the background. If you compose the image by pointing the camera at your dark subject, then the background will be over-exposed and you will not end up with a silhouette.

About Basic Photo Composition

1) Remember, centered photos are boring. Pay attention the next time you’re in a movie theater; nothing is ever centered. Follos the rule of thirds – mentally divide the frame into thirds both vertically and horizontally, and place the center of interest (usually your subject’s eyes) on one of those ‘third lines.’

2) Frame your pictures. If you’re taking scenics of a distant lake or mountain, look for an interesting frame. This is no different from framing a photo on your wall. Your frame can be tree branches, rocks, or some other interesting foreground object.

3) When shooting portraits, use the longest zoom setting your camera will allow (without using the “digital zoom”). Also use the widest aperture (or the lowest f-stop number). This will throw the background into a nice soft focus, drawing your viewer’s eyes right to your smiling subject.

4) Look for distractions in the frame. It’s hard to learn to do this, because your brain naturally filters out the telephone pole growing out of Uncle Joe’s head – but the photo printer won’t. Look for objects which will draw your viewer’s attention away from your desired center of interest.

Follow these four simple rules, and you’ll begin to see a dramatic improvement in your photos!

Take Better Photos WhenTravelling

Pack light – don’t bring the entire house with you when you travel. Scale down your equipment to what’s really important and pack only the essentials. This way, you can challenge yourself to improvise during tough shooting conditions. Sometimes a masterpiece could be the result of a fortunate “accident”.

Get up early – capturing early morning routines of the locals and how the place looks like before it gets busy is a great way to start your day and learn more about the place.

Feel the place – it may be exciting to take lots of photos as soon as you arrive at your destination, but taking pictures for the sake of getting things done might hinder your creativity. Find the time to get to know the place by immersing yourself in the small details.

Get off the beaten path – while most photographers need to fulfil standard postcard shots, it’s also good to explore non-popular locations. Who knows what you might discover on your path? Don’t be afraid to get lost and wander off to unfamiliar areas. Just make sure safety comes first always.

Get to know the people – connect with the locals, other tourists, or even other photographers. You can gain new friends and learn new insights about the place. Additionally, each of your photos would have its unique back story.

Experiment with composition – go beyond standard techniques and try going for different composition techniques. Feeling the place has helped you gain a deeper perspective. Perhaps you can tell a story by breaking a few rules. By all means, rule of thirds, balancing elements, depth, etc. are tried and tested techniques, but you can always experiment with your own.

Make the most out of the golden hour – whether it’s before sunrise or sunset, be there ahead of time to prepare for the magic hour. Make sure you do your research and ask about the best places to shoot during the golden hour. Remember, good photography is about capturing and manipulating light.

Wilderness Landscape Photography

Opportunity for Wilderness Landscape Photography

Well, the desert is fairly flat and quite bland at first glance but that’s not the full story.

With dry salt lakes, myall trees, stone strewn clay pans, and red sand dunes, wilderness landscape photography images clamour for my attention from Roxby Downs to Andamooka and beyond to Lake Torrens.

Getting Around the Desert

But how can I get around? Distance is so vast and the country so inhospitable. It will kill you just for being there if you don’t look out. The family station wagon won’t go far off the bitumen. The tracks are so rough, and when it rains in this six-inch rainfall country, even a 4×4 will bog down or slip in the clay soil. There’s no way I could afford a 4×4 good enough for the trip from the coast to the centre and reliable enough to go out alone into that country. Furthermore, you wouldn’t take a good-looking vehicle on those rocky, desert tracks.

So I decided on an ATV. That’s an “All Terrain Vehicle,” “Quad Bike,” “four wheel motorbike.” I can transport it in a trailer behind the car and go to the end of the road, then jump on the bike.

Setting Up The ATV

The bike, set up with boxes on the back and front racks, pulls a small trailer. With this configuration I not only get myself way out beyond where a 4×4 will go without too much walking, but also my camera gear, tools, emergency supplies, water, fuel and my camp as well. In a nutshell, that’s about it.

Navigating the Wilderness Landscape

Navigation is with a topographic map, compass and GPS. Using the coordinates from the GPS, I know where I am on the map which is so much simpler than trying to identify distant features on a flat landscape.

For months, in my spare time, I studied the maps, getting the feel of the geography and topography and comparing this to the satellite images on Google Earth. This way I identified areas of likely interest. It’s amazing how the salt build up in Lake Torrens shows up on the satellite images confirming what I suspected from the elevation contours on the topographic map.

Wilderness Landscape Photography Trip

It’s 82 km from the bitumen to Bosworth Homestead, travelling right across Arcoona Station on the way. Parking the car beside a shearers hut, and after some good geographic and topographic advice from the pastoralist, I jumped on the bike and headed out along the track that follows the western side of Station Creek to Andamooka Island and made camp as the sun was setting.

Now, I’ve always wanted to camp on an island since I read “The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe”, as a boy. Andamooka Island, about 40 km long and up to 10 km wide is in Lake Torrens and separated from the mainland by a channel varying in width from a couple of hundred meters to a couple of kilometres.

The shallower parts of the channel were dry, so crossing was no trouble. Extensive salt water holes in the channel, super saturated and with the salt crystallizing out, provided micro and full view landscape images over coming days. With the sky subtly reflected in the base of salt crystals covered with shallow water, the stark vista was a wilderness landscape photography opportunity to be seized. Sights to blow your mind!

Camping Out

Camping, as you would imagine, was pretty basic. You can’t carry much on an ATV. No esky means no fresh meat, but tinned tuna on top of tinned beans and spaghetti goes down well when you’re hungry.

Priorities in Wilderness Landscape Photography

Photography took precedence over eating. Each day: out of bed, on the bike and off photographing before sunrise. Back to camp for brunch about noon. Off photographing again till late and then try to get back to camp before the diminishing glow of the setting sun left me in the dark. Although I have good lights on the bike, the country is just too rough to cover in the dark.

Hidden Dangers in the Desert

Although rare, this country is known to host the world’s most venomous snake, the inland taipan, as well as the king brown and several other dangerous species. There are also said to be scorpions about. I’m told that the dingoes have been eradicated from this area, south of the dog fence, but the nights were still pretty scary. Every time the breeze rustled the tent I’d wake, laying tense and listening for the sound of pads on the rocks. Needles to say, I gave my sleeping bag a good shake out before getting in each night.

Make Breathtaking Photos

Pick Your Spots Carefully

If you take your time to review the stunning photos captured by your colleagues, you will start to discover certain patterns. There is a particular one that emerges from the pile of the miscellaneous others – unique perspective.

You can easily notice that some of the photos of world-famous architectural masterpieces are simply more stunning than others. Why? Because a photographer picked an interesting spot to take photographs from.

Practice Composition

Every great photo follows the rules of great composition. If you are completely unfamiliar with composition in photography, the first thing you should learn is the rule of thirds. You should look at your photo as if were a tic-tac-toe (3×3) board. If you check the work of your colleagues, you will soon discover that they place interesting objects on the intersection of these lines.

This bit takes a lot of practice. Start by using the grid system most DSLRs and smartphones already have. After some time, you will develop an instinct to place the objects of your photography spontaneously in these spots.

Play with Lighting

Lighting is also one of the factors that plays a crucial role in the making of a stunning photo. If you are a beginner photographer, you should start by learning a few tricks, such as when to position the object behind and in front of the light source, how to leverage lighting to emphasize something on the photo, etc.

If you like to take photos of landscapes and city scenes, try focusing your photography efforts on taking pictures during the golden hours. During the early morning and evening, the light is perfect for photography, and there are many pro photographers who swear by this rule. If you take photos indoors, you will have to invest into some lighting equipment to play with.

Photo Editing is a Must

All of the stunning photos that have been captured in the modern history of photography were tampered with. Lightroom and Photoshop can make a stunning image out of the ordinary and “meh” photographs. You should definitely start post processing your photos if you want to end up with diamonds in your hands.

On the other hand, many photographers don’t have time or simply don’t want to get involved in image editing. If you belong to this group of people, you can outsource your image editing to professionals with years of experience in image post processing software.

Photo Booth

1. They can turn any boring event into a fun:

It can be any kind of party viz weddings, birthdays, New Year bashes, photo booth turn every occasion into fun. Almost everyone in this technology savvy generation is keen on clicking pictures and updating on social medias and what do we do? Give them a chance to showcase themselves. It also makes a social gathering less boring.

2. It requires zero efforts:

It doesn’t require some extra, huge efforts from your side. You can easily let someone attend the booth for roughly three to four hours. Any staff member would be eager for the job as it doesn’t require any effort.

3. Choose some classy props:

You can render these photo booths more interesting by adding some funky props like smiley’s, glasses, a decorated frame and let people revel and click. These props will make it a fun task and the party will eventually be a huge hit.

4. DJ addition:

What can one do more with props? Props and DJ will be a huge merriment for the guests. You can pose as well dance with the props. Some live performances will also render them and you an amazing host.

5. Photo booth customization:

You can choose and customize a booth which matches the theme of your party. Choose a palette which matches with your theme.

6. These are not expensive:

Gone are the days when photo booths were just a part of mega budget parties. Now, these do not cost much. Depending on the length of time, they are affordable. There are a lot of discounts and offers available for the same.

Pinhole Photography

At its simplest, a pinhole camera is just a light tight cardboard box with a piece of aluminium pie dish containing a pinhole to expose the film or photographic paper.

Of course you need to design a shutter, (your thumb will do), some way to hold the film in place and a system to seal up the opening where you put the film in the pinhole camera.

There is no viewfinder; you just point the pinhole camera in the right direction. You can draw some lines on top of the camera to indicate the field of view.

Exposure times for pinhole photography are usually measured in minutes.

Work out your exposure by the hit and miss method, also known as exposure determination by experimentation. This is where you say “Ooooh. I reckon about two minutes.” Then if it turns out ok, well and good. But if it’s not right, you either double it or halve it for the next exposure, depending on your assessment. Nothing wrong with that method for pinhole photography.

Let’s say you’re using 4″x5″ photographic paper. The diagonal of your paper is about 160mm. If you make the distance from the pinhole to the paper about 50mm to 80mm this will be ok. Length of about half the diagonal of the film. You could make the length 20mm to 50mm giving quite a wide angle. There’s nothing to stop you building your pinhole camera around a four foot length of drainpipe giving you a 1200mm telephoto pinhole camera, except that the exposure time might be in the order of several hours or all day.

My best pinhole cameras have used 8″x10″ film and have a length of 50mm to 70mm. Everything is in focus from 250mm to infinity. Angle of view is around 135 degrees.The light runs off at the edges of the image.

Note: 100mm = about 4″

There is much more technical stuff that can be studied but that’s all you really need to know to get started. So empty the breakfast cerial packet and build a pinhole camera.

You can use pretty much anything light tight to make a pinhole camera: biscuit tin, breakfast cerial packet, 20 litre oil drum, golden syrup tin, jam tin, match box, black ice cream container etc. etc. Would you believe you can even use your mouth?

Yes, in the darkroom put a short piece of 35mm film in your mouth and close it. Go outside and press the aluminium with the pinhole firmly against your lips, then open your lips for about 10 seconds keeping your head still. Reverse the procedure. You can work out the rest for yourself.

Consider whether it will be better/easier to use the end or side of your tin/box.

If you use a jam tin you can use alfoil and a rubber band for a lid.

Use black paint inside a shiny tin if you have some handy.

Invent a shutter. Black plastic and masking tape will do.

If you decide on a jam tin or golden syrup tin with the pinhole in the side, consider using a baffle that springs tight against the sides of the tin to fasten your film too. A piece of plastic milk bottle will do.

Handy items to have around are: breakfast cerial packet, masking tape, blue tack, plastic milk bottles, rubber bands, alfoil, scissors, knife, glue.

Your pinhole camera will give a negative image on your photographic paper. In this modern, computer age it will be possible to scan, change to a positive and computer print.

An SLR camera can be used for a pinhole camera simply by removing the lens and attaching a pinhole with black sticky tape.

If you are making a pinhole, look for the smallest needle in the set.

It’s important to have a smooth, burr free pinhole for the sharpest possible image. Ideally, push the tapered section of the needle through in several stages, gently removing the burr with fine wet and dry paper between actions. Rest the foil on cardboard as you push the needle through so you don’t stretch the foil.

Get the Perfect Exposure

The problem is that you didn’t expose your film 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 handles light, and the relationship between film 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 a slow ISO rating of 200 or upwards.

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.

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.

All about Exposure Compensation

Looking at different digital cameras, even temperately costing digital cameras have arrangements for exposure compensation settings. To explain in a bit detail, the exposure compensation allows the users to control the amount of light entering the lens. And thereby the illumination of the photograph is decided. Exposure compensation can be altered manually or by the help of a digital camera’s exposure compensation setting that lets one override the metered exposure set inside the digital camera itself. Strictly speaking, the exposure values provide an expedient line of attack to put a figure on the available light intensity and therefore exposure.

As per general norms of the users of digital cameras, certain standards exist for selecting such values. These values are specifically known as Exposure Values (EV). Selecting an up to standard Exposure Values (EV) helps maintain the details contained in dark areas of a photo, or diminish the more than usually bright areas. Again, looking from technical point of view, the Exposure Values are numbers that refer to an assortment of combinations of apertures of lenses and shutter speed respectively. They have a selective range of values, ranging between -2 to +2 Exposure Values (EV). As a general rule positive exposure settings are used for cases where bulky areas of a scene are especially bright such as taking pictures of a snow scene and also during times of photographing when the background is a good deal brighter than the focal area under consideration. Also, negative exposure settings are used for cases where bulky areas of a scene are especially dark and also during times of photographing when the background is a good deal darker than the fore area under consideration.

One point that is worth noting is that light meters cannot see color. They deliver every scene as 18% middle gray and become accustomed to the exposure accordingly. And most digital cameras will allows a photographer to compensate the exposure by 1 to 2 EV plus or minus in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments. A very important realization for any photographer is that the right exposure is only “correct” in the eye of the photographer; Exposure Value compensation can also be used as a creative tool.