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 Post subject: Photography 101
PostPosted: January 22nd, 2008, 7:18 pm 
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Joined: September 22nd, 2005, 1:43 pm
Posts: 6517
This thread is for tutorials and explanations regarding the technical aspect of Photography.


Last edited by socktan on January 22nd, 2008, 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Exposure
PostPosted: January 22nd, 2008, 7:18 pm 
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For all, there are three things that control exposure.

ISO setting (Film sensitivity) controls how sensitive your sensor (or film) is to light.
Shutter Speed - dictates how long your sensor (film) is exposed to light
Aperture - controls the size of the hole that lets light in.

So,

Aperture value is expressed in F# (F2.8, F5.6, F11, there are steps in between)

A high aperture number (small hole) lets less light in and therefore requires longer shutter speeds to make the image.

A low aperture number (larger hole) lets more light in and therefore lowers the shutter speed.

ISO changes the sensitivity... If you increase sensitivity it takes less time to make the image. Increasing sensitivity increases the voltage fed to the sensor, increasing heat, and digital noise.

Aperture also dictates how much of the image is in focus. That's called Dept of Focus, or Depth of Field, abbreviated at DoF. Wide apertures (low number) brings less into focus than a high number.


Last edited by socktan on May 13th, 2008, 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 22nd, 2008, 8:20 pm 
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Almost an Islander
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Thanks for posting this Chris. I find it very good information that I can understand much better that the stuff I have read in my manual.
My camera's manual makes me dizzy. :? :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Photography 101
PostPosted: February 10th, 2008, 1:36 pm 
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Location: Charlottetown
socktan wrote:
This thread is for tutorials and explanations regarding the technical aspect of Photography.

I was looking at your pictures - you did a great job! VERY beautiful pictures. You must be a very good photographer. Do you have to have a good kind of camera in order to take pictures that look great?


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 Post subject: Camera Shooting Modes
PostPosted: May 13th, 2008, 7:44 pm 
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Joined: September 22nd, 2005, 1:43 pm
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Time for another Photography 101 lesson, methinks!

Camera Shooting Modes

What are all the shooting modes on your camera for!

Easy answer: Some modes change how the camera exposes for the scene, some change how the camera focuses, some only change color and sharpness settings - some change how long the shutter stays open after the flash fires.

Common modes like auto, sports, landscape, macro, shutter priority, aperture priority, night portrait, manual, and so on.

The function of each mode will differ between brands, but for the most part, auto, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes are pretty much the same. The other 'modes' are flavors of these main four modes, except macro, which is available on compact fixed lens cameras only. For SLR's, you need a different type of lens, or, a device called an extension tube, to allow the photographer to select a closer focus.

Auto
Auto mode is fully automatic shutter, automatic aperture, and automatic ISO. The camera makes the exposure decision based on the reading from its built in light meter. Most camera makes will limit the automatic ISO to 400 and less to produce low-noise images. If your camera features a Program Mode you may be able to select higher ISO for low light areas. In program mode, the shutter and aperture are both automatic.

Aperture Priority
Aperture priority is semi-automatic. You select the working aperture and ISO, the camera selects the shutter speed based on the available light readings of its built in light meter. Aperture Priority is useful when shooting scenes where you want to control the depth of focus, and light is changing. An ideal example is on a partly cloudy day where the sun slips behind clouds, or a walk along a partially wooded trail, taking photos of flowers and such.

Shutter Priority
Shutter Priority is a semi-auto. You set the shutter speed and ISO, the camera selects the aperture that will make a proper exposure, again, based on the camera's built in meter. This is useful when shooting fast moving sports, or when combating hand-held camera shake, or freezing motion.

Manual Mode
Manual mode is full manual settings. This mode requires the photographer to make all of the exposure decisions including shutter, aperture, and ISO. The camera will lend a hand by showing you when it thinks a proper exposure will be made by means of the built in light meter. The photographer has full creative control in this mode.

Macro
Macro mode adjusts the minimum focusing distance of fixed-lens compact cameras. Some cameras can achieve focus 1" from the subject! Available light is low because the camera blocks the light. The subject is in the shadow of you and/or the camera. Flash is of almost no use this close, turn it off, grab a desk lamp or something to reflect some light in there.

How do I know what mode is what?
Auto is usually a green box, Aperture Priority Av, Shutter Priority Tv, and program is P, for Canon, anyhow. Your camera may be different, check your users manual.

What mode do I use for what scenario?
It's a bit of personal preference, really. Generally speaking, Av mode lets you select the aperture that will work best for your scene, unless you need to sustain a constant shutter speed, this is a nice semi-auto setting.

But, it's the final image you see in your mind that makes this decision. I prefer manual mode for most everything I shoot, and use the light meter as a guide. It doesn't know what I want in the final photo.

Aperture Priority is second for me, and Shutter Priority is last. I might have shot 10 photos on auto (out of 60,000!) and about the same on Program mode. I've never taken a photo on any other mode, unless by accident. hehe

What mode do you use? Why?


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 Post subject: Camera Shake
PostPosted: May 13th, 2008, 9:35 pm 
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Joined: September 22nd, 2005, 1:43 pm
Posts: 6517
Let's make it two tonight!

Camera Shake

Camera Shake is the term given to a condition where the camera moves while the shutter is open making an exposure. A photo that shows signs of camera shake is soft, or slightly out of focus, or extremely out of focus - depending on the degree of camera shake. Typically, camera shake is a problem that appears in low light, at long focal lengths, or both. Generally it is not an issue at higher shutter speeds.

To "see" camera shake and have a better understanding of the physical movement, try this:

Hold a crayon in your hand, pointed out in front of you like a magic wand, but level with the floor. Notice the very tip, there isn't a lot of movement. Now try something a little longer, like a pencil or pen. You might notice a bit of movement at the tip. Now, try holding a broom stick and look at the tip - it's really shaking now! If it's not, you have better nerves than I!

This illustrates camera shake on a level where you can see it - the tip is the end of the lens, and that movement is bad at low shutter speeds. Longer focal lengths (broom stick versus crayon) exaggerate camera shake.

Avoiding hand-held camera shake:

Keep your shutter speed at least 1/focal length. (what? - focal length is how much zoom you are using). Shooting at 150mm? 1/150, 80mm? 1/80 and so on. Keep in mind that as you adjust shutter speed, you may have to adjust either aperture or ISO or both. If you don't want to worry about aperture, use Shutter Priority mode and set the ISO high enough for proper exposure, the camera will bounce the aperture around for proper exposure.

When 1/focal length does not allow for a proper exposure, rest the camera on something stable, a lamp post, railing, concrete barrier, etc, anything to help keep the lens stable. You can also increase the ISO, open to Aperture to a lower number (bigger hole) to get a faster shutter speed.

Note - when using shutter speeds lower than 1/125, motion blur becomes a factor. Motion blur is the subject moving, not the lens, and can only be controlled by faster shutter speeds or a slower moving subject.

Avoiding camera shake on long exposures
Long exposures require no camera movement. Just the motion of pressing the shutter release cable can cause camera shake on long exposures. There are two options, use the built-in self timer so when the shutter opens, there's no movement. If your camera features a remote connector (or infrared remote receiver) buy one, and use it. Some digital SLR cameras feature a mirror lockup mode where the mirror is "locked up" out of the way to eliminate the vibration, then the shutter opens.

Some photographers exercise to condition their arms to hold weight more stable. Some may also practice breathing methods to reduce camera shake.

Image Stabilization it helps!

There are two types, physical image stabilization, and electronic stabilization.

Physical stabilization
Stabilizes the image by physically moving an element in the lens, or the image sensor itself. It is a more expensive technology, requiring gyroscopic sensors to sense the movement, and tiny motors or servos to compensate for this movement. Cameras and lenses that feature image stabilization are generally more expensive because of the extra components used.

Electronic Stabilization
This is a bit of a stretch by marketing departments. Electronic stabilization isn't actually stabilizing anything. It boosts the ISO (image sensor sensitivity to light) to achieve a faster shutter speed, while it does reduce blur, it decreases image quality by introducing ISO noise. It stabilizes nothing, just automatically uses higher ISO's, something you may be able to do yourself, depending on the features of your camera.

If all else fails, set your ISO higher, and use Shutter Priority mode with the shutter speed set to your focal length.


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 Post subject: dSLR sensor cleaning
PostPosted: July 29th, 2008, 11:06 pm 
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Joined: September 22nd, 2005, 1:43 pm
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Back in the day of film, when dust got on the film, it was bad for that picture, but it would "move" with the advancement of the film. You always shot on a new, presumably clean piece of film.

Digital SLR cameras don't work that way, once dust gets in by changing lenses or through the lens itself, it stays there until you clean it. Sensor dust appears as dark out of focus spots in bright colors, always at higher apertures, but if it's big you'll see it at lower apertures also. I usually see my flavor of dust at F10 or greater.

Cleaning is not a big deal to do yourself, you just need to have the right tools and instructions on how to do it. There are several tutorials on the internet, so I won't rewrite them here. If video is your thing, youtube is your friend.

Wet swab method:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpSi27u4azQ

Dry brush method:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtcIpzhh_xA

As you can see, it's really not a big deal to do it yourself.

At any rate, sensor cleaning is a delicate procedure, you're cleaning a plate of glass that covers your sensor, if you scratch it - it's time to buy a new camera. With that said, cleaning is quite straight forward. The first cleaning is always the most nerve wracking.

As you saw in the above youtube links, there are two types of cleaning methods; Wet cleaning, where a solution is applied to a specially designed swab and then wiped across the surface, and a dry cleaning method, where a statically charged nylon brush is lightly drawn across the sensor.

I have used wet cleaning, dry cleaning, blower bulb and also gambled with compressed air from a CO2 cartridge marketed as a sensor cleaner. Without hesitation I would recommend the dry cleaning method using the VisibleDust Arctic Butterfly. It's a dry cleaning method that uses a small motor to spin the bristles of a nylon brush to statically charge it. If you watched the youtube video, you've seen it in all its glory. It has worked really, really well for me at a one time cost of $90. I would never touch compressed air from any source ever again. Only the air from a blower bulb.

There are disadvantages to both wet, and dry cleaning methods. With dry cleaning, sometimes damp gunk sticks to the sensor and the static charge can't dislodge it. Sometimes in high humidity, the brush may streak the sensor. It happened to me once, but now I avoid cleaning in humid conditions.

Wet cleaning gets most stuff, but can leave streaks - particularly at the edge of the sensor. It can take a few attempts to get the sensor clean; each swab costs a few bucks so it can get expensive. Wet cleaning needs a bit of pressure too, so you should blow the chamber out first to move any big nastiness that could scratch the glass under the pressure of the swab.

If its still something you're afraid to do, find someone who has done it to help you, or contact your local camera shop. The last local shop I visited here didn't carry any sensor cleaning devices other than a Tornado Blower Bulb. I bought one, and it was the worst cleaning ever. The blower bulb had release agent inside it, when I blew the chamber out it expelled a fine crud all over the sensor. I've cleaned that bulb a number of times and always found it would still spit stuff out. I turfed it in favor of a Rocket Blower I bought at Futureshop. It's never blown anything but air, and came with some solution, a lens cloth and retractable lens brush. A great deal for $19.99 (two years ago).

Perhaps the tornado incident was an isolated incident. I learned when using a blower bulb method to first test on something like your bathroom mirror... make sure its not spitting out release agent (no matter what brand it is, really).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 30th, 2008, 9:20 am 
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When shooting at night during lightning storms, whats the best settings for the camera?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 30th, 2008, 9:40 am 
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Shooting lighting at night is as easy as fishing!

Use a tripod, set your aperture to somewhere between F8 and F11, ISO at 100 or 200 and bulb exposure, manual focus. A locking shutter release cable to control the exposure will be a great asset. In a pinch, set the exposure to 3-5 seconds and use the self timer to trigger the shutter. Then you fish for lightning.

Shooting during the day, or in an where there is ambient light will limit how long the shutter is open will make this difficult. You will have to take more photos hoping for luck to strike. (pun intended). The brighter the ambient light, the closer and brighter the lightning has to be to look cool. For example, dusk may only allow 1 second exposures at F8 ISO 100, where night could allow for 30-seconds plus exposures. You have to hope for a strike in 1 second versus 30 seconds.

Pro tip:
Same method for shooting fireworks... F8-F11, 8-12 seconds.

Good luck, don't get struck by lightning.

Edit: side note, the further away the lightning (or fireworks are) the lower the aperture...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 30th, 2008, 2:40 pm 
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socktan, have you ever made your own home diy studio?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 30th, 2008, 3:10 pm 
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It kind of depends on what your definition of studio is.

I've setup and torn down many times; most recently to shoot a collectors item for an eBay auction. I don't have the space at home for a studio, so I make do. My kitchen has served as a studio, my livingroom, but mostly my home office. (read: third bedroom)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 31st, 2008, 10:27 am 
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I have a spare room that I'd like to use to put up backdrops and just do some quick n' dirty portraits, just to practice.
Just not sure what is best but yet cost efficient enough to put as a backdrop. Or how to put it up in that matter.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 31st, 2008, 10:52 am 
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You should get the cool laser beam backdrop they used back in school for picture day!

Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 31st, 2008, 11:00 am 
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holly golightly wrote:
I have a spare room that I'd like to use to put up backdrops and just do some quick n' dirty portraits, just to practice.
Just not sure what is best but yet cost efficient enough to put as a backdrop. Or how to put it up in that matter.


Any non-reflective fabric should work for basic portraits backdrop, even a bed sheet. Natural light from a north facing window is great; use something to reflect the light to fill i the shadow area. Anything Bristol board works well, so do those those car windshield sun shades; bonus, they fold down for storage and transport.

Or laser beams, they're awesome.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: September 12th, 2008, 8:49 am 
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holly golightly wrote:
I have a spare room that I'd like to use to put up backdrops and just do some quick n' dirty portraits, just to practice.
Just not sure what is best but yet cost efficient enough to put as a backdrop. Or how to put it up in that matter.


Can't believe SingleCougar wasn't all over that comment..... lol

That being said, first time I have been in this tutorial section, great info Chris, thanks!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: September 12th, 2008, 9:07 am 
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Mainlanded wrote:
That being said, first time I have been in this tutorial section, great info Chris, thanks!


Thanks! I start teaching a short introductory to digital photography on Sunday!

I'm a little nervous!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: September 12th, 2008, 12:24 pm 
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socktan wrote:
Mainlanded wrote:
That being said, first time I have been in this tutorial section, great info Chris, thanks!


Thanks! I start teaching a short introductory to digital photography on Sunday!

I'm a little nervous!

oh fun ... good luck ~!!

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Worry is a futile thing, it's somewhat like a rocking chair; although it keeps you occupied, it doesn't get you anywhere.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: September 14th, 2008, 8:17 am 
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socktan wrote:
Thanks! I start teaching a short introductory to digital photography on Sunday!

I'm a little nervous!


Where? Please give us more info.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: September 14th, 2008, 8:59 pm 
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jpeg I sent you a PM with some details.


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 Post subject: Re: Photography 101
PostPosted: August 18th, 2009, 12:32 am 
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Joined: May 25th, 2009, 3:02 am
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Location: Currently Vancouver
Are you still teaching a class/classes? If so, I would be interested in knowing where and when.

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