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Oh Cr op! Issue 7: July 2011

Lens Review Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 APO EX DG Macro II HSM Lens

Project 365:

Abby Thompson documents a year in images, learning the ups and downs of a photographer’s life

Reader Profile:

April Smith


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In Oh Crop! this month..

4 10 13 18 22 25 30

Three Hundred and Sixty Five Abby Thompson talks about her experiences with Project 365 where you take a photo a day for a year! DSLR vs Compact The differences between DSLR and Compact cameras are discussed by Elizabeth Spiebichler Reader Profile In this month’s reader profile we have self confessed HDR lover April Smith!

Lens Review Our Editor Chi Lau reviews his latest toy, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8

So here we are! Another issue of Oh Crop! Magazine. I know I said the June Special would be our last issue but I lied... Well technically it was going to be our last issue but I chose to carry it on. Mainly because a few friends, such as Amanda Bunce (Who is now in charge of our Facebook page AND our new Deputy Editor) and Charlie Amber asked me to. Also I would like to welcome Adam Pool and Joely Dicks as our new Designers who both helped design the June Special. In this issue we are continuing with Phil Cohn’s History of photography as well as more tutorials on the basic camera settings. Plus we compare DSLRs and compacts and have a review of the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8

Chi

Level Up Ever wondered how to read a histogram? Well in this Issue April teaches you how, with a stunning example! Hot on the heels of Black and white photography Phil continues his “History of Photography” this month with colour photography and how it first began. Shutter speed Jade Tuplin goes in depth into shutter speed and when and how to use it to drastically improve your photos!

Front Cover - Katarina Stefanovic http://www.flickr.

com/photos/jup3nep/ Page 2 (left) - Chi Lau http://www.flickr.com/photos/ chibear89 Back Page - Amanda Bunce http://www.flickr.com/ photos/amanda-bunce Page | 3

Contributors: Chi Lau Amanda Bunce Joely Dicks Adam Pool Jade Tuplin April Smith Phil Cohn Abigail Thompson Elizabeth Spielbicher Find us on Facebook! Just search for “Oh Crop! Magazine” And if you have any questions, comments or photos you’d like to share please send them to chi.lauphotography@hotmail.co.uk


Abby Thompson

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aithom2

One photograph a day for an entire year. A daunting goal at the very least. It is a project that will test you, push you, and challenge you. But, it will also teach you and cause some serious growth if allowed. The first reaction I get from people when I explain that I am doing such a project is always one of disbelief. Without a doubt everyone always asks “why??” For me, the reasons for tackling such an undertaking were simple. At the time I wasn’t in any photography classes, and I felt I needed something to push me to continue to see in a photographic manner. I didn’t want the 365 to just be a form of documenting life for a year, although that happened inevitably. I wanted to grow and improve while doing this project. Because of this, I immediately set up some rules for myself; I knew that without rules I would not succeed. I decided that the pictures that I would take had to be specific for my 365 despite working on other projects and having classes later on. My second rule was that I had to actually try to make each photograph a strong image. I didn’t want to allow myself to just hold up my camera, snap a random picture and call it my picture for the day. I had to make a serious effort to make each picture compositionally interesting, and something that I would be proud to show off. I had heard that the 365 project was time consuming, but didn’t realize just how true this was until I did it myself. The pro-

Day

Day: 36 I immediately set up some rules for myself; I knew that without rules I would not succeed.

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Three Hundred and Sixty Five

y: 181 Day: 131

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ject quickly consumed my life. Every day, all day I was looking for something that could be my 365. Each day I would take at the very least ten or so images, usually much more. I would then wade through all of the ones that I took, choosing a couple to spend a good chunk of time editing, and finally writing up a story and posting to both my blog and Flickr. At times, the project absolutely drained me. There were many times early on in the project that

I considered quitting, but I knew I would be upset with myself so I kept pushing through. Eventually the project just became ingrained in who I was, and I became almost obsessed with getting a picture for the day. Even the day that I went in for surgery I made sure that I got a picture. The obsession didn’t make things easier though. There were days where I had zero inspiration and no clue what to capture, but I still forced myself to do something.

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Despite the hard days of the project, there were times that I was energized by it as well. There were certain days that I would get extremely excited about the picture I got, and I knew that if it weren’t for the project I would never have captured certain things. It also gave me an excuse to try new things. Throughout the project I would try to force myself to try new subject matter, new techniques, and new processes. It gave me a chance to ex-

Day: 77


Day: 153

periment. I would suggest a 365 project in a heartbeat to most photography enthusiasts. Anyone studying photography should especially consider it in my opinion. The amount of growth that happened during the project was incredible, and any photographer that seriously wants a challenge and is seeking improvement in their work should consider this. I would not recommend going in to the project half-

heartedly though. If you want the project to actually have an affect, then you must go in to it ready to put in the time and effort. It is something that takes a lot of discipline, dedication and determination. Be willing to try new things, be willing to push yourself, and be ready to have hard days. Pushing through the days when inspiration is at its lowest is often the biggest cause of growth. Happy shooting! Page | 7

You have to be willing to push yourself and be ready to have hard days.


Day: 352

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DSLR Vs

Compacts In the digital world, there is a range of different types of cameras. There’s the (D)SLR range (the acronym standing for (Digital) single lens reflex camera), compact cameras (also known as “point and shoot”) and “hybrids” which consist of elements from both. But let’s compare (D)SLRs and Compacts. The major difference between compacts and DSLRs is that the DSLRs have interchangeable lenses as well as a reflex mirror. Image quality: because DSLRs have a larger image sensor which allows for more pixels it means that image quality is superior to

compacts as they are able to use faster ISO and faster shutter speeds, thus less noise in the picture. The quality of image is impacted greatly by the range of lenses that a DSLR may offer. Because compacts have smaller image sensors, the quality of the image is reduced. DLSR’s also have the ability to change lenses, which creates greater photographic opportunities for photographers, while a compact has 3x optical zooms (though some of them have longer ones). With its many ranges of accessories (flashes, filters etc.), the DLSR is more adaptable than a compact. Page | 10

In addition DSLRs can hook up to external flash units. Some compacts can do that as well, but the majority, are not capable of using an external flash. With a DSLR when you look through viewfinder you see what the lens sees, meanwhile in a compact camera, the viewfinder and the lens are separate. It doesn’t show you what the lens sees, but what the scene looks like in front of you. DSLRs are, in general, faster at functioning than compacts. There’s a greater range of shutter speeds. The wide range of ISO settings and manual controls, allows for DSLRs to be more flexible when shooting in different


conditions. Compacts are all automatic, even though some come with manual mode where you can maybe change a few settings here and there. The DSLR manual mode is designed so the photographer’s settings are at the tip of their fingers! DSLRs have a great depth of field, which makes them more versatile than compacts. Compacts are maybe updated once or twice a year, while DSLRs

aren’t updated as often. What favours DLSR is that their range of lenses is compatible with almost any other camera body. That’s a plus if you decide to upgrade your body in the future, as long as it stays in the same brand. You could say, with hesitations, as compacts are always improving, that the quality optics are superior on DSLRs due to the lenses that they have as they are bigger and many hours are put in to the manufacture of lenses. Obviously the more expensive lenses have greater quality than medium range lenses. Price: one weakness of a DSRL is the price compared to compact cameras. Even though the lower end DSLRs are coming down in price, they are in general more expensive. It’s not just the body of the

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DLSR that is pricey, but the fact that maybe the consumer wants to upgrade to better lenses and other accessories that makes it more expensive than a compact. Size and weight: another downside of the DLSR is the size and the weight of the camera. A compact is small and slim and very light and can fit into any bag. It is great for parties and beach holidays where you do not want to lug around the heavy DSLR with all its lenses. Maintenance is a factor when considering buying a camera. Every time you change your lens, you risk dust and other particles entering your camera. Getting dirt on the sensor is a pain as you can see it on images. Therefore more money has to be spent on equipment to clean the sensor and mirror of a DSLR whereas with a compact this issue doesn’t really exist. DSLRs are noisier and more complicated to use than compacts. Users can get overwhelmed


with all the settings that a DSLR has to offer. However, they do come with fully automatic modes, which compacts come in as well. Something that is worth of note is that a number of DSLs do not come with live LCD, where you have to use the viewfinder to take the picture.

Overall there are benefits to both DSLRs and Compact cameras. Choosing one would depend on your needs. If you have the money and plan on upgrading to better lenses than the standard 18-55mm kit lens then the DSLR is a must. However if you are only going to use it to

photograph everyday life, such as a night out, than the point and shoot is ideal because of its compact size. Elizabeth Spielbichler

Jonathon Grant

http://www.jonlgrant.com

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Hi! Tell us a bit about yourself and what camera gear do you currently own? Hello! I am 19 years old and about to undertake a BA (Hons) Documentary and Photojournalism Degree at Gloucester University. I used to be a canon user, but since I knew that photography would always be my life, I thought it was time to upgrade to a higher spec Dslr. I currently own a Nikon D7000 after I fell in love with it at the beginning of this year. I use various lenses such as: an 18-105mm, a 50mm, an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm Lens. I have a wide angle and macro adapter for now until I get a wide angle lens. I own a few graduated colour filters, an ND filter, a Nissin Di866 flash gun, a tripod of course and a bag to put it all in. I also have an old Olympus film camera that I sometimes prefer to use.       

April Smith

What inspires you to take photos?

Living on the Cornish coast, inspires me a great deal. I cannot resist capturing the beautiful scenery that surrounds the south west. Landscapes are what I enjoy to photograph the most, so to be surrounded by the lush countryside and sandy beaches is ideal. Although I haven’t always lived in Cornwall

which is why I appreciate the coast so much, I suppose. I originally come from Derbyshire, which is the furthest away from the sea you could possibly be in Britain! It is literally smack bang in the middle of England! So, when I got the chance to move to the coast, I was more than delighted. As well as the coast, I tend to buy a lot of photography magazines (Editor note: like oh Crop! Magazine!!) to look through for new ideas and inspiration. It’s from reading these resources that I learn new tricks of the trade, gain new ideas and improve on my own photography.     

You have quite a few HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos... are they difficult to do? Do you use software for it?

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It sounds difficult to start with, but it is actually quite simple once you know how to do it. It is essentially combining different exposures. However, I wouldn’t recommend Photoshop for creating HDR photos. Photographers mainly use this technique when the camera is finding it hard to capture all of the tones such as a bright sky as well as a dark subject. To create these types of photographs you will definitely need a tripod. What you do is this: Set up your


April Smith Tired Simba Page | 14


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camera on a tripod and make sure it is all secure and is not going to move. First you take a photograph of your subject at the correct exposure, then another photo underexposed and then finally another which is over exposed. Most cameras have a setting called bracketing which allows you to take 3 photos at different exposures, making the job of constantly changing the shutter speed fast and easy. Using a programme called Photomatix, which is available on a free trial, you load the photographs into Photomatix, it then combines all three exposures creating a photograph that has the whole tonal range, eliminating any overexposure or underexposure.

Photomatix is that you can create something called false HDR images where you can just load one photo in and you are then able to edit it to look similar to a HDR photograph. However,the Swanpool Rocks photo was created by combining 3 different exposures like I explained above.

If you could be anywhere in the world at any time in history... where and when would you go to and why?

Hmm, now that is definitely a hard question. There are just so many places in time I would like to go. If I had to narrow it down to one I would say that I would like to visit the Victorian era rather than a specific place, even if that does sound a little boring. I really like your Swanpool Rocks photo. I would like to go to this point in time as the Tell us a bit about how you took this shot! Victorians have always fascinated me. I love The Swanpool Rocks image is actually to read about them, see pictures of them and a HDR photograph so it was created in the it would be fantastic to see photography at its same way as I explained above. But I did earliest stage. For so long I have wanted to try something extra. I processed the photo in out the very first box cameras. If I could take Photomatix twice to create a really moody what I know now about photography and and gritty photo. The good thing about take it to the Victorians I could almost reinvent Page | 16


photography. It doesn’t sound so boring now does it.?

If you had to describe your photography in three words what would they be?

Experimental, dramatic, vibrant!

Who is your cute furry little friend?! This happens to be my beloved male cat named Simba. He is 2 years old and I have had him since he was just 6 weeks old. It is quite a sad story how I came to own him. Someone had found him as well as his siblings in a bag under a caravan abandoned. Simba was very ill when he was found but was nursed back to full health. I had been looking for a cat for a while and when I first set my eyes on him and he ran over to me just a little bundle, I knew he was the one! He has quite a quirky personality. He really loves to be photographed. He will actually pose most of the time and then move to a different position so that I have varied poses. Something tells me he loves the camera and it seems the camera just loves him!

Finally do you have any words for our readers about being a photographer? I would say no-one can be a pro straight away. It takes time, experimentation and dedication! Even though I have been doing photography for just 4 years, I feel that since last year my technique has improved a lot. I would say no matter what the weather is, get out there. Take your camera everywhere you go and just keep taking photos. Set yourself little projects to keep it going and definitely get some good photography magazines and books. I am a subscriber to Digital Photographer and Practical Photography, which are great magazines and most of the time come with free cd’s and tutorials. Don’t be scared of rejection either. This can really ruin some people careers. There is always going to be someone who doesn’t like your work, but needless to say keep going. If you’re determined and passionate, you will get there in the end! Finally, I would say keep reading Oh Crop of course! http://www.flickr.com/photos/april_smith_photography

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Mark http://www.flickr.com/photos/36298440@N06 Page | 18


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Lens Review:

Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 APO EX DG Macro II HS Wow. Long name right? That’s what I thought! It can seem confusing to be honest but at the end of the day all you really need to know is the focal length and the aperture so the extra letters really aren’t that important. But since we are a photography magazine I might as well spare a few minutes and tell what they are! APO means it was made using a special lowdispersion (SLD) glass to minimise colour aberration which in turn allows sharper images. EX suggests that the exterior of the lens is of a superior quality. While DG basically means it’s for digital cameras! Finally HSM stands for Hyper Sonic Motor which means it has a really quiet focusing motor.

So now that we have the basics over lets dwell a bit more on the build quality! As the EX suggests the build quality is of a superior quality. This lens has a black matte finish to it which, while many don’t like, has a nice feel to it. This matte finish has been known to show dust and dirt marks very clearly, this can be seen in photos of the lens. It feels very solid in my hand and I would gladly hit someone on the head with it... should they deserve it of course! The lens weighs in at a hefty 1345g (47.4 oz) which coupled with a heavy camera and other lenses can be a strain to carry around all day. The lens has a length of 184mm (7.2”) and can fit on all major camera makes. The lens doesn’t change size

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when focusing or focal length mak focusing and inte This makes it easy subtle because y to be shooting so a distance and th bigger in size...! Th can get in the wa zoom but can be from the lens by u plug and giving it when loose. Focu quick which is ob useful however it trouble focusing a can obviously be the other hand th its job, its super qu attract attention a public place. Th are what really ap this lens and I high because of it. Focal length on th useful range and other Sigma le in the Feb allow la


SM Lens

r changing the king it internal ernal zooming. y to use and more you don’t want omeone from he lens getting he tripod ring ay when trying to e easily detached unscrewing the t a slight pull using is incredibly bviously very did have some at times which e annoying! On he HSM really does uiet and doesn’t when shooting in hese two features ppeals to me in hly recommend it

his camera is a is similar to the ens I reviewed bruary issue. It ws you to cover a arge range and enable you to

photography everything from flowers and portraits at the longer range to landscapes and groups shots at the shorter range. I first used this lens at the Sumo Run 2011 in London and I found its focal length really helped me when photographing either individuals or groups. The aperture, at a constant f/2.8, allowed me to have a faster shutter speed and thus ensure I captured the actions of the runners. The aperture also means this lens is useful in low light conditions but obviously at the longer focal ranges it does have a limited affect and could still result in a camera shake. But compared with the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 that I reviewed earlier it is so much better and in over cast conditions I was still able to maintain a fast shutter speed. Finally we can come to price. I got this lens for £560 which is very good considering its build quality, its focusing speed, focal length and aperture etc. When you compare it to a Canon or Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 you’re

looking at 3 times the price and that’s usually for the older models! The Canon MKII version costs around £2000. Therefore the price may seem high but in the grand scheme of things it is very cheap. Sigma have always been the best 3rd party lens manufacturer (in my opinion at least!) and this lens is without a doubt no exception. I definitely recommend this lens. Its focal length and constant aperture means that you can use it in many different types of photography situations. Of course I would prefer a Canon L Lens but the Sigma’s low price is great compared to the Canon or Nikon versions and its performances so far haven’t made me doubt my decision nor has it really given me any issues. I rank this lens 8 out of 10 and highly recommend it to all the readers of Oh Crop! Chi Lau http://www.flickr.com/photos/chibear89

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Krys Kras http://www.flickr.com/photos/reflectionsfromreality/ Page | 22


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Have you ever taken a photograph at perfect exposure but found it looked a bit dull? There is one simple thing you can do in the editing process that can improve the tones in your photographs and really give them the boost of contrast that they need.

Level Up April Smith

You may have already heard about histograms. Knowing how these work would really help you in taking better pictures. For a correctly exposed photograph the histogram will look similar to this (Fig. 1). Notice how the left side starts very low and as you reach the centre it is raised; then flows back down to the bottom on the right side. This is called a bell curve. Let me explain how you read a histogram. The left side shows all of the dark tones in the photo and the right side shows all of the light tones in the photograph. Anything

Fig. 4

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Fig. 5

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

in between are the mid tones. From this histogram I am able to tell you that there are more dark tones in the photograph than light tones, but because the centre has a peak, the photograph is made up of mostly mid tones. To make it simpler here is a picture of a pure black and white image (Fig. 2). On the left of the image it is pure black so that is shown by a singular line on the left of the histogram. The right of the image is pure white which is shown by another singular line on the right of the histogram (Fig. 3). For a

correctly exposed photograph, the centre of the graph needs to be higher than the left or right side. In other words it needs to be shaped similar to a bell (Fig. 1). If you have used Photoshop before, you may have seen something in the adjustments toolbar called levels. This allows you to correct the histogram if the exposure of the photograph was incorrect or the photograph is lacking contrast. You could think of it as a brightness and contrast adaptation tool. Page | 25

I will now show you how you change the levels of a photograph using Photoshop. First of all select an image that may be quite dull which needs a contrast boost and open it up in Photoshop. Here is the image I have chosen (Fig. 4). It is quite a grey and dull image and could really do with brightening up and having a bit more contrast. The next thing to do is open up levels (Fig. 5). From my levels graph here you can see that there is no information shown on the left side or the


right side (Fig. 6), which means there are no pure black or white tones in the photograph. To correct this, I then move the left slider to just where the histogram begins. I then move the right slider to where the histogram ends. I got the result shown in Fig. 7. By doing this you can already see that the image has brightened up considerably. However, by altering the middle slider, you can then alter the overall tones again, which I shall need to do. Here is the before and after: Sometimes the photograph may have what is called a colour cast. This also can be altered in levels, but rather than the channel being set to RGB (Fig.8), you change them to red, green or blue. Looking at my own photograph, I can see that the image has a blue tone to it which is the look I want, but for the sakes of this tutorial I shall explain how you alter the colours. Observe this colour wheel. Notice that the opposite of red is green, so to dial down red you would add more green. The opposite of blue is orange. You will now probably be asking but there isn’t an orange in the channel mixer. What you would then do is turn up the red a little by selecting red and moving the sliders around and then switch to green and add a little more green. This will balance out all of the tones. To get the colour you desire, it just requires a little playing with, but you can see from my own pictures that changing the levels and colours can do great justice to a photograph. It may all seem a lot to take in, but with a bit of time and practice, this technique will improve you photographs greatly.

Fig. 6

Fig. 8

Fig. 7 Page | 26


Hot on the heels of Black and White photography Phil Cohn

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50058629@N04

Colour can add vibrancy and emotion to a photograph. It creates a sense of realism, making it much easier for people to get a feel of what the subject is actually like. It is possibly the most important invention in photography history (after the invention of photography itself, of course). Hot on the heels of black and white photography, colour photography was being pursed as early as 1850, when Levi Hill produced images which were alleged to contain true colours. Many people accused him of adding dye to the photographs however, which led people to believe the process was fake. Levi Hill’s photos, called Hillotypes, have actually been found to be able to replicate natural colours from a scene, but only crudely; Hill did in fact add some dyes after developing the photos to enhance the colours. In 1861, the famous physicist James Clerk Maxwell was giving

a lecture for the Royal Institution. He wanted to demonstrate to the audience that white light was not made up of red, blue and yellow colours like paint was, but that it was made up of the colours red, blue and green. To help him do so, he created what is often thought of as the first true colour photograph. The idea behind it ties into similar work that Maxwell did, which showed that light is a series of waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. More specifically, it is the small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum where the wavelengths are the right size to be seen by the human eye. The human eye can see three wavelengths of light, which are detected by three types of cells in the eye (called cone cells). These wavelengths of light are then perceived in the brain as three different colours: red, green and blue. The intensity of these different colours on an Page | 27

image that the eye detects is then combined in the brain, and a true multicolour image results. Maxwell’s idea was that if a photo could be taken through three different filters for red, green and blue, then these exposures could be recombined in development and made to resemble all the original colours of the scene (as they would be stimulating the 3 cone cells to the same extent of the original scene). The resulting picture was a mixed success; the photographic chemicals available at the time were very insensitive to both red and green wavelengths of light, meaning the photograph shouldn’t have come out as multicoloured it did, with many red tones as well as blue. This mystery was solved years later, when it was discovered that the inks in the ribbon had probably reflected ultraviolet light, which had penetrated the red filter more than the others. The first colour photograph


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actually should have been a failure, but only succeeded by accident! Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron continued in this vein, and developed many three colour photographic prints on paper, including the famous view of Agen in France (pictured left). Colour photographs made by lone scientists and inventors were all very well, but colour photography did not become widely available until the late 1890’s. The most widely used was an invention called the “Joly Screen” process, which used thin strips of red, blue and green colours to make a full colour picture on one slide. If viewed closely, however, it was often possible to make out the lines of colour going down the photograph, which was distracting. Another more cumbersome and expensive method was the Kromskop. This was a large box, in which were placed three images, taken to expose for red, blue and green. Through the use of mirrors and prisms, this was then converted into a full colour and even 3D image that could be viewed through an eyepiece. Unfortunately, this was large and impractical for producing portable colour prints, and it fell out of fashion. “Modern” colour film didn’t appear until 1935, with the arrival of a film called “Kodachrome”. This consisted of three layers of emulsion on top of each other. Each layer recorded a different colour, and was combined in Kodak’s laboratories to produce a full colour image. The advent of cheap, portable full colour film had begun, and colour photographs became abundant. From Maxwell’s experiments to Kodak’s Kodachrome, these pioneers of colour photography have helped create one of the most useful artistic and informative tools that we possess. Page | 29


Jade Tuplin http://www.flickr.com/photos/jadetuplin Page | 30


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Not since doing an actual photography class had I thought about using shutter speed in my current photo work. It was because I could never seem to get my settings right, it was either too bright or too dark or just because I couldn’t be bothered to figure out where I was going wrong. So, through writing this article I’ve also been practising and using different shutter speeds to indicate what I’ve learnt! So shutter speed is all about the time it takes for the shutter to open and close, and for how much light hits the cameras sensor. The way shutter speed is measured is in seconds which are shown in stops like this 1/1000 or 5” (5 seconds). 1/1000 indicates that the shutter is opening and closing at 1000th a second resulting in a crisp sharp image, whereas with a slower shutter speed such as 5 seconds in a photo the motion is much more blurred. To only change the shutter speed setting on your DSLR camera you need to flick to the (Tv) setting which stands for Time Value. For Nikon users they usually need to flick to the (S) function (A lot more simple hey?). However Shutter priority doesn’t allow you to concentrate on depth of field, to control both manual setting would be best. When using a fast shutter speed a tripod is not necessary. Due to the fast nature of the shutter speed your hand shake won’t even register in the shot. However from 1/60 and under it is advised to use a tripod, this is the one downside to experimenting with shutter speed, as carrying a tripod around can be annoying at times! The focal length at which you are shooting can also affect the photo and can cause blur, a tripod again is also handy here. A common way of choos-

Shutter Speed Jade Tuplin

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jadetuplin ing shutter speed when hand held is to set it to the focal length that’s being used, in other words a 50mm focal length means using 1/50 as the slowest shutter speed (for 35mm cameras). With crop censor cameras you should also take into account the crop ratio. So a 1.6 x 50(mm) = 80 thus shooting at 1/80 would limit hand shake. However this would depend on 1) your other settings and 2) what the lighting conditions are. Most modern day cameras also come with pre-programmed settings for different situations; Such as Page | 32

Landscape, Portrait, No Flash etc. Which are pre-programmed with all the relevant details including shutter speeds so you don’t have to! This is especially true on more point and shoot cameras rather than DSLR’s as there tends to be no options to play around with settings on point and shoots. However why would you get a DSLR and use it on pre-programmed settings or auto? The best way to improve is to try! A flash is also useful when using both slow and fast shutter speeds. The flash can help add detail and sharpness to the image. Where as


with a slow shutter speed you can programme your flash to ‘flash’ at the end of the exposure which creates an image where the slow shutter speed is obvious but with the added flash. Another effect that can be used to great effect is called a ‘zoom burst’. Using a slow exposure, while the photo is being taken you should rotate the barrel to its full focal length which creates an image such like this. The photos taken for this article include both the use of fast and slow shutter speeds an also a cool image that was created us-

ing shutter speeds at night. You could also do light painting which requires a very slow shutter speed and dark conditions. Essentially the shutter is left open while you “draw” with a torch. What you draw is then captured by the camera. This is a great bit of photography that many people have fun doing, especially in larger groups where you create some cool “paintings”. If you were to buy a remote you could also keep the shutter open for an indefinite time and thus create star trails. But this would require a clear night, stars and lots Page | 33

of battery! Filters, such as Neutral Density filters, can also help to add extra stops which would allow you to use a slower shutter speed in brighter conditions. On the other hand you have a fast shutter speed which helps to freeze action. This is especially useful for photography such as sports and landscape where you want to see everything clear rather than blurred. For sports photography a minimum shutter speed would be around 1/200 however if you are indoors that is very hard to achieve due to the rubbish lighting! If you are outdoors however you can sometimes be able to achieve a lot fast and thus ensure that everything is crisp and sharp. Panning is a technique used by motor sports photographers whereby they set the shutter speed at around 1/125 and as the subject (e.g a Formula 1 Car) appears on the right the photographer presses and holds the shutter button and pans across with the car and lets go on the left. This basically ensures that the car is nice and sharp while the back ground is blurred to create a sense of really fast movement. Overall shutter speed is something that you have got to learn in order to take better photos. You could have the best camera and lenses but if you don’t understand shutter speed you won’t be able to improve your photography. You should read Oh Crop!’s articles and any other you come across and really understand what the minimum you would need given a certain situation. That way you can have a limit then adjust if it’s more brighter for example. This will ensure that you continue to learn and adapt and thus become a better photographer in the long run.


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