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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Know the Mistakes when Photographing Waterfall

#1 Photographing Waterfalls on a sunny day

Sunny days in the forest may be nice for close-up studies, but adding sun to a waterfall landscape is not a good idea – the range of light and dark is so extreme that your compositions will be washed out or hidden in blackness. The best time to head out for a waterfall shoot is on an overcast day, with or without rain.

#2 Setting your camera to auto-select aperture and shutter speed

Metering is something that cameras generally do very well. They begin to fail, however, when you start to introduce very white or very black subjects in an image. The reason for this is because humans see in 16-stops, whereas cameras “see” no more than 5-stops. This means that images with high contrast are not correctly exposed when left to the camera’s automatic settings – if you have a lot of white in your subject of focus, the camera tends to make it grey in the final image, and correspondingly underexposes the rest of the image. Similarly, if you have a lot of black in your image, the camera tends to make the black turn out grey in the final image, thus overexposing the rest of the image.

#3 Shooting Waterfalls without a polarizing filter

In a nutshell, polarizing filters cut the glare. Wet surfaces tend to reflect the sky colour, so you’ll actually need the polarizing filter more for rainy days where the sky colour is grey than for sunny days. But we’ve already agreed you shouldn’t photography waterfalls on sunny days… Removing glare from an image allows you to see the colourful world underneath the glare, and no amount of Photoshopping after your shoot will fix it.

Tips to Correcting #1, #2, #3

The idea is to meter off the part of your composition that would be closest to medium grey, should the image be turned to greyscale. If your waterfall is surrounded by lush forest, try metering off nearby green leaves or grass – never off the waterfall, and never off anything in shade. If you’re photographing at dawn or dusk, meter off the sky. This will make the waterfall appear white, and the shady areas appear black. It’s really very simple!

In automatic mode :

First, learn how to “lock” your camera’s exposure so as to trick it into getting the right exposure. (Each camera is slightly different, so you’ll have to check your manual for more information.) Enable bracketing if you’ve got it. Point your camera at the green leaves or dusky sky, and lock your exposure. Re-focus your camera on the waterfall, and click the button – this should tell your camera to expose the scene how we see it, and not what its algorithms have told it to do.

In manual mode:

Set your exposure to -2/3 of a stop. Point your camera at a spot nearby the waterfall that is neither bright nor dark. Set your aperture and shutter speed to whatever you prefer (see Mistake #4). Now point your lens at the waterfall and frame the scene in your viewfinder. Click the button and voilè  Рbeautiful exposure!

#4 Leaving your waterfall site without trying to slow the water motion on camera

Let’s face it, it’s fun to try to make those ethereal shots of rapids or waterfalls where the movement of the water looks like silk. Why walk away from a waterfall if the conditions are right for taking such a shot?

Tips to Correcting #4

It’s very simple; here’s what you need to do:
– ensure the sky is overcast
– decrease your ISO setting to as low as possible
– consider enabled auto-bracketing on your camera, if you have it, or setting the exposure to -2/3 of a stop
– set your camera up on a tripod and frame your waterfall in the viewfinder
– lower your shutter speed to 1/15th of a second or less
– take a shot and check the histogram
– play with slower shutter speeds and different exposure bracketing

Black And White Photo

For some reason it’s hard to remember our parents were children once too. We only know them as the adults they have become. I want my children to be able to do the same thing with me one day. So far my wife and I have accumulated around a dozen photo albums. We have two or three of them made up of black and white photos.

Some people actually prefer black and white photos since they tend to hide imperfections a little better. However, now days the digital cameras are so widespread and simple. So many photos are taken and downloaded to our laptops. This is much less expensive if you don’t print them out.

Do you take a lot of pictures? Well, if the answer is no, then you should start. Pictures are the keys to great memories. I noticed that I did not start taking oodles of photos until I had my first child. Suddenly, I wanted to preserve every single pose. Some of my favorites are black and white photos.

These old-school pictures have a certain presence all their own. It’s almost like they show a deeper emotion. There’s something to be said about the lack of color. It allows us to see beyond the mere cosmetic factor. This is why my wife and I love to shoot plenty of black and white photos of our children and family.

In this modern world of color, it’s rather hard to come by classic black and white photos anymore. If you’ve not dabbled in this area of photography, I suggest that you at least give it a shot.

Get some great black and white photos of your family and loved ones. If you would like a preview of some extraordinary black and white photos, you can always surf the web and find a spectrum to choose from.

The quality is not lost in black and white photos, it’s merely the color. After dealing with both sides of the coin, I don’t think I will ever prefer color pictures over black and white photos.

Exposure and Metering Basic

Exposure

Exposure is the quantity of light allowed to act on a photographic material. It is a product of the intensity, which is controlled by the lens opening (aperture), and the duration (shutter speed) of light striking the film or paper. Your ISO setting, your aperture size, and your shutter speed directly impact the exposure of an image.

Metering

Metering is the process of calculating the best exposure from the existing light conditions.

When your digital camera meters a scene, it measures the amount of light in the scene and calculates the best-fit exposure value based on the metering mode (see below for details). All meters are designed to produce midtone results – neither black nor white, neither light nor dark, but somewhere in between. Metering systems are typically calibrated to a value of 18% gray because a typical scene reflects the same amount of light as this gray value. As a result, scenes with high contrast can give the automatic exposure a difficult time.

The metering mode on your camera defines which information in the scene is used to calculate the exposure value. Metering modes depend on the camera and the brand, but are mostly variations of the following three types:

# Spot (Partial) Metering
Spot metering is a method of metering that only uses a small spot in the centre of the composed scene. The size of the spot varies with the brand of camera, but typically ranges from 1% to 3.5% of the image area. Partial metering covers about 9.5%. Spot metering allows you to meter the subject in the center of the frame (or on some cameras at the selected AF point). This type of metering is useful for brightly backlit, macro, and moon shots. Use this metering method when your scene has significant differences in brightness (e.g. between foreground and background) or for subjects that require precise measurement, such as close-up photography.

# Center-weighted Average Metering
Center-weighted metering is averaged over the entire scene with emphasis placed on the center area (typically 75% based on lighting conditions at the center and 25% outside). It assumes that you will be composing with the subject in the middle of the frame and most of us know this is not always the case. Center-weighted metering is probably the most common metering method implemented in nearly every digital camera and the default for those digital cameras which don’t offer metering mode selection. Most centre weighted systems have greater sensitivity in the bottom half of the frame, which, when used in landscape format, cut down the influence of the bright sky on the exposure. Be careful when using this mode for portrait photography when the camera is turned on its side.

# Matrix or Evaluative Metering
Matrix was introduced to the world in 1988 with the Nikon F4. This is probably the most complex metering mode, offering the best exposure in most circumstances. Essentially, the scene is split up into a matrix of 3 to 16 or more, typically 6 metering zones which are evaluated individually, taking into account such factors as the focusing point in use, subject size, position, distance, overall lighting level, front and back lighting and color. The overall exposure is based on an algorithm specific to that camera, the details of which are closely guarded by the manufacturer. Often they are based on comparing the measurements to an on-board database of images. Matrix metering uses a microchip that has been exposed to literally thousands of picture-taking situations. As you point the camera towards your subject, matrix metering recognizes its light/dark pattern and reads the light accordingly.

If you test your spot meter on various parts of a scene you’ve composed, you’ll no doubt prove to yourself that there is a vast range of light and shadow, but since the film or digital card cannot record more than a five stop range, what difference does it make? You will still end up keeping the same two or three exposures that were created using center-weighted or matrix metering.

Both center-weighted and matrix metering prove accurate in 90% of one’s picture taking efforts. That should boost your confidence in choosing them when you realize that nine out of ten pictures will be a correct exposure! In either center-weighted or matrix metering modes, you can aim, meter, compose, and shoot when your subject is frontlit, sidelit or under an overcast sky.