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Source: http://www.exposureguide.com/image-sensor-cleaning.htm

 

Proper and regular upkeep of your digital camera is important for maintaining the highest quality performance from your camera. Much of routine maintenance is simple, easy to carry out procedures. The most common maintenance target is dust, which on your lens or image sensor will result in flawed photos.

 

1.) Image Sensor Cleaning

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To determine if your sensor needs cleaning is quite simple. Just put on a long lens, focus to infinity, close off the aperture, set the EV to +1 and photograph a white (or light) wall. By using the long lens you’re able to achieve the most out-of-focus image and you’ll actually be able to see how much dust has settled on the sensor. Place the image into an image-editing program like Photoshop and view the image at 100% magnification to get a full appreciation of the dust level. If the sensor is dirty, you’ll immediately notice tiny dark spots and thin lines, which are often formed from clothing fibers, hair, and pollen granules. If you notice these spots, it indicates that the sensor of your camera or your lens requires cleaning. You can have the camera sensor cleaned by sending it to a manufacturer’s service center or to a trusted repair shop. However, this may prove to be an expensive option. The second option is to clean the sensor yourself. If you want to clean your sensor there are three routes to go: with a blower, with solvents and with brushes. In addition, many cameras have a self-cleaning image sensor, and it’s recommended that you use this each time your fire up your camera for a day’s shooting.

A.) Cleaning with a Rubber Bulb Blower

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A rubber bulb blower is a hand-operated “touchless” device used to blow away the loose dust particles on the lens or within the camera body. It is considered touchless because only puffs of air touch the camera parts. However, rubber bulb blowers can be the least effective method of cleaning the sensor because dust which has been adhered with moisture will be difficult to remove. Additionally, to ensure that you are cleaning properly you need to make sure that you’re not just blowing the dust around the sensor housing. To use the blower effectively, set the camera on a tripod with the lens opening facing downward and then blow into the opening. The majority of the loose dust (dust that’s not stuck to the image sensor) will blow away and fall to the floor. This simple cleaning will get you by when you’re on location and don’t have time for a more thorough cleaning. Rubber bulb blowers work well for rapid removal of most visible dust.

B.) Cleaning with Brushes

The next method of cleaning your sensor is with brushes, and the best are special static-chargeable brushes. These brushes are great, because the static charge grabs the loose dust as you swab them around the interior of the camera body. In addition, brushes don’t require flammable cleaning solvents and are used dry. A brush is less likely to scratch the sensor, which can happen with solvents and wiping with a cloth. The drawback with brushes is that if you run across a gummy or sticky substance, the brush will smear it around. You’ll then need to use a solvent to clear up that mess.

C.) Cleaning with Solvents

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The third method of cleaning the image sensor is with a liquid solvent. You’ll need a sensor swipe or some other applicator like Pec* Pads and Eclipse or Eclipse E2 solvent (both by Photographic Solutions). These solvents are excellent because they don’t streak or leave a residue. We should note that Pec* Pads aren’t specifically made for cleaning the image sensor. They are designed to clean film emulsions, telescopes and mirrors – which are delicate, so they are safe for cleaning the image sensor. When cleaning with a solvent, wear latex gloves to prevent any oil from your fingers from contaminating the cleaning pad and transferring that oil to the sensor’s surface.

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Inquire at Photo Avenue Equipment through facebook for our Cleaning kits.
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Historical photographs are among the most elusive and exciting finds for the family historian. Adding a face to the names of our ancestry can really bring our research to life – not to mention help identify any deep-rooted (pardon the pun) physical family resemblance on our family tree!

It’s a shame, then, that historical photographs are so hard to come by for the average genealogist and family history researcher.

If only our ancestors had the same easy access to technologies that we often take for granted in today’s world of hand-held digital cameras, in-built mobile phone cameras, and the abundant social media that help us share images instantly.

Indeed, we are inundated with photographs and imagery that help us visually document the world around us. Young people nowadays are almost certainly the most frequently photographed generation yet. We put this down to the recent rise of the ‘selfie’ phenomenon.

Short for ‘self-portrait photograph’, a selfie is simply a photo that has been taken by its subject. Selfies are a phenomenon among younger generations (and sometimes, cough, their parents), often uploaded on social media for ‘likes’.

Though the humble (or not so humble) selfie may, for all its vanity and self-publicity, seem so quintessentially ‘Gen Y’, in fact its historical roots date back to the early days of photography.

Here at findmypast, we decided to investigate the background of two early ‘selfie’ photographs from history and, while scouring through a vast array of historical photographs, we, learnt a fair bit about the history of photography itself along the way.

We now present to you – drum roll, please – two contenders for the title of the world’s first selfie.

 

Candidate 1: Robert Cornelius’ self-portrait, 1839

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According to the Library of Congress, this early daguerreotype was the “first photographic portrait”. It was taken by Robert Cornelius, an American metallurgist and pioneer of photography, around October 1839.

Along with chemist Paul Beck Goddard, Robert experimented with camera technology in order to reduce exposure times. This in turn made photographic portraiture possible.

This shot was reportedly taken outside the family store in downtown Philadelphia and, unlike today’s instantaneous selfies, capturing this photograph reportedly took five minutes of perfectly motionless staring!

The 1850 census records reveal that Robert Cornelius was born in 1809. Residing in Philadelphia. Having opened one of the world’s first photographic studios in 1840.

As for the ‘selfie’ itself? Historian Dr Michael Pritchard, director general of the Royal Photographic Society, UK, is unconvinced that this photograph was indeed a self-portrait.

“It’s likely he [Robert] may have had a friend or assistant to make the actual exposure,” Dr Michael Pritchard told the BBC. “It’s more likely the first ‘selfies’ were taken a bit later on.”

Candidate 2: A group of New York photographers, 1920

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As you can see, our next contender – a photograph taken some 81 years later – is a very different image. Like many selfies today, the subject’s arm is outstretched toward the camera to prop it up; however, this particular camera was held up by two subjects, one on either side. Must have been one heavy camera.

Interestingly, the five people depicted in the photograph were all well-known American photographers: from left to right, Uncle Joe Byron, Pirie MacDonald, Colonel Marceau, Pop Core and Ben Falk. It was taken on the roof of Marceau’s photographic studio in New York.

Ian ‘Pirie’ MacDonald was arguably the best-known of these photographers. He made a name for himself in the early 1900s capturing images of some of the most powerful and famous figures in the world (including Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson).

(What’s written in the Cutout:
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SUGGESTION FOR MEN
By Pirie MacDonald
1. Choose Your photographer more carefully than your tailor.
2. If you want to look decorative go to a photographer who specializes in women’s pictures
3. If you want to look like a man with lots of fight and “go” in you, select a photographer who can at least match you in physical strength and give you a bodily as well as a mental challenge.
4. Don’t expect a good picture from a photographer who can’t arouse your interest and draw you into a controversy.
5. Don’t take your wife with you.
6. Don’t be photographed unless you are feeling fit.
7. Don’t expect ‘Stunt”‘ Photography of freak effects to impress men who may see your picture.
8. Don’t dress up for a photograph: look just as you ordinarily do.
9. Don’t think how you are going to look.
10. Don’t insist that your photograph must look exactly as you really do look. if you do, you’ll be disappointed.)
Later in the article, Pirie imparted his wisdom concerning the difference between males and females having their photographs taken: “Men want their photographs to reflect strength,” Pirie said. “Men think they want their pictures to look just like them until they see the results. Then you find they’re quite as vain as women.”
We can only imagine what Pirie would make of the selfie trend today.
Though we can’t decisively conclude that either of these images are indeed the world’s first ‘selfie’, both images reveal much about the history of photography.

 

 

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It’s only 2 days away before we know who will prevail in the final championship game between La Salle and University of Santo Thomas, and we are sure that a lot of photographers and hobbyists would be there to capture this legendary moment, or even those would just like to catch a few memorable moments. So Avenue Photo Equipment decided to give a few tips days before the game, to help you practice and catch that perfect moment on camera.

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Basketball is one of the most dynamic sports to photograph, because the action is fast, close and the players’ faces aren’t encumbered by any elements of their uniforms. As most don’t have the opportunity to photograph the NBA, many people will photograph local teams.

 

1.) Use a Wide Aperture

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Since you are normally placed in an assigned seat at games, your choice of lens is important as well as your choice of composition. Don’t be afraid to use a wide-angle lens at a basketball game, especially if it is a full arena. To shoot a perfectly sharp, well exposed image in an indoor and low-light environment, choose the widest aperture possible (f/2.8-f/4) and use a monopod or a chair that you can rest your camera on. A stable rest is important to avoid blurring.

2.) Zoom in on the Subject

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If you are sitting far from the action, then a zoom lens of 70-300mm set wide open should do the job for you. Don’t forget to fill the frame with the player, and try to capture his facial expressions. Set the lens focus mode to AF (Autofocus) and select continuous focusing (AI Servo AF Canon/AF-C Nikon) mode to automatically re-focus the image on the moving player. Another technique is to pre-focus on a fixed object (in this case the net) and wait for the action.

3.) Capture the Action

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Provided that you are in a bright arena, set the mode dial to M (Manual), and use a shutter speed of 1/200s or faster to freeze the action. Open the aperture wide (f/1.8-f/2.8 is ideal) and increase the ISO to 800 or higher if necessary. Try to capture interesting parts of the action, like when the ball is in midair or when a player dunks the ball. For multiple shots use the burst shooting mode and hold down the shutter button as long as desired. Each DSLR has its own frame rate and burst-mode capture rate, which sets your camera’s abilities for rapid, multiple shot photography.

4.) Choose a Slow Shutter Speed

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To create motion blur during a basketball game, choose a slow shutter speed (1/15 – 1/60th of a second), place your camera on a tripod or hold it still while pointing at the moving players and take the shot. This will make the players look blurred while keeping the rest of the photo sharp. You can also try using the panning technique – pre-focus on a player and follow him with your lens in a smooth horizontal motion while pressing the shutter button.

5.) Use Dramatic Angles

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Check out high school gyms to spot local talent and ask for permission to photograph them. You might tell them that you’ll compensate them with free images for their college recruiting efforts. Position yourself in extreme positions for dramatic compositions, set the shutter speed to 1/250th of a second or faster and the aperture to f/5.6 or f/8 – these settings will freeze the explosive action, and give you a shallow depth of field to isolate the events on the court. If you want some memorable shots, stand on a large, sturdy ladder behind the backboard. Remember, if you want to use a flash, get permission from the coach and players first.

Recommended Settings

Most basketball arenas are well lit, but smaller high school gymnasiums use artificial lights that may have some flicker to them, and which can cause color shifts in your photographs. Therefore you can either leave your camera on Auto WB (White Balance) or use the Custom WB setting by metering off of a white or grey card. For action shots choose a fast shutter speed of 1/500s and a large aperture of f/2.8-f/4. If you want to capture movement, then lower the speed to around 1/15s – 1/60s.

Recommended Equipment

If you are seated very far back from the action, you need a telephoto lens of around 300mm. However, the more versatile 70mm-200mm zoom lens would be useful if sitting closer. The 70mm-200mm zoom, and good seats, would allow you to take portrait shots but also take wider images showing some context. As always, use a good quality DSLR camera body that allows you to preview images, so you can change camera settings if necessary.

Conclusion

Basketball is one of the most dynamic sports and you can get some magnificent shots of world-class athletes performing at their peak. The basketball court is filled with many colors and dynamic characters in action. Composition and timing are most important in photographing basketball games. Most professional sports photographers use a 300mm lens (zoom or prime) to get nice and close. Be sure to capture the emotions of the players during the game – that’s especially where the zoom is useful. It’s important to check your white balance because of the varying color temperature of the overhead lighting. And one thing you must do is get explicit permission from the teams to take photographs of the players and the game.

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Be sure to check out our camera gears at our facebook page on Avenue Photo Equipment, or inquire by messaging us or calling us at 559-6451

Be Adventurous

For the next few days, we will be posting a series of photography tips starting from today’s post, Baby PhotographyChild Photography, Teen Photography, then Family Photography. Since ‘ber months has lots of holidays to spend time with the family, we think that this would really help you capture that perfect moment with your family. – Avenue Photo Equipment.

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Article Source: http://www.exposureguide.com/photographing-babies.htm

Few things in life can be as rewarding as photographing babies- after coaxing an expression of cherubic joy – caught with a click. Here are some easy steps you can follow to take the perfect portrait of the apple of your eye.

1.) Click Away!

Click Away

 

Babies are unpredictable so therefore tears and tantrums are to be expected. Don’t be afraid to keep the camera shooting rather than waiting for that perfect pose or moment because somewhere in 30 consecutive shots will be one winner. Presuming you have a good amount of natural daylight, choose an ISO of 100-400 and use a wide aperture (f/2.8-f/8) for a shallow DOF (depth of field). Use continuous shooting mode on your camera to capture 2, 3, 4, or 5 photos in a couple of seconds.

2.) Check the Lighting

Check the Lighting

For the best baby shots, photograph during the daytime when there is plenty of natural daylight. Natural light gives a soft focus look to the baby’s skin. Use window light if possible and avoid the harsh sun because it tends to casts shadows and is also unhealthy for the baby’s skin. A standard lens of 50mm is ideal for this kind of image. Turn the mode dial to AV (Aperture Priority) mode, select a high ISO and a wide aperture. Let the camera choose the correct shutter speed. Use an external flash (with a diffuser) to fill in any dark spots.

3.) ‘Smile for me Baby’

Smile for me Baby

 

When photographing babies, you may need to “ham it up” to elicit a reaction. This can include making funny faces, playing hide and seek from behind a piece of cloth, or making goofy clucking noises. There are so many ways you can coax a smile onto an infant’s lips. Get “your better half” to coax that perfect expression, as you set up the shot. You should work fast to capture the moment so choose a fast shutter speed of 1/500s or more, use a wide aperture (f/1.8-f/4) for a blurred background and shoot!

4.) Simple Backgrounds

Simple Backgrounds

Simple baby shots are usually the best; there is no need for cluttered or overly bright backgrounds. A great way to get a photo that looks professional is to get some white, grey or beige cloth and lay it over two chairs. Place the cloth near a large window with the baby on it with some toys. Turn the mode dial to AV (Aperture Priority) mode and select your desired aperture. Feel free to push the ISO up if the window light is not very bright. Spot meter on the baby’s face and focus on the baby’s eyes.

5.) Make it Memorable

Make it Memorable

To take memorable pictures try to capture the baby engaged in an activity, or with family and friends. Siblings, especially if they are close in age can add extra interest to the photograph – get them playing together, eating or interacting as friends. Keep back and don’t try to force friendliness – let the children do what they do. Take the photos from the background, so as not to disrupt them. Seat the kids in an uncluttered area that has lots of natural light, like a large window. Use the auto settings to make sure you get a sharp image, and let the camera choose flash if it is necessary.

6.) Be Adventurous

Be Adventurous

Black and white images are classic and timeless, and are perfect for photographing babies! Turn the mode dial to AV (Aperture Priority) mode and select a large aperture for a soft and blurred background. Use the spot metering mode and meter on the baby’s face. When shooting in monochrome consider contrast; black and white backgrounds will be the most striking, and contrast in the lighting will also give a dramatic effect.

Recommended Settings

Generally when working with babies, we want to be quick and without hesitation. Therefore choose fast shutter speeds and/or high ISOs. There’s nothing worse than capturing a great moment that is slightly blurry because the shutter was too slow. With good daylight you want to use 1/500s shutter speed. F/5.6 and wider is also a good rule of thumb in terms of aperture, giving sharp shots without sacrificing shutter speed.

Recommended Equipment

As well as a good camera, a standard lens of around 50mm is a good tool for baby portraits. Try to choose one with f/1.8 and lower so you get faster shutter speeds and sharper shots (i.e. f/1.4 and f/1.2). A beanbag rather than a tripod is great for stabilizing your camera and getting down on the ground to a baby’s level, and a silver or white reflector is ideal for bouncing light so that it is soft and flattering.

Conclusion

Babies offer a great opportunity for creating beautiful and treasured photographs, though they are by no means an easy subject! Always think on your feet and shoot more images than you think you’ll need. Be open, friendly and playful – if you are awkward the baby will be too. Also, don’t forget to have a helping hand. Babies crawl, they cry, they need changes, etc. A chaperone or helper will make all the difference so that you can focus on capturing the best moments.

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Check out our gears to start your own photography hobby, or work by liking our facebook page, just search Avenue Photo Equipment. You can also inquire by calling 734-3306 or559-6451.

 

How you've Grown!

Photographing children is hard work and a lot of fun too. Children grow up quickly so it is only natural to want to document their progress, from the first day at school to the first sports game. With some extra thought, the casual family snapshot can be something special and worth treasuring.

1.) Show them in Action

Show them in Action

There will be certain events and days that as a parent you will want to immortalize. If this is a public or group event, then you need to draw your child out from the crowd. If possible use a telephoto lens with the capability of zooming in. Turn the barrel of the lens until the child is in the center of the frame. Keep the background out of focus by choosing a shallow DOF (depth of field). Choose sports mode if it is a fast moving event and take a series of shots.

2.) Capture their Innocence

Capture their Innocence

Innocence is one of the things we associate with childhood – why not capture this? It could be an innocent expression or a moment of childish fun. Let the child play, or perhaps talk to them about something that makes them think. You can ask them to think of their funniest joke or if they have a secret. Choose a shallow depth of field to keep the child the focus of the shot and a shutter speed that compliments this.

3.) Shoot Candidly

Shoot Candidly

Children are full of expressions and creativity. Try to capture everyday things but rather than asking your child to pose, let them have fun and do their usual thing. Bath time with lots of bubbles usually leads to mischief and fun; use flash indoors if you have a dim lighting and also to freeze the action. Be aware that if you have a lot of white and reflective surfaces, the flash may appear as a bright white circle in the background.

4.) Create Holiday Portraits

Create Holiday Portraits

The various special holidays provide much opportunity for creative shots, and taking them year by year also charts the child’s growth. For an event like Halloween, get your kids dressed up and ready for the evening and use a fun background – it can be a red wall you have covered with a little fake cobweb. Use flash and a shallow depth of field to keep the focus on the child’s face.

5.) Take Group Shots

Take Group Shots

 

There will always be those special days that you will want to capture, such as the first school trip, or the first time they can go out with their friends. If you are dealing with a teen, work quickly and don’t force smiles or any unnatural poses. Get the group together and use flash to freeze any motion. Tell everyone to move in and smile but don’t take more than 3 shots as teenagers will lose patience!

6.) How you’ve Grown!

How you've Grown!

Children grow quickly so it’s natural to want to capture photographs of them regularly. If you are lucky enough to be allowed to attend one of their classes or school lessons to capture some candid photos, use a telephoto lens and keep out of the way. Zoom in and choose a shallow depth of field so other children are blurred out (f/4 or lower) and don’t be afraid to use a quick burst of flash to keep the face well lit, especially if the classroom is dark.

Recommended Settings

Working with children means being on your feet and fast – even then sometimes you just can’t keep up! If you are working with a reasonable amount of light then use a shutter speed of 1/250 to freeze action- but you can use a slower speed if you use flash. A shallow depth of field keeps the child in focus, so use an aperture of f/5 or lower, if the lighting conditions permit it.

Recommended Equipment

Use flash to freeze action, either the on-camera flash or a separate one for more power. A separate, dedicated flash is useful if your subject is further away or you are photographing a group of kids. You can also buy a soft-box attachment that goes over your flash unit to diffuse the light and create a soft halo rather than a harsh burst. A monopod can be useful if you are shooting on the go and need to move around quickly.

Conclusion

Children are great fun to work with and will give you lots of expressions and movement. Be friendly and build up a rapport, and don’t force a child to smile or pose; they will not be happy and this will show in their face. Don’t forget that backgrounds, their clothes, their hair and general presentation should be tip top to create a photo worth keeping.

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It’s a haunting sight: a lonely astronaut clad in a spacesuit, standing in a gray, otherworldly landscape.

But why are bubbles coming out of the spacesuit? It turns out this “spaceman” actually worked at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea during underwater training sessions conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) when these underwater moonwalk photos were taken on Sept. 4.

ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, seen in the photo, and ESA astronaut instructor Hervé Stevenin adopted the roles of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for an underwater simulation of the historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon, entitled “Apollo 11 Under The Sea.” The French deep-diving company Comex simulated the gravity on the moon by adjusting the astronaut’s buoyancy to one-sixth of the gravity felt on Earth. Observers watched from mission control on the Comex research vessel, Minibex, floating above.

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Clervoy and Stevenin wore a Comex-designed Gandolfi spacewalk training suit, based on the Russian Orlan spacesuit. During the mission, the aquanauts collected several soil samples with tools similar to those used on the moon by the Apollo 11 crew. Clervoy is an experienced astronaut, having flown three space missions aboard NASA’s now-retired space shuttle. Stevenin, spacewalk training lead at the European Astronaut Centre in Germany, is an experienced instructor for ESA astronauts.

This underwater test represented a first step toward developing European expertise in spacewalk simulations under partial gravity for exploring the moon, asteroids and Mars, ESA officials said.

 

Source: http://ph.news.yahoo.com/astronauts-underwater-moonwalk-apollo-11-under-sea-photos-134031827.html
 By Tom Chao, SPACE.com Producer SPACE.com 

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Have a camera but don’t have underwater gear? Avenue Photo Equipment has your back, we are selling waterproof DSLR cases in our shop. Inquire by messaging us here on facebook or calling us at 734-3306 or 559-6451.

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With Halloween just around the corner I thought it was time to update our Halloween Photography Tips article with some new information and photos.

Halloween Photography Tips

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There are plenty of subjects around to photograph at Halloween ranging from the traditional jack-o-lantern through to people in costume, to trick or treat ‘treats’ and more. It’s a time of color, emotion and lots of interesting subjects.

The keys to great Halloween Photography are not that different from the normal keys of good composition in photography so as you photograph Halloween this year keep in mind the basics. I’ve selected the following tutorials that we’ve written before that should be helpful in your Halloween photography:

Find Points of Interest

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Before hitting the shutter ask yourself ‘what is the focal point (or point of interest) in this image?’ All good images have something in them that holds the attention of those who view them.

Rule of Thirds

One way of enhancing the composition of your shots is to place your points of interest inn smart positions. While the rule of thirds can be broken with great effect it’s a useful principle to keep in mind.

Fill Your Frame

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Halloween is a time of drama and you can add to this in your images by getting in nice and close and filling the frame with your subjects. Whether it’s people or objects – getting in nice and tight will usually add punch to your shots.

Give Subjects Space to Look into

When photographing people one of the most effective compositional techniques is to use the space around their faces effectively by giving more room on the side of their face that they’re looking into. 

Find Fresh Angles

I suspect that the day after Halloween that photo sharing websites will be filled with images of pumpkins that all look much the same. Make your images stand out by finding fresh perspectives to shoot from.

Photograph the Details 

It’s easy to be distracted by the flashy parts of a time like Halloween but it’s often when you step back, take a look around and notice the smaller details that you find the ‘money shots’. Times like Halloween are filled with all kinds of smaller details and photo worthy moments including decorations, carving the pumpkin, people getting dressed in costumes, sleeping kids at the end of parties, bags full of treats at the end of the night, the ‘fangs’ in Aunt Marie’s mouth, before and after shots of parties, close ups of food etc.

Group Photos

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Halloween is a time that people gather together and it’s an ideal time to practice yourgroup photo techniques.

 

Candid Photography 

Halloween parties are a great time to get your camera out for some candid photos of your friends and family having a great time dressed up in all manner of costumes.

Shooting in Low Light

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The type of images that come to mind when I think of Halloween are fairly dark and spooky ones – candles in pumpkins etc. After all, the real action of Halloween seems to happen after dark. As a result you’ll want to think carefully about the light sources for your shots.

To really capture the mood of these situations you’ll want to avoid the stark and bright light of flash photography (or will want to at least pull it back a few stops and diffuse it) and so you’ll need to switch off your flash and do one (or all) of three things to some extent (this is from our exposure triangle series of posts)

– Increase your ISO – the larger your number the more sensitive your image sensor is to light and the darker conditions you can shoot in without having to slow down shutter speed. On the downside you’ll get more grainy/noisey shots.

– Slow down shutter speed – choosing a longer shutter speed lets more light into your camera. On the downside you’ll see any movement in your shots blur (which might add to the spookiness of the image but could also ruin it). Consider using a tripod if you lengthen your shutter speed.

– Use a larger Aperture – this widens the hole in your lens and lets more available light in. It will also lessen the depth of field in your shots. If you have a DSLR with a few different lenses is to use the ‘fastest’ lens you own as it will let you choose larger apertures. For example my f1.4 lens handles low light much better than my f4 lens.

 

Diffuse Your Flash

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Another strategy that I’ve heard of some readers doing at this time of year is diffusing the flash on your camera with colored cellophane to try to lesson its impact upon your shot and also to give the light it produces a glow that might add to your shots – Red might be a good color to try. You’ll probably want to test this before the big night as getting the right density of diffuser will be critical. 

Jack-o-Lanterns

Photographing Jack-o-Lanterns is particularly tricky as to get the full effect of the glowing inside the pumpkin is a bit of a tightrope walk between overexposing and underexposing due to the light and dark patches in the shot you take. Instead of just one candle inside it is probably worth using two or three to give a little extra light. Also take a number of shots at different exposures (exposure bracketing) and you should get one or two that give you the impact you’re after.

PS: here’s one more shot from one of our forum members who has submitted some amazing pumpkin carving photographs here: http://digital-photography-school.com/forum/showthread.php?t=32461

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Article Source: http://digital-photography-school.com/halloween-photography-tips

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Does this video remind you of being drunk, dizzy, or in some woozy dream-state? Whatever feeling it conjers, you’ve definitely never seen animated photos like this before.

Dancing Ghosts is a wonderful flight of fancy made up of sequential long-exposure photographs by Micaël Reynaud that were interpolated—essentially blended together with editing software—to create the weird and wobbly effect. It’s kind of a brilliant idea.

The various shifts in speed and motion of the animation only heightens the gooey, surreal feel of the video. While I have no idea what those weirdos in a park are actually doing, the evocations are endless. Does it remind you of 19th century photos melting in a fire? Hallucinogenics? Ghosts in your worst nightmares? Just watch, and bask in this weird experience.

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There’s been news that there’s a storm brewing around, and we all dislike those heavy rains, traffics and etc. A little rain is good, but no one likes storms, except for students maybe because of the suspension (lol). Well anyway, a storm coming up doesn’t entirely mean that you need to be in a bad mood, specially for someone who has a DSLR on hand, take this time as an opportunity to try out something new, or add a new theme on your portfolio, Lightning Photography! Yup, shocking isn’t it? Catching a lightning on cam is a difficult task, you need everything to be perfectly timed, from your position, to the very settings of your camera. Although, managing to get one of those shots beautifully, will really give you something to be happy about, and will surely boost your skills up. But Before you go out and start shooting, make sure that you are well prepared, and take all the necessary precautions and emergency kit you need. Why? Rule number 1, SAFETY FIRST!

-Photo Avenue Equipment-

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Lightning is dramatic, extremely fast, a challenge to photograph and potentially dangerous. There are various techniques involved with capturing great photos of lightning. Since lightning is extremely fast, (30 microseconds or 30/1000000s) you must be quick. Above all, be safe, as lightning kills.

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GEAR

With lightning comes rain. Although it is better to be under some kind of shelter when photographing lightning, this isn’t always possible. You need to protect your camera and lens from the rain; liquid can affect the mechanics of your camera and if it gets onto the lens, it distorts the finished image. Always use a lens filter to protect it (regardless of what you are photographing) and you may have to use a soft lint free cloth to wipe away any droplets regularly. Use a protective plastic case, or buy one of the plastic sheet covers made for cameras; these will protect the body, lens and the top half of your tripod. Keep all other lenses and accessories in a closed bag and avoid changing the lens outside when it’s raining.

1.) Find a Good Location

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When photographing lightning, it’s important to realize that the conditions you are shooting in are unpredictable and dangerous, and there will always be an element of chance and luck involved. Since we cannot see the lightning coming, we need to predict where it will strike. How do we do this? By observing the lightning pattern and using a wide-angle lens we are covering enough area to hopefully catch an image of the lightning bolt. By keeping the shutter open for several seconds we might get lucky.

2.) Set the Lens to Infinity

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You’ll want to disengage the autofocus on your lens, and set it to Infinity (the sideways 8 on the lens barrel); this isn’t always apparent on some digital lens, so you have to figure this out for your given lens. Manual focus is better than autofocus when you’re photographing lighting, because the lightning will definitely fool the autofocus sensor. Setting the lens to infinity gives your maximum depth of field, such that when the lightning does strike in the distance you’ll have the lightning and the deep background in sharp focus. Objects closer to the camera will definitely be out of focus, but they’re not your main subject any way – so don’t worry about them or frame them out ahead of time.

3.) Timing is Everything

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If you are attempting to photograph lightning with a specific object in focus, in this case a pylon, then you will want to get the item in focus first. Place your camera on a sturdy tripod to avoid camera shake and use a remote release device (cable or RC unit) to ensure that your camera is rock-solid when releasing the shutter. Set the f-stop between f/5.6 – f/8 and set the shutter speed to B “bulb” mode. Bulb mode allows the camera operator to hold open the shutter for as long as the shutter release button is held down. If you are inexperienced, this scenario could be a good time to try the mirror lock up mode so you don’t have to predict exactly when a lightning bolt will strike. Mirror lock up, a feature available on most DSLRs lets you engage the mirror well before the shutter releases, so there is no mirror slap vibration. Set up your remote or cable release before hand, frame the image, and hold down the shutter release button to open the shutter. Wait for the lightning to flash and disappear then immediately end the shot.

4.) Composing the Photo

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Shooting a streak of lightning in the sky and nothing else may look pretty but it gives no sense of perspective. Use a wide-angle lens and think about how the image has been composed. Include features of the landscape; a tree, buildings, moving cars etc. to give context to the photograph. Ultimately your composition will depend on where the lightning is appearing, but always consider what other elements you can bring into the shot. .

Recommended Settings

As lightning normally occurs in low light situations, generally you will want to choose a shallow depth of field, from f/2.8 to f/5.6, so enough light reaches the camera. Set the camera at ISO 200, set the shutter speed to “B” for bulb, and you’ll want to use a cable release to hold the shutter open to wait for the lightning to strike. If your camera doesn’t have a bulb shutter speed, then set the exposure for 10 to 30 seconds; that should be sufficient to capture the super fast lightning strike. However, you have to observe the lightning strike patterns to determine the best long exposure setting to use. The various types of lightning strikes (cloud to ground, pulse bolts or anvil) are of different speeds and require different exposures. The pulse bolts probably last about 2 seconds, so you want the exposure to be maybe 10 seconds to capture the sharp detail of the strike. If the storm is near you, you don’t want an exposure longer than 15 seconds. If the storm is far away, then 20 seconds to 2 minutes will be more effective. At the longer exposures, you need to stop down the aperture (f/8 or f/11). The mirror lock up mode is very useful, since we can wait for the lightning to strike before closing the shutter. Always use a cable release with mirror lock up mode and remember that this function is only effective if used in fairly dark conditions.

Recommended Equipment

When taking photographs of lightning, it is important to have a sturdy tripod that is also light enough to pick up and move around with, should the weather take a turn for the worse. Protective gear for the equipment; covers and cloths are important to have as well. You will need a shutter release cable or a remote so that you avoid touching the camera when taking long exposures. If you can’t find either, use your camera’s self timer (although this can be difficult to use if it’s dark and rainy).

Conclusion

On average, lightning strikes the earth 100 times every second, but to have lightning near you requires the right weather conditions. When the opportunity arrives you have to be ready to move! Obviously keep yourself safe and don’t expose yourself to violent weather conditions. That aside, the photograph of a lightning trail is unique, and a once in a lifetime shot – no two lightning strikes will hit in exactly the same place in exactly the same way. With that in mind, be prepared for the next time it pays you a visit.

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Be sure to check out our camera gears at our facebook page on Avenue Photo Equipment, or inquire by messaging us or calling us at 559-6451

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You don’t need to travel too far to find an interesting skyscape. Warm days and cold days throw up different light, sunsets and sunrises full of drama. When capturing the sky, catching the light is everything, so patience is important. Armed with a tripod and a wide-angle lens, go outside and take a look!

1.) Dealing with Light

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When shooting photographs of the sky, the finished image will depend on the light you have. A grey overcast day will result in fairly dull images. If you can wait for a sunset or when there are dramatic weather conditions, the sky can often produce strong blues and oranges. Put the camera on a tripod, and set the camera to AV (Aperture-Priority) mode. Use a wide-angle lens and a small f-stop (between f/11-f/32) for a greater depth of field.

2.) Sunrises and Sunsets

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Sunset will give you strong reds and oranges. Sunrise and sunset photos are taken during the “golden hour”, which is the first or last hour of sunlight. For this photography, use a tripod and a wide-angle lens. Set the exposure compensation mode to -1 or -2. Underexposing the scene will increase the saturation of the colors. Choose a small aperture for a wider depth of field, and wait for the sun to go behind the tree to avoid bright glare.

3.) Dramatic Clouds

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Look out for grey clouds and potential storms approaching. To capture drama, you need to look for the sun peeping out of the clouds and backlighting them. Without this light the clouds will just appear as a dark mass. Often the sun will appear after a rain storm. You can’t control the sun, so be patient and wait. Use a sturdy tripod in case it gets windy. Set the aperture to f/11-f/32 for a deeper depth of field and wait for your moment.

4.) Portraits and Skyscapes

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If you want to incorporate a portrait into a skyscape, wait for dramatic skies. If photographing during a darker time of day, place your subject in the foreground, making sure they are in focus and use fill-in flash to illuminate the subject. As long as the distance between your subject and background is great enough, the sky should remain unaffected by the flash.

5.) Creating Great Panoramas

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Skies are ideal for panoramic shots. Even if you don’t have a super wide-angle lens, you can still create the panoramic effect by stitching separate photographs together later by using Photoshop. Use a tripod, and make sure the horizon is straight. Take one shot using either the self-timer or a remote release and then turn the camera along the horizontal slowly to the next part of the sky leaving a slight overlap (so you have some of the last shot in the new one). Take at least 3 photographs one after the other in a row. You can use Photoshop or various other programs to join the images together, provided you had no vertical movement on the tripod. A slight over lap makes it easier to match up the edges. The overlap is critical because any gaps will ruin the effect.

Recommended Settings

Use an aperture setting of f/32 to create a sharp image that can be enlarged in the future. If you want to capture moving clouds and water for a dramatic look, use a polarizer and a ND filter on the top of it. This will reduce the amount of light hitting your lens and the camera will choose a longer shutter speed, thus creating blur.

Recommended Equipment

A wide-angle lens is recommended to capture panoramic views and dramatic clouds. The very early morning and the end of the day tend to give the most dramatic skies and colors, and a tripod is useful to avoid any blurring – in fact many landscape photographers will use a remote to take the photograph so they don’t need to touch the camera at all. A flashgun is useful to illuminate people or dark spots in an image; especially if you have a removable flash head to direct it at a specific area.

Conclusion

Skyscapes can be photographed at any point in the day, at any time of the year. Photographing different skies found in different seasons can be an interesting assignment. It is important to look for colors, clouds or drama. Become familiar with what the sky is telling you; is that dark grey cloud telling you a storm is coming? Don’t be afraid to use a slow shutter speed on a tripod to capture lots of cloud movement against the sky. Although we can never predict the weather completely, being observant, and the use of techniques can manipulate the views to our favor.
Photo Avenue Equipment Suggest using Both
The Canon Eos 650D
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And  The Nikon D3100

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Grab your own D3100 or 650D or maybe even both, to capture your own breathtaking SkyScapes images.

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