Categories
Today's Photo Minute

Shoot and Share – Fill flash and Shadows

The Concept:

This is our second Shoot and Share which is our weekend edition of Today’s Photo Minute. The purpose of this is to encourage all of us to get out with our cameras, do some shooting and then to share our results with others on our Facebook page (do it as a reply to this post). Last weekend we had some great photos submitted and I think this weekend’s challenges will give us even more variety and creativity.

The Assignment:

Challenge 1: Fill flash We often teach in our classes that using the flash even outside can have many benefits to our image quality. Therefore, for this first challenge, find some different subjects outside (maybe one in the shade and one in the sun) making sure you are within the effective distance of your flash (built-in flash around 10-12 feet). It is often best to use Program mode (P) outside with the flash and I would start at ISO 400. Take the same picture of the subject without and with the flash and submit your favorite example with both the before and after images.

Challenge 2: Shadows Find some various subjects where the shadows are really interesting to you. This will get us all look for some good sun and shadow options and then honing in on making the shadows the dominant part of our final image.

Hopefully these challenges will not only get us out and shooting but also help us to see things more creatively as we learn and grow. If you are not on Facebook, feel free to email brian@thephotoclassroom.com me your top examples and I will post them with your name on them. Happy shooting!

Categories
Today's Photo Minute

The Basics of ISO – Part 2

The Concept:

We learned in Part 1 of this series how important ISO was to getting the appropriate aperture and shutter speed combination in a given lighting condition (that we rarely control). Today, Brian Osborne discusses that when we do use higher ISO’s, there will be more noise (or graininess) in our images. However, since we still will need to use higher ISO values, it is important to know the capabilities of your particular camera when it comes to these high ISO’s. Therefore, the assignment presented helps us to get to know our cameras better.

The Assignment:

Today’s assignment is a great way to know how high of an ISO you are willing to go to and if there is a point where you determine the noise levels are unacceptable. This is great knowledge to have when you get into a situation in the field and have to use the higher ISO ranges.

Find a subject (this can be about anything but you can use a figurine, a camera lens, etc.) in a low lit situation such as your desk, inside your home, etc. It is best to have a dark background because that is where the noise will be more evident. Use a tripod and frame up a close-up image of your subject or even a part of the subject. I would set my camera to A or AV mode and use a lower aperture such as F5.6, etc. Start at maybe 1600 ISO and take a photo, making sure the exposure is good. Then take the same photo at 3200, 6400, 12,800, 25,600 ISO’s respectively going up to the highest numerical value (and maybe even trying Hi 1 or Hi 2 settings if you have them). Then compare the images magnified on your computer screen to determine at what ISO you think the noise becomes unacceptable. My test shots are below:

ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 12,800
ISO 25,600
ISO 51,200
ISO Hi 1
Categories
Today's Photo Minute

The Basics of ISO – Part 1

The Concept:

Today’s Photo Minute deals with the very foundational concept of ISO. Brian Osborne discusses what ISO is, how to adjust it on your camera and why you might want to change it in different situations (including some sample photos in the actual post). This is part 1 of a 2 part series and tomorrow’s session will discuss higher ISO’s and how to know what your camera is capable of.

The Assignment:

Many people get confused about ISO. Some think that changing the ISO actually changes the resulting brightness of the photo but this is not the case if you are in let’s say, Program (P) or Aperture Priority (A of AV) mode. The phrase to remember is that the higher the ISO the higher the aperture and/or shutter speed you can get in the same lighting condition. Therefore, for this exercise, we suggest you put your camera in A mode and set the aperture at a given value (let’s say F11). Then at ISO 400, point your camera at a subject and take the photo. Note what your shutter speed is. Then raise the ISO to 1600 and take the same photo. What you should learn from this is that first of the all, the exposure of both images is the same. Secondly, the possible benefit of the higher ISO is a faster shutter speed. Like in the example below, while at a low ISO of 125, I was able to get F14, I was at a shutter speed that was a little too slow to be handholding the camera much less the flower blowing in the wind. Therefore, to keep the same aperture but to get a higher ISO, I needed to raise my ISO. The exposure did not change but I had an aperture and shutter speed combination that was more appropriate for what I was trying to accomplish. Try it for yourself!

Dogwood flowers
ISO 125 resulted in F14 (the aperture I wanted) but in a shutter speed of 1/30th which was too slow (see the motion blur)
Dogwood tree
ISO 400 resulted in the same exposure and the same F14 aperture but the shutter speed was now 1/100th. This was better but still had a little motion blur.
Dogwood tree
ISO 1600 (higher than we would generally think we would need outside in good light) resulted in the same exposure and F14 aperture but now the shutter speed was 1/320th which was about right for my movement and the movement of the flowers.

This is why I needed a fast shutter speed not only because the flowers were blowing in the wind but I was up on the ladder (pictured below) to get these shots!

ladder under a tree
Categories
Today's Photo Minute

The Opportunity to Practice Photography

The Concept:

In Today’s Photo Minute video, Brian Osborne reminds viewers of how important it is to practice our photography skills in order to grow and get better at this craft. Given the current situation in our world, the month of April with many people staying at home, working from home, etc. may be a great opportunity to do more photography. Whether that be learning more about one’s camera, finding subjects in or around our homes to shoot or even working on post processing skills, April can be a month of great growth as well as a needed stress reliever to all that we are otherwise experiencing.

The Assignment:

Think about how you could use the time you might have in April to do more practice in the area of photography. This could be a numerical goal of images you want to shoot, or a daily desire to just pick up your camera and work with it, or wanting to edit some shots each and every day. Whatever it is, we can be in this together as we both grow and enjoy photography. I will continue to provide teaching, ideas and hopefully motivation to really practice your photography. The the only thing that keeps any of us from becoming better photographers is not practicing. Maybe this month is the ideal opportunity to change that.

Categories
Today's Photo Minute

Perspectives on Toilet Paper

The Concept:

40 to be exact. Yes, that is correct. I found 40 different perspectives on a single roll of toilet paper and could have kept going. The concept is that for any given subject, there are many different perspective (or angles, heights, etc.) to approach the subject from. Often as photographers, we choose the easiest, the most common or the quickest perspective on our subject and then move onto another subject. However, we learn quickly that a different vantage point for the same subject can create dramatically different results. So, I set out to challenge myself to take a single role of TP, with a white background wall of TP, and to make as many different shots from different perspectives that I could think of. While teaching about how important choosing the right perspective is not new to me, and I have done this in the field with subjects such as people, flowers, etc. before; I have to tell you, I learned some things even this time.

In order to narrow down the variables, I used a single light, the same lens (Sigma 150mm Macro), the same camera settings (Manual mode, 1/6 shutter speed at F9 at ISO 400), used a tripod and even tried to put the center of interest in the center of the frame for all the images. Can you imagine if I had tried different lighting angles or even multiple light sources? How about if I had changed my depth of field for some of the shots? How about different white balances, times of day, different backgrounds, various compositions, etc.? It made me quickly realize that 40 different perspectives without really changing the lighting, camera settings, backgrounds, composition etc. was quite remarkable. And yet, with the added variables mentioned above, over 100 or more images would be easy to create.

The Assignment:

Choose a subject. It really does not matter what that subject is. Then decide how many other variables you want to add in (depth of field, lighting, framing, etc.) and then see how many different images you can create from varying perspectives of the same subject. To really be fair, make sure the subject is a singular item such as one flower bud and not a whole grouping of buds. Then have at it. You might be surprised at how many shots are just waiting for us to explore and to find. In the process, the exercise might give you an new “perspective” on life (even in relation to how important toilet paper is)!

You're currently offline