Year Two (124) – Shallow depth of field

I am experimenting today with a shallow depth of field on my 24-70mm lens, natural light to capture the detail and wonder of childhood.

The first image was outside, the light was wrong, but for me it was about capturing the moment.. a full blown paddy on the pavement…. what I find interesting here is the shutter speed at 1/320 sec the arm is still blurred – kids are fast, I shot wide to get the location and I was close to the subject, which has helped the depth of field… I think I need to get closer more often!

renoufdesign-12
A tantrum – ISO320, F9, 1/250sec – 35mm

Inside and still working with natural light Continue reading

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Year Two (16) – Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day – a day for spending time with the people you love and the things you enjoy. The perfect icon image for Valentine’s day are roses, I was lucky enough to receive some, so it was time to take out my camera, set up a studio and have a go at some high key flower shots – my lens of choice was my Canon 24-70mm – my idea was to create a white background – and then experiment with depth of field using the zoom lens and the distance between the camera and the subject.

Valentines Roses - 47mm - ISO100, F6.3, 1/250sec
Valentines Roses – 47mm – ISO100, F6.3, 1/250sec

I had two off camera flashes – one to light the background and one to light the roses. Working in manual, once you have set up the lights for the studio situation – the lighting can remain constant as you move the camera within the space.  It was a challenge separating the white jug from the background – but in the shot above the green lengths seem to over power the delicate roses. Continue reading

Day 151 – Newborn Babies Part 2

I recently enjoyed a lovely photoshoot with a lovely new mum and dad and another 11 day old baby – she was a little star, once fed, warm and cosy she was happy to co-operate and have her photo taken. I learned a lot from the last photoshoot… so today I was prepared with:

  • Knitted baby nests and blankets to keep the baby warm
  • Some gentle lights that enabled me to keep my shutter speed up high enough (around 1/200sec) ISO max 1600, but lower if possible.
  • Some items mum wanted to include to personalise the photos.

I was hoping to go black and white for most of the images, but this 11 day old baby had the most lovely coloured hair so I did a mixture of the two….  and what I forget to go was to regularly check the white balance which would have made my editing easier…. however I love taking baby photos!

ISO1600, F5, 1/125 sec - a similar shot.
ISO1600, F5, 1/125 sec – a similar shot.
ISO 1250, F4.5, 1/200 sec - her toy giraffe
ISO 1250, F4.5, 1/200 sec – her toy giraffe
ISO 640, F4.5, 1/200 sec
ISO 640, F4.5, 1/200 sec
ISO500, F4, 1/200 sec
ISO500, F4, 1/200 sec
ISO500, F5, 1/200sec - A bear from Grandma
ISO500, F5, 1/200sec – A bear from Grandma
ISO500, F3.5, 1/200 sec - Dad's Navy hat
ISO500, F3.5, 1/200 sec – Dad’s Navy hat
ISO500, F4, 1/200 sec
ISO500, F4, 1/200 sec
ISO800, F4.5, 1/200 sec - In an old wine box
ISO800, F4.5, 1/200 sec – In an old wine box
ISO800, 1/200 sec, F4.5 - Personalised wine box
ISO800, 1/200 sec, F4.5 – Personalised wine box

Thoughts for next time:

  • Control the metering with the spot meter
  • Add exposure compensation if needed to balance the light
  • Lights are essential to get the shutter speed fast enough and the iso low enough
  • The new props are great but babies come in all sort of sizes… and this young lade is quite long
  • Use shutter priority as a sharp shallow focus photo is best
  • Choose the right focal point, then back button focus … a small movement can mean out of focus images
  • Practice my cloning scales to help make the babies skin look smooth
  • An assistant is really useful … my daughter was a great help.

My final image is this one – as part of Emma’s ~Remarkable2015 challenge this week she challenged us to print … so I have printed off 2 of the baby photos and mounted them as 5×7’s to give to the mum and dad along with a disc of images. Hopefully they will treasure them … and perhaps suggest my services to other people …. taking baby snaps is such fun!
Printed images and disc for parents

Day 131 – Fast Shutter Speeds and Sparky

I am forever playing it safe, I use Aperture priority mode a lot, I adjust the exposure compensation to get the shot that I want but if you mention shutter speeds, I somehow quiver with terror and think I can’t do it – so I really need to practice this more… in my head I am always converting… faster shutter speed = wider aperture, so I tend to pick Av and go from there… but I really do need to discover and use this function on my camera and relate it to back button focusing.

So today I choose Shutter priority, auto ISO and trusted the camera … my model was Sparky and I wanted to freeze the action of him running on his walk…. I took lots of photos – nearly 100 trying to get it right (80 ended up straight in the recycle bin as were not in focus – I had a problem with focusing & tracking – but I discovered lots!).

Settings on camera were:

  • ISO – auto
  • Tv – Shutter speed 1/2000 sec and 1/4000 sec
  • High Speed Drive (so I could take a few shots at a time)
  • Al servo for tracking with back button tracking – took me a while to realise that to keep Sparky in focus I needed to keep my finger on the button 🙂
  • 18-250mm lens

First I tried to fill the frame with the farmer’s crop, the sunlight was really strong and produces a really vibrant background and in lightroom I had to lighten the shadows on Sparky’s face.

ISO2000. 1/2000 sec, F7.1
ISO2000. 1/2000 sec, F7.1

Trying to get Sparky to run in the direction I wanted was impossible, I also felt that 1/2000 sec was nit fast enough to freeze the movement so I choose to increase the shutter speed.

ISO2000. 1/4000 sec, F7.1
ISO2000. 1/4000 sec, F7.1

It became apparent that the stronger shots were when there was room in the frame for Sparky to run into, where I had the whole dog in the frame. It also became apparent that the more vibrant colours were in the grass when it was back lit, so to capture that vibrancy impacted on the timing I shot the image.

ISO1000 1/2000 sec, F6.3
ISO1000 1/2000 sec, F6.3

I think this is great, the fast shutter speed has given a great depth to the photo, I have got his eyes focused on something – just wish it was me … but I have taken it close to the end of his tail … I need to zoom out more.

ISO800. 1/2000 sec, F6.3
ISO800. 1/2000 sec, F6.3

Aiming for me, you can see how happy he is – but you can’t really tell how fast he is moving in this shot… I think I zoomed out too far.

ISO640. 1/2000 sec, F6.3
ISO640. 1/2000 sec, F6.3

This was an experiment with angles, I love the texture I added to the grass by getting lower but I never checked out the backgrounds and Sparky has a tree growing out of his head! The low angle though makes the dog look large, that he could stand his ground and be determined to reach his goal.

ISO800. 1/2000 sec, F6.3 - Change of angle
ISO800. 1/2000 sec, F6.3 – Change of angle

Then an angle change, Sparky is still moving around but this time I am looking down at him, and he looks much smaller in size and less dominating in the image.

ISO640. 1/2000 sec, F5  - Coming towards me.
ISO640. 1/2000 sec, F5 – Coming towards me.

I am going to practice some more with this… Sparky is a great model so you may see him again!

Day 89 – Pretty in pink, photographing tulips

An attempt today at photographing a lovely bunch of tulips with window light from my lounge. I wanted to capture the delicate flowers, the vibrant pink and use only nature light, I also wanted to play around with the angle of the camera, and the distance I was from the subject to see if I can capture a range of compositions.

100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/50 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/50 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/100 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/100 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/50sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/50sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/125 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/125 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/125 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/125 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5, 1/60 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5, 1/60 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5, 1/30sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F5, 1/30sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F4, 1/40 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F4, 1/40 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F4, 1/50 sec
100mm fixed macro lens, ISO 100, F4, 1/50 sec

I like the shots where the depth of field is shallow, your attention is drawn to one flower and the background is not clutter … it is important to remember

  • Backgrounds  –  in some photos I have managed to include the window frame, and the bright outside which is distracting when you have contrast between the two whites.
  • Moving can make a difference – the wooden cupboard makes a great background when I changed my angle and creates a whole different feel.
  • Use of thirds – the stronger compositions have payed more consideration to this I think.
  • Feeling the fame with colour is an interesting option – but I don’t think it works with these tulips… I’ll have to try it with a different flower.

Day 68 – Crocuses Revisited

Day 55 – a touch of sunshine – I photographed some yellow crocus at the end of the road … today I visited the same patch of ground, experimented with camera angles using my nifty 50 lens and photographed these purple crocuses in the same spot. I never knew that the purple ones flowered later – so instead of a photography tip today… i discovered gardening advice 🙂

ISO 400, 1/40 sec, F10 From above and the grass is too much in focus I think.
ISO 400, 1/40 sec, F10 From above and the grass is too much in focus I think.
ISO 400, 1/40 sec, F2.5 From above and the grass - the depth of field is almost too shallow.
ISO 400, 1/40 sec, F2.5 From above and the grass – the depth of field is almost too shallow.
ISO400, F2.8, 1/640sec - moving sideways.
ISO400, F2.8, 1/640sec – moving sideways.
ISO400, F2.8, 1/1000sec - moving sideways.
ISO400, F2.8, 1/1000sec – moving sideways.

My personal favorite is the last photo I took – below… I like the shallow depth of field and how the flowers stand out amongst the grass, they look small, fragile and soft….  I do also like the direct downwards photo too and I think you could get an interesting effect with that with flowers that had a longer stem… so the depth could be thrown more easily, or with a macro lens.

ISO400, F2.8, 1/1000sec - Side angle of the crocuses, you can no longer see the orange in the centre
ISO400, F2.8, 1/1000sec – Side angle of the crocuses, you can no longer see the orange in the centre

Day 44 – Aperture Challenge

#Remarkable2015 suggested that it was a great idea to do an Aperture exercise with your camera … so today I had a go … in the first instance I used my 100mm canon prime lens – I focused on the red candle in the middle of the staggered line, kept the same focus point for all the photos and used a tripod. The candles are in a diagonal line going away from me and slowly decreased the size of the aperture …  f2.8 is the widest aperture, the red candle is the only one that is really in focus… the background and foreground is blurred and darker and the movement if the flame is quite distinctive… as I the aperture gets smaller, the time the shutter opened increased and more movement can be seen in the flame due to the longer shutter speeds.

Canon 100mm prime lens
Canon 100mm prime lens

This second series of photos is the same lens but I position myself much closer to the candles, the same focus point… but not so many candles in shot. Here you can se the time delay… the candles are much shorter than in the first series of photos, but because I am closer the depth of field is much more apparent… it is a macro lens, and you can see that it benefits from being closer to the subject and the detail – but with the smaller apertures you can still see so much more movement in the flames.

Canon 100mm prime lens - positioned closer
Canon 100mm prime lens – positioned closer

Same setup, different lens – my sigma 18-250mm lens focused at 120mm, I was trying to get a similar shot to shot 1 above.  The zoom lens lens at this aperture does not have such a wide aperture to go down to, but it does have a narrower one – which surprised me. I was at a similar distance to the first shot, and once again you can not really tell that the candles are on different planes other than the amount they are in focus, the longer zoom and the distance seems to compress them together.

Sigma 18-250 mm lens at 120mm
Sigma 18-250 mm lens at 120mm

Same lens, but moved closer and at 63mm zoom, I have the whole range of candles in the shot but I can’t get sure a small aperture this time, but at the same time I can get a wider aperture… so the lens functions differently depending on the amount I have zoomed.  The depth of field is not as share on the 100mm lens but the widest apertures appear to create a lovely bokeh behind, whereas on the 100mm lens at a smiliar distance there is not enough light to reach the background.

Sigma 18-250 mm lens at 63 mm - positioned closer
Sigma 18-250 mm lens at 63 mm – positioned closer

The blog does not really show the photo detail that well… but if you click on any of the photos you can take a look – why not give it a try yourself?

f2.8 - the widest aperture and one of my fav shots today!
f2.8 – the widest aperture and one of my fav shots today!

Day 13 – Revisited

I am still indoors, so thought I would revisit the flowers… the carnations are past their best .. so I focused in close to fill the image with my 100mm Canon macro and used a tripod. It was worth getting it out, as for each shot I left the camera in the same position, the lighting did not change (natural light from a window to the left) and I had the shutter on a 2 second delay so I would not suffer from camera shake.

As I decreased the depth of field the length of time the shutter was opened also decreased … and so did the amount of mess on the cabbage leaves…  the green spots and blemishs are soo much clearer on the 1st photo with the largest depth of field, smallest aperture and longest exposure time – highlighting once again that to get the perfect flower shot – you really need to find that perfect flower to start….

ISO 100, F22, 25 secs
ISO 100, F22, 25 secs
ISO 100, F10, 5 secs
ISO 100, F10, 5 secs
ISO 100, F3.5, 1/2 sec
ISO 100, F3.5, 1/2 sec

Day 6 – Nifty 50 – Low Light

This mornings dog walk was the only time today I would have had the chance to take a photo… it was overcast, damp and I choose a woodland walk…

Photo 1:
ISO 1600, F8 and 0.4secs – I focused on the 2nd barbed wire spike, with the idea of seeing the line of wire stretching diagonally through the image. I was hand holding and I was not steady enough despite the high ISO, which has left the picture with a grainy feel, so if this was the result I wanted to achieve – this is a great example of when a tripod would be needed – then as it is a static shot, I could reduce the ISO, decrease the shutter speed and keep it sharp. You can still see though how the aperture has affected the depth of field, with the photo softening in the distance.AperturePhoto 2:
ISO 1600, F4 and 1/80 sec – I focused on the same 2nd barbed wire spike, with the idea of seeing the line of wire stretching diagonally through the image, but drawing attention to the 2nd piece of wire, (this would have been much more interesting if it had a cobweb or a bit of lambs wool hooked on it). I was still hand holding and the picture has a grainy feel thanks to the high ISO, but you can clearly see how the larger aperture has affected the depth of field and the closer I am with the nifty 40 the more extreme the effect appears.Aperture

What’s next – I think I either need to try and nifty 50 as a portrait lens and take a photo of someone … or have a look at the effect of shutter speed on a moving image – we will have to see what opportunities occur tomorrow!