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Digital SLR issue 82

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get into photography, one shot at a time stunnING


go wild on a back garden photo safari


COMPOSITION GET IT RIGHT ON EVERY SHOT “I want to buy a compact system camera but don't know which one to choose”

Reader’s buying dilemma solved


photo techniques

you need to know ! Tips and tricks so good you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them

5 Projects to shoot today win a photo trip to paris


he Digital SLR staff love photography too and, when we’re not putting the magazine together, we’re out with our cameras. Here’s what the team got up to this month...

“When it comes to macro photography, you have to be in the right place at the right time and my luck means that I’m typically in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, this month I was fortunate enough to have a damselfly seek me out in my back garden as I was enjoying a cup of tea. As always I had my camera to hand, and luckily with an 18200mm superzoom fitted, so I managed to rattle off a few frames before this majestic creature floated away.” – Matty, Editor


Ever read or been told a piece of advice that proves so useful you wish you’d heard it years ago? Well, this month’s special feature will give you not one, but 15 gems of wisdom that will help transform your photos forever. Some of our advice is kit related, but most of it is simple technique tricks you can employ to get better results every time. Either way, if you want some fresh advice to really make a difference to your images, turn to page 6. Getting great advice makes a huge difference and this is certainly true when it comes to buying kit. Our new Reader Rescue feature is here to advise our readers so they spend their hard-earned money on the right gear and this month we help one such reader pick out a compact system camera from seven contenders. Positive and helpful advice is the best way to improve your photography and, in case you didn’t know already, Digital SLR runs a monthly live Friday Feedback session on our Facebook page, where every image posted gets some useful critique from our team. The next sessions is 12 July, so if you haven’t participated before, give it a try. We hope all this advice and inspiration fuels a photo-filled month. Enjoy the issue.

Matty Graham, Editor

“I love the RAF red arrows, so when they came to a nearby show, I had to shoot them. I was using a Canon EOS 700D and Tamron 18-270mm. I used the smoke trails as leading lines as they turned in their trademark diamond formation.” Ian, Technical writer

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“I had a holiday in the Cotswolds earlier this month; lovely part of the world. This butterfly isn’t a native to Gloucestershire, but I did find it - along with hundreds of others - in the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo. Shot with a Fujifilm XS-1” – Roger, Editorial director

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Contents Digital SLR

Issue 82

Your new-look issue comes packed to the staples with great photo advice. This month you will find…


Composition conquered!


Reader rescued!

Photo Technique

6 15 killer techniques COVER

Want to make a real difference to your photography? You have to read our 15 expert tips that will completely change your approach to picture-taking.

16 Back to Basics: Garden wildlife COVER

You don’t have to go far to find flowers, bugs and birds – just step out your door.

31 Photo Ideas COVER

Packed with projects and picture-taking ideas, this new feature will have you out and about with your camera in no time.

62 10-Minute Masterclass COVER Give us ten minutes of your time and we’ll explain everything you need to know about composition.

68 Find the golden hour

Nice landscapes can be shot any time during the day, but really beautiful images need light from the golden hour.

READERS’ SHOTS 24 Feedback

Improve your picture-taking skills by following the feedback from our panel of photo experts.

52 Reader Hero

Digital SLR reader Damian Hock lives his photographic life in the fast lane. Don’t miss his octane-fuelled images.

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58 Photoblogs

Been on a photo day out or shot a set of themed images? Send them in – these readers did just that.


Technical writer Ian Fyfe is here to answer your equipment and technique questions. You can put his PhD brain to the test, just like these readers.

78 Reader Rescue COVER

We dispatch our photo buying emergency service to help a damsel in distress as one reader picks between seven compact system cameras.

See our great subscription offers Print edition ✓Get the next 8 issues for just £20 ✓13 issues of Digital SLR magazine for just £1.92 a copy ✓Free delivery direct to your door


84 Affordable telezooms COVER

Kit lenses are good but, if you want to capture sports or wildlife, you’ll need a telezoom. We test six of the best.

competitions & regulars

29 Win a Parisian photo adventure Send us your best travel image and we could give you a trip to Paris in return.

44 Subscribe

Sign up for 13 issues and we’ll do you a fantastic deal.

Digital edition ✓Access the digital edition on your iPad or iPhone ✓Head to the App Store, search for Digital SLR magazine and choose your subscription deal ✓Buy the new issue, a back issue, or sign up for a subscription – it’s up to you!

46 Next issue

Hear about more great features.

98 Wordsearch

Find words, win software. Easy.

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Digital SLR Plus

matty graham

This feature has extended content in our free digital magazine. Download it at dslrplus

Matty says… If you shoot at the beach, give your tripod a good clean when you get home. Sand can gunge up leg locking mechanisms. 6  DIGITAL SLR  issue 82

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Want 15 top tips that are guaranteed to improve your images? The next eight pages will change your photography. Forever!

Use a tripod to stay sharp Imagine two images printed out in front of you. One is pin sharp and the other somewhat blurry – which one will you mount and hang above the fireplace? No contest, eh? Keeping your images sharp is a simple photographic discipline, but it’s amazing how many people get it wrong. The safest way to keep your photos sharp is to use a support. Tripods are the best, as their three legs keep the camera super steady, but you can also use a monopod or even a beanbag cushion if you want to shoot very low to the ground. Remember, the lower the light, the longer the shutter speed so there’s more chance of shaky images on duller days. A good tripod doesn’t have to cost the earth – we tested seven value for money supports in Issue 81, and our test proved you can buy a quality tripod and get change from £100. Of course, getting sharp images doesn’t begin and end with a tripod. Simply pressing the shutter button can cause vibration, so try using a remote release. If you don’t have a remote, use the self-timer mode on your camera. This means those vibrations have time to calm down before the shot is taken. Lastly, some digital SLRs offer a feature called Mirror Up. Using this mode moves the internal mirror out of the way before you press the shutter button to further reduce the risk of vibrations. If your camera has this, you’ll find it in the menus, but a tripod and the self-timer should be all you need to drastically improve the sharpness of your images.


“the safest way to keep photos sharp is to use a support” See the difference a tripod makes in Matty’s two images. The inset photo above was taken without a tripod and suffers from shake. With the camera on a tripod (its legs firmly set into the sand) and using the camera’s self-timer mode, our editor gets a blur-free photo. Follow us on Twitter:

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Back to Basics

Digital SLR Plus

Go wild in your back garden This feature has extended content in our free digital magazine. Download it at dslrplus

There’s a world of amazing wildlife photos to be captured and the best news is that you don’t have to go further than the back garden to find them. Drew Buckley explains more... eather permitting, you’ll be spending plenty of time in your back garden over the next couple of months. After all, the grass will need cutting, the beds will need weeding and the kids will need telling off for ruining your plants. Again. But your back (or front) garden needn’t just be a horticultural battleground, it can be a photographic haven too. The summer months are some of the best to discover the world around you in close detail, and

I’m not just talking about creepy crawlies and garden birds. There’s a huge variety of plant life and flowers that attract a ton of different bugs, and these can also make great photo subjects themselves. This guide will help you make the most of the photo opportunities that abound outside your patio door. From simple techniques for shooting flowers to more advanced advice for photographing birds, I’ll go over how to get the most out of your very own garden safari. Don’t forget to download the bonus content in the Digital SLR Plus free digital magazine as well!

Read this feature and you’ll learn how to shoot: Blooming brilliant flowers…

…creative close-ups…

… and fabulous photos of our feathered friends!

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Back to Basics


“your back garden needn’t just be a horticultural battleground, it can be a photographic haven too!”

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In association with

Expert advice and ideas to help you improve your pictures

ND Filters explained ND filters (ND stands for neutral density) come in two styles; graduated and solid. Graduated ND filters (like the one shown here) are half coloured and half clear and are typically available as a square format. They’re popular with landscape photographers as they reduce the contrast between the land and the sky.

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Solid ND density filters reduce the amount of light entering the camera. This makes them ideal on bright days when you may want to use a longer shutter speed or a wider aperture than is possible without the filter in place. Available in different strengths, the 10-stop filter used here is great for long exposures in daylight.

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Meet the experts Our Feedback panel have over 60 years of picture-taking experience between them, which guarantees you’re getting top quality, image improving advice

Matty Graham Editor

Ian Fyfe Technical writer

Roger Payne Editorial director

Mike Hamilton Fisherman’s sunset “I was inspired to take this shot as the location is an area where I’ve captured some good photos before. And at the time I hadn’t used my 10-stop filter for a while, so the clouds and timing of the sunset were perfect.”

MARK BAUER – CONTRIBUTOR This is a shot with impact. By getting in close and low with the wide end of a 10-20mm lens, Michael has created a dynamic perspective. He’s also taken this shot at the right time of day; the low evening sun has picked out the form and texture of the subject, really enhancing the composition, as well as the mood of the scene. The twominute exposure – the result of using an extreme ND filter – has smoothed out the water, minimising distractions, and created some interesting cloud movement, which has really added to the atmosphere of the picture. Technically, the image is spot on, with excellent front-to-back sharpness (thanks for the f/22 aperture), and it’s well exposed – Michael has done well to maintain detail throughout the tonal range in contrasty lighting. A lot of care has gone into the composition, too; not only is the overall balance of the composition effective, but attention has been paid to the small details – notice how the groyne marker in the background sits underneath the rope. For me, just one thing would improve this shot. I find the end of the boat sticking into the frame on the right slightly distracting. Cropping would remove it, but would also cut off the end of the piece of wood behind the buoy, so a slight change of camera position at the shooting stage would have been ideal. However, someone with good post-processing skills could probably clone it out, and this would be worth doing.

“a lot of care has gone into this photo” CAMERA INFORMATION Canon EOS 7D Lens: Sigma 10-20mm Exposure: 120secs at f/22, ISO 100

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 CANON EOs 5D Mark II

 28-80mm lens  1/60sec at f/6.3  ISO 400

a selection of fantastic portfolios around the world

photo fest Motorsport snapper and Digital SLR reader Kevin Sloan decided to try something new at a local festival. He tells us how the atmosphere helped him take great people pictures


ome rain or shine, summer is the season of festivals. Whether small local affairs or gigantic international events, these are great places to take photos of people – you’re sure to find all sorts of characters and goingson, and the party atmosphere means that most people won’t shy away from the camera. Digital SLR reader Kevin Sloan visited a local event to try out a new style of photography. “I went to the Eden festival, a small event here in Dumfries and Galloway,” he says. “It’s only been running for a few years, but it’s getting bigger and better. I’d heard that they were doing a paintball fight this year, which I thought would be interesting for pictures.” Lining the event up as a photo opportunity, Kevin snapped up the chance of a press pass and spent all three days soaking up the atmosphere and documenting the event. But this isn’t his usual style. “Most of the time I do motorsport photography at car rallies. But I was asked by a friend to do this, just to try something different, and I thought it was a good chance to broaden my horizons and see what else I could do. 58  DIGITAL SLR  issue 82

“It was my first festival, so I was a bit cautious about how people were going to take it when I was taking pictures of them. But because it was a festival atmosphere, it was just a case of asking people if they’d like their picture taken and they were automatically jumping into various poses for the camera – that made it really easy. “I was a bit out of my comfort zone to start off with, but once I realised that people were happy to jump into poses, it was interesting to photograph what was going on over the weekend and I really enjoyed it. I’d certainly like to do another one.” As his first experience of photographing people in a setting like this, Kevin also thinks it’ll help in the future. “I’ve certainly built a bit of confidence from what I did over this weekend. I’d feel more comfortable in approaching people to get a picture of them now than I did before.” Over the three days, there were events and performances, from music and juggling to jelly wrestling and the paintball fight that Kevin had lined up beforehand. By capturing all these aspects, his set of pictures conveys the overall atmosphere of the festival.

top “This is a friend who DJs and I took this photo because I loved the colourful backdrop behind him as he concentrated on his set.” above “I loved the colours in the girl’s headband mixed with the powder, and she seems oblivious to the chaos in the background.”

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 Name Kevin Sloan  Age 33  Job Shop assistant  Camera kit Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 70-300mm, EF 28-80mm  Best bit of camera advice you’ve ever been given “Don’t be afraid to get out there and give it your best, or to approach people”

“Because it was a festival atmosphere, people were automatically jumping into poses for the camera”

Although he was primarily there to take photos, Kevin says that this didn’t stop him joining in the fun at times. “I was mainly concentrating on taking pictures, but I was there with another photographer so when he was interacting with the crowd, I was taking pictures, and if I joined in, then he would take pictures.” Kevin’s trip to the Eden festival was part of a recent effort to widen his photography skills, but his interest started some time ago. “I did an art and design course in 1998 that involved photography, and that’s when I first got into it. But it’s only recently, over the last two or three years, that I’ve got a better camera,” he explains. “Before that, I was just taking snaps for my friends who were competing in rallies, but now I’ve started taking it a bit more seriously.” In fact, Kevin is looking to go into photography professionally, triggered by a situation that’s all too common at the moment. “I was made redundant just before Christmas, Follow us on Twitter:

and that’s when I started trying to make some money from my photography. At the moment, I usually upload my photos onto my Facebook page, but I’m working on a website for my pictures at the moment. I hope to have this up and running soon so I can try to make a business out of it.” His ambitions are reflected in some rather dramatic upgrades to his kit. “I was using a Canon EOS 400D,” he says, “but in the last six months I’ve upgraded to a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I’ve got myself a studio setup as well. It’s starting to build momentum, so now it’s just a matter of pushing it as far as I can.”

“i was out of my comfort zone, but enjoyed it” top “With low light and a glowing hula hoop, this was a great chance to slow the shutter speed and capture the main stage in all its glory with a bit of movement and blur.” middle “As my subject leaned in to light the torch, he was lit perfectly in the low-light conditions.” above “I changed this to black & white as it helped display the smoke coming from the flames.”

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Digital SLR 82  

Digital SLR Issue 82 Sampler