Archive for March, 2010
On the weekend my daughters and I participated in the Lindfield Rotary Club FunRun for 2010.
The public school my two elder daughters attend organised a group of families to participate together as a fun community event. We entered the 5 kilometer walk, however as kids do we ended up jogging much of the way.
This was also a good opportunity to try out my new camera backpack I had purchased the day before. I wanted something which would carry most of my camera gear and make it easy to get at the equipment and especially the camera whilst on the move. Doing so whilst on a walk/jog for 5kms would be an ideal test of that as well as how comfortable it would be when fully loaded. I had purchased the Kata 3N1-20 which allowed use as both a backpack or sling bag and also has side entry for quick access.
There were about 1,800 participants in the event so there was a large crowd in attendance this early in the morning. It was a beautiful day and the kids and I enjoyed the experience and it was fun to participate with 70 other people from our little school community.
There are usually many different combinations to achieving a ‘correct’ exposure but whilst the image may be ‘technically correct’ only one of these combinations may result in the image you have in your minds eye when you take the photograph.
In an earlier blog post I discussed the three factors which when combined set the exposure (Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO) and depending on what combination of values is chosen the resultant image can be vastly different in feel, impact and meaning.
One of the most expressive tools you have at your disposal to control the look and feel of your photograph is by adjusting the Aperture.
The following sequence of images are aimed at giving you a feel for how the same image may change as you adjust the aperture used to take the same photo. Adjusting the aperture for a shot most directly affects the depth of field (the amount of the photo (in front of and behind the selected focus distance) which appears to be in focus).
The sequence was taken within seconds of each other with both the subject and the camera staying in the same locations – also for each shot I was attempting to focus on the subjects eyes. I should have used a tripod for this since even 1/60s handheld for a 135mm focal length isn’t ideal so not all of the shots are sharp.
All shots used the same 90mm (135mm effective) lens and I had the camera set on Aperture Priority Mode so that I could adjust my chosen aperture manually and the camera would then choose an appropriate Shutter Speed (and ISO) to match. The reason that the camera chose to adjust the ISO was because there wasn’t enough available light late in the afternoon with very small apertures to have a shutter speed fast enough (1/60s or above) when hand holding the camera.
The sequence of shots is from f/32 (smallest aperture) to f/2.8 (widest aperture) in one whole stop increments.
This first shot is taken at an aperture of f/32 which generally will give a very deep depth of field.
Finally with the lens wide open at f/2.8 the depth of field is so shallow that even the tree branch just behind the subjects head is completely blurred and without detail and the subject pops off the image.
I was up early again and unlike yesterday when the sky was full of clouds there were almost no clouds this morning (quite a bit of haze however providing a very warm glow to the sky above the horizon).
Another chance to setup my tripod at my bedroom window and take some shots facing approximately east towards morning twilight and sunrise.
All of these shots are untouched from the out of camera RAW images (no white balance correction, no tone or colour correction) – just the standard Nikon RAW profile then resized and sharpened – so the colours you see are as the camera captured them.
6:44AM – I didn’t start shooting anywhere near as early as yesterday so the sky was already fairly well lit by this time and we have some fantastic warm glow through the high wispy clouds today. No really long exposures required today.
7:00AM – the sun is just about to peek over the horizon.
7:06AM – the orb of the sun has now risen onto the horizon.
Up early in the morning so it was another chance to setup my tripod at my bedroom window and take some shots facing approximately east towards morning twilight and sunrise. In my mind I felt there were probably way too many clouds in the sky however that’s nature and it’s way out of my control…
The other problem with lots of clouds and some breeze is that with the really long exposures the clouds move too much during the 30 second window which creates quite a bit of blur in the shots. This is why I’ve cropped the images to half height – basically the clouds above me in the sky especially in the wider angle shots have moved too much and it is just a blurry mess 🙂 It isn’t till the much shorter exposures (sub second to a few seconds) that we actually get shots with decent sharpness.
Most of these shots are untouched from the out of camera RAW images (no white balance correction, no tone or colour correction) – I added a touch of contrast and brightness to two of the shots – just the standard Nikon RAW profile then resized and sharpened – so the colours you see are as the camera captured them.
The first shot is at 6:12AM – to the naked eye it is basically pretty dark outside and thus the long exposure and wide aperture to gather some light.
The second shot is 13 minutes later at 6:25AM – although this shot looks darker – it was taken at f/25 which is about 5 stops slower than the above image.
6:38AM – starting to get some nice colours rimming the clouds.
6:59AM – a large cloudmass directly in front of the rising sun created this very nice “V” shaped shafts of orange light beaming up into the sky.
On Saturday mornings my three daughters have swimming lessons and then my eldest has a piano lesson. There is this quaint little church opposite where the lessons are held so in true sad case photographer style I decided to use the opportunity to take some shots and experiment a little. My middle daughter also received a little Canon point and shoot for Christmas so we all got to run around and snap some shots.
This was a chance to further try my new Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens both for portrait shots and some not so fantastic macro flower shots.
Macro photography really needs stability to work well – at this close range any infinitesimal movement is disaster because of a number of factors (including the fact that the area in focus can often be a millimetre deep so any movement will kill the shot). Some tips for good macro photography (pretty much most of which I ignored today!!):
- Must use a tripod!
- Keep the subject still (e.g. no wind)
- Use a remote shutter release or self timer (so that the act of firing the shutter doesn’t introduce vibration)
- At this range depth of field is tiny so a sufficient aperture (f/11, f/16, f/22 or above) is a ideal
- Focus manually (autofocus tends to hunt – a lot!)
- Soft light (overcast day)
- Don’t shoot down on flowers (shoot from the side or even from below)
In the case of today I had to shoot handheld because I didn’t have a tripod with me and we had lots of light breeze which was blowing these flowers all over the place – so I guess it’s lucky I got any macro shots that were even half usable – it was fun to play however…
The first two shots are with my Nikon 18-200mm VR lens. I then switched to the Tamron 90mm for the remainder of the shots.
I think the next two shots are probably my favourites of the girls.
This shot shows how shallow the depth of field is at f/4.0 with this lens – I focused on the eyes of my eldest daughter and by the time we get across to my middle daughter who’s face is perhaps only two or three centimetres behind the focus is nicely thrown out.
The first of my macro (and not very at that) flower shots (with swaying flower heads in the breeze!!!!) and even at f/13 you can see how shallow the zone of focus is – just the back petals of the front flower along with the stem of the back flower are in focus.
I just couldn’t capture a good shot of the lavender (too much swaying and slow shutter speed) but the colours were very nice so I thought I’d include it anyway 🙂
There were some spectacular frangipani’s in the grounds (and my daughters love these flowers) so we had to attempt a few shots of these as well.
I wish I’d a bit more time to setup and take these shots a little better plus the midday sun was getting pretty harsh – but by now the girls had had about enough of me taking photos 🙂 so they were pretty restless andt I just had to fire a few quick ones off.