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3 Basic But Essential Tips On Using Creative Apertures For Portraiture

3 Basic But Essential Tips On Using Creative Apertures For Portraiture

Here are some top tips for using apertures to create great portraits indoors and out at any time during the year.

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Creative

Portrait

Photo by Joshua Waller

 

Aperture is very important when it comes to portraiture as it controls how much of the background and foreground is in focus, which has an effect on how much of the focus is on the subject of your portrait. 

 

1. Depth-Of-Field

There is an amount of front and back sharpness in front of and behind the main focus point of your image and this is referred to as the depth-of-field.

The amount of depth-of-field within an image depends on several factors:

  • The distance between the camera and the subject – The closer the subject the more shallow the depth-of-field. With distant scenes, therefore, there is plenty of depth-of-field.
  • Choice of lens aperture – The wider the lens aperture (ie /2.8, f/4) the shallower the depth-of-field, and the smaller the aperture (f/16, f/22) the greater the depth-of-field.
  • Focal length – Contrary to popular belief a wide-angle lens does not give greater depth-of-field than a telephoto lens if the subject magnification is the same. You can test this for yourself. Take a frame-filling headshot with a wide-angle lens (you will have to get close to the subject, so warn them!) and then do the same frame-filling shot with a telephoto – this means backing away from the subject. Use the same aperture for both and you will see that the depth-of-field is the same.

Some cameras come equipped with a depth-of-field preview button, letting you see how much depth-of-field you have before taking the shot, but you can just experiment with depth-of-field and preview the shots on-screen to see what works best if your camera doesn’t have this particular function. 

 

Portrait

Photo by Joshua Waller

2. Photographing People

In terms of portraits, especially outdoors, wider lens apertures are often best because they throw the background nicely out of focus. How effective this is depends on the scene and focal length as well as aperture choice. If your subject is standing quite close to a distracting background even shooting at f/2.8 or f/4 will not throw the background out of focus but bringing the subject forward a couple of metres should work nicely.

If you do use a wide aperture for your portraits, do make doubly sure that the subject’s eyes are in focus. With the shallow depth-of-field created by wide apertures, even a small error can mean unsharp eyes and you do not want that in your portraits.

 

Portrait

Photo by Joshua Waller

3. Bokeh Backgrounds

How the background is thrown out of focus depends on the lens. Bokeh is the term used to describe the pictorial quality of the out of focus blur. Lens design and aperture shape play a large part in how effective its bokeh is, so do try it with your own optics. A good test is shooting a close-up portrait outside against a background with some bright pinpoints of light, ie sun glinting off water, car lights, streetlamps etc.

Of course, you might prefer greater sharpness in your backgrounds and that is when small apertures are used. The important thing is to keep your eye on the background and if it looks messy or cluttered use wide apertures rather than small ones.

 

Portrait

Photo by Joshua Waller

 

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5 Basic But Essential Top Portrait Photography Tips

5 Basic But Essential Top Portrait Photography Tips

Model

Photo by Joshua Waller

1. Start With The Basics

Once you get your camera out of its bag it’s easy to keep clicking the shutter button and forget you need to check backgrounds, subject position etc. Always look for shooting locations where the background isn’t full of distracting objects that clutter the scene and where possible, put some distance between your subject and the background. This will not only add depth but it’ll also make it easier to throw the background out of focus. If you’re using a compact this can be done via Portrait mode. For those with more advanced cameras, this means choosing a wider aperture. It’s also important to focus on your subject’s eyes and even if you’re shooting a friend or family member, don’t forget to keep giving direction.
 

2. Natural Light Is Free

Where possible it’s best to avoid using your camera’s built-in flash for portraits as most of the time, the results won’t be very professional-looking. Instead, make the most of window light which will help you create portraits to be proud of. North facing windows are perfect but you can use any that aren’t in the direct path of the sun. Overcast days are great for this as light is naturally diffused but you can get a similar effect by hanging voile or something similar. 

If your house lights are on, switch them off and do clean the window before you begin!

A reflector will come in handy for adding light to the side of your model’s face not next to the window, balancing the exposure in the process. You can buy reflectors but they can just as easily be created from a piece of white card, foil etc.

Try spot metering off your model’s face then have fun experimenting with composition. Tight crops on the face work well but do try using the window to help frame a couple of your shots. 
 

3. Want More Impact?

Full-length portraits work well but for something that has more ‘Pow’ behind it, move in close. If your subject and yourself are comfortable doing so this could mean physically moving closer together or reach for a longer zoom lens if your model feels more comfortable with a wider working distance. Something around the 85-135mm mark is a popular choice for headshots but do be careful with your shutter speeds when using longer lenses if working hand-held.

Face

Photo by Joshua Waller
 

4. Don’t Want To Give So Much Direction?

The simple answer is to try a candid approach and shoot often so you don’t miss any moments.

Try using a wider lens when working outdoors or at busy events such as a wedding as people won’t think you’re taking their photo if the lens isn’t directly pointed at them so will stay relaxed. Longer lenses will allow you to stay out of sight but still give you the chance to focus on one or two individuals. For compact users, why not switch to P mode so you can focus on getting the shot rather than on what settings you need.

If you’re working with children you could give them a task to do such as build a tower with bricks or kick a ball around outside to give you the opportunity to shoot some fun, in-the-moment photos which they won’t even notice you’re doing as they’ll be too distracted with the task in-hand.
 

5. Get Creative

Whether it’s adding fun props, creating interesting backgrounds with bokeh or using art filter and frames, there’s plenty of ways to get creative with your portraits. Many cameras feature Art Filters which will give your portraits a twist. This could be adding a vignette, changing the images to black and white or simply adding a sepia tone and grain to give it a vintage feel. 

To have fun with bokeh you can head out at night or use some colourful stringed lights (the type you dig out of the loft at Christmas) and drape them over a dark background. You then need to put a few meters between the background and your subject to increase the bokeh effect.

 

You need to use your lens at its widest aperture and focus on your subject. A small portable light is handy for illuminating the front of your subject but do be careful with the positioning of the light as you don’t want any light to shine on the background. Watch your white balance then experiment with framing to change the pattern created by the lights in the background. 
 

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dudler’s latest blog : not a very good lens ? but does it matter?

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

Not a very good lens – but does it matter?

10 Jul 2021 10:02AM  
Views : 54
Unique : 45

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So… A couple of years back, Amateur Photographer’s list of possible presents for Christmas (I think it was) included a Fujian CCTV lens, all the way from China for under £20. I bought one, and it gives rather charming results. I can envisage a few glamour photographers buying them for a Sliver-like ‘don’t you like to watch’ set of pictures. (I remain a Sharon Stone fan.)

But you can have too much of a good thing, as I proved to myself when I bought a 50mm f/1.4 Fujian in the hope of even better things. And while the 35mm has faults that add charm to the Bokeh and dark corners on full frame cameras, the 50mm has FAR more of them.

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Neither lens has click stops, and a diaphragm with plenty of blades changes from near-circular at full aperture to a long and thin rectangle when stopped well down before closing completely. There aren’t any index marks for either aperture or focus, so they might as well not be marked: though at least the 35mm lens has the f-stop sequence the right way round – the 50mm markings, if you can see them, mislead you as to which way to turn the ring…

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It doesn’t stop there (pardon the pun…) While the 35mm optic focusses to infinity more or less at the end of the focus movement, the 50mm goes way past infinity, and goes no closer than around four and a half feet: most 50mm lenses go down to one and a half feet, not one and a half meters! The package I received included a couple of extension tubes as well as the Sony mount adaptor, but these bring the furthest focus down to a few feet. It doesn’t feel well thought-through.

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Both lenses appear to be available still, at vastly varying prices, and I believe that there’s another branding with the same optics in a more user-friendly lens body. AP reckoned that this was worth the extra money, at nearly double the price. I’m less sure!

If weird appeals, for the price of a cheap meal out, you may want to give one of these lenses a go – though unless you have gone mirrorless, you will never achieve infinity focus!

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19 Basic But Useful Lightroom Shortcuts For PC Users

19 Basic But Useful Lightroom Shortcuts For PC Users

The Develop module in Lightroom, as the name suggests, is where you “develop” your images and to quicken the process up, there are several keyboard shortcuts available which allow the user to access and edit tools with a few key combinations – improving the speed at which you can process your images – and greatly improve your workflow.

 

As there are quite a few keyboard shortcuts we’ll be breaking the list up into parts and we’re starting with 19 basic but essential shortcuts for photo editing. 

 

1. Undo – Ctrl + Z 

If you want to go back a step as you don’t like a particular edit, press Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to save you time moving your mouse, clicking the ‘Edit’ tab and selecting ‘Undo’. 

Undo
 

 

2. Auto Tone – Ctrl + U

If you want Lightroom to have a crack at balancing your exposure this is the tool for you. With the click of two keys on your keyboard the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks sliders are adjusted by the software to create a more balanced exposure. The results can be quite good but you can always use the keyboard shortcut we’ve just talked about to undo the changes if you don’t like them.

19 Basic But Useful Lightroom Shortcuts For PC Users 1 

 

3. Auto White Balance – Ctrl + Shift + U

Again, this allows Lightroom to adjust settings automatically for you. This time, the Temp and Tint sliders are tweaked. You may not like the way your image looks after the automatic changes but you can always press Cntrl + Z to go back a step. 

White balance

4. Increase/Decrease Selected Slider In Small Increments – Arrow Keys

When making changes to a particular adjustments option you can use your mouse to adjust the slider’s position, increasing or decreasing the effect as a result. You can also write a value into the numeric box at the side of it but for more control, make use of your keyboards arrows. Left and down decrease the effect while the up and right arrows increase it. It also means your focus stays on the image rather than having to look where your mouse is positioned on the slider then flick your attention back to the image to see how it looks. 
 

Exposure adjustment

5. Increase/Decrease Selected Slider In Larger Increments – Shift + Arrow Keys

This works the same way as the above controls, but the increments at which the sliders/figures can be altered is increased. 
 

Exposure

6. Move Up And Down Through Basic Panel Settings – . (full stop) + , (comma)

The Basic Panel Settings section is where you’ll find options to edit white balance alongside other tonal adjustments. You’ll probably find you flick between a few of these options so instead of moving and clicking your mouse to select a different slider, just use the full stop and comma keys to circle through the various options available. 

Basic Panel

7. Select White Balance Tool – W

To quickly access the white balance tool (looks like a pipette) from any module, just press ‘W’ and it will instantly be selected to make quick and white balance adjustments. 

White Balance tool

8. Select The Crop Tool – R

The crop tool is a really useful function that can be accessed from any module with the ‘R’ key. In Lightroom, the crop tool combines as a handy rotational tool, too. Press ‘R’ again to deactivate this option. 

Crop

9. Select The Spot Removal Tool – Q

The Spot Removal tool has various useful features including the ability to remove dust spots and fix skin blemishes. It’s found under the Histogram tab but can be quickly accessed by pressing ‘Q’. 

Spot removal tool

10. Select The Adjustment Brush Tool (from any module) – K

The Adjustment Brush allows you to make a variety of changes to your images in a much more precise way. For example, you may want to brighten someone’s teeth without changing the exposure of the whole shot. To access this tool quickly, press ‘K’. 

Adjustment brush

 

11. Select The Graduated Filter Tool – M

The Graduated Filter in Lightroom is a very useful tool for balancing exposures (simulating the effect of a graduated ND filter photographers place in front of their camera lenses) and can be selected by pressing ‘M’ on your keyboard. 

Graduated Filter tool

12. Increase/Decrease Brush Size – ] / [

These controls work with various tools in Lightroom and are a quicker way to adjust the size of the brush you’re working with rather than having to move your mouse to select and move a slider. [ decreases the brush size while ] increases it. 

Brush size

 

13. Increase/Decrease Brush Feathering – Shift + ] / Shift + [

To alter how hard/soft the brush you’re using is you can use two commands: Shift + [ to decrease the feathering and Shift + ] to increase the feathering. 

Feather

 

14. Rotate Photo – Ctrl + ] Ctrl + [

To quickly change to orientation of the image you have selected use Ctrl + ] to turn it clockwise and Ctrl + [ to turn it counterclockwise. 

Portrait

15. Zoom In / Zoom Out – Ctrl +  / Ctrl  –

When you want to work on a particular area of a photo you can use Ctrl + to zoom in then press Ctrl – to zoom back out. 

Zoom

16. View Before And After Left/Right – Y

To compare your edited shot with the original side-by-side press ‘Y’. 

Before and after

17. View Before And After Top/Bottom – Alt + Y

To compare your edited shot with the original one above and one below press ‘Alt + Y’. 

Before and after

 

18. View Before And After In A Split Screen – Shift + Y

To compare your edited shot with the original on a split-screen so you see the original on one half of the shot and the edited version on the other half-press ‘Shift + Y’

Split preview

19. Edit in Photoshop – Ctrl + E

There may be times when you need to take a photo into Photoshop to finish the edit and to do this quickly without having to save your image and reopen it again, you can press Ctrl + E in Lightroom and it’ll be opened in Photoshop automatically. 

Photoshop

 

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5 Basic But Essential Tips On Taking Great Summer Shots

5 Basic But Essential Tips On Taking Great Summer Shots

Learn to shoot in summer sunlight so your images look as good as the real thing with the help of our 5 top tips.

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Landscape and Travel

When it comes to photography, light is the photographer’s friend but during the summer the light can be a little harsh and colours in images can end up looking blown out but there are a few ways you can prevent this from happening.

 

1. Try A Different Metering Mode

Cameras have various metering modes (Spot etc.) so you can pick the one that produces the best result when shooting in situations where there are bright sunlight and shadows to deal with. When working against a strong backlight (such as a bright sky and sand at the beach) use spot metering to ensure your portraits are correctly exposed.

 

2. Add A Little Flash

It doesn’t matter if you’re a compact user with a camera that has a built-in flash or are a DSLR owner who fits a flashgun to your camera’s hot shoe, both light sources can come in useful when shooting portraits in the summer sunlight. Why? Well, faces can end up with deep shadows on them, particularly under the nose and chin, so by setting your flash to fire, a splash of light will illuminate your subject’s face and remove unattractive shadows.

 

Portrait

Photo by Joshua Waller

3. Use Exposure Compensation

In bright situations, cameras can be fooled and shots can end up looking underexposed as the camera’s exposure system attempts to create a mid-tone exposure. To stop this, have a look through your camera’s menu for the exposure compensation feature. By using this mode you’ll be able to set a + or – exposure, depending on the camera’s results, and produce an image that’s correctly exposed. For example,  if the sand in a seaside landscape looks darker then it is, set a + exposure compensation. Various stops are available so it’s worth shooting a few images to ensure you get the results you require.

 

4. Make The Most Of Scene Modes

Try using your compact’s (Beach & Snow) Scene Mode to capture correctly exposed images when on the beach. With this mode, the exposure is automatically compensated so the sand doesn’t appear underexposed.

 

5. Use A Reflector

If you think flash is a little harsh for your summer portraits you can use a reflector to bounce extra light into your images. You can purchase purpose-built models, but home-made reflectors can work just as well. A bit of white card and foil will help you add light to shadows, resulting in a more pleasing portrait. 
 

Portrait

Photo by Joshua Waller

 

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dudler’s latest blog : always on her mobile ? but does she want to be on

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

Always on her mobile – but does she want to be on

5 May 2021 3:15AM  
Views : 56
Unique : 48

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Keith (Dark_Lord to those who don’t know him) posed a question about mobiles and models, and how the latter react to being photographed with the former. As it goes, I’d asked a few about this, very specifically, after EPZ published my article on using a cameraphone for serious pictures.

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Models are all individuals, and so I got a range of different reactions, and it may be a good thing that I don’t remember who said some specific things – notably the lady who said that a photographer turning up with nothing more than an iPhone would be shown the door in very short order!

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The majority expressed some slight uneasiness about the idea, as it could be an excellent way for someone who is classified in the modelling industry as a ‘guy with camera’ to cut his costs. An advance explanation that the said guy was doing this as part of a project, or because his pride and digital joy had died the day before would definitely help!

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One very specifically said that she doesn’t care, so long as the photographer pays – she clearly understands that she is in this to make her living. One gave a very definite ‘no!’ Others were more or less sympathetic, with distinctly more tolerance for someone giving advance notice and a credible reason. Putting this slightly more in context, you may want to remind yourself that quite a few models have a strong presence on social media of various kinds: Twitter and Instagram are part of their marketing.

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And actually, this may horrify you a bit: it’s definitely not unknown for models to want to photograph the screen of your camera to post with a cheery ‘look what I shot today!’ message. It could be part of your marketing, too, if you’re interested in that, and have an account on the relevant platform. ‘Marketing’ may not be quite the right word if you’re not in photography to make money, but maybe it works if you’re after the fame and glory.

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I’ve posted one or two Mobile Monday model pictures deliberately shot with my mobile – this will work better next time I shoot because my very basic Vodafone own-brand handset has been replaced with an iPhone SE, with a significantly better camera in it. If I’m cool, calm and collected, I can do that a week next Monday, when I’m aiming to return to a studio with Misuzu, to produce a series of pictures showing just what we can achieve (and teach) in that setting. Watch that space…

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How To Choose The Ideal Camera Bag: 4 Simple But Essential Questions Answered

How To Choose The Ideal Camera Bag: 4 Simple But Essential Questions Answered

Crumpler bags

 

When it comes to picking a bag to carry your camera and other bits of kit around in, it can take a while to come to a final decision as there’s plenty of top brands and styles to choose from. Some photographers will have a go-to bag for all occasions while others will choose to have a few different designs that have different uses.

To help you decide what camera bag is perfect for you, we’ve put together a few tips on what to look out for and we’ll also be asking questions you’ll probably be thinking about next time you’re shopping for a camera bag.
 

1. What Type Of Photography Do You Enjoy?

By thinking about the above question, you should be able to narrow down your choices. For example, a landscape photographer will find a backpack style more appropriate than a shoulder bag but someone who travels on planes a lot may want a roller case they can use as hand luggage but will pack a smaller bag inside it which they can use when they arrive at their destination. 

 

2. What Will You Be Carrying?

For the majority of shooters, it’s important to keep the weight of your bag to a minimum, even more so if you’re heading off on a long walk in a National Park. A Body and two or three good all-around lenses should be fine for most but if you do need to carry more, make sure there’s plenty of dividers in your bag to keep your gear snug and safe. Look for pockets that are easy to access so you can quickly grab memory cards, spare batteries etc. and a tablet/laptop pocket is a feature more and more of us are needing in our camera bags, too. 

 

 

Cullmann bag

 

3. How Quickly Will You Need To Access Gear? 

A good camera bag will allow you to access your camera gear quickly and easily. If you’re shooting in busy locations where you don’t want to have your camera out around your neck constantly, such as in popular tourist locations or in towns and cities, a sling design may be better than a rucksack as they’re easier to swing around to your front so you can access equipment without removing your bag. Shoulder bags can also be accessed easily while on the move but do take care not to overload this style of bag if carrying it on one shoulder.

 

Billingham shoulder bag

 

 

4. What Features Should You Look Out For?

 

1. Comfort

No matter what your planned shoot for the day is, be it a long photo-walk or a short trip to the local park, your camera bag needs to be comfortable as you don’t want to injure yourself and if something’s annoying you, it can distract you from your photography as well as irritate you. If possible, try your bag out before you buy it to test where straps sit etc. 

 

2. Material 

You want your bag to last so look for models made from hard-wearing fabrics and pay attention to how the bag is sealed. Waterproof covers can be very useful and many bags now come with them built-in. It’s also important to pay attention to small details such as zippers as plastic ones can be less durable than those made from metal.

 

Cullmann bag

 

3. Internal Dividers 

Having a bag that allows you to customise the interior will give you more flexibility when it comes to the gear you carry and how you carry it. Some bags feature inserts that can be removed when not needed, giving the user a bag that reverts to everyday use which is useful when travelling on planes when weight is limited so taking two bags may not be an option. 

 

4. Protection

Your bag doesn’t want too much padding so it’s bulky but you do want to make sure there’s enough to provide protection for your gear in the right places. Make sure you pay attention to the bottom of the bag to see if feet or a protective layer are provided. 

For more information on camera bags, take a look at ePHOTOzine’s guide to camera bag types

 

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dudler’s latest blog : a short blog but long on ideas

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

Profile

A short blog but long on ideas

25 Apr 2021 7:36AM  
Views : 102
Unique : 89

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It’s short because I was busy yesterday, and so I’m writing this at 7-20 in the morning, and I have things to do this morning. That’s different from much of the last year, for me! And the model returned some kit I lent her around Christmas 2019…

Yesterday, for the first time since October, I went out with a model to take pictures. We drove in convoy to Cannock Chase, and spent an hour or two wandering around and occasionally stopping for pictures. It was relaxing and delightful on a cool and sunny day. And when I got home, there was a daughter wanting to come round and do her lesson preparation in the garden…

So there will be blogs about my Alpha 900 and how big and heavy it feels after a break. And possibly why it convinced me that there might be something to this digital stuff after all. A blog about walking and looking for pictures. Maybe one about light and ‘seeing’ it for its possibilities. But that’s all for now…

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5 Basic But Essential Tips On Town Photography At Night

5 Basic But Essential Tips On Town Photography At Night

Town photography at night is a cool subject as objects that seem mundane in daylight can suddenly take on a whole new feeling/look at night. You can also use a variety of different techniques, too, to capture scenes in more creative ways. 

There’s quite a bit to cover on night photography but to get you started, we’ve got 5 quick but essential pieces of advice. 

 

1. Gear Suggestions

Sony Alpha A7S Mark II

 

Your DSLR and normal lenses are fine for this sort of work but long exposures are the norm so a good, stable tripod is recommended, that together with a remote release. If you do want a camera that’s particularly good in low light, have a read of our ‘Top 21 Best Low Light Photography Cameras‘ list. 

Important non-photographic essentials include suitable clothing, protective kit for the camera, a watch for timing B exposures and a torch – a wind-up head torch is a good idea. It is also taking someone with you, for safety and for companionship during your time when you are hanging around waiting for the exposures to finish.

 

2. White Balance

Sheffield Station Night

 

Auto white balance is fine but feel free to try the preset, perhaps incandescent or fluorescent. AWB is fine and colour casts can add to the image anyway.

 

3. ISO

Buildings at night

 

In low light, the temptation is to whizz up the ISO scale and shot at ISO1600 and higher. Most cameras cope well at higher ISO levels now but even though this is true, it is still best to stick to ISO100 or 200 and go for high quality and long shutter speeds. By the way, windy days, bridges that gently move, traffic vibration, poor technique, wobbly tripods, can all result in blurred images so watch out for that.

 

4. Buildings And Lighting

Railway Station

 

Office blocks and lit buildings are obvious subjects – and if it is raining, even better, especially, if your chosen location has cobbled streets.

Stop down to small apertures and highlights come as pinpoints of light and that can effective. Including streetlamps can result in flare – if they are in shot, there is nothing you can do about it so just go with the fact. In fact, on rainy evenings with water droplets landing on the lens you can get some graphic flare effects.

 

5. Traffic And Light Trails

Dubai

 

Light trails of moving traffic is a popular subject and it is easy to do. just find your scene, open the shutter and the moving traffic with its head and rear lights on will record as colourful lines. Popular places to try this technique is on bridges over main roads, roundabouts and busy junctions. Obviously, take great care with traffic and where you place the tripod.

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dudler’s latest blog : close, but no banana

dudler's latest blog : art, snap or reportage

Close, but no banana

15 Mar 2021 8:20AM  
Views : 127
Unique : 94

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A doubly-appropriate title, it turns out. My idea was to write about the shortcuts that don’t quite turn out right, inspired by a set of manual close-up tubes I bought a few months ago, and used today. And yes, they got me close, and everything functioned. But there’s a but.

They are nicely made and finished – no real beef there, and I was impressed until the first time I used them. And then I found an inherent design flaw, and two practical drawbacks. The design flaw is that – to keep the cost down – there are three tubes with simple screw fittings, and two relatively-chunky bayonet mounts. More about this later.

Let’s keep this in perspective: the tubes I bought cost under £15, and allow extreme closeups, giving a total extension of around 50mm. A pair of Kenko tubes that give a total extension of 26mm cost £100 more, but provide the electronic contacts to preserve automatic functions with the camera’s focus and diaphragm control. With the cheap tubes, you don’t get that.

Practical issue number 1: this means that you can’t control the aperture of FE mount electronic lenses. There’s no mechanical stop-down option, so you are stuck with whatever aperture the lens rests at, and very possibly with the focus setting as it was when disconnected from the camera. A modern lens is completely fly-by-wire. So, in practice, usable only with all-manual lenses. Not too much of an issue for me, as I have plenty of them, but a complete showstopper for most people.

Practical issue number 2: the screw fittings between the components can get quite tight, especially as you’re tightening them up as you bayonet the lens to the camera body. And, as all the relevant parts are light aluminium alloy, they can jam together and be hard to remove. There’s no problem with the bayonet mounts, which are chrome-plated, but you may spend some time struggling to get bits apart, as gripping them tightly can distort them enough to jam harder. A couple of pieces of chamois leather or some other grippy material can be a help.

And the chunky bayonet mounts – the minimum extension, without any of the three tubes mounted is around 15mm, so that a more wideangle lens with limited focus travel may have a gap in the focus range. Again, not a problem for serious close-ups, as you’d be using a longer-focus lens.

It makes the Meike pair of tubes (similar to the Kenko set, but unashamedly made in China) seem good value at £25 or less…

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