Archivo de la categoría: How-To

How I Took This: Spooky Frangipani

I was surprised at the massive response to this photo when I first posted it on flickr back in June 2008. It is still my most viewed photo.

Spooky Frangipani

Click on photo to enlarge

Here’s the technical information:

Camera: Canon EOS 450D

Shutter Speed: 90 sec

Aperture: f/4.5

Focal Length: 10 mm

ISO Speed: 100

Exposure Bias: 0 EV

Date and Time: 2008:06:17 01:13:40

Exposure Program: Manual

Lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Equipment: Manfrotto 190XB Tripod, Manfrotto 322RC2 Heavy Duty Grip Ball Head, Canon RC1 Wireless Remote

A sleepless night ended up being a fortuitous event. I was visiting a friend in Townsville. A combination of insomnia and boredom led me outdoors with my tripod and camera. Fortunately, there was a full moon, some interesting cloud cover and a leafless frangipani tree in the front yard.

I decided an ultra-wide angle would give the expansive effect that I wanted to achieve. So, after fitting the lens and mounting on a tripod, I tried several different positions beneath the tree. I angled the camera upwards about 60 degrees – this is where a sturdy tripod and heavy duty ball grip head become very useful for fine control. I experimented with different ISO levels, apertures and shutter speeds. I finally settled upon ISO 100 at f4.5 for 90 seconds. Once again, enable mirror lockup and use a remote shutter release or self-timer to avoid camera shake.

I’ve found through lots of experimentation that trees and other stationary objects seem to take on an ethereal quality if shot at night at long shutter speeds. It seems that the moonlight gives an eerie glow and almost unreal texture.

So don’t be afraid to experiment – a lot. That’s the beauty of digital. You can delete anything that doesn’t work and practice makes perfect.

Slow Water Shots

Today I received a question on one of my flickr photos about how to take photos of blurred water. Here is the shot in question, click on the photo to enlarge:

Surprise Falls

The enquiry was from one of my contacts named kierobau and this was their question:

i like how you blured down the water a little,
so how do you do that?
a bit out of my league i guess . . .as i only have a p&s

My answer was as follows:

Hi kierobau,

As it was around noon that I took this shot, it was really sunny and normally it’s impossible to get a time-lapse shot at that time of day without over-exposing the photo. In this instance, I used a neutral density ND8 filter. This has the effect of blocking out three f/ stops of sunlight coming into the lens. Thus allowing me to take a longer exposure. There are a couple of important things that need to be considered when attempting a shot like this.

1. Amount of light (dawn or dusk or overcast days are best, otherwise use an ND filter).

2. A tripod (or somewhere to rest the camera without touching it) is essential as the slightest movement will wreck the sharpness of the features surrounding the water (which is of course the only thing that you DO want blurred).

3. A remote control or shutter release cable so that you don’t have to touch the camera at all after setting up the shot (framed and focused). If you don’t have one, set the camera for a delayed shutter release (5 or 10 seconds maybe). Most cameras have this feature.

4. Shoot in manual mode. Set your desired aperture and shutter speed. If you are unsure as to how long to set the shutter speed on your camera, use Aperture Priority mode. As you said you only have a point and shoot camera, it shouldn’t be a problem. Most modern point and shoots come with this mode these days. In this mode, all you need to do is to set the aperture. The lower the f/ stop, the smaller the aperture – so try setting your camera to 2 stops above the lowest f/ stop on your camera eg: if the lowest is say f/ 3.5, the next stop might be f/ 4 and then f/ 4.5 – so set the f/ stop to 4.5. An added benefit to this is that two stops above the lowest aperture setting is often the “sweet spot” that will give you the sharpest photo.

I hope all of that made sense. If anyone else has any more tips, that would be great.