Archivo de la etiqueta: cards

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.

Tripping Around

We have spent the last few days tripping around Mossman and the Atherton Tablelands. We stayed at my sister-in-law’s last night. She has been an avid photographer for 20 odd years. We got up early this morning and went and took some photos. The next day, we finally arrived home today from our outback adventure. Now the foreboding task of sorting through all of my shots and separating the wheat from the chaff. Here are a couple of photos that I took in the final days of our journey.Then I was back on the road today and this will be my last post until next week. Here’s a photo of a sign that I took yesterday that I thought would be appropriate.

Photography Phorms Phirm Phriendships

xcuse the indulgence of the title, I just couldn’t help myself… :)

Last night I met Ben for the first time. We started chatting after he made a comment on one of my shots at flickr that I had posted in the DPS Assignment for that week. Since then, we’ve made comments on each other’s photos and emailed regularly. Now the great thing about this is that he gives me honest critiques of my work and as a result, I have often taken his (and other’s) advice on board and turned what I thought was a good shot into a (IMHO) great shot. This is invaluable.

At first, when I started submitting photos for stock, I would get disheartened about rejections. But I decided to turn the experience around. As a result, I have been spurred on to find out exactly why my photo was rejected and how to fix it, or how to improve my technique so that my future submissions will be of a higher calibre. I’ve developed a more critical eye of my work and I think it shows in my latest work. While a shot may look good, I have learned to look for the little things like noise, chromatic aberration, sharpness etc.

At the time that I started looking for these things, I asked a few of my regular flickr commenters to honestly critique my work. I value their opinions and as an added benefit, formed some firm intercontinental friendships. Fortunately, Ben lives in Brisbane and when we had to make our unexpected stopover, we finally got a chance to meet. So here’s the result of our first collaboration. We had said we were hoping for a fire engine to come past and finally one did. These are the results… The first shot is Ben’s and the second shot is mine.

Tall Tripod Tales

A little alliteration goes a long way on a weary Saturday afternoon. Today I thought I would share a cautionary tale with those of you who don’t know this already. The first tripod that I bought was a Manfrotto. As I didn’t know much at all about tripods and photography in general at the time, I assumed that because it had the Manfrotto name, it would be a good tripod. After all, I had paid a massive $189 for it! Ah… that salesman saw me coming from a mile away. It was the best one in the store – a leading white goods and electronics retailer. Hmm thank goodness for hindsight being 20/20. Never again. As I later discovered, $189 was bargain basement price and as the old adage goes, “you get what you pay for”.

So what to look for in a tripod. Some advice that I was given and read along the way was:

A) A good tripod and head are usually NEVER sold together. You’ll probably have to buy both items separately in order to get something decent.

B) Have a budget. I couldn’t afford to spend a lot of money but I knew that going cheap was not an option either. Get what you can afford.

C) What do you want from the tripod body? Would sturdiness or weight be your main consideration. If you won’t both of these considerations in one package then you are looking at big bucks for one made with carbon-fibre material. For me, weight is a much more important consideration (though I don’t want something flimsy either). So I opted for the Manfrotto 190XB Aluminium Tripod which weighs in at 5kg. Not too heavy to carry cross country on my landscape adventures, but sturdy enough not to have to worry about its stability.

D) What kind of tripod head do you need/prefer? My tripod had a flimsy ball head which would either not hold in the place that you put set it, or it would slip under the weight of the camera body and lens. Precise orientation of the camera was limited too and I would spend ages trying to line the camera up. This almost put me off ball heads altogether. Yet I kept reading that “all the pros use them”. So when it came time to bite the bullet, I investigated further and tried a few of them out. See Lesson 2 below. I decided to go with a Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head. It was both firm and flexible and its manoeuvrability can be customised with a “friction” dial to make it either looser or stickier to move.

A couple of lessons learned here:

1) Buy your equipment from a reputable camera retailer. Generic retailers and department stores often have both limited stock and the staff generally have limited knowledge of cameras and camera equipment. You might strike it lucky and find a salesman who knows what he is talking about in one of these stores, but I never have (I would also apply this advice for computers and computer equipment although the chance of finding a geek who knows his stuff at a department store is much better in my experience).

2) If possible, try the equipment out before buying. In the case of a tripod, carry it around the store and get a feel for the weight. Set the tripod up and collapse it again – does it work efficiently and smoothly? Attach the tripod head that you have chosen and try it out as well. Attach your camera. If you haven’t got yours with you, ask the salesman to get your model from the showcase with a comparable lens – ask them to attach the heaviest lens that you have in order to gauge whether the tripod head can support the weight of both the camera and lens, particularly in portrait orientation.

3) Have a healthy bank balance. Be prepared to spend at least $200 on the tripod mount and another $200 on the tripod head.

4) If the salesperson has any problems with the requests and/or actions in Lesson number 2, refer to Lesson number 3. You are spending a lot of money and if the sales staff are not obliging, go spend your money at a store that will accommodate your requests.

So if anybody has any suggestions to add, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and share your experience. I am by no means an expert but I like to share the knowledge that has so freely been given to me.

On to my two new photos for today. Here are some shot that I took yesterday on my explorations in Brisbane. Click on the photos to enlarge and have a good weekend.