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Focusing on depth #photography

Through the winter it has been difficult to get out and take photos but there have been some opportunities. The snow, while creating difficulties reflected lots of light and provided some picturesque scenes. The rain is more difficult to cope with. When I came out of my writers’ group meeting on Saturday it was bright sunlight but that too can present problems with overexposed shots and dark shadows. For the street shots, I decided on narrow apertures and shot at around f/8. I would have gone much wider if I had been zooming in on the people. I was focusing on subjects fairly close by and so a relatively shallow depth of field seemed appropriate. I was also focusing on depth as I composed the shots.

DARLASTON - focusing on depth


Industrial scenes and white balance #photography

The light changes all the time and we can set the white balance on a DSLR to suit the light and we can also choose scenes that suit the light. It was a grey light on Sunday because it was quite cloudy and I chose industrial scenes to photograph.

an industrial image


Aperture and depth of field #photography

I mostly shoot on aperture priority and so I need to measure the light and set the ISO and then set the aperture for the depth of field that I want. That is largely a matter of judgement. If I’m taking a portrait I want a shallow depth of field and I’ll choose a wide aperture and often zoom in quite close. If I’m shooting a landscape I’ll go for a narrow aperture which will bring distant objects into better focus.

aperture priority


Metering on a DSLR #photography

There are three different setting for metering on my Nikon D3200. Metering sets DSLRs apart from other cameras and can help us get just the right exposure, especially for portraits. When we focus on a shot we also meter the light that is being reflected into the camera from our subject. The metering mode I use the most is ‘matrix’ and it measures the light across the whole frame.

matrix metering


The first day of spring #photography

It is the spring equinox today and so by tradition the first day of spring. Here in the Black Country, it is sunny and looking out of the window this morning I thought it was a cold light. A cold light has more blue in it and it is a blue sky today, in summer we get more red tones especially the last hour before the sun goes down. I did take a few photos last week and they looked quite cold with more blue than red tones.



Contemporary art #photography #art

Contemporary art includes just about everything that can be created including photographs. Photography is a visual art and we can capture nice views as in landscape photography or we can capture people’s lives as they work or enjoy their leisure time.

contemporary art


Artistic editing in Photoscape #photography

When I’m in a creative mood I like to do some artistic editing of my photographs and I create some artistic edits of famous quotes for our writers’ group. Different photographers use different editing software. I use AfterShot sometimes, Windows Live Gallery for basic editing and I use Photoscape (a free download) for artistic editing.

artistic editing


Using a DSLR camera #photography

I saw a post on a photography group from someone who is new to using a DSLR and wanted to know how to take sharper pictures. The answer is complicated because the cameras are quite complicated but there are basics like keeping the camera still as you take the shot that you need to learn before you switch to manual.

using a DSLR


Images of the present #photography

I’ve decided to photograph some buildings before they are lost to progress and also what’s left of some of our industry. Photography is about recording images of the present that do eventually become images of the past. I started with this building that used to be the offices of the Rubery Owen’s empire.

Images of the present


Winter landscapes #photography

Shooting winter landscapes can be difficult because the dark skies and poor light give us dark pictures. However, our eyes adjust to the darker landscapes and our camera can do that even better. You can let more light into the camera by using wider apertures, but you want them to be narrow to get a depth of field that will bring distant objects into focus. The answer to poor light then is to increase the sensitivity of the camera sensor and you can do that by increasing the ISO. If you’re new to a DSLR, then on aperture priority you can set the ISO to 400 or even higher and try to choose subjects that aren’t too far away and shoot at something like f/8.

SANDWELL VALLEY - winter landscapes


Creativity and the creative industry #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and so once again I’ll share my thoughts with you. What’s on my mind this week? In a word, creativity. We set up a new writer’s group yesterday; The Darlaston Writer’s Group. It will hopefully encourage people to take an interest in writing and help them improve their craft. We now have a strong creative industry in the UK. It is needed because although we have goods that can be mass-produced relatively inexpensively, no one will buy them without advertising and marketing. That industry needs creative people who can write and produce visually appealing images and video. Some goods that are sold are now manufactured for a small percentage of the retail price, the rest goes on creating an image that makes the goods desirable.

creativity means creating images


Industrial Images #photography #Blackcountry

There aren’t many industrial scenes left in the Black Country but the ones that are left can provide us with interesting subjects for photography. Industrial images with their unusual patterns and sense of decay against a dark or stormy sky can be quite dramatic.

Industrial images


People and places #ramble

It is Sunday morning once again and so, as usual, I’ll share my thoughts with you. People are curious, that is why mankind has been so successful compared to the other animals. We roll a rock down a hill and we think about it. That simple observation led to the wheel. I take photos of people and places. People like my photos because they are curious.

people and places


Using a long lens #photography

Using a long lens in low light isn’t as easy as it sounds. I decided to use a long lens at a memorial to the holocaust victims on Sunday. I don’t have many lenses and so my choice was my usual 18 – 105mm lens or to go with my 55 – 300mm lens. I want to do an art project which will involve candid shots of people using a long lens so I chose the 55 – 300 mm lens to give me some practice and so I could identify the problems. This was one of the pictures:

using a long lens


Creating photographic art #photography

To begin creating photographic art you need your goal to be, to create something special. Some photographers define photographic art as images that will sell. That isn’t a good definition, I prefer to think of it as images that people will enjoy. That suggests some kind of connection with the image. An image that will elicit a response. Yesterday, I set out to create some images for the #64millionartists January challenge. I decided on the view from my car and to include a little of my car in the image. It was a conscious decision to create something different. This was one of the images I created for the challenge.

Creating photographic art


Composition and perspective challenge #photography

Last week, I challenged you to take a few photos with a narrow aperture. This week, I want you to think about composition and perspective. When you take a landscape photo, you need to give it some perspective so the viewer sees depth. Lowry did paintings of simple figures what were once described as matchstick men. His genius was getting the proportions right and creating depth in his paintings.

good composition gives a picture depth


Narrow aperture challenge #photography

If you read last week’s photography post you will know I set you a challenge to take a few photos with a wide aperture, in fact, wide open. This week, I am setting you a challenge to take a few photos with a narrow aperture. This is a little more difficult because you have to judge how narrow it should be. Take a look at this shot:

A narrow aperture brings distant objects into focus


A Creative challenge #photography

This month I’m doing a creative challenge set by #64MillionArtists. There is a new challenge each day throughout January. Yesterday’s challenge was to give ourselves an award. People had different ideas on the type of award they could give themselves. I decided to design a simple certificate for my award and what else would I give myself an award for, but photography!

creative challenge certificate


A few ideas #photography

Most photographers photograph people and for that, you need a wide aperture and preferably a fast lens. I like my 35mm prime lens for portraiture but it isn’t so good for events when the zoom lens has an advantage. The prime lens has fewer elements and so gives a much better quality image. Learning about lenses is important for the DSLR photographer but there are simpler things to learn if you have just had a camera for Christmas.

Camera for Christmas?


How to take your Christmas photos #photography

You can take much better photos this Christmas with a little more understanding of how your camera works and by giving it a little more thought. You will probably be taking snaps of family and friends and so try to group them quite close together. You want them to be recognisable and so get close or zoom in fairly tight. One mistake I made this week was not making allowances for the smallest person in a group. Try to get the taller ones at the back and shorter people at the front. Then very small children should be held, so their faces are close to the same height as everyone else’s. Christmas photos are never easy to take and so think about it in advance and even practice a little.

Taking Christmas photos


Snow pictures and diffused light #photography

I have been taking pictures of snowy scenes like many other people and at times I’ve had nice diffused light and at other times the sun has come out and the light has been quite cold and harsh. The snow does reflect a lot of light and so even when it was very cloudy I still had quite a lot of light. Snow pictures can be a little bit boring and so I tried to shoot with a narrow aperture and get lots of depth to the pictures.

For snow pictures like this use a narrow aperture


Taking photos like a pro #photography

I photographed the Christmas lights switch-on last Friday. It is a difficult event to photograph and I was alongside professional photographers with full frame cameras. I still got reasonable pictures and shot some decent video. So today, I’ll try to give you some tips so you can take pictures like a pro too.

XMAS LIGHTS - shooting like a pro


Buying a camera #photography

This morning I had a look to see how much the cheapest camera was on Amazon and found this one for just 31.99.  It is an 18-megapixel camera and has all these scene modes:

Auto/Night Portrait/Night Scenery/Portrait/Scenery/Beach/High sensitivity.

There is a note in the blurb that says to take photos in good conditions. That is the problem with cheap cameras, you need good conditions which means good light. However, you can take family photos and snaps at parties because you simply use the flash. This camera won’t be so good for landscape photography but for occasional snaps, it would be fine. My DSLR is more controllable and it has a much larger sensor and so is much better in poor light. If you’re buying a camera you have the cheap ones for taking snaps at one end of the market and full-frame DSLRs at the other end that are phenomenally expensive when you have bought the lenses and filters and all the gear a professional photographer uses.

Buying a camera


Higher ISO settings #photography

Now winter is here I am using higher ISO settings to compensate for the poor light. Higher ISO settings make the sensor more sensitive to light and are essential when we are shooting landscape or indoors when we don’t want to use a flash. I mostly shoot on aperture priority with my Nikon D3200. That is the A setting on the camera dial. I set the aperture, how wide the shutter opens and the camera sets an appropriate shutter speed.



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