Category: photo of the week

Photo of the week – week six

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Oh what a treat. Two subjects in this one!

Who said never work with children or animals? Well these two were quite well behaved when we went walking in the park the other day so I can’t complain.

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Canon 550D, f4 17-40mm lens, aperture f4, exposure 1/500, ISO 100, Auto white balance

Not much that I can see bad about this one. Just the composition really. They are sort of central but not quite. It would be better if they were on the right more and it would have been better without folk in the background and perhaps I should have stood at the other side of them and got more of that lovely curved wall in the foreground?

But all in all not bad. Thanks you guys!

Photo of the week – week five

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I have this fascination with the London Underground. Any underground rail network actually but I get to see this one most often. And I just adore the map but that’s another story.

I took this photo last weekend when I was visiting a friend. Taking photos down in the depths is going to be a challenge. Poor light and artificial light being the two bad boys. I was using my new lens which was even more of a challenge as the lowest aperture is f4 that means less light.

Here’s the shot I got.

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Canon 550D, lens 17-40mm, aperture f4, exposure 1/10, ISO 100, auto white balance.

I knew that to get any kind of decent photo I needed a slow shutter speed (exposure time) to let in as much light as possible so I rested the camera on the seat next to me to keep the camera steady for a longer exposure. I wanted the train to be still and I wanted to get the headlights of the train in the shot and a good look at the station behind the train. What I didn’t want was a person to come and stand in the way. But I couldn’t do anything about that and took the photo anyway.

What I got was totally different from what I tried to capture. The train is burred, not frozen because I have a slow shutter speed that is automatically going to create blur. I forgot about that! But if I had changed the shutter speed to say 1/500 it would have been too dark.

And those headlights are missing from the picture. The reason I missed the headlights is because the shutter speed was so slow I couldn’t take as many pictures in succession as with a faster shutter speed. It takes time for the shutter to open and close. A faster exposure would be click, click, click for my one click on the 1/10 shutter speed. So I learned that in low light I need to adjust for that and not expect to take as many photos per few seconds.

As it turned out though I think the combination of the stray pedestrian and the blurred train make a better photo. It might have looked odd if the train had been still, like I’d just snapped the stationary train. So accidents are okay!

The other thing I could have done differently was to have increased the ISO and therefore increased the shutter speed. The increased ISO would have made the shot lighter so it would allow for a faster exposure. That might have frozen the train. I really should have sat there longer and tried again.

But tube stations after the train has gone are, if only for a few seconds, very eerie……..

Photo of the week – week four

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Here’s the Budster again.

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Canon 550D, 50mm lens 1.4, aperture f1.4, exposure 1/50, ISO 800, auto white balance.

Still don’t think I have that focusing right but I’m click, click, clicking away anyway.

Photo of the week – week three

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I said last week that this was going to be a challenge and indeed it is proving to be. But what’s wrong with a challenge right? I managed to get a photo of my niece when we went round for dinner the other evening.

I knew I was working with poor light but snapped away anyhow. Sometimes us non-professionals just want the picture and we are willing to put up with poorer quality.

I had set up a custom white balance using a white lamp shade! I forgot the grey card. The light is a challenge at my sisters because not only is the room lit with just lamps but there is a string of fairy lights flashing on and off too and they are purple lights so that plays havoc with the lighting situation……. But they do look so pretty!

Anyway here is the picture I got.

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Canon 550D, 50mm lens 1.4, f 1.4, exposure 1/100, ISO 1600, custom white balance.

When she brought that little cup and saucer to the table right in front of me I just grabbed the camera.

You can see the effect of the high ISO, it is not a crisp image. I should have put the exposure to 1/60 and lowered the ISO which would have made a less noisy shot. I do like the catch lights in her eyes though.

The white balance could still do with tweaking and I think I have serious issues with focusing but overall I quite like it. Plus it tells a story which is one of the reasons I take photos in the first place.

Photo a week – week 2

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This little exercise is turning out to be much harder than I thought and it’s only my second week! But lets just plod on and see where we get to.

Buddy is the star of the show again.

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Canon 550D, 17-40mm L series lens, aperture – f4, shutter speed – 1/400, ISO – 800.

Okay. So much wrong with this one. But I’m sharing because I want to learn and I think writing all my thoughts down about what’s not right with this photo might help me do that….. so here goes.

What was my reason for this shot? Buddy was going cracker-dog crazy in the garden and I wanted to record that fun. Also I was loving the frost.

Factors to bear in mind – I am trying to capture a fast moving subject. It was a bright sunny day but not where we were in the garden and it is January so the light isn’t great.

I know that to get a sharp image where there is a moving target I need a fast shutter speed. But a fast shutter speed means less light coming into the camera and I know it’s January so the  light is poor. To compensate for that I put the ISO to 800. But it wasn’t enough and the fastest I got a decent exposure only let me get the shutter speed to 400, when for a clean image of Buddy running it probably should have been 1000 or more? The upshot of that is that he is blurry because the shutter speed was too slow and therefore I caught his movement instead of freezing the action.

Composition – It isn’t bad. By standing to the side of him I capture the idea of his movement and get the garden in the background. And a great reminder of the frosty day. But I would probably get rid of the houses in the background and focus the picture on just Bud and his running madness.

On reflection then should I have bothered trying to get such a tricky photo? This is such a personal thing to answer. Most professional photographers wouldn’t have even picked up the camera with conditions like I had. (Unless they used a tripod, which I do not if I can help it.)

Lots of professionals will, of course, only want the perfect image. I’m not 100% about the perfect though. I am about capturing true and real images from our life and telling stories about them. Sometimes the only way to capture a story is though a less than perfect picture and I am totally okay with that. But for this exercise alone then I probably should have left the camera inside.

And finally a word on the new lens. I need to use it more to get a handle on what it will and won’t do. It’s a zoom so a different beast than the 50mm. One thing I have learned though, is that its blurry at shutter speed f60 which the 50mm is not. So onward to find more subjects to capture and practice, practice, practice.

Photo a week

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Here we go then with a photo a week.

Like I said during the sum up of Photo a Day I want to keep learning about photography and to do that I have to push myself to concentrate when I’m taking photos and then evaluate them afterwards. I figured I could do that at least once a week……..

I think the Budster is going to feature heavily in these posts because I can’t get my family to pose for me. I know the rotters!

A couple of thing to remember. All the pictures I post in photo a week will be unedited, straight out of the camera. I may give my opinions about the more technical side of things like composition etc but they are only my opinions I am not an expert. Anything I have learned is through our good friend B and this online course.

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Shot with a Canon 550D camera. 50mm 1.4 lens. f1.4, 1/80, ISO 100, auto white balance.

He’s laid in a chair in front of a north facing window. It was about 11am on 7 January 2014.

I was focusing on his eye. I don’t think it is as sharp as it could be but you can see the focus change from out of focus on his paw at the front of the picture to in focus around his head and out again just past his shoulder. Ideally I would have been just a tad further away from him but the room isn’t big enough. This is the downside of the 50mm. It’s an amazing lens and as it goes down to f1.2 gives a wide open aperture and therefore lets in a lot of light at f1.2 but it is ‘close up’ and you need space to get the best from it.

I like that I got him over to one side. The focal point of the picture, his head, is in the top left portion of the shot. And I love the  dark and light of the image. Maybe if I’d have got his other eye more visible but still dark it would have been better. And the other thing that is technically bad is that I chopped his back leg off. It would be much more pleasing an image to have his whole body in the photo. Finally, I like the catchlight on his eye.

Like I said I am no expert and I am sure that there are tons of other technical boo boos but there we go a week done. Now all I have to do is learn from these observations.