I have been wrestling with how to present this information, because there is so much already available. It is photography 101, the basics, plain and simple. My goal is to present some more in depth, deep dive information to really get people thinking about photography in a different way. I am going to start by introducing exposure value.
The exposure: what is it? How is it controlled? Most cameras have some form of a light meter to gauge how much light is in a scene. Another way to express this is with the words: luminance or exposure value. These are essentially measurements of how bright or dark a scene is. A camera can capture a certain range before things are completely black or completely white. Somewhere in between completely black and completely white is middle tone grey. The actual value for middle tone grey is 18% grey.
Exposure value (EV) is based on this scale of luminance. A camera is essentially trying to make everything a middle tone grey. The range of a scene, however, can vary anywhere from pure black to pure white. Digital cameras show this information in the histogram. A light meter has a scale of plus EV and minus EV with the middle being zero. This zero point is where the exposure value is calibrated to achieve middle tone grey.
Underexposed scenes will tend to lose information in shadows and blacks. This is referred to as clipping. Clipping is when the exposure value is insufficient to capture information. Overexposing a scene can also result in clipping in highlights and whites. The goal is to have the sensor capture a scene that is not completely black nor completely white, rather more toward the middle tone grey range. Again, this is where the needle reads zero on the scale.
There are essentially three ways to control the exposure value: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Each one of these settings controls how much light reaches the sensor to create the exposure. Aperture is the physical opening of the lens that light passes through to reach the sensor. Shutter speed is the duration (time value) that light is allowed to reach the sensor. ISO (was referred to as ASA for film speeds) is an increase of the sensor’s sensitivity to light.
The combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is often called the exposure triangle. This is due to the balancing act of changing these settings to achieve the correct exposure value. The exposure triangle can also be used to create certain aesthetics in photographs. I will be doing a series of posts that dive deeper into each setting over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!
I joined the “smart” phone crowd, yesterday. That means I am getting used to all of the bells and whistles that come with using a smartphone. There are a number of apps already installed, including the one for wordpress. However, I think my favorite so far is the one for grocery shopping!
I read a book from the library, a few months ago, about how to integrate smart devices into the photographic process. The book primarily focused on the iPad. However, many of the apps can be used on other smart devices. I will be checking out several of these apps.
The Macro Ring Lite adapter for my Macro Ring Lite just came!
I also have the Speedlite 600EX-RT flash that can be setup off camera for E-TTL. This gives me a little bit more ability to try some creative lighting setups.
I’ll be playing around with the flashes and burning through batteries while I learn. Let the fun of conquering flash photography begin!
I decommissioned the Canon Powershot SD 600 the other day. A few of the features were starting to fail – i.e. the zoom no longer worked. I decided to dive into the camera to see if I could fix the problems. It turned into more of a project to find out what the inside of a camera looks like.
Here is an interesting macro shot of the sensor from the Powershot SD 600. I used my Canon 5D III with a bellows and a Super-Takumar 55mm f/1.8 lens to get this shot. The spec on the sensor is a grain of salt; it is for size comparison.
Here are a couple of pictures to show old versus new!
On the top is a Honeywell-Pentax Spotmatic film SLR with a Vivitar 400mm f5.6. On the bottom is a Canon EOS 5D mark III DSLR with an EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM and a TCIII 2x extender, which makes that equivalent to a maximum 400mm focal length f5.6.
On the left is a Canon EOS 5D mark III digital SLR with an EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM and a TCIII 2x extender, which makes that equivalent to a maximum 400mm focal length. On the right is a Honeywell-Pentax Spotmatic film SLR with a Vivitar 400mm f5.6 and a Cosmos APS Auto Teleplus 2x extender, which makes that equivalent to an 800mm focal length.
Of course, photography requires equipment [gear or gadgets]! With different photographic subjects comes a list of required and optional gear. How much is too much?
My main drive for photography has been to explore the natural world around me. That includes landscapes, wildlife and wildflowers. My macro lens can focus at 11.92 inches from the focal plane giving a one to one life size image of the subject. On the other end of the spectrum is my wide angle lens that gives almost a 90 degree angle of view. All of this equipment is great for each specific situation.
I have been observing a lot of wildlife and have been trying to photograph them with my 70-200mm lens. What I find is that even with a 2x extender [making the lens a 140-400mm], it is difficult to fill the frame with the subject. Either I do not want to get that close, or the subject does not want me that close. This has me thinking that it may be a requirement to eventually add a 400mm lens to my collection. The other option may be to add a cropped frame camera and continue to use the same lenses [glass] that I already have. The advantage to this option is that I can get an increased focal length for a somewhat cheaper expense than adding the lens. Canon cropped frame cameras have a 1.6x increase in focal length to compensate for the difference in full frame glass. This means that the 70-200mm lens becomes a 112-320mm lens. Either way, I think another piece of equipment may be in my future.
Along the same lines of another lens comes the issue of multiple subjects for photographing. Even some landscapes, wildlife and wildflowers are difficult to photograph under natural lighting. Most of the time natural light works, but there are situations where a flash can give an added pop to make a subject stand out. Most of the time a flash is used for portrait photography.
Back at the beginning of the month, I was experimenting with portrait photography at Vacation Bible School at church. I do not currently have a flash. Some of the events were inside with very poor light. In order to get decent photos, I was bumping the ISO up which meant post processing to reduce noise. Some of the events were outside with very bright sun. It would have been nice to have a flash in both situations. Inside, I was not able to get a fast shutter speed to stop motion without out introducing noise from a high ISO, or I would have an underexposed image. Outside, I needed a little bit of fill light to reduce some of the contrast between light and shadow areas. A flash can be a handy tool to manage light in many situations, and I can see that this may be a piece of equipment I add to my collection [possibly sooner than later].
There are plenty of other pieces of equipment that are on my list. I am also certain that I may find things that I never thought of that will end up in my collection. It is just a matter of how much is too much!
Now that I have a more capable computer, it is time to start getting into software updates! First off, I am trying the Adobe Lightroom 5 Beta. It is downloading as I am typing! It is great to finally have a computer that can run all of the software, and do it quickly! 🙂
I will post a review of Lightroom 5 Beta after I get a feel for it.