Google+ Followers

Friday, 24 April 2009

Filters For Landscape Photography

It’s time to spice up your landscape photography with filters.

Filters are used in photography to bring back an image to the way our eyes have perceived the original scene. Some times it’s not possible for our cameras to record an exact scene - so we have to rely on the manufacturers of camera products.



Filters also help us to create mood in our images and bring out the best in a scene. A small selection of filters is well worth packing when heading off for a trip. They don’t take up too much space and will definitely add a bit of spice to your images.

Filters work by being placed in front of your camera lens. You can also place several filters in front of your camera at any given time.

Lets take a look at the most important ones to use.


Neutral Density Filters (ND):

Neutral Density filters will certainly help you with tough exposures. These filters work by cutting down the light that reaches your lens. These filters come in a variety of strengths with the most popular being 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 - these filters will help with exposure without affecting colour.

One half of these filters is dark and the other is completely clear. They basically work by reducing brightness. The different numbers stand for the amount of brightness they reduce - 0.3 ND reduces light by one stop - 0.6 reduces light by 2 stops - 0.9 reduces light by three stops.

Lets say you arrive at a high contrast scene, - you take a light reading of the sky and get an exposure reading of F/22 at 1/8 second; you take a reading from the ground in front of you and get a reading of F/22 at 1 second. This is a difference of three stops of light. You need to reduce the brightness of the sky. By using the 0.9 ND you will reduce the light in the sky by three stops without affecting the light hitting the ground in front of you.

Polarizing Filters:

A polarizing filter should be top of the list - a polarizing filter can be used with colour or black and white and is probably the most important filter on the market today. The polarizing filter will also darken the blue sky to give it a strong rich colour. It will make mist stand out and can be also used to give fast flowing water a misty effect. This filter is most effective with side lighting.


Warm-up filters:

In overcast conditions, don’t put your camera away. This is an ideal time for you to switch your attention to landscape detail. On an overcast day images often appear cold and dull. Try using a warm-up filter. These filters will remove the dull effect that you get shooting without the sun.

The 81-series are the best choice and will give your images an extra bit of life. An 81A warm-up filter is ideal to use in adding extra warmth to low light images.

Filters for B/W photography:

Just because you take black-and-white pictures it doesn’t mean that you can’t use filters - there are several filters for B/W photography. The polarizing filter is one of the few filters that work for B/W and colour photography. It will help to darken shades of grey in your final print.

The red filter is one of the most popular. This filter will darken the sky giving your image more impact. The most common red filter is the number 25. Filters for B/W work by transmitting light of its own colour, and holds back light of the other colours.

There’s a large amount of filters available; these are the most important filters for landscape photography.

There are also several filters on the market today that will do very little for your photography. Colour graduated filters should be left at home or placed in the bin - colour graduated filters work by creating un-natural colours, destroying your final print.




Saturday, 11 April 2009

Photographing Flowers

Flower photography is one of the most popular forms of photography.You can photograph flowers growing in the wild, flowers that are cultivated in greenhouses and gardens, or photograph cut flowers and arrangements indoors,in a studio setting.

Both film and digital cameras work well for flower photography.

Any lens can be used in flower photography, from the ultra-wide angle lens (17mm),to the super-telephoto lens (300mm or 400mm),but if you are serious about closeup flower
photography, buy a macro lens...






Most digital cameras come with a built-in macro mode. Your digital camera's macro feature lets you get very close to your subject, and that is important when photographing flowers.


A tripod is essential because it reduces the chance that you'll get a blurry image. Many tripods, even when fully collapsed, are too high for photographing low growing flowers. That is why you need to get a tripod that allows you to get close to the ground. A special kind of tripod, called a tabletop tripod, is great for photographing small flowers and other objects.

Use a color-saturated type film. A film (or setting, on your digital camera) with an ISO 50 or ISO 100 will give you bright colors. Don't use film faster than ISO 400 for flower photography.

The ideal lighting for photographing flowers is the soft, diffused light of open shade or a cloudy day. Night photography is also an option. A flower photo can be very attractive when illuminated by flash. Wind is the most annoying factor when photographing flowers, so be patient and wait for the wind to die down before you take a picture.

Whether you're photographing flowers indoors or outdoors, consider unusual angles. Try photographing your flowers in early morning light and photograph them again in late afternoon light. Use warming filters to create mood. Add water droplets to the petal of your flower and give it that dewy, morning look. Experiment with backlighting and try to highlight the transparency of the petals.

Don't forget that, although most people love color photography, creative flower photography can be in monochrome as well.

The only way of developing successful techniques in flower photography is to practice, and also learn more about flowers. Botanical gardens and nature preserves are some of the places where you can not only take photos of flowers but also learn more about them.





Sunday, 5 April 2009

Pet Photography - An Introduction

Photographing your pet can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Done well, it will allow you to immortalize Fluffy or Spot – that significant member of your family – the pet that shared you food, chewed your shoes, and brought you the newspaper. In fact, the act of seriously photographing your pet will bring you both closer because the process opens you to noticing the small, wonderful things that you might have missed before – the way he wags his tail, etc. This is a grand adventure.






Your Goal

As with anything, it's best to proceed with a goal in mind so you know where to start. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to capture your pet's playful side? Are you trying to setup a funny photo using a prop such as a birthday hat? Is this an interactive portrait between your pet and your child? Sit down and put on paper this goal, because it will help you in preparing properly. Nothing is worse than spending an hour going to your favorite scene with equipment in hand and realizing your forgot a favorite toy - do your self a favor, do not skip this step.


Your Setting

Now that you have decided on your goal, it's now time to decide the proper setting. Indoors vs. outdoors. Near the fireplace with an open fire in the background, or in a studio. At the beach or in the woods. As you think about the proper setting, think about how your pet will respond to that setting. If you decide the public park is the perfect place, you must think about your pet's resistance to distractions. Is he/she able to resist running after another animal or person? The more you know your pet and look through his/her eyes, the better off you will be.

Preparation

Now you are at the critical preparation stage. You've set your goal, you've decided on the appropriate setting - let's try to anticipate all that can (and will) go wrong. I use the word 'wrong' loosely - try not be too rigid and to have fun - we will talk more about that in a minute. Write out on paper every possible thing you can think of. Here are some suggestions:

· Exercise your pet - just enough so they are still alert, but not hyper

· Lighting - outdoor is best, but flash will work too - should be natural lighting
· Grooming - only if it doesn't adversely affect your pet's mood - then do it days beforehand
· Props/Toys - favorite of the pet
· Food - favorite of the pet
· Be prepared for sudden movement - shutter speed about 1/125th and use iso 400 or 800 setting (if indoors)
· Watch the scene clutter
· Have pet at least 6 feet away from background to reduce shadows
· Bring an assistant to help manage your pet
· Zoom Lens
· Camera, Film, Tripod, Equipment, etc.

Are you getting the idea? The first time you make out your list, the process will be a little tedious, but the beauty is that once the list is made, all you need to do is modify it slightly for the next sessions.

On Location

Whew, you've made to shooting location - congratulations. Hopefully, you've brought everything you are going to need, right? Right! Now, it's time for setup.

Be organized; get everything laid out in a logical fashion. The last thing you want to be doing is fiddling around with equipment when you need to be shooting pictures - an animal has a zero attention span and you have got to be ready to snap that picture when the moment is there. How is you animal's demeanor? Is he/she super wound up? If yes, then perhaps some light exercise would be in order - nothing too heavy, but just enough to help him/her calm down. How are you? Are you stressed? Relax, and go with the flow - animals are super sensitive to your mood. Give your pet some last minute grooming - just touch-ups. If you are outdoors, how is the wind? Is it too strong? Is the sun too bright? Remember, overcast is much better for exposure. Make sure that your pet is far enough away from your background so as to not cast any shadows.


The Photographer's Mindset

Your mindset should be one of peace and serenity. I can't overstate that enough. Also, you need to climb into the mind of your pet as best you can. What are they thinking and feeling? Align your expectations properly. If you have never done this before, don't expect perfection the first time out - that will just raise your anxiety level and will stress out your pet.

Shooting

One of the most important things to remember is to get down on your pet's level, physically, as much as possible. A shot from above doesn't portray intimacy. In addition, when you are at your pet's level, it's easier for you to empathize with it. If you've never crawled around on the ground before, you might feel a bit foolish, but trust me, it makes all the difference in the world. Make sure that you and your handler work with each other - you have got to be in charge, but also try to be flexible - you have a lot of variables that you are managing.

Be patient, and have a lot of fun!!!