Thursday, 28 May 2009

Oslo Kamera Klubb Spring Competition 2009

Tree images and one collection was accepted:

Spray Painting



The Cone Heads

Monday, 25 May 2009

Light in the landscape

This was an overcast day with glimpses of sun. What makes this shot work is that it is taken just as the sunrays hit the man.

The location is Arundel, West Sussex. the path along the river Arun.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Digital Photo Magazine

This is my favourite magazine for learning new techniques. The CDs with the video tutorials are really good and you can find more video tutorials here.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Shutter speed and moving water

Not a traditional sunset shot as the sun here comes in from the right and lights up the white shells on the stone. How the spray of water looks is largely controlled by your shutter speed. If the moving water is your main subject in the picture I recommend using Shutter Speed Priority (Tv) for your landscape shot instead of the more common Aperture priority (Ap).

In the example below the photo on the left is shot with a shutter speed of 1/30 second. The photo on the right is shot with a longer shutter speed of 0,8 second, which creates a lot more blur in the water.

A longer shutter speed creates larger white areas in the picture. I prefer water shots where the water is not blurred out completely. Remember that a big white area is very dominating in the frame. Try out a series of shutter speeds from 1/200 sec to 2 sec and decide your preference when you wiew the days' catch on your computer later.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Some sunsets are...something else

I once got a compliment for this sunset shot. But it is actually not a sunset shot. It is taken around 8:00 on a cold spring morning. I like this location where it of course would never be possible to get a sunset shot...ever.

Friday, 8 May 2009

HDR and landscape shots

An experienced photographer would most often prefer to use filters to balance the amount of light from the sky with the amount of light from the foreground.

An alternative solution is to take multiple shots with the same aperture but a different shutter speed, and later merge these. This is a good solution when your sky does not have a straight horizon line.
You take thrree ore more shots with one or two exposure steps between them. This is called bracketing, and your camera can possibly be set up to do this automatically when pressing your shutter once. But do remember to use a tripod.
Typically one shot is exposed normally, one for the sky and one for the foreground.
Back home with your PC you use a program to merge these three shots to one.
When I read about HDR software testing in the magazines, there is one program that always scores high.
The program I am talking about is Photomatix fra Hdrsoft. The test version is free and the only downside is that it creates a watermark on your picture which you will have to clone out. Until you figure out if HDR is for you :-)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Setting up your camera for a landscape shot

So lets say you found a good composition and you got all the gear you need and perhaps even more than that because you took my bad advice :-)

Set the camera on Aperture priority, a high f-number like f/16 to f/22 and ISO 100. You want the picture to be sharp all the way through.
I like to set the white balance to "Cloudy" to get a bit more warmth in my shot.

If you use a polariser, this is a good time to screw it onto your lens and adjust it. If you want to keep the reflections in the water, leave the polarizer in your bag. Maybe you should leave it there anyway if this is your first try.

Hold the camera towards the sky to measure the light level, and then on the foreground. The number of stops tells you if you should use a light, medium or strong ND grad filter. If you have no clue, use the medium filter.

A video tutorial can be found here.

Set up the camera on the -pod of your choice. The reason I prefer the gorillapod is because it will hold the camera lower than my tripod will.

Adjust the polariser if you are using it. If you are using a wide angle lens and you have a clear sky, leave the polarizer in the bag or you will get a dark blue V in the sky in the middle of your picture. Well - at least look out for it.

Mount the adapter ring and the filter holder. Slide the filter in and adjust it to fit your horizon.

(Well, your camera is so low now so you should probably fit the angle finder first unless you want to lie on your knees on the ground.)

Do not forget the Hotshoe spirit level unless you like straightening your shots in Photoshop afterwards.

If you havent set your timer yet, do it. The wireless remote works with the timer.

Some magazines suggest you use the mirror lock-up functionality to reduce movement even more. On the 400D it is found under the Custom Settings menu, option 7. It will lift the mirror when you press the shutter, then wait for 2 secs before it shoots the picture.
But I have also read that the mirror lock-up is only necessary when you shoot macro's so you can leave this option out for now.

The focus should be set approximately a third into the picture, then switch to Manual focusing so it won't be disturbed. If you have a foreground interest, set the focus on that. If it is easier, use your lowest focus point. Auto-focus is out of the question.

Well this would be a good time to press the shutter. Unless the sunset is gone :-)

I now recommend checking the histogram and highlights clipping and adjust the exposure down if you have any burnt out areas.

Well this is how I would do it.

You can find a video tutorial for traditional wide andle landscape shots here.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Outdoor Photography

If you enjoy shooting Landscapes you might enjoy Outdoor Photography.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

A landscape shot shopping list

I am not shoting many empty landscapes these days but this is the equipment I would typically use with the old Canon 400D.

Wide Angle lens, typically a Sigma 10-20 mm
Tripod or gorillapod
ND grad filters and filter holder
Adapter ring
Angle finder
Circular Polariser filter
Hotshoe Spirit level
Cable or wireless remote control
A reflector if the sunset does not light the foreground properly.

A video tutorial to get you started can be found here.
The three ND grad filters: Light, Medium and Strong.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Composing a landscape picture

A good landscape picture has something of interes in the foreground, middle and background. In my opinion a picture of a beautiful sunset alone is not a landscape picture. It's a snapshot. A good landscape picture needs to be composed carefully.

The rule of thirds suggest you put your horizon line a third from the bottom or a third from the top of your frame. The horizon needs to be straight.
The rock in the foreground is the "foreground interest" I think all landscape shots of this type should have. Foreground interest help creating depth.
The best landscape shots are taken at sunset or at dawn, to capture the low sun. A low sun adds a warmer tone to your picture. A sky with some clouds create more interest than a clear sky. Stay around after sunset, some of the best shots are taken up to half an hour after sunset.
A video tutorial on composition can be found here.