Ever wondered how to get that silky smooth looking waterfall with nice vibrant colours? Well, it's not as difficult as you might think.
The main thing that you need to do is get the shutter speed down low. This particular image was shot at 1/5 sec. If you are shooting with low shutter speeds you will also need to have a good tripod or some other means of supporting your camera. You can use a cable release, or for this type of photography the shutter delay timer on your camera will work just as well.
Getting the shutter speed down low can be difficult during the day, but is easily achieved with the aid of a filter. You have a couple of choices, an ND (Neutral Density) filter - this basically reduces the amount of light hitting the sensor (or film) of your camera.
I have been doing some experimentation with different lighting techniques since getting my Flash Waves radio triggers. Here are a few macro samples of flora from around my yard.
Getting the flash (or flashes) off the camera certainly lets you control your lighting much better.
Dual FL-36 flashes. Shoot through umbrella to the right about 4 feet from the subject, with flash on full power.
Another FL-36 strobe with home made snoot and grid in close slightly to the left set to 1/32 power to make the purple leaf stand out from the background. Without this it was rather dull.
Backlighting is a technique whereby you light the subject from behind. That is, the light source (or sources) is in front of the camera but behind the subject. If the subject is opaque in nature such as the kiwifruit example you get a nice glowing effect.
You can take a couple of different approaches with this type of photography. Use available light, off camera lighting or a combination of both.
With my example here I needed a controlled environment so went with a single off camera flash triggered by a Flash Wave radio trigger. I also wanted a Hi-Key image which emphasized the dark areas of the kiwifruit slice (something a little different to the thousands of other kiwifruit images I have seen on the Internet).
Ever notices that when you use the flash on your camera that you end up with very strong shadows behind your subject? This is particularly true when there is a wall in close proximity behind your subject.
This can be very distracting and draw attention away from your subject rather than towards it. Ultimately ruing the composition of your image.
Using and external flash unit (not the built in or pop-up flash) there are various techniques available to help control the light. Each have their own merit and application.
My preferred method of using a Bounce Card allows consistent repeatable results with the minimum of fuss and provides good portability. It is a mobile solution that works very well indoors where you have a white wall or ceiling to assist.
What a bounce card allows you to do is turn your single flash into two different more controllable light sources. Two light sources I hear you say, how can that be? It's really quite simple. The bulk of the light is reflected of the ceiling back onto your subject. While a lesser amount of light is directed forward onto your subject. Leading to a more evenly illuminated subject. Using the power settings on your flash (as well as aperture, ISO and shutter speed) you can control the amount of light hitting your subject.
When shooting in low light conditions or with long zoom lenses some sort of support is a must to avoid camera shake and ensure a sharp image. A tripod is the obvious choice and will give the best result but it is not always the most practical.
However there are a few situations where a tripod is not the most practical accessory:
- When you are going tramping it is extra weight that you have to carry.
- Shooting images in a crowd with limited space.
- When shooting with long lenses and you want to move around. Think sports photography.
I recently purchased a Manfrotto 680B monopod and 486RC2 ball head. While I could have got smaller and cheaper I wanted something that would last me for years to come. It is rated as being capable of holding a load of 10kg and weighs in at around 0.83kg.
Rather than try to sell the benefits of a monopod, here are a couple of images taken under the same conditions. One handheld without monopod and one taken with monopod.
During the recent Lunar Eclipse a couple of days ago (28th August 2007) I decided to take some photo's with my new E-510. I wanted to achieve something a little bit different. Most moon pictures I've seen are either close-ups or time lapse sequences. Without sufficient zoom capabilities to do a close up and the unpredictable weather I opted for a long exposure shot.
I mounted my camera on the tripod, set it up (F10, 100ISO, IS1, noise reduction on) let the camera do a pre-focus on the moon, changed to manual focus then re-framed the shot. With my cable release triggered the camera and waited.
With it raining off and on (more on than off) for the past few weeks I have had little chance to use my new Olympus E-510 since getting it.
So, as the rain poured down on Saturday afternoon I decided to build myself a light tent. Not that I really have a keen interest in product type photography, it is still an area that I wanted to explore. It is a great inexpensive way to learn more about lighting and what does and does not work.
I decided to build a PVC framed box covered with a white cloth. For lights I used some cheap lamps with a clip rather than a base which meant that I could clip them to the frame and position them where required.
At the moment I am using 20 Watt Eco Bulbs (Equivalent to 100Watts incandescent lights). They have a colour temperature of around 2700K. I will try some other light sources as the time permits.
Depth Of Field or DOF is the part of an image which is in focus. There are a number of different factors that influence the DOF of an image including, focal length, distance from subject and aperture. In this article we will explore aperture.
Aperture is an indication of the size of the opening in the lens on your camera and measured in f-stops or f-numbers. Essentially, aperture is the ratio of the diameter of the opening compared to the focal length of the lens:
- The smaller the f-number the larger the aperture. Resulting in a shallower DOF.
- The larger the f-number the smaller the aperture. Resulting in a larger DOF.
Changing the aperture will also have another affect on your images. By using a larger aperture unless you compensate by slowing down your shutter speed the resultant images will be underexposed or appear very dark. By comparison a small aperture will result in overexposure unless you increase the shutter speed.
Sometimes in order to get the results you're looking for you just have to change the way you look at things! By getting a different POV (Point Of View) than everyone else it will make your pictures different from the rest.
Lets take a fairly common subject as an example - birds at the beach. Anyone can take pictures of birds but how do you make your pictures stand out from everyone elses?
We will assume that we haven't been lucky enough and fast enough to capture birds in flight and that we have had to resort to a picture of the bird standing on the sand, a rock pole or some other object.