Month: January 2017

Get out of the cold

Winter in the northeast is a great time to get out and photograph landscapes, urban scenes,  and wildlife but if your fingers are frozen, your subjects have dried up or the clouds are making for gray  & wet weather you can still enjoy some fun and fascinating photography. Get out of the cold and go indoors to a museum. Museums are a great place to experiment with lenses, try some new techniques or just have some photographic fun. It’s always wise to go online or call ahead to the museum you are planning to visit and find out about their policies on photography and equipment allowed. Some allow tripods, some charge extra for tripods, some do not allow tripods and some allow no photography at all. Each museum will have its own rules so again be wise and find out in advance to avoid disappointment.

Most museums do not allow flash photography and museums tend to be dimly lit so you will be dealing with low light situations. The use of a tripod or monopod (if allowed) will help tremendously when photographing in low light. A higher ISO will most likely be needed do to the usual low light conditions of most museums. We always use the lowest possible ISO for the conditions we are shooting in to eliminate or minimize noise. In addition, especially when tripods or monopods are not allowed, you will need to use a fast enough shutter to avoid camera shake. Many times you’ll need to be shooting at a wide open aperture to let as much light in as possible this can cause problems due to limited depth of field. As always you have to weigh the conditions you are in and the utilize the exposure triangle to give you the best possible results for the image you want to create.

The light in museums can change from daylight to tungsten, to mixed light and back again so white balance really is important to pay attention to, especially if you are shooting in jpeg. We recommend shooting in raw so that you can adjust the white balance after the fact if you’re not happy with it. In addition you have the full power of a raw capture to allow you to make better post production adjustments.

In the image above taken at the Gothic Chapel in the Cloisters in Upper Manhattan Bill used a fisheye lens to give a unique perspective to his image.

The image below taken at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia PA is an HDR image combining three images, processed using Photomatix .

It Just Clicked – Getting the exposure right – why it’s so important

Exposure is the foundation of any good image, it determines not only the technical side of your image – how light or dark your tones are rendered but also the creative side of your image – how you want that image presented artistically. By using numerous combinations of ISO, shutter speed and aperture (The Exposure Triangle) we can create the exact same exposure yet have very different artistic representations of our image. In order to choose which artistic representation we want to express we must first understand the relationship between our ISO, shutter speed and aperture.


Creating your image!
In the image above, Augie a captive Eurasian Eagle Owl was taken at one of our Nature Photography for Women Workshops. Gen wanted to blur the background as much as possible so that the bird would pop. She chose ISO 800 shutter speed 1/160 aperture f6.3. The image was shot with a Nikon D4 and a 500mm lens on a tripod. The light was getting very low in the sky so Gen chose the higher ISO of 800, shutter speed of 1/160th was as slow as she could go without getting too much blur from movement. (you can see in his ear flaps that there is a bit of movement) And finally the aperture of f6.3 allowed her to get both eyes sharp and still blur her background. So once she determined the correct exposure (ISO, Shutter Speed & Aperture) then Gen needed to decide creatively how she wanted her image to look. Knowing how to control the exposure allowed Gen to create the image she wanted. (There are other factors that control depth of field in this image including the size of the lens, subject to background distance and camera to subject distance which we will cover at another time)
Creating your image!

In the image above of the Marshall Point Lighthouse, taken on our New England Lighthouse Workshop, Bill wanted to create an image with great depth of field so that everything from front to back would be sharp. Photographed with a Nikon D4 and a 24-120mm lens at 24mm Bill chose ISO 400 shutter speed 1/250th (camera was handheld so Bill wanted enough shutter to avoid camera shake) and aperture f11. By choosing f11 he achieved his desired results of an image sharp from front to back. (There are other factors that control depth of field in this image including the size of the lens, subject to background distance and camera to subject distance which we will cover at another time)

Creating your image!
In the image above Grace Scalzo photographed the white pelican sitting on a rock outcropping. While it was a nice scene, Grace found that the breaking waves and resulting spray were what made the picture. However as a still image, it lacked motion. So after determining an exposure by spot metering off the whites of the bird, she adjusted her settings to not freeze the water, but rather to blur it. This was accomplished at 1/15 sec, f18 and iso 100. It took several tries to get the bird’s eye sharp at this slow shutter speed and long focal length (600 mm) . The end result achieved Grace’s goals, especially showing motion because she understood the relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture and used them to create the image she wanted.

If you want to learn to control your exposure so that you can create the image you desire the following classes would be a great start! Click on the links below and begin creating the images you want!

Nature Photography for Women  and the Winter Education Series with classes on Exposure , Image Critique and Composition are being offered jointly by First Light Photography and Grace Scalzo Photography. Join Grace & Gen for one or all of these workshops, to sign up today call 516-965-3097 to register and take control of your images!
Our Passion
Photography is our passion and sharing our knowledge with others is our pleasure.

We delight in learning and inspiring others to learn new ways of capturing the world through the Eye of our Camera. How can we inspire you today?

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”
Pablo Picasso
In our next issue: More about exposure
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