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Understanding wide open apertures #photography

When we take a photograph the shutter snaps open and closed. The aperture is how wide that doorway to our camera opens. Imagine the shutter as a doorway, the stops go behind the door and so a large stop say F/16 only allows the door to open a little. At f/30 and we have a tiny pinhole and at f/3.5, on most lenses, it wide open. On my 35 mm prime lens, wide open is even wider at f/1.8.

LIBBY ROSE - wide open aperture

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Aspect ratio and framing #photography

When you want to print and frame pictures you have to think about aspect ratio and find a frame to fit the ratio that you have. My camera takes pictures at 6000 pixels by 4000 pixels and so the aspect ratio is 6 x 4. Many modern frames are 6 inches by 4 inches and so will match 6 x 4 prints. The print service I use also does double that size at 12 by 8 inches but there are lots of frames around 10 x 8 too. Some print services do 10 x 8 prints but otherwise, you have to cut 2 inches from your print. If you do have a print service that does 10 x 8 and your camera does images 6 x 4 like mine, then the image has to be cropped before printing.

CLOCK - aspect ratio 6 x 4

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Wide open with a narrow depth of field #photography

Wide open in photography means the widest aperture that the lens will give you. This is often around f/4.5 with most lenses. I can go wider with my prime lens which will go to f/1.8. Take a look at this wide open shot of some beer cans:

wide open
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Which camera is the best? #photography

I have been involved in a little debate on Facebook regarding which camera is the best. The answer, of course, is they all take photos and you choose one according to your needs. If you need one that will fit in your pocket, buy a pocket camera. If you want to take photographs professionally then buy a professional camera! There are an array of cameras available.

camera

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New camera for Christmas? #photography

If you had a new camera for Christmas you might want to get the most out of it by learning a little about photography. It takes some time to learn all the settings especially on a DSLR but just understanding the basic settings can help you take better pictures. You can go from just taking snaps to creating images.

New camera

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Group photos and metering #photography

This year I have moved away from landscape photography to become a community photographer photographing local events. It is a quite different type of photography and requires the use of wider apertures and different techniques. I didn’t expect to be doing so many events now that winter is nearly here but I have done three events in the past three days. All three events involved group photos.

group photos

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Picture Saturday #photography

According to my SEO plug in I should always write 300 words in a blog post but I’m ignoring it today and relying on pictures to tell a story. These pictures were taken in the Black Country around my home town of Wednesbury.

XMAS LUNCH AT WEDNESBURY TOWN HALL

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Focus points and metering #photography

The focus points on a camera are used to focus on your subject but they are also used for metering. My Nikon D3200 has 11 focus points and they are useful but I often only use one. Some cameras have a lot more focus points and they  cover the whole frame.

focus points

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Sunset colours #photography

Lots of people will photograph a sunset for the deep reds and bright oranges but rarely see that the warm light from a sunset offers a lot more possibilities. The sunsets can be a little boring too, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Try to get something in the foreground of your sunset and use the sunset as a backdrop. The Eiffel Tower looks nice in the foreground but a few trees can look quite dramatic!

SUNSET (63)

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Wide apertures at events #photography

I reviewed a small art exhibition at the library and then later on Friday I photographed the switch-on of the Christmas lights in Wednesbury, as I have for the past few years. The event was different this year and there was less light for many of the shots. I needed to use a wide aperture for the art exhibition and similarly for the switch-on. Wide apertures let in more light and also gives you a faster shutter speed on aperture priority.

XMAS (14)

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Christmas camera ideas #photography

If you’re interested in photography, you might be thinking of buying a camera to take photos over Christmas or asking for one as a present. What should you get? That depends on what you’ll be using it for. A cheap little point and shoot camera does the job but do you want better photos? Then your Christmas camera needs a little more thought.

Buying a Christmas camera?

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Esoteric pursuits #ramble #writing #photography

It’s Sunday morning and so as usual, I share my thoughts with my readers. I used to use a lot more words when I was younger and now I’m older and blogging I need an enlarged esoteric vocabulary and so I’ve been refreshing my memory and adding new words. I do have a terrible memory so it isn’t easy.

esoteric photography

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Supermoon in focus #photography

Last night’s supermoon was obscured by cloud earlier in the evening but lots of people tried to photograph it. It did eventually break out from behind the cloud in the Black Country and was as bright as ever and so too bright for many cameras. I took my shots with a 300 mm lens on manual and used spot focus.

focus on the supermoon 2016

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Low light and dark skies #photography

A few people have asked how I got into blogging and photography recently. I think people just do it when they realise that they can. Most bloggers are frustrated writers who would prefer to be writing for a top magazine but find their niche in blogging. It is the same for photography and I’m now something of a community photographer and I enjoy it because it is a constant challenge. Autumn and winter give me a new challenge – low light.

SANDWELL VALLEY (12)

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Prime lens, for quality on a budget #photography

I started off some years ago with a Fujifilm S5600 doing landscapes and it was only in 2013 did I upgrade to a Nikon D3200 and that isn’t a top of the range camera but I have managed to get some decent photos with it. Some of the many photos have been used by Express and Star and I now have a page on their website. I’ve been doing events and last week Libby Rose posed for me and although the photo-shoot didn’t go quite as I planned I got some good pictures with a prime lens.

LIBBY ROSE USING A 35MM PRIME LENS

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How time flies #ramble #photography

I photographed a pageant princess, Libby Rose, the other day. It seems incredible to me that she was born in this century and has no memories of the 20th century. When I was helping students with their studies I would sometimes ask their date of birth and it would be 1990 and that would seem like yesterday to me. Time flies, doesn’t it?

Libby Rose - time flies

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Taking your camera off auto #photography

My friend is considering buying a DSLR, he usually shoots on auto or uses one of the scene settings. With a  DSLR he can get sharper pictures  if he takes it off auto and uses the manual settings to get sharper pictures. The slight blur in many photos is usually caused by lack of light. The camera sets the aperture wide and the shutter speed quite slow to compensate and so the slightest movement of the subject or the camera will produce blur.

off auto

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Local landscapes in focus #photography

You don’t have to travel miles to do landscape photography. There are local landscapes that can provide a good image that your friends will be able to relate to. I went a walk around Brunswick Park, here in Wednesbury, last week and looked for interesting shots. I tried to incorporate the features of the park into the shots as well as the grass and the trees. You can have too much green.

brunswick park - local landscapes

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Soft focus – wide aperture #photography

Wide apertures are great for portraits and close-up shots of people. At events, wide apertures are preferable because they also allow us to shoot at faster shutter speeds. As the days get darker and we lose more and more light I shall be using aperture priority and shooting wide open much of the time. One of the main reasons people get blurred photos is poor light and then the camera sets the shutter speed too slow. I set my camera on aperture priority and the widest aperture and then check the shutter speed. For a scene where I want to freeze movement, I’m looking to get a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second. For this picture, I chose a wide aperture and had a soft focus filter on the lens.

wide aperture combined with soft focus

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Sandwell Valley Landscapes #photography

Sandwell Valley

Before West Bromwich existed there was Bromwich, which was a small settlement at the top of Sandwell Valley. The remains of very early agriculture have been found in Sandwell Valley and it is the site of a medieval Benedictine priory  too. I went to take photos on the bridleway that runs along the river.

SUNDAY (2)

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polarising my autumn ideas #photography

Last week, I used photographs that I took at the Tipton Canal Festival which is held every September. When I look through my photos after a photo-shoot I always think I could have done better. Those images of the canal with lots of reflections off the water would have been better if I had used a polarising filter. I’ll try to remember next time. I am constantly learning and trying to improve my photography.

TIPTON CANAL FEST - I'll use a polarising filter next time

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Wide open to retirement ideas #ramble

Wide open

It’s Sunday morning and so I open my mind and its jumble of ideas and share the myriad of thoughts that swirl around inside my head each day. People think I’m a little crazy for doing unusual things. My sister asked where I got my new hat from yesterday and I said ’Shanghai’, she laughed but wasn’t surprised. My friend in Shanghai travelled to Bulgaria yesterday. I helped her confirm her hotel booking. I’m not just wide open to new ideas, I’m wide open to new experiences too.

wide open aperture

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Tipton Canal Festival #photography

I went to Tipton Canal Festival on Sunday and that was guaranteed to give me some multi-coloured shots as the brightly coloured narrowboats break up the dull canal scenes. It was quite a cloudy sky but the sun was breaking through at times. Mostly I was looking for shots where I could use a wide open aperture and zoom in on my subject. I used the 18 – 105mm lens to give me a little versatility when it came to zooming in.

TIPTON CANAL FESTIVAL

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Weekend locations #photography

Last weekend was heritage weekend and so I looked for some interesting locations for taking a few shots. I went to a talk by local historian Ian Bott at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday because the weather wasn’t very good. I tried out my 35mm prime lens in dim light while I was there.

HERITAGE (6)

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