21 Easy Ways to Become a Better Photographer + Interview with WHS photographer Mary Walker Rippe + A Guide to Hyperfocal Focusing + DIY Pinhole Lens
Letter from the Editors Welcome to The Exposure Magazine Thank you for taking the time to read the first issue of The Exposure Magazine. Over our high school careers, we have gradually honed our skills and photographic knowledge to a point where we want to share it. Neither of us came into high school with any knowledge of photography, and neither of us would be where we are today without Westfield High School’s photography community. We wanted to create a way to pass on the knowledge we’ve acquired over the years, give students a way to regularly publish their work, and inspire future photographers. In response, we’ve created The Exposure Magazine. In these pages, you will find a gallery of selected entries, interviews, lessons, projects, and more. Through the quarterly issues of The Exposure Magazine, we want to teach every reader, regardless of photographic ability, something new. Our hope is that, through The Exposure Magazine, our readers will be inspired to take photographs in new and interesting ways, and then submit them to be displayed to the Westfield High School community.
All the best,
Jack & Connor
contents About the Cover
Gallery 21 Easy Ways to Become a Better Photographer
Inerview with Mary Rippe
A Guide to Hyperfocal Focus
DIY Pinhole Lens
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Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
About the cover. This month we wanted to make an image that captured the essence of the phrase “through the eyes of the camera”. So we did just that: we took a picture through another camera. We set up a Canon EOS SLR on a tripod angled towards the roof of a building. Next, we positioned a Nikon D7000 facing the inside of the Canon. We then took two shots: one focused on the aperture rings and another focused on the scene through the Canon. In order to see through the Canon, we opened the film door. We set its shutter speed to 30 seconds to give us time to focus the Nikon and set the aperture to f4.5 to make the blades visible. After firing off the Canon, we had to work quickly to manually focus the Nikon on the aperture blades. After getting a satisfying picture, we did the same thing, but instead of focusing on the aperture, we focused on the scene through the Canon. At home, we digitally combined the photos so the entire image was in focus and corrected some minor glare we got from the mirror inside the Canon. Overall, the process was a pain in the butt. But, if you try it out, email us your results. We’d love to see them!
Welcome! to the
Mary Walker Rippe 6
Mary Walker Rippe
In the midst of a hundred other submissions, this one clearly stood out to us. The first thing I noticed was the incredibly high contrast between the background and the foreground. The foreground is filled with complete darkness, which slowly evolves to illuminate the bricks of the tunnel. There is a
sudden transition into the brightness of the day. While the transition alone is fascinating, the subject of the dancer poised in mid air makes this photograph impactful. The dancer is in a pristine, picturesque pose, breaking up the otherwise blinding light of the background. This pose alone is worthy
Shea Fitzpatrick, WHS Junior
of applause. I can only assume it must have taken many tries to capture the moment as perfectly as she did. I give major props to the dancer for striking the pose repeatedly until Shea nailed the image. And, if Shea managed to just capture this moment by a passing chance, then props of her fast photo
instincts! Congratulations Shea, on taking such a wonderful photograph. The contrast between the foreground and the background provide a dynamic picture, which is made stronger by the perfectly still dancer caught in mid leap. Keep up the good work, and happy shooting.
Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
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to become a better
You do not need a great camera to take great pictures.
A common misconception among new photographers is that you need the best gear to get the best shots. More expensive cameras give you more control to get the pictures you want. You can beautifully compose a photograph using anything from a dollar store disposable camera to a $5,000 Nikon. Do not let your camera determine your photographic ability.
Don’t carry around too much gear— enjoy yourself.
While a DSLR, telephoto lens, prime lens, and tripod may all be essential gear, carrying it around is unpractical. With all that luggage you will not enjoy taking pictures. If you are going out on a day hike just bring one camera and one lens. You might find that by constricting yourself to one lens you will force yourself to be more creative with your shots—while enjoying your day much more.
Know what your photograph is going to look like before you take it.
When you see a potential subject in front of you try to imagine what the photo will look like before you take it. Before you even take the photo, consider the depth of field you want, the angle you want to shoot from and the photo’s composition. Then and only then do you have my permission to take the photo. After you take it, check playback to see if the image is the same as what you envisioned. If it isn’t, what went wrong? How you can fix your settings to make it the same photo as the one you had in mind? Going through all these steps before you take a photo will make you a better photographer over time. The more you do it, the better you will become. And eventually, the photo in your mind will almost always match the one on your screen.
Restirct your photography by focusing on specific subjects or techniques. For example, try only shooting people from a low angle. This forces your mind to think differently about composition and how you take photos. It also allows you to shoot in a variety of new ways that you may never have considered before.
Know if your photos are actually in focus.
If you haven’t ever taken a photo that you thought was in focus until you uploaded it on your computer, then count yourself lucky. For the rest of us, this happens all too often, and is one of the most frustrating things a photographer experiences. An easy remedy is looking at your photograph in playback and zooming in all the way. This allows you to be 100% sure that your photo is in focus and never have to experience the pain of having a poor shot just because of a focusing error.
Always bring your camera with you.
Photography is about being in the right place at the right time; the perfect shot could sneak up on you at any moment. You don’t want to miss a perfect shot just because you forgot your camera. A fancy DSLR isn’t necessary, though—an iPhone camera can work just as well. In fact, iPhoneography has recently caught fire! Even the New York Times has published iPhones photographs. If a New York Times photographer is allowed to use his/her iPhone to capture the perfect moment, then there is no reason why we can’t, too. Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
Blur, be gone!
Here’s a simple rule to eliminate blur for good. At any focal length, the minimum shutter speed possible without a tripod is the inverse of the focal length. Example: If you were shooting with a 50mm prime lens, the minimum shutter speed possible is 1/50 of a second. The reason why you need different shutter speeds upon changing focal length is that the further you’re zoomed in, the greater the impact slight movements will have on the image. If you have ever looked through binoculars you will see a similar effect as the slight shakes of your hand drastically change what you see.
Ladies dig photographers.
If you take nothing away from this issue except that being a good photographer is a good way to land a lady then we have done our job.
What are UV filters for?
Less than you might think; they are useful on film cameras, but DSLRs have built in UV filters. Their only purpose is to protect your lens while shooting out in the field.
Know your crop factor!
If you have anything but a full frame DLSR (or a film camera) then you must consider the crop factor when shooting. If you are reading this and have no idea what a full frame camera is, then a good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t spent thousands of dollars on your camera body alone then you do not have a full frame camera (the cheapest full frame on the market right now is the Canon 6D which is going for a modest 2k). We photographers on a budget have cameras with sensors that are slightly smaller than full frames. Whenever we are shooting we need to multiply the focal length by a constant to get the equivalent focal length.
Some common crop factors: Nikon: 1.5x Sony:1.5x
Canon: 1.6x Pentax: 1.5x
Olympus: 2.0x Lumix: 1.7x
Angles angles angles angles.
Whenever you approach a subject you want to photograph, think about whether the photo would look better if taken at a different angle. Experiment! You may be surprised! You don’t always have to shoot from straight on; try getting down low or try shooting from above.
A & T are your best friends.
If you own a DSLR, you should almost always being using aperture priority or shutter speed priority. These modes provide you with a tremendous advantage: the ability to set your aperture or shutter speed and have the other automatically adjust while the lighting change. This allows you to pay less attention to the numbers on your screen and more attention to the composition of the photo and capturing the right moment.
Don’t be afraid to take pictures of people on the street.
Adding the human element always makes photography more exciting—candid pictures are especially effective. At first, it may be seem a little uncomfortable taking pictures of people you do not know. Just remember that you will never see them again. If you get over this hurdle then a whole world of street photography has opened up to you.
Keep your subjects new and exciting.
Taking pictures of flowers is a good way to start shooting, but at some point it is necessary to move on to other things. For one, broadening your range of possible subjects will help you improve. The skills needed to shoot landscapes, portraitature, macro or sports are all different. Trying each of these styles forces you to learn skills unique to each. Keeping your subjects fresh is also essential in developing a portfolio of your photographs. Even if you take amazing pictures of flowers, it is important to photogaph a variety of subjects as it shows your ability to shoot in any situation. Good photographers can take good photos of one subject, while great photographers can take great photos in any situation.
Take lots of photos.
Long gone are the days where photographers had to be careful about how many pictures they took. With digital cameras, every photo you take is essentially free. The only way improve is to take more pictures, so be sure to take advantage of technology by taking thousands of photos.
Don’t be a lazy photographer.
Our advanced technology makes it easy to become a lazy photographer. Even though it is very easy to fix photographs on a computer, it is essential to remain conscious about the techniques you’re using. Even if you can alter them on the computer, the photograph will look better if you get it right on the camera. Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
Editing a bad photo canâ€™t make it good.
You should never take a photograph thinking you will make it good in postproduction. Postproduction can only do so much; things like exposure, white balance, and framing are easily fixed, but good photo developing can never save a poorly composed photograph. You should use postproduction to add the final touches on your photo, but do not rely on it to make it great.
A photo community is a group where you can discuss photography with peers. Joining a photography community is essential to improve your photography. With a community, you have access to people who can give you advice on different photographic techniques, as well as some constructive criticism on your work.
Print your photos.
Take pride in your photos and display them. Print them at home or get them professionally done at Motophoto. Once you have gotten your photographs printed, be sure to share them with your friends. Hang them up around your house, bring them to show to your photography community. You can even give them to others as a gift.
Join a photo community.
Donâ€™t say photoshopped. Say developed.
If you tell people that you photoshopped your picture, they will immediately think less of your photo. Rather than saying photoshopped, just tell them that you developed your photo on the computer. In reality, many of the adjustments you make on the computer can be made while developing film.
Make your own list.
Every good photographer has their own list of tips for success. So, you should make your own list! A list helps you remember some of the highlights of your own technique and is an interesting thing to share with fellow photographers. Just remember, there is no harm with borrowing tips from others. So go out, make a list, and take some photos!
Westfield High School Photographer
Mary Walker Rippe go from that phase in the beginning of photography where everyone takes the same photo, the close up angles and everything, to where I am now. E.M: Why do you still take pictures? M.R: I started in eighth grade because I had an independent study where I intertwined photography and writing. My friends Kaitlin and Sarah both did something similar, Kaitlin stuck with it and Sarah didn’t, but Kaitlin and I would do a lot of the photography stuff together. I think that really helped our friendship because we both loved making things and doing things. I think that’s because we both feed off each other. And when she was taking photos I wanted to be taking photos. So it was sort of like that. E.M: Obviously the camera you use now is a DSLR, but do you own a film camera or experiment with film? M.W: I have my mom’s old Canon and I definitely prefer that. Film is so expensive and I don’t work so I don’t have the money to invest in film and to print them.
Mary Walker Rippe is a Westfield High School Junior. The Exposure Magazine met with her to learn more about her photography. E.M: What was the first camera you ever used? M.R: Nikon D40 I think. It’s the one I still have. It was my Aunt’s. E.M: When did you start getting into photography? M.W: I think it was the summer of 2009, it was over vacation and my aunt let me use her camera for a little bit and I took okay shots. They obviously weren’t the best, but my Aunt told me that “I had potential” and that really made me happy. That Christmas my parents invested in my own camera, the Nikon D40 I still have now. That helped me
...film is more natural I think, and when it comes out you don’t really know what to expect. E.M: Why do you prefer film? M.W: I try and explain to people how film is more natural I think, and when it comes out you don’t really know what to expect. It almost comes out edited in itself because film looks so cool and interesting. It may not always be the best but film is always interesting. The thing that I hate about film though is if you think you’ve taken an interesting photo or an interesting shot and it doesn’t turn out because it’s blank, gray or has something wrong with it—that kills me. Especially since I
Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
don’t like to take multiple photos of the same thing. E.M: How do you shoot differently with digital vs. film? M.W: Well, especially with a digital you can delete what you’ve taken, so if I take a photo and it’s not what I pictured in my mind I can always take it again until I get what I pictured. With film, you can’t really do that. So with film I tend to just shoot one and think “that’s totally going to turn out well” but sometimes it doesn’t. E.M: When you shoot in digital do you tend to do post processing?
And you get to the point where you look at your photo and you think that it looks worse than it originally was... It’s a matter of editing your edits.
M.W: I usually edit on lightroom, but the only thing is that I know I over edit. And you get to the point where you look at your photo and you think that it looks worse than it originally was. So over the years I’ve tried to refine that because I’m really in to light, and in lightroom you can do a lot with the light. It’s a matter of editing your edits. E.M: So when you shoot a RAW photo and edit it, what do you usually do first? M.W: I usually play with contrast because shooting in RAW and in manual for some reason always look different on the camera than what goes on the computer. It’s always a little bit too dark or a little bit too light and I can never get it right. It frustrates me so much! E.M: I know you take a lot of portraits. Is that your favorite type of photography? M.W: Not really. The only reason why I do portraits is because you know what’s going to happen; I’ve taken so many photos downtown that there isn’t much I can do with that. But with a person you can tell them and direct them. You have an image already in mind, and you can
direct them to get it.
but its natural: that’s how you take pictures of people.
E.M: Do you prefer working in a studio or outside?
E.M: Do you have any interest in photography in the future?
M.W: I definitely think outside, especially during the right times of day like early in the morning or late in the day because the light is so beautiful. Studio to me is a little more contrived. E.M: What other types of photography do you delve into? M.W: I really like dark photography-not necessarily night photography, but photography with a lot of contrast. My mom is an architect and was an art major, and when she sees these photographs she tells me that she doesn’t like them. But I really like them. Because they make a point, so I try and do that a lot. E.M: What about candid photography? M.W: That’s why I love taking photos of New York because I’ll sneak up behind people and take candid pictures of them. My friends will tell me that I’m so creepy,
M.W: I want to be a cinematographer, which kind of feeds off photography because they’re moving pictures. So I guess that sort of grew into a love of film and a love of the visual. E.M: Do you have a favorite photograph you’ve taken? M.W: There is one I took in California of these skate borders walking over a hump in a skate park with a lot of light in the background, I really like that one because of the lighting. And another one is the picture I entered in the apple fest contest. It’s of a silhouette of a woman backlit by writing. And again, I love the lighting in that one.
You can see more of Mary Walker’s photography at:
flickr.com/photos/thesplatterink/ Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
A GUIDE TO
FOCUS Hyperfocal distance is a term that turns away even advanced photographers. However, hyperfocal focusing is a technique that all photographers should be able to wield. Hyperfocal focusing is incredibly useful and, after some practice, quite easy. In order to achieve the maximum depth of field, one might typically just stop down to f/22 or the smallest aperture. Hyperfocal focusing is a much more effective way of creating the maxmimum sharpness; when focused at the hyperfocal distance, the depth of field is maximized for the particular aperture and focal length being used. The area of acceptable sharpness will extend from half of the hyperfocal distance to infinity. Sounds pretty good, right? So here’s how it works: First, if you’ve got one, mount your camera on a tripod. This will make the whole process more accurate. Select the appropriate focal length and aperture for the
...when focused at the hyperfocal distance, the depth of field is maximized for the particular aperture and focal length being used. shot, keeping in mind that smaller focal lengths (found on wide angle lenses) and apertures yield a greater depth of field. Now it’s time to focus at the hyperfocal distance. The hyperfocal distance is calculated using a function of a lens’s focal length (f), f-number (N), and the camera’s circle of confusion (c). Although there is no wholly agreed upon definition for the circle of confusion, it involves the size of the point of light focused by a camera on either the film or digital sensor. Each camera has its own circle of confusion size, however 0.030 mm is pretty standard for 35mm film. To quickly pull up the hyperfocal distance, most photographers rely on a table or digital calculator that ask you to input your focal length, f-number, and camera/circle of confusion. DOFmaster.com has some great solutions including a smart phone app and pritable pocket wheel. Depending on what kind of lens you’re using, you may not even have to calculate the hyperfocal distance. If you’re using an old manual focus lens, it probably has both a distance scale and depth of field scale. To use these features, first set your focal length and aperture. Each f-number corresponds to two lines on the depth of field scale. These two lines align with the distance scale to show the depth of field range for that aperture and focal length. To focus the lens to the hyperfocal distance, line up one of these two the lines with the infinity symbol on the distance scale. The depth of field far limit is infinity and the near limit is the distance indicated by the other line of the same f-number. After doing this, look for the location of the focus index on the distance scale – this is the hyperfocal distance (and the distance you just focused to!). You’re all set to shoot.
Focused at hyperfocal distance. 12.1 ft f/11 at 28mm
DEPTH OF FIELD SCALE
Note: If you’re using a manual focus zoom lens, the depth of field scale lines will be curved. Don’t be alarmed! This is simply accounting for the change in depth of field due to the changing focal length. If you’re using a lens with a distance scale, but without a depth of field scale, then focusing at the hyperfocal distance is slightly more difficult. After you set your focal length and aperture, you must calculate the hyperfocal distance (using a method described above). Using your distance scale as a guide, focus to that distance, then shoot away.
Focused regularly. ~6ft f/11 at 28mm
Hyperfocal focusing is most difficult if your lens has neither a distance scale nor a depth of field scale (unfortunately common in new lenses). Proceed the same way as if your lens had a distance scale, except when it’s time to focus at the hyperfocal distance, you’ll have to measure out the distance (then focus on that spot). One could use a pocket rangefinder or a distance meter to measure the hyperfocal distance from the camera position. However, there are many situations when these methods aren’t possible, so learning how to estimate the hyperfocal distance is valuable. Because the hyperfocal distance equation isn’t completely precise for every lens, you don’t have to be super accurate when estimating. Try visualizing things you know the length of between your camera and subject. It’s best to focus at a distance greater than the hyperfocal distance if you’re unsure – you’ll loose a small amount of depth of field in the foreground, but it still extends to infinity. Since it’s difficult to be precisely focus on most distance scales due to the large numerical gap between numbers, it’s safest to favor the larger number more. Additionally, you can stop down an extra stop from what you used to calculate the hyperfocal distance. This will extend the depth of field a little closer to the camera and is usally enough to account for focusing errors. In any of these situations, it’s important to remember that the depth of field seen when looking through the viewfinder isn’t accurate. This is because the lens is wide open until the shot is made, so you’re viewing at the least possible depth of field. Don’t change focus just because a significant area of the shot is out of focus. However, if you’re camera has the ability to stop down, you can view the shot at the actual aperture and depth of field. Now, go forth and conquer the world with your fresh knowledge of hyperfocal focusing!
Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
of the issue.
Difficulty: EASY Time: 1 HOUR Cost: >$10.00
How to make a pinhole Lens with a body cap. Tools required:
-body cap -soda can -exacto knife -coarse sand paper
Take your body cap and sand off the brand logo using your coarse sandpaper. Then use your fine sandpaper to make sure the surface is clean. This will make it much easier to drill later on without having to work with the rough surface. This should only take you a minute or two.
-fine sand paper -sharpie -drill -elbow grease
Using your exacto knife, cut a square of the aluminum can. It should be able to fit on the inside of your body cap. If it is too big, you will have trouble attaching it to the body cap later on.
Take your pin and gently poke a small hole through the aluminum. The hole should be completely circular and as small as possible. Take your fine sandpaper and sand the front and the back of the aluminum to smooth out the hole. The goal is to make the aluminum as thin as possible.
Using a 1/16 inch drill bit, drill a hole in the center of the body cap. At this point you should wash the body cap to get rid of all the black dust that is all over the cap. You donâ€™t want that stuff inside your camera!
Take your aluminum and use masking tape to attach it to the center of your body cap. It is imperative that the hole in the aluminum lines up with the center of the hole in the body cap. If you donâ€™t attach it correctly then you will see the edges of the body cap in the picture.
Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
In the final step, take your black sharpie and color the inside of the aluminum compleletely. The aluminum and the tape should all be completely black in order to prevent any reflections of light in the inside of the camera.
Voila! Now you can attach your brand new DIY pinhole lens to your camera. You can see some of our test shots below.
This is certainly not a lens you bring with you on a day shoot. We used shutter speeds ranging from ten to twenty seconds for every shot. The pictures themselves were interesting and unique, but they arenâ€™t anything stunning. While the soft focus can be percieved as annoying for some, we find it quite interesting. Overall, it was really neat making the simplest lens possible in such a short amount of time. Give it a whirl! This is a fun, easy project that will produce some olâ€™ timey pictures for only a few bucks.
editor’s choice Asher Stabler, WHS Senior
Those familiar with Asher Stabler’s photography know that it’s unique, and this piece is no exception. Taken from a rooftop in downtown Westfield, this infrared photograph has some serious “wow factor.” Its unnatural colors make the image fascinating - I feel like I’m looking at some sort of surreal wonderland. Capturing downtown Westfield from an unusual perspective contributes this feel. The bare rooftops amidst the vibrant pink trees and blue sky reminds me of a civilization long overrun by the wild. Although I recognize the location, I feel like I’m looking at a foreign place. However, the startling color of this photograph isn’t the only reason it stands out. It’s also striking for its effective use of orderly balance. The image is nearly symmetrical and the tree line splits it evenly in two. The cloud sits directly in the center of the sky. Symmetrical balance often makes for a cliché photograph, but this is certainly not the case here. The combination of wild colors and organized composition creates a great photograph. Great work Asher!
Fall, 2012 The Exposure Magazine
All Content by Connor Swingle & Jack Campbell
Mentors Mr. Roy Chambers Mr. Tim Stumbers Mr. Marc Silbergeld
Special Thanks to Aidan Hughes Alex Ying Andres Chang Asher Stabler Chandler Robertson Clara Smith Mary Walker Rippe Katherine Fischer Rob Marczydlo Shea Fitzpatrick Mr. Peter Renwick
You can submit photographs to The Exposure Magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on twitter @theexposuremag Or like us on Facebook. The Exposure Magazine is an Alpha Centauri production.