Page 1

GET MORE FROM YOUR CANON D-SLR! £3.99 WITH FREE DISC May 2011 Issue 48 £3.99



Get outdoors with your Canon!


Learn the laws of the land!


CANON 600D How good is this new EOS SLR?

Bust the dust! Six sensor cleaners tested



Monster zooms The top lenses for wildlife and sport


How to shoot

How to make your own


Use a beer can and a drill for a DIY soft-focus lens!


VC off

@ 270mm F5.6 with VC on

One lens Every moment

Main image: Focal length 18mm . Exposure F3.5.

Features Tamron’s PZD (piezo ultrasonic motor) technology for superfast and silent autofocusing

18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD

NEW - 60th Anniversary Model

The world’s lightest, most compact 15x Zoom (i) Features Tamron’s first piezoelectric autofocus motor PZD (Piezo Drive) Built-in VC (Vibration Compensation)

(i) For SLR camera high-zoom-ratio lenses with 15x magnification capability. Current as of December 2010. (Source: Tamron). Available in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts: The Sony mount does not include the VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization functionality, as the body of Sony digital SLR cameras includes image stabilization functionality. This lens is not designed for use with 35mm film cameras and digital SLR cameras with image sensors larger than 24x16mm.

TAMRON STOCKISTS Bristol Cameras - Bristol 01179 140089 Cambrian Photography - Colwyn Bay 01492 532510 Camera Centre Cardiff - Cardiff 02920 394182. Newport 01633 262738 Camera Solutions - Chester 01244 403540 Cameraworld Ltd - London & Chelmsford 0844 264 0664 Carmarthen Camera Centre - Carmarthen 01267 223355 Castle Cameras - Bournemouth 01202 526606 Clifton Cameras - Dursley 01453 548128 Conns Cameras - Dublin 00353 1 677 7179 Devon Camera Centre - Exeter 01392 201718 Jacobs Ltd - 0845 600 6055 Jessop Group Ltd - 0800 083 3113 London Camera Exchange - Bath 01225 462234. Bristol 0117 9276185. Cheltenham 01242 519851. Colchester 01206 573444 Derby 01332 348644. Guildford 01483 504040. Leamington Spa 01926 886166. London (Strand) 0207 3790200. Portsmouth 023 9283 9933. Mifsud Photographic – Brixham 01803 852400 Morris Photographic Centre - Chipping Norton 0845 430 2030 O'Learys Camera World - Cork 00353 214 273988 Pantiles Cameras - Sevenoakes 01732 742988 Park Cameras - Burgess Hill 08450 502266 S.R.S.Micros - Watford 01923 226602 Walters Photo Video - Merthyr Tydfil 01685 723419 Warehouse Express - 01603 486413 Frank Wilkinson Cameras - Preston 01772 556250. Southport 01704 534534

Intro 2020 Ltd. Priors Way, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 2HP Tel: 01628 674411

New eyes for industry

Up Front

A big welcome to...


The world’s favourite magazine for digital EOS enthusiasts!


■ We’re the only magazine in the newsagent that’s 100% dedicated to Canon D-SLRs – making us 100% relevant to your needs. ■ We’re 100% independent. We don’t answer to Canon and don’t rely on them for advertising – if Canon brings out a new camera or lens and it’s rubbish, we’ll say so! ■ We’re all Canon enthusiasts and between us we’ve got 200 years of photography experience. We’re excited about passing on what we’ve learned (even from our mistakes). ■ We don’t assume you’re a millionaire. We focus on the Canon D-SLRs most people buy, and feature software and accessories within the average person’s budget. ■ We’ve got the best cover disc out there. On it you’ll find an unrivalled collection of Photoshop video lessons presented by the team! ■ We are proud to feature some of the best writers and photographers in the business. Turn to page six to meet them all now!

’m often intrigued at how quickly digital photographers adapt to new technology. In this month’s Canon SLR College, I’ve been looking at Live View (see p72). It’s a feature that has been on Canon D-SLRs for less than four years – but I’ve found so many uses for it that I don’t think I could ever give it up now. I’ve just come back from Dartmoor where we shot this month’s cover and material for our special feature on shooting landscapes, and I used Live View for accurate manual focusing in low light, for precise alignment of grad filters, and so I could see what I was doing when using an 8-stop ND filter. During our road trip I also had a chance to use Canon’s latest D-SLR, the EOS 600D. You’ll see our full test on page 94, but the new feature that I’m now almost certain I can’t live without is the rotating LCD screen. I liked this when I tested the 60D, which introduced this innovation. But now, like Live View, I keep finding ways in which this feature helps me to get better shots more easily.

Chris George Editor

Get bound up!

Can’t bear to throw away your PhotoPlus magazines, but now have piles of them everywhere? Tidy up and get your mags neatly filed filed in our popular white binders! Go to shopphotoplus to order and for full details.

Issue #48 May 2011


LET’S OFF-ROAD! The Apprentice................ 8

Learn the best ways to shoot motorsports

Your Letters ....................18 Subscribe today! ...........20

Discover hot tips for shooting off-road rallies as our Apprentice joins top Canon pro motorsports photographer Jakob Ebrey

Page 8


Inspirations .....................22

Amazing new shots from top Canon shooters

The Laws of the Land .....32

Discover 25 new ways to shoot landscapes

PhotoPlus Skills............. 43 Photoshopguidestoreplicateretroeffects

Win an iPad 2!................ 47 Enterourreadersurveyforachancetowin

Canon SLR College............72 Learn all about Live View on your EOS D-SLR

Dream Team .................. 76 The PhotoPlus team solves your dilemmas

Your Photos ................... 82

We offer expert feedback on your best shots

£20,000 of prizes..........88

Enter our Photographer of the Year compo!

SUPER-TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENSES We test six monster telephoto lenses, from £670 to £1,215

Page 108

Canon EOS 600D ..........94 The latest EOS D-SLR with a fold-out screen

Help me buy ................100

We help a reader buy a cheap macro solution

Super Test..................... 108 Six super-telephoto lenses are put to the test

Next issue.......................117

A sneaky peek at what’s in store next month!

Your Video Disc............129 New video guides on this month’s cover disc

My Favourite Shot .......130

Commercial flower photography at its finest 4 | PhotoPlus May 2011


Can I use full-frame lenses on a crop

Already a subscriber? Grab a half-price acrylic print in Subs Club! Page 20


Learn 25 laws of the land to improve your scenic shots

Page 32


Become our Photographer of the Year! Over £22K of prizes!



Learn how to recreate fun retro effects in this month’s Skills section

Turn to page 43

PLUS Follow our easy Photoshop lessons on your Free Video Disc!


factor camera? p76

How can I improve my waterfall shots? p79

Which printer is best for black and white? p80 PhotoPlus May 2011 | 5

The PhotoPlus Apprentice

“Let’s get


Words: Peter Travers Location pictures: Joby Sessions

Getting muddy has never been so much fun! Our Apprentice shoots a leg of the British Rally Championship alongside a top Canon pro

THE PRO... Name: Jakob Ebrey Camera: EOS-1D Mark III Macclesfield-born Jakob, 33, runs Silverstone-based Jakob Ebrey Photography, the UK’s leading national motorsports photography agency. He’s the official British Rally Championship photographer and also shoots many other highprofile motorsports events. More at

8 | PhotoPlus May 2011

THE APPRENTICE… Name: Dave King Camera: EOS 40D

Trucker Dave is 57 years old and hails from Essex. He’s been taking photos since he was 15, and used to help out pro photographers at Arena Essex Raceway shooting all sorts of motorsports in the ’80s. Now using a Canon D-SLR, he asked for our help to improve his sports action shots.

Your chance to shoot with a pro

PhotoPlus May 2011 | 9

The PhotoPlus Apprentice

PhotoPlus Techniqueassessment

Is Dave poised for perfect action pictures? Set Tv mode

“Taking control of your shutter speed is critical when shooting rally in action,” advises Jakob, “so I got Dave to use Tv (Shutter Priority) mode, so he could set his shutter speed while his camera takes care of the aperture. I generally want a shutter speed of 1/250-1/500 sec to freeze the action, unless I’m panning for motion blur.”

Manage your ISO

“To make sure Dave’s D-SLR is letting him set a good and fast shutter speed I got him to manually increase his ISO,” says Jakob. “It was a dull day, so we were shooting at ISO400 and 800 for most of the day. If you don’t increase your ISO, even shooting on your lenses widest aperture (such as f/2.8 or f/5.6) won’t achieve a resulting fast enough shutter speed.”

Dave’s comment

“I pulled this one out of the sequence (all shot at 150mm focal length) as the car is a good size in the frame, and I felt it’s the most dynamic, with the driver fighting fighting to keep the car in a straight line after powering through the water. There’s enough splashes flying out of the wheel arches to create a real sense of speed and, thanks to Jakob’s suggestion, I’ve managed to get a sharp shot of the car using the AI Servo autofocus mode.”


KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #1 Armour and protection

“My kit is always getting knocked about as I’m racing around trying to keep up with the rallies; I’m constantly heaving the gear in and out of cars and switching cameras,” says Jakob, “so to protect my EOS bodies I’ve covered them with Camera Armor and my lenses with neoprene covers.” You’ll find armour for EOS bodies at, and www.wildlifewatchingsupplies. sell neoprene covers for many telephoto lenses.


Fail to prepare…

“As the old saying goes, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail…’” laughs Jakob. “Photographing rally is all about logistics. Arrive early, get a race schedule and race map, and plan ahead – where are the good spots and what time will the best drivers be in these areas? What about access? Can you walk or do you need to drive? Where’s the next stage, and where can you park? Plan out your day and then you can focus on your photography.”

10 | PhotoPlus May 2011

Safety first

“When photographing rally, whether you’re a pro or amateur, the most important rules are to never turn your back on the cars, don’t get too close to the track, know where you’re going to run if the cars crash off the track in your direction, and avoid danger zones, like the end of fast straights!” says Jakob. “I never kneel while shooting, either, as it’s faster to run out of the way if standing. Rally can be unpredictable, but use your common sense, stand well back with a telephoto lens, and you’ll be safe.”

The PhotoPlus Apprentice Jakob favours the sports photographer’s Canon of choice, the EOS-1D, and carries two 1D Mark III bodies equipped with lenses, and a 1D Mark II N backup, plus the following range of kit: Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM Canon EF 1.4x Extender Two Canon Speedlite 580 EX II flashguns Yongnuo CTR-301P and Pocket Wizard flash triggers Manfrotto 055XDB tripod and 222 joystick head

Dave’s comment

“For this shot we’d positioned ourselves on a tight, muddy corner, hoping to get some good shots of cars power sliding. Using a fast shutter speed of 1/350 sec meant I could capture the car at the moment the driver put the power down mid-corner. Cropping has improved the shot immensely, as the original had car looking quite lost and too central in the frame. It’s also removed a distracting tree and fence from the foreground.”

KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #2 Flash for action


Unlike some action sport events, when photographing rally from the track side, it’s fine to use flash. “I often use flash on bright days when I want to fill in the shadows on the ‘dark’ side of the cars. Using my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and sticking with TV mode, I set my flash manually as I want to expose for the car not the whole scene, usually around 1/2 power on sunny days. I’ll also use High Speed Sync on my Speedlite so it will still fire properly when using a fast 1/500 sec shutter speed.”



Go telephoto!

On Dave’s EOS 40D, his 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens created an EFL (effective focal length) of 112-320mm. “But Dave was using more of the 70mm end of the lens. I encouraged him to move back and use the lens fully zoomed in at 200mm (EFL 320mm). Combined with a wide aperture (eg f/4) it will further blur backgrounds to really help the rally cars stand out from their surroundings for added impact,” says Jakob.

Exposure: 1/350 sec at f/4.5: ISO400 Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

12 | PhotoPlus May 2011

Your chance to shoot with a pro

KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #4 Super-fast telephoto lens


Memory card backup

One of the benefits of pro Canon EOS 1D bodies is that you can record images to two memory cards simultaneously. “I use two cards together to instantly back-up my shots in case a card fails or gets damaged,” advises Jakob. “It’s good working practice and I just can’t afford to let big clients down because of a faulty memory card.”

Jakob’s secret weapon for shooting rallies in dark forests is his old Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM lens. “It’s super-fast, enabling me to achieve fast enough shutter speeds when light levels are too low for my 70-200mm f/2.8. At f/1.8, it’s over a stop faster – and two stops faster than cheaper f/4 lenses. Even at f/1.8 it’s super-sharp, too. It’s also a brilliant portrait lens, and I often use it in the paddock after races.”

Jakob’s favourite rally shots

Our top motorsports photographer on three different approaches to rally photography…

Sunlight and speed


“Early-morning light and the dust kicked up by the cars make a great combination. Here, Craig Breen blasts into a stage on the Pirelli Rally. I just love the effect that sun shining through trees and the dust creates. You don’t have stand next to every other photographer all the time to get a great shot!”

Get in close


“The morning sun in Wales has helped me capture the flying mud, lifting out of the darker surroundings. Totally filling the frame with the mud splatters and only showing part of the car shows that you don’t need all the car in the picture to capture the drama of a rally. This is my favourite rally shot ever!”

Kicking up dust


“Rallies take place in lots of different environments, from snow and ice to closed public roads, and my favourite – forest tracks. If you pick your place well, you can use the tracks to make a natural frame for your image. Here in Kielder Forest, the swooping track and dust in the air frames the car perfectly.”

PhotoPlus May 2011 | 13

Landscape Special


2 5 simple

rules! Don’t get left behind this summer as you venture into the great outdoors – here are 25 brilliant new ways to improve your landscape photography in an instant!

32 | PhotoPlus May 2011


he great outdoors. It’s a beautiful place to be, with the sun at your back, and your Canon D-SLR poised, ready to capture the wonderful countryside or coastal scene before you. But how to find such stunning landscape locations in the first place? What are the best techniques for ensuring that what you see

Top shots from great Canon shooters See page 22 in front of you ends up as a perfect picture on your camera? And how do get that breathtaking pro look to your scenic shots? Over the following ten pages we answer these questions and many more. We start with the best ways to plan your landscape shots, from location selection and keeping an eye on the weather to knowing exactly what time and which spot the sun will rise and set for the best landscape photos. We reveal sure-fire solutions to make sure your shots are pin-sharp every time, with advice on aperture choice and focusing points, and .why it’s essential to use a tripod and avoid touching your camera when firing the shutter. We also help solve your composition conundrums and share skills for spicing up your shots. We round this landscape special guide off with secrets on how to create images like professional landscape photographers, with straight-talking techniques on how to use filters. Turn the page now to learn the laws of landscape photography‌


1. Planning for perfection ........p34 2. Sharp shots ..........................p36

3. Composition solutions .........p38 4. Get the pro look ..................p40

PhotoPlus May 2011 | 33

Landscape Special


Times of day to shoot

Fran Halsall

At first and last light, the sun is lower in the sky, creating longer shadows to add depth to your landscapes, the light is softer and more diffused, and the skies are (hopefully) more colourful, making sunrise and sunset the best times to shoot landscapes. But don’t think that you should always avoid midday sunshine, this can be a great time to capture images full of energy and a spread of tones, with contrasting blue skies and white clouds.

Perfect planning The things you must do before even leaving the house… Exposure: 4 secs at f/16, ISO100 Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM


Check the tide times

Heading to the coast? Then arm yourself with a tide times guide so you’ll know, whatever day and time it is, exactly when low and high tide is in advance, to enable you to arrive on site at the perfect time to shoot. QuickTide ( provides tide tables for £7.99, and is available in versions for the North, the South East, and the South West of Britain.

Adam Burton

34 | PhotoPlus May 2011

Learn how to get action-packed rally shots See page 8


Exposure: 1/350 sec at f/5.6, ISO4 00 Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5 .6 IS

Keep an eye on the weather forecast

ideal if shooting watery scenes such as waterfalls – as the lower light levels allow slower shutter speeds for capturing motion in the water (use an ND filter for the best results – more on page 40). But don’t be put off by stormy weather, time it right with a gap in the heavens, and you can capture dark and dramatic cloud formations combined with sun-lit scenes.

Chris George

As every outdoor photographer knows, the weather can make or break your shoot. Get into the habit of watching weather forecasts like a hawk – but only finalise plans the day before, as any further in advance is likely to provide only inaccurate forecasts. Clear and sunny (with a smattering of clouds) is ideal for colourful sunrise and sunset shots, while cloudy days are


Suncompass for sunrise/sunset

Knowing where the sun will rise and set is the key to capturing good landscape photographs. Either use a compass and your map, get yourself a suncompass, or use The Photographers Ephemeris tool (available for PCs and Macs for free from and as an app for iPads and iPhones from iTunes for £5.49). The sun doesn’t always rise exactly in the east or set precisely in the west, so if you’re looking to shoot coastal scenes, work out where the coastline faces in relation to the rising and setting sun before you venture out.


Get a map, clean your sensor, and charge your batteries…

Planning your photo shoot in advance is the quickest way to success. Get an Ordnance Survey map of the location you intend to visit and study the area for points of interest, noting where the high and low terrain falls, and which

way it faces for the sunlight, and also suitable spots to park. Work out a schedule for the day, with times and locations from dawn ’til dusk. The night before, don’t forget to make sure your D-SLR’s sensor is cleaned as dust spots show up much more when using the narrow apertures (eg f/22) necessary for landscape photography! While you’re at it, charge your batteries, and pack your bags ready for the morning.


Cheat’s corner...


Check websites like Google Image or stock photo libraries like and for tips on top locations to replicate winning shots for yourself.

PhotoPlus May 2011 | 35

PhotoPlus Dream Team Chris George Editor

Angela Nicholson Head of testing

Peter Travers Deputy editor

Carly Drew Staff writer

Jeff Morgan Technique editor

Where our experts tackle your SLR and photographic problems CAMERA KIT

Can I use lenses for full-frame cameras on my EOS 550D?

For wide-angle shots on cameras such as the 550D, there’s no alternative than to get a lens that’s specifically designed for EOS D-SLRs with APS-C sensors

76 | PhotoPlus May 2011

Is it okay to use a lens designed for a full-frame camera with my EOS 550D? I bought a Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DG Macro superzoom. Eric Edwards via email Chris says There are no compatibility issues when using a full-frame lens on your 550D but there are a few pros and cons. Full-frame cameras, such as the 5D Mark II, are based on a sensor the same size as a frame of 35mm film: 36x24mm. However, the sensors in most Canon D-SLRs, such as the 550D and 7D, are only 22.3x14.9mm – the size of an APS-C (Advanced Photographic System-Classic) frame. A full-frame lens needs to project an image circle that is large enough to overlap all four corners of a 36x24mm rectangle. A big plus is that if you use a full-frame lens on an APS-C camera, you only use the centre 22.3x14.9mm region – this gives optimum image quality, as most lenses are sharper there than at the edges and towards the corners of the frame. The drop-off in brightness at the corners of the frame (vignetting) will also be less obvious. Canon cameras with APS-C sensors have a

Canon conundrums? Email your queries to

STEP BY STEP Gains and losses of full-frames

Quick Fix

Erase or format?

Is it better to use the Erase or Format menu options to delete all the images on my memory cards? Mark Perrin via email

24mm (full-frame)

There’s no focal length magnification (crop factor) on a full-frame camera, so a regular wide-angle lens will do as nature intended. In this case, a 24mm full-frame lens on a 5D Mark II gives a wide 84 degree angle of view, taking in the bigger picture.

300mm (full-frame)

From a 300mm lens on a full-frame camera, this shot shows a fairly powerful telephoto reach. For budget telephoto zoom lenses, 70-300mm or 75-300mm zoom ranges are a classic, combining telephoto power with a compact and lightweight build.

Peter says With the Erase Images menu option you can select multiple images by ticking thumbnails, and delete them. It’s best if you want to delete some images and keep others. You can use the Protect Images command to protect certain images, which will be retained even if you use Erase All Images. The Format command deletes all images on the card – and any other data you may have copied to it – even if protected.

Which mouse?

24mm (APS-C)

300mm (APS-C)

Mount a 24mm full-frame lens on a camera with an APS-C sensor and the image circle is severely cropped. The net result is that you get an ‘effective’ focal length of 38.4mm, greatly reducing the angle of view of the lens and minimising its wide-angle potential.

On a D-SLR with an APS-C sensor, the 1.6x crop factor gives an ‘effective’ focal length of 480mm, going into super-telephoto territory without a big, heavy lens. It’s a real bonus for shooting wildlife and sporting action, when you need maximum telescopic power.

crop factor of 1.6x, so you need to multiply the actual focal length of any lens by 1.6x to get the effective focal length. For example, a 100mm lens gives an effective focal length of 160mm. This is great for boosting the telephoto reach of long lenses (see Super Test this issue, page 108) but not at the wide-angle end. The Sigma 28-300mm is designed as a superzoom lens for full-frame cameras, ranging from a wide-angle 28mm to a 300mm telephoto length. On a 550D its wide-angle abilities are lost, as the widest zoom setting is an ‘effective’ 45mm, although the telephoto strength is increased to 480mm. Using a superzoom lens designed for APS-C cameras, such as the Sigma 18-250mm, gives an effective 29-400mm zoom range. In image quality, even old full-frame lenses designed for film can give excellent results on new D-SLRs, if they’re high-quality lenses with lots of resolving power to make the most of Canon’s latest high-res sensors. Newer lenses are also likely to have faster, quieter autofocus performance, especially with Canon’s USM, Sigma’s HSM or Tamron’s USD autofocus systems.

Digital image sensors are also much more reflective than a frame of film, so there’s usually more light inside the lens during an exposure – manufacturers have therefore designed lenses specifically for D-SLRs. A key improvement is that internal surfaces and elements are often specially coated to reduce reflections, which would otherwise cause ghosting and flare. There are different designations for full-frame and APS-C lenses that are designed for digital use, as you’ll see in the table below.

Pick a letter Here’s how to tell which lenses are designed for APS-C and full-frame cameras… APS-C














Which mouse do you recommend for use with Photoshop Elements, and is there a specific type of mousemat that’s best? Geoff Jones via email

Jeff says A wireless laser or optical mouse gives optimum precision in image editing programs. We’re particularly impressed with Logitech mice and it has a new range of ‘Darkfield Laser Tracking’ models, including the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX (£35) and Logitech Performance Mouse MX (£70). Most optical mice don’t work on glass or highly glossy surfaces, but these give excellent precision on just about any surface. Even so, a padded mouse mat can still make for more comfortable use.

PhotoPlus May 2011 | 77

PhotoPlus Dream Team CAMERA SKILLS

What to look for…

What do the Basic Zone modes really do?

The Landscape shooting mode delivers crisp, punchy images with plenty of colour saturation

I shoot mostly in Program or Av modes, as I thought Basic Zone modes were for beginners. But are there any advantages in using these modes, and what parameters do they actually change? Lindy Ireson via email

Carly says Yes, Creative Zone modes such as Program AE (Auto Exposure), Tv (Time value), Av (Aperture value) and M (Manual) are geared to expert photographers. Advanced cameras such as the EOS 7D don’t have Basic Zone modes but on cameras such as the 550D and 60D they’re useful for adjusting many settings by a quick turn of the dial. For example, in Portrait mode, the Portrait Picture Style produces smoother, flattering skin tones; in Sports mode, the Standard Picture Style is selected but exposure values are biased to faster shutter speeds to freeze the action. Other changes include autofocus modes, drive modes and the use of flash (see table). The downside of the Basic Zone is that, as its modes are


Jeff says They’re great for adding stability and avoiding camera shake in low-light situations, especially when you’re using long telephoto lenses.

Compared with the EF-S 17-85mm IS, the pricier 17-55mm IS offers superior optical quality

aimed at beginners, many camera adjustments become unavailable. For example, only the Auto ISO setting is available. The same is true for white balance, metering, autofocus and the Auto Lighting Optimizer, which will be set to its default ‘standard’ value. However, if you shoot in RAW you can still adjust these in Canon’s DPP software.

Basic Zone parameters Some key differences between Basic Zone modes Picture Style




Flash off


AI Focus





One Shot





One Shot





One Shot





AI Servo



Night portrait


One Shot



1 Aluminium monopods tend to be cheaper to buy but carbon-fibre models are generally lighter to carry around. 2 Check the maximum height is suitable for you, especially if you’re very tall. 3 Cheap, flimsy monopods are best avoided, as they often flex alarmingly, especially at maximum extension. 4 For hiking, consider a monopod like the Trek-Tech TrekPod Go Pro, which doubles as a sturdy hiking pole. 5 Fit a compact, lightweight ball-andsocket tripod head to enable portraitorientation shooting.


What are Colour Curves? I’ve upgraded from a fairly ancient edition of Photoshop Elements to Version 9. One new thing I’ve discovered is Colour Curves; how do they work? Andy Thorne via email Angela says This is a neat tool for controlling contrast and the relative brightness of highlights, midtones and shadows in an image.

78 | PhotoPlus May 2011

Increase contrast

Various preset options are available from a list of ‘styles’, including Increase Contrast, which applies a classic S-shaped curve to make images look punchier.

Sliding scales

Individual sliders are available for adjusting the brightness of highlights, midtones and shadows, as well as independently controlling midtone contrast.


At the bottom of the style list is a Solarize option. This gives a trick psychedelic effect and, again, you can tweak the results by adjusting each of the sliders.


Ten ways to improve your...

Waterfalls I’ve been trying to get some good waterfall pictures but they never turn out like the shots I see in photo magazines. How can I improve my technique? Paul Eglinton via email Chris says There’s a lot to consider when taking waterfall pictures but some of these tips should do the trick.


Better to travel

High waterfalls make for added drama and some of the best in Britain are in the Highlands of Scotland, namely Eas A’ Chual Aluinn, Foyers, and the Falls of Glomach. There’s also Pistyll-y-Llyn Powys (Cardiganshire), Pistyll Rhaedr Powys (Denbighshire) and Falls of Clyde (South Lanarkshire). The highest falls in England are Cauldron Snout (Cumbria). Check them out on Google Maps/Images.


Weather check

Smaller waterfalls are often reduced to a disappointing trickle after long periods of dry weather, but there’ll be a more impressive deluge after heavy rains.


Get the map out




A different view


Go slow

To help plan your trip, study your chosen waterfall on an OS map so that you can work out the position of the sun at different times of the day.

It’s not just about flowing water. Experiment with different shooting positions and focal lengths of lens, and try working other interesting scenic elements into the frame.

Boat trips and even tourist flights are available for some of the larger waterfalls around the world. These can be great for getting a different perspective but, if you’re getting up really close to waterfalls in a boat, pop your camera into a clear waterproof bag so it doesn’t get a dousing.

Capturing a sense of movement in water demands a slow shutter speed of anywhere between 1/4 sec and 10 secs. Don’t use Auto ISO, but lock the camera’s sensitivity to its minimum setting (ISO100) and use a narrow aperture in Av mode.


ND filter

Going steady


White balance

Due to very slow shutter speeds, a sturdy tripod is essential to avoid camera-shake. Use a 2-sec self-timer delay if you don’t have a remote control.

ND filters can sometimes confuse the camera’s auto white balance so experiment with daylight, shade and cloudy presets. Better still, shoot in RAW so that you can adjust the white balance at the editing stage, if necessary.


Bracket your exposures

Any bright light bouncing off the water can often lead to incorrect exposures, so be sure to review the results on your LCD and apply exposure compensation if required.


Especially in bright weather and even on a dull day, you may not be able to get a slow enough shutter speed to create the effect you want without overexposing shots. Fit a neutral density filter, such as a Hoya ND8, which reduces the light passing into the lens and gives you a shutter speed that’s three stops slower at any given aperture. For lenses with a 58mm filter thread, it costs about £50.


PhotoPlus May 2011 | 79

The ultimate photo challenge

all winner POTY 2010 over ight Australia Wr n Jo ve Exit Wa



Bigger prize pool The best judges Exciting new categories Enter up to 50 photos for just ÂŁ10 In association with

PhotoPlus Preview (Issue 48)  
PhotoPlus Preview (Issue 48)  

PhotoPlus Preview (Issue 48)