…Is the simplest way to better pictures. Plain and simple.
Most images are taken from eye level (booooring). It is what we see on a daily basis. So I ask you this: When was the last time you saw someone crawling around on the ground and, when you inquired (quite concernedly, I would assume) as to what they were doing, they simply replied “I just wanted to see what it looked like from down here.” NEVER! So be that person. Look at the world in ways most people can’t or don’t. Just make sure you have a camera in your hand so you don’t look too crazy.
Although better than a typical angle, this shot has been done time and time again.
Far too often, people get caught up in, or tripped up by, the numbers involved in Photography. f/stops, shutter speeds, ISO values… You might as well be trying to decode the Bermuda Triangle. But once you understand how they work, both individually and together, the world of creative photography opens up like the proverbial oyster. For years, I’ve been teaching students to keep it simple… The more you over-think the numbers, the more frustrating it becomes.
I’ve seen a lot of graphics outlining the Exposure Triangle, but haven’t really come across a comprehensive, yet easy to understand visual representation of it. So, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to devise a way to illustrate a comprehensive version of the Exposure Triangle, while keeping it simple enough so that it doesn’t overwhelm. Hopefully this helps some of you that may have been struggling with putting it all together.
I was on my way home from a meeting downtown earlier this week and traffic was horrible, so I decided to head to the Evergreen Brickworks to kill some time, take some pics and to see what all the hype was about. It’s a pretty neat place with lots of little details to shoot. Here are a few pics from a quiet weekday afternoon…
We had some fun with our new gear at Nuit Blanche last weekend. We wanted to test out the high ISO capabilities of our new camera bodies, so we didn’t bring a tripod with us. Here are a few shots, all taken handheld between ISO 800-6400.
For an event from which we tend to see the same image ad nausea, the SuperMoon on May 5th, 2012 sure garnered a lot of hype. And most of the pictures all look the same (mine included). But just because other people will likely take the same picture doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Especially new photographers. You can learn a lot by shooting a little white dot in an otherwise vast black nothingness. Seeing as the moon is something that new photographers tend to struggle to capture, here are a few variations of how you can shoot the next Supermoon (or any moon, for that matter.)
You can try Exposure Compensation, but your camera may not give you enough leeway to underexpose enough to retain detail in the Moon.
You can also try Spot or Center-Weighted Metering on the moon itself to retain detail.
However, the best way to learn how your camera works is to use it in Manual mode. Start with settings along the lines of: ISO 100, Aperture around f11 and a Shutter Speed in the vicinity of 1/30 of a second. Keep in mind that this shutter speed requires a tripod for stabilization (remember my mantra… Below 60, stabilize), which is almost always a must when shooting scenes at night.
The key thing to remember here is that we need to under-expose the shot, because the camera’s light meter will see a primarily black image and try to bring it up to what it thinks is the “proper” exposure, resulting in a black sky with a bright white dot with no detail in it.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for simple, uncluttered images. I’m also drawn to the idea of conveying emotion in a picture. However, you don’t necessarily need a person (or an object, for that matter) in your image to convey emotion. Colours, lines, textures, shapes, patterns, etc. can all work together, or individually, to get a certain feeling across to the viewer. So the next time you are out taking pictures, try to simplify by choosing compositions that are made up entirely of one or more of the elements above.
By eliminating a distinct point of interest in the photo below, the image can portray a feeling of isolation, desolation or, to some people, perhaps serenity or calm. The idea of art is to evoke different feelings from different people and keeping it simple leaves your photos open to interpretation.
Colour, texture and lines all combine here to make this simple composition more interesting.
One thing that new(er) photographers think is out of reach for them is taking pictures of moving subjects. What they don’t realize is that the end result doesn’t necessarily have to be totally sharp or in focus. Playing around with slower shutter speeds not only teaches you how your camera works, but it can create some of the most exciting and interesting results for novices.
Take the example below. To show motion like this, it is simply a matter of choosing a slower shutter speed (recipe after the pic)…
To add interest/contrast to this pic, I placed the tree in the foreground so I would have something sharp in my frame to offset the blurriness of the moving train.
Recipe for this shot:
Shutter Priority mode (S or Tv)
Dial in a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second or slower
Use a low (100-400) ISO value to retain detail
Stabilize your camera (a tripod is preferred, but anything that will prevent camera movement can be used)
Turn on your camera’s 2 second timer to avoid unintended camera movement when you press the shutter button down
Get out and try this, it’s easy and fun. It doesn’t have to be dark out, but try to avoid experimenting with this in bright sunlight, as it can result in overexposed images.
Feel free to leave some feedback below if you try this…