Digital Photography Techniques - Autumn 2008

Welcome ...

In this packed issueofDigital Photography Techniques the experts from two of the UK's leading and most authoritative photographic publications- What Digital Camera and Amateur Photographerhave broughttogether a complete guide to your digital SLR. We aim 10 help you understand aspects such as exposure, metering, aperture, shutter speed, flash and white balance (to name justa. few) so you can make the right choices for your images and take full control of your camera. We'll also help you select the correct lensfor each shot and explain how to tailor your camera's settings to get your photographs lookingjust as you want them to.

In addition, we have included a host of techniques to create knock-out landscapes by using filters, shooting panoramas and removing unwanted objects, Plus, our section on H DR photography explains how to get tile most out of a scene.

Andifthat isn't enough to get you fired up, we've put together a selection of inspirationali mages with a breakdown of all the key elements to explain exactly why they work so well. If you wanl to master your DSLR and take your photography to the next level, then this is a great place to sta rt.

Photolraphy

In this issue

Top shots

Follow these tips and learn how to get it right ill any situation

06 Dawn landscapes

40 Portraits

62 Gardens and flowers 78 Autumn landscapes

96 Black & white landscapes

Essential camera skills Take control of you camera

and learn how to master ...

08 Exposure

14 Aperture

20 Shutter speed 24 ISO speed

36 White balance 42 Metering

54 Focusing

58 Lens focal length 64 Flash

68 LCD and menus 74 Image parameters

4 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Learn how to shootau Foll.ow these steps for great images 28 Low light photography

46 HDR photography

Raw v JPEG

31 The convenience of JPEGs or the full control of raw? Find out which one suits you

Landscapes

Essential tools for improving your images in- camera and post-capture

18 Shallow depth offield

80 Filters for landscapes

84 Create stunning pa noramas 86 Removi.ng unwanted objects 88 Correct converging verticals

90 Create great black & white images

organising your images 98 learn how to better organise your images and im prove your workflow

Cover image

·Steve Sharp, www.sbsharp.co.uk

Contents

5,8 Usethe

right focal length

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHV TECHNIQUES 5

Getting it right: dawn landscapes

Visualise

Successfu Iia ndscape photographs are often the result of previsualisation - of looking at an ordinary scene and imaging how it could be transformed into something special, This view ofthe River South Esk from the Bridge of Dun in Angus is normally quite unremarkable, but it was transformed early one winter's morn.

6 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Animation

Wllether it is a person moving across a landscape, swaying trees or rushing water, a nimation adds the fi rst layer of extra interest to an image. life in a photograph attracts attention in a way that inanimate objects fai I to. These mute swans, occupying a 'harmon ious point' ill the composition. reinforced the mood of tranqui I.lity.

The blue sky behind the photogra pher is reflected by the pale swans, setting up a subtle but insistent contrast with the warm hues a II

a round. I n physical terms, red is an advancing colour that excites tile viewer; blues, in contrast, recede and are calming.

During the middle of the day this scene, even with swans, is pretty unexciting. Descriptive, direct sunlight makes clear statements about objects, but fails to create a ny atmosphere or ambiguity. Shooting east ensured the colour of both the sky and water dominated the scene.

Don't sleep in. Learn howto capture better dawn images

The checklist

• Check out the location at a. more sociable hour of the day and consult a compass to work out where the sun will rise.

• Make sure you have plenty of depth of field to ensure all the details are sharp,

• Use the Daylight while balance setting to preserve the colour cast by the rising sun,

• With low I ight, a tripod is essential 'for avoid i ng blurred shots, If you include moving elements such as these swa ns, however, the shutter speed needs to be fast enough to freeze them, so you may need to boost the sensitivity setting.

• The texture of a high sensitivity image can en hance tile atmosphere of misty scenes like this one,

Viewpoint

A high viewpoint allowed the swans a nd the whole of tile river to feature - something that cou ldn't be done from water level. 'Perspective has been enhanced by the converging I,i nes formed by the river banks, encouraging tile viewer to look beyond the swa ns. And the exposure was set to ensu re that all the detail was saved on the swans, the ban kside vegetation being otless interest.

OI,GITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 7

Take control of ~our oa

Understanding exposure is key to great photography, so here's the low down ...

It is commonly stated that the most important aspect of photography is light It is what makes an exposure, andis what Ihe camera reads

a nd then translates into an image.

Developingan understanding of light and itsi nterpretation, is probably the best foundation on which to build tile rest of your camera know-how. Here, we lake a closer look at light and 110W it works to make an exposure, as well as the key features and controls on you r camera that wild help you in tricky exposure situations.

IHow cameras measure I.ight

The word exposure refers to a controlled

a mount of light that is exposed to the fi 1m or sensor to record all image .. The camera's job is to balance the a mount ofl ight entering the lens with the sensitivity of the sensor, to achieve a fai r representation of what we saw with our eyes. This may sound easy, but our eyes are far

8 DIGrrAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

more sensitive to the range of light than the sensor in a ca merais, because we can balance out high-contrast subjects and see detai I in shadow and highlight areas to a much greater degree than any camera can.

A well-exposed image contains detail from the shadows right through into the highlights. Too much exposure and the image will appear too light, with del icate highlight details disappea ring into a pure white mass. But too little and the image will appear dark, with shadow details turning pure black.

Cameras contain three teatures to control

ex posu re: th e shutter speed, the a pe rtu re and the ISO setting. Tile shutter speed determines the length oftime that light is passed through to the sensor. The aperture works like the iris in our eyes, opening to let more light in and closing to restrict its flow. The I SO controls the sensitivity of the sensor - in lowl ight, you ca n increase tile ISO to rna ke tile sensor more sensitive to I ight (which in turn, enables faster

shutter speeds and minimises the risk 01 camera shake).

Determini ng the correct exposure is also about recording a scene or subject in the way you want it to appear in the final image (which mayor may not be the wayi! appeared to the eye at the time). You may decide that you wa nt a dark, moody effect, or a clean, bright one. Deciding what the important element in a scene is and setting an exposure that will record that focal point correctly puts youi n creative control: of your images.

BRACkETING AliowsbloUto shoot addmonal shots ei ther side ofblourchosen exposure to ensureblou

get it right

METERING

Matrix metering is good all round, Centreweighted is ideal for portraits, and spot metering for sub leots that era off centra

AEI EXPOSURE LOOK

AE lock is usaful for rnsterlng off-centred subjects. You can take blour light readlng from aspeclflc part of the Image before locking the exposure and reframlng bloursubJeot. This ensures bjou are metering for your subject as opposed to the background

'Metering s~stem

The majority of DSLRs give you the choice of three metering systems: eva luative (also known as matrix, or multi-pattern), centreweighted and spot metering. Evaluative is the most popularfor general-purpose photography, as it measures tile light in many sectors of the frame to identify the overall exposure. Evaluative meteri ng is still prone to error, but owing to the many areas that it measures from, it is a good, general metering system.

Centreweighted metering places the greatest emphasis on tile central area. This is the preference of many portrait photographers because it bases the

majority of the exposure on the subject.

Spot metering works in a simile r way to centreweighted, but uses an even smaller percentage of the frame to meterfrom - often a 10 circle in the centreoftheframe .. This gives you a greater degree of accuracy when the main subject contrasts in tone with its surroundi ngs. By taking a precise reading :irom a specific area ofthe frame, such as a face, you can use this as the basis for tile overall exposure - and avoid the camera taking the background into consideration, as itwould with evaluative and, toa lesser extent, centreweighted. metering.

Exposure functions

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION When shooting a verld b right or dark sUbJeo t ehis 00 ntrolls use Ful to ensu FE! correct exposure

TH E MI D-GREY RULE You ca n predict situations that will fool the camera's lightmeter and adjust the exp os me setti 1'1 gs to compensate. Lightmeters are designed to find the average exposure and, while this works most of the time and results in an accurately exposed image, certa i 11 si tu ati on s ca n foo I a camera into recording a scene inaccurately. When you point you rlens at a scene, the meter averages the various colours, tones and level of brightn ess to

a mid-grey. For the most pa rt, the shutter speed and aperture recommended

by tile camera are based on reproducing til is midgrey tone. Light and dark subjects may cause problems though.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 9

Take control of ~our camera

BACK LIGHTING

A portraittaken in front of a window with a great view in the background sounds like a good scenario for a great photograph. However, the contrast range between your subject and the background is likely to be too great for the sensor to handle.

If the camera's meter is influenced by the background, the subject wi II be too dark, maybe even a silhouette.

To gel a correct exposure on the face you'll need to take a selective I ight reading, though of course a II the background detail will then be overexposed.

Theonly way to balance the two is to increase the light level on tile face (using either reflectors, orflashl to more closely match the background level.

BRAOKETING

Braoooting allows you to shoot additional exposu res either side of bJourllrst reading, gIVing bjou a greater chanceof obtaining an optimum exposure. Theoamera.oalculates the axtraexpos ures based on your initial reading and by What-Increment you wish to bracket lJourshot by. Itthen takes a series of exposuresatthe differeRl: settl ngs in quloksuccession.

SF

10 DIGrTAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Exposure compensation

I n the auto modes, this control: lets you override the exposure the camera has chosen (perhaps because you think it will have been fooled by the background) .. Add positive compensation when the subject is darker than the background, and negative compensation when it is brighter. Tile amount of com pensation needed varies accordi ng to conditions, so you may need to experiment a little.

Li ghte r - th an-ave ra ge scenes are a problem too. Examples include shots typically taken on holidays, such as beach shots or snow scenes, which conta in large areas of brightness. Leavingthe camera to its own devices will result in muddy, underexposed pictures as the camera tries to tum the beach or snow midgrey. You'll need to add more exposure than the camera suggests. Aga i n, the amount will vary according to the circumstances.

Mode dial

LOWLIGHT MoDe

AniSe boost. and an axposu fe that bal an ces the flash With the ambient light

AcTLONMODE

Fast shutter speeds, contlnuoue drive and servo focusing will help Id au catc h the action

SCENE MODE

Yes, Landscape, Portrait and the othersere scene modes, and on some cameras theld!d bein here too. On l:his elldmpus E-SOO, modes exist forfots of special subjects

MACRO MOD.E

For close-ups head here. A small aperture is among the camera's priorities In thiS mode

LANDSCAPE MODE

Here the camera sets a small ape rturs and other pa rameters that lend themselves to good landscape images

PORlRAITMODE

The camera chooses

parameters suitable for good portraits, inclUding wide apertures

AUTO MODE

Beginners will want to head here. The camera does everythlngand trusts the user with nothing

PROGRAM MODE

The next step up from Auto, Idoucan override same of the camera's choices

APERTURE PR.IDRITV

You choose tile aperture you want, end the camera picks the right shutter speed to go with It

SHUTTE'R PRIORITV

You choose the shutter speed, the camera. matches it with the appropriate aperture

MANUAL MODE

YoU control bath shutter speed and aperture, so !d0u cen sa I the exposureuo urself

How your pictures are affected

Why does it matter wh at aperture or

shutter speed is used to take a picture, as long as the exposure is correct? We.ll, it's because they have a direct influence UpOI1 how the pictu relooks. As well as controlling how much light enters the ca mera, the aperture a Iso has an effect on the zone of focus in the picture. The smaller the aperture, the greater the area of sharpness in front of and behi nd the point you focus on. The wider it is, the blu rrier the areas surroundi ng you r focus point will be. A slow shutter speed records movement as a blu r (the slower the speed, the blu rrier the su bject) wh ile a fast shutter speed freezes fast action so that it

looks stationary. ~

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 11

Take control of ~our camera

Exposure modes

Don't panic - you don't need to I.earn all the apertu res and shutter speeds off by heart (though doi ng so would be useful), Modern DSLRs can control both of these elements "for you

a utomatically. The trouble is, although you'll get a Iai r record of what you saw, if you leave everything to the camera then you're noti n creative control of your pictures, your camera is. While the Program and Auto modes are useful for quick snaps, the sooner you can graduate to the more creative modes, the sooner you'll be able to im pose your own vision on you r pictures. Your ca mera will then become an artist's tool rather than simply a recording instrument. Here is a look at the modes found on a typical digital S LR.

Auto mode

In this 'mother knows best' mode, the camera makes all the decisions about what exposure to set. You can't overrideit in any way, and your on Iy input is to press the shutter at the right time.

Aperture priority

This mode asks you to choose wh.ich aperture you want a nd the camera then matches it with the shutter speed that will provide, in its

opi nion, a correct exposure. This is probably the most popular mode with experienced photographers, si nee taking control over the aperture enables them to determine the most fun darnental aspect of the composition, how much of it is rendered in tccus,

Manual

The camera tells you what exposu re it thinks you should give, and it's up toyou how you use that information. Unlikethe priority modes, where the exposure adjusts for changing light conditions,i n Man ual it won't, so you 'II need to be aware of light levels. Manual is idea I for situations where exposure needs to be constant, SUCll as shooting panoramas that

yo u' II wa nt to stltc 11 to gether I ate r.

Program mode

Superficially, this is the same as Auto, except that if you don't agree with the setti ngs the camera has chosen, there is some scope to override them. You ca n, for example, choose to add flash or change the particular shutter speed/aperture combination to obtain more depth of field than the camera had set. This makes it an ideal mode forthe slightly more knowledgeable user.

12 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHV TECHNIQUES

Shutter priority

In this mode you get to choose which shutter speed you want to use i the camera then selects the aperture required forthe correct exposure .. This is ideal for action photography where you want to control how sharp or blurred you r moving subject will be recorded. It can also be useful in lower light conditions where you don't want to go below a handholeable shutter speed.

Scene/subject modes

Most digital ca meras offer a selection of scene modes. By telling the camera what you're photographing, it can choose lhe para meters to match. Shooting a portra it? Then a wide apertu re will be useful. Scene modes can also adjust the white balance, sharpness levels and so nn, to suit the subject too. They're a good steppi ng stone from Auto, but you'll get more fine control from the priority modes ..

SIGMA

OUR W 0 R L D

Uz O. Baylen: Born in 1979. Graduated from Ohio University's School of Visual Communications in 2001' and began werking for The WaShington Times. She has covered assignments around the world and was selected asa finalist for the Pulitzer Prize while with The Washington Times, Most recently, her lmag.e5 have appeared In The New York Times and Los .Angeles Times.

Photo data: SIGMA APO 1 20-400mmF4.5·5.6 DG as HSM, 112500 second at 15·.6.

LIZ O. BAYLEN SHOOTS THE WORLD WITH A SIGMA LENS.

Even landscapes like the Lincoln Memorial can be seen in a playful light,

A duck settles on the reflecting pool in front of me. Lincoln Memorial This amusing moment was captured by a telephoto zoom lens that incorporates Sigma's original OS (Optical Stabillser) function .. Sigma has introduced two new as telezoom lensescompatible with digital SLR cameras. These lenses are primarily designed for extreme telephoto work but reveal their additional strength when taking close-up shots .. SLD (Special Low Dispersion) coated glass effectively corrects chromatic aberrations and Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting. The HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) provides silent, responsive autofoeus action and Jull-tirae manual focus override.

APe 12D-4OOn1m F4.5·5.6 DG OS HSWAF: oas~, ma~hed lOllS hoad, sllDuldllr slmP.·and b1pod aoaptor [TS· 311Inc1ud~d.

NEW

APO l'50·50Cmm

fOtH6.3 DG es HSMIAF:

Case. maldled iens tmd, shouklcrstrap, and IrlpiXladaptor (TS,3" IlncllKll!d .

• Avallable lOt. Sigma, Nikon and C"MctI cameras

Two telephoto zoom lenses incorporating Sigma's original Optical Stabiliser function.

SIGMA APO 120 .. 400m F4 .• 5 .. 5.6 DG OS HSM I SIGMA AP0150 .. 500m F5 .. 6.3DG OS HSM ~QW

ESigma Imaging (UK) Ltd, 13 Little Mundells, WeJwyn Garden City, Herts .. AL7 1 EW. Tel: 01707329999 Fax: 01707327822 www.sigma-imaging-uk.comE-ma.i]:sales@sigma-imaging·uk.com

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering

Thought aperture wasjustan exposure tool? Think again - it's so much more important to your pictures than that

That little adjustable hole in your lens is much more than Just an exposure tool and offers a

va riety of ways to improve your pictures.

The aperture is situated in the lens between tile front and rear elements. A series of (usually) eight or nine metal bla des, in a

ci rcular array called th e dia ph ragrn, actually make up the aperture, The adjustable hole in the m iddl e of the diaphragm is the aperture itself, and its size is controlled by a command dia I on th e ca mera body, or automaticallyi n program med modes. The selected apertu reis then shown in th e camera viewfinder and typica Ily on an LCD screen on the cam era's body. a Ider lenses have an a psrture ring on the lens barrel with a series of engravi ngs

14 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

showing the aperture va I ue, .known as an f-stop. The ring is turned to achieve the desired setting.

The two main camera settings that allow you to control tile size of the aperture are the

Ma rural and Aperture Priority modes, the latter indicated as A or Avon your mode dial. For the most part, the Aperture Priority mode is the best to use as it allows you to concentrate on the aperture, whi Ie tile camera automatically sets the shutter speed.

So what does the aperture actua lIy do? Tile primary function is to work with the shutter speed to provide the optimum exposure for your image, but it is importantto remember that the two work reciprocally - that is,

adjusting the shutter speed or aperture by a stop will either halve or double the a mount of light reaching the sensor, depending on tile direction of adjustment.

The second, and proba bly tile most important creative use of the a pertu re, is to adjust the depth offield. Depth offield determines the amount of sha rpness there is in an image, or how much of the: mage is in focus. It is depth of fiel d control that allows us to ca pture landscapes that are pin-sha rp from front to back, or to take a focused portrait with an out-of-focus background. In other words, the aperture is a key part in determining how the final image will look, offering an endless means of creatively enha nci ng your images.

How aperture works

MANUAL MODE Thls.sllaws bloU to set both the aperture and shutter speed and is useful in tricky light sltuatons. or If you use some older lenses

APERTURE P·FUOAITV AE

The most useful mode for aperture control, Yo u choose the aperture and the oamera automatlcahj sets the shutter speed

SHUTTER

SPEED READOUT Dis pia ys the shutter speed selected

APERTURE READOUT

Dis pia lJs the apertu re selected. 1111 s Information Is also Viewable In the camera's Viewfinder

The d'iapllragm is a set of interlocked blades that open and close to increase or reduce the size of the aperture. We choose til is size by a system known as 'f-numhers' or 'I-stops', a value set by a mathematical formula dividing the lens' focal length by tile diameter of the aperture. The f-stop system can be confusing to beginners, as the higher the number, the smaller the aperture - so f/2.8 is a large aperture, whilef/16 is a small one. Each full

a pertu re measu rement represents a doubl i ng or halvi ng of the exposure. So, for example, rnovi ng from f/8 to f/5. 6 (small to larger) doubles the amount of I'ight reaching the

sensor, while f/8 to fill (srna II to smaller) halves it. Modem lenses offer hal f-stop or even third-stop increments for more precision.

The aperture works with the lens optics to focus and direct the light waves from the subject to tile sensor. A smaller aperture concentrates these I ight waves to a series of small points of light, while a wide aperture produces discs of unfocused light on the sensor. In this way, a large aperture produces a fuzzier image either side of the focus point (narrow depth of field) wh i Ie a small aperture produces a sharper overa II image (deeper depth of field).

'The aperture works with the lens optics to focus and direct the light onto the sensor'

Reducing the aperture size is often callled 'stopping-down', while increasing the size is referred to as 'opening-up'.

I 'i"0""" ,,_' V'll " 'i"0""" \.. ' I"fJrn· ~o"'" '/~iO\
/ '/2$0 / '/5.6'0 / CJ'i'
/ CJ'i" CJ't'
I \
, .. , .J
l
\ ,1
II i\,~j) e II' , , e
'.~ '. I .
1\ ,
.
1': ,f,." 1- -I." 1-6- ,./,."
~ ,~ Q'l>-,..,.
O'l>-" ~ O~ o"i>'
>\I, .... 0 . 1>-,..,. ~ "" '" .
... n,_,., I ~ .. ,"\ 1\;, " . 30"" C~,f".:l! '. ~-----------------------------------------------------------,_.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 15

DEPTH OF FIEl.D PREVIEW

The image we see in the viewfinder is at maximum aperture, so it is difficult to assess the degree of sha rpness throughoutthe scene. Therefore, most ca meras have a depth of field preview button. It's usually located on the front oflhe camera, near the lens mount, though it varies depending on model. Pressing the button closes the aperture to the selected value and a Ilows you to see the image at the correct aperture. The image ill tile viewfinder wi II go darker as less light enters the lens, but you can then scan the scene and see which areas of the image are sharp.

Depth otfield is the commonly used term to describe how much of an image is in focus, and is predominantly determined by the size of'tne camera's aperture.

This effect can easily be explained and replicated by just looking around you, If you focus your vision on an object near to you, it is sharp, but objects in your peripheral vision are not. However, if you look at a subject in the middleor far distance -say, the view over your

ga rden - the whole scene tends to look sharper overall.

Photography does the same thing, but it is more pronounced, principally because you are capturing a threedimensional subject on a twodimensional medium.

The degree of sharpness in an image depends on a n umber of correlated factors: the focal length of the lens,

the focus distance and, the aperture, While there are a host offormulae and eq uations to aid you in determini ng this (see Hyperfocal distance, right), "for most people, the easiest way to learn is by experimenting; photography is about creativity as much asit is about science.

Fast or slow lenses

You may often hear the terms 'fast' or 'slow' to descriibe a lens or aperture. This has nothing to do with the speed of operation, but to the size of the maxi mum possible aperture (usua Ily quoted as a suffix to the name of a lens) . A lens with a maximum aperture of f/l.4, for example, is 'faster' than a sim ilar lens with f/2.8. Because the aperture is larger, faster shutter speeds

can be used, which is especially useful in low· light conditions.

Another practical benefit of a larger a pertoreis that the extra lightthat enters the lensleadsto brighter v.iewing on the camera's viewfinderaga in, useful in low-light cond itions,

Zoom lenses often quote two maximum apertures, for example, 18- 70mm f/2.8-4. This means that the maximum aperture at the 18mm end is f/2. 8, while the maximum aperture at

70mm is f/4. I n reality, the actual hole is the same size but the added focal length (a nd the maths) changes the f-number. There are several lenses available with a fixed maximum a pertore that doesn't change throughout the focal range, such as Sigma's 70-200mm f/2.Blens. Tneselersesare usually expensive though, and because of tile large optics needed to perform the trick, quite heavy as well

Hyperfocal distances

FAST LENSES Canon produces the excellent 85mm fll21ensshown here, While Sigma'S 70-200mm fl2.8lens has a contlnous maximum aperture offl2.8

HhJperfocal distance

The hypertoca I dista nce technique is used mainly in la ndscape photography for ensuring optimal depth of field at any given aperture. It denotes the best poi nt of focus where everything from approximately ha If that distance to infinity is in focus.

Eachlens and aperture combination has a different Ilyperfocal d istance, so, for

exa mple, there is a different opti mal point of

focus for a 2Bmm lens at f/5.6 than there is at an aperture of f/l1,

Older lenses have a n engraved distance sea Ie on the barrel with hyperfocal distance indicators, but these are often lacking on modern lenses. However, there are a range of depth offield calculators on the internet that can be used. The table below provides a rough guide.

f/2_8 f/4 f/5_6 f/8 fIll fl16
18mm 4.6 3.3 2.3 1.6 1.2 0.8
24mm 8.2 5.8 4 2 2 l.5
28mm 1].2 7.8 5 .. 6 3.9 2.8 2
3Smm 17.5 12.2 8.8 6.1 4.5 3
50mm 35 25 17.9 12.5 9 6.3
70mm 70 49 35 2.4.5 17.8 12.3
8Smm 103 72 51.6 36 2.6.3 18
13Smm 260 182 130 91 66 45.5
200mm 571 400 285 200 145 100 Thetebleshows the hl,lperfooal distance In metres foroommonly, used focellengths with cameras with an APS-C sensor(Nlkon, Pentex, Sony and Canon). Just find your lens/aperture oomblnatlon and focus on that point

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 17

DEPTH OF FIEl.D PREVIEW

The image we see in the viewfinder is at maximum aperture, so it is difficult to assess the degree of sha rpness throughoutthe scene. Therefore, most ca meras have a depth of field preview button. It's usually located on the front oflhe camera, near the lens mount, though it varies depending on model. Pressing the button closes the aperture to the selected value and a Ilows you to see the image at the correct aperture. The image ill tile viewfinder wi II go darker as less light enters the lens, but you can then scan the scene and see which areas of the image are sharp.

Depth otfield is the commonly used term to describe how much of an image is in focus, and is predominantly determined by the size of'tne camera's aperture.

This effect can easily be explained and replicated by just looking around you, If you focus your vision on an object near to you, it is sharp, but objects in your peripheral vision are not. However, if you look at a subject in the middleor far distance -say, the view over your

ga rden - the whole scene tends to look sharper overall.

Photography does the same thing, but it is more pronounced, principally because you are capturing a threedimensional subject on a twodimensional medium.

The degree of sharpness in an image depends on a n umber of correlated factors: the focal length of the lens,

the focus distance and, the aperture, While there are a host offormulae and eq uations to aid you in determini ng this (see Hyperfocal distance, right), "for most people, the easiest way to learn is by experimenting; photography is about creativity as much asit is about science.

Fast or slow lenses

You may often hear the terms 'fast' or 'slow' to descriibe a lens or aperture. This has nothing to do with the speed of operation, but to the size of the maxi mum possible aperture (usua Ily quoted as a suffix to the name of a lens) . A lens with a maximum aperture of f/l.4, for example, is 'faster' than a sim ilar lens with f/2.8. Because the aperture is larger, faster shutter speeds

can be used, which is especially useful in low· light conditions.

Another practical benefit of a larger a pertoreis that the extra lightthat enters the lensleadsto brighter v.iewing on the camera's viewfinderaga in, useful in low-light cond itions,

Zoom lenses often quote two maximum apertures, for example, 18- 70mm f/2.8-4. This means that the maximum aperture at the 18mm end is f/2. 8, while the maximum aperture at

70mm is f/4. I n reality, the actual hole is the same size but the added focal length (a nd the maths) changes the f-number. There are several lenses available with a fixed maximum a pertore that doesn't change throughout the focal range, such as Sigma's 70-200mm f/2.Blens. Tneselersesare usually expensive though, and because of tile large optics needed to perform the trick, quite heavy as well

Hyperfocal distances

FAST LENSES Canon produces the excellent 85mm fll21ensshown here, While Sigma'S 70-200mm fl2.8lens has a contlnous maximum aperture offl2.8

HhJperfocal distance

The hypertoca I dista nce technique is used mainly in la ndscape photography for ensuring optimal depth of field at any given aperture. It denotes the best poi nt of focus where everything from approximately ha If that distance to infinity is in focus.

Eachlens and aperture combination has a different Ilyperfocal d istance, so, for

exa mple, there is a different opti mal point of

focus for a 2Bmm lens at f/5.6 than there is at an aperture of f/l1,

Older lenses have a n engraved distance sea Ie on the barrel with hyperfocal distance indicators, but these are often lacking on modern lenses. However, there are a range of depth offield calculators on the internet that can be used. The table below provides a rough guide.

f/2_8 f/4 f/5_6 f/8 fIll fl16
18mm 4.6 3.3 2.3 1.6 1.2 0.8
24mm 8.2 5.8 4 2 2 l.5
28mm 1].2 7.8 5 .. 6 3.9 2.8 2
3Smm 17.5 12.2 8.8 6.1 4.5 3
50mm 35 25 17.9 12.5 9 6.3
70mm 70 49 35 2.4.5 17.8 12.3
8Smm 103 72 51.6 36 2.6.3 18
13Smm 260 182 130 91 66 45.5
200mm 571 400 285 200 145 100 Thetebleshows the hl,lperfooal distance In metres foroommonly, used focellengths with cameras with an APS-C sensor(Nlkon, Pentex, Sony and Canon). Just find your lens/aperture oomblnatlon and focus on that point

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 17

Improve hjour shots

Create a realistic

S allow depth of · eld

One of the consequences of the cornpa ratively small sensor sizes of most digital cameras (in com parison to a 3 5mm film frame) is that they tend to produce photos where the subject matter is sharp 'from tile foreground into the distance. For landscape and arch itecture photographers this can be an advantage, but when it comes to shooting flowers, this can mean the brill iant bloom ill the foreground gets lost. Restricting the sharpness in the frame to

Blur 8 selection

just the foreground flower will help make it stand out from its surroundings .. Known as depth of field, controlling wh ich parts of your photos are sharp and which are blurry is tradrtlonally ach ieved at tile time of capture. As dlgital users have a ha rd time producing the effect, they turn to post-capture editing.

Here we use Photoshop Elements to recreate a nd exaggerate the shallow depth of field effect.

Photoshop Elements offers a variety of blur fillers that are capable of making sharp parts of the picture less so. Grouped under the

Filter> Blur menu, some ofthese options are not suitable for ourtechnique as they provide onebutton results with no control over the amount of blur being applied. These include Average, Blur and Blur More. Also unsuitable are the Smart, Motion and Radial B'lurtilters, as they produce blur results based on maintainingthe sharpness of edges and recreating blur caused by camera or subject motion. Thisleaves tile Gaussia n BI.ur option, which contains both a Radius slider to control the blur amount and a preview area to preview the effect. Simply applying the f Iter to the image blurs all the content of tile photo, so here we lise a selection to rest ri ct the bl u r effect to on Iy th ose area s that need to be changed.

1 After_o_ p_.ening t_ he image, _carefullY mak_e

a selection of the a rea of tile photo that you want to remain sha rp. The quality of this selection is directly related to the quality of tile resu Its, so take your time. You may need to use a variety of selection tools to achieve a good result. Add a slight feather (Select > Feather) of one pixel to the selection to soften the edge.

18 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

2 A~_d s_om. e S .. harpeningto_the_ s. electe_d area. with the Adjust Sharpness or Unsharp

Mask filter (located in the Enhance menu in Elements 6, or the Filter menu in other versions). This helps contrast with tile bl urred background. Now reverse the selection (Select > Inverse) and apply the Gaussian Blur filter. With the prev.iew option selected, adjust the Radius until you are happy. Click OK to apply.

3 One problem with this si mple a pprcach is til at tile noise or grain structure of the

_ 'original image is smoothed by the bl urring action .. So to disguise this fact, add a I ittle texture 10 tile whole photo to balance tile blurred and non-blurred a reas. With the image viewed at 100%, select Filter>Noise>Add Noise and adjust the Amount slider until the textu re is rebuilt in the blu rred areas.

!i2 o Lo

Z

~ o

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering

There are those who say thatthe on Iy true exposure tool in photography is the shutter, Exposu re could be defined as the length of time thatfilm or a digital sensor is eXposed to light. The aperture determines how much light is let in duri ng that exposure. Of course, broader photographic theory explains that exposure is a combination of aperture and shutter speed.

So what exactly is the shutter, and what does 'shutter speed' mean? The shutter is a gate inside the camera body between the sensor and mirror. It can usually be seen when the lens is detached from the body and the mirror raised.

The shutter consists of a front and rear metal curtain. It's operated by the shutter release button, often lazily referred to as the shutter

20 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

button or even just the shutter- which can be confusing. Wilen the button Is pressed, the front curtain begins to move to expose the image, closely followed by thesecond, or rear curtain in the same direction. This creates a gap, wh iclrtravels at a constant speed across the sensor, to expose the entire ira me. Shu tter speed refers to the amount of time the shutter is open, between the first and second curtain, thus exposing the image. Typically, these speeds are very short - fractions of a second - and so they are expressed as fractions, such as 1/60sec, 1/500sec and so on. Occasions Ily, you may need to make longer exposures of several seconds, or even mi nutes. The smaller the fraction, the shorter the exposure. So for a

The choice of shutter speed has a profound effect on the way that moving subjects are recorded. Find out how to unleash their full potential

1 sec exposure, the fi rst curtain opens fully and, a second later, the second curtain follows it to close the shutter.

Just like the aperture, each 'stop' between shutter speeds - selected via an on-camera dial - doubles or halves the exposure, so 11l25sec is haif the time of 1/60sec, reducing the exposure by 1 EV (or one stop). Simil arly, 1/30sec is double the time of 1/60sec, so tile exposure is increased. by 1 EV. Modern cameras also have half or third stop increments,

ensuri ng more accurate exposure.

The length oftime the shutter remains open has an effect on tile image. Short (orfas!) shutter speeds stop action mid-track, while long (or slow) shutter speeds may blur any movement.

Shutter speeds and lenses

The focallength of the lens you're usi ng is important when determining shutter speed in order to avoid camera shake. Camera shake is a motion blur eflect caused by a combination of camera movement and slow shutter speed.

A.s a rule of thumb, the slowest shutter speed you can use will have a denominator roughly the same as that of the lens focal length. In digital terms, the 3 5mm film equivalent focal length should be used. Therefore, a 50mmlens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 7 Smm (1. 5x magnification) requ i res a shutter speed of 1/75sec or faster. For most users, this will equate to around 1/60 to 1112 5sec,

dependi ng on how many coffees you've had. That may sound like a joke, but in fact caffeine and other stimulants ca n have an effect on camera sha ke .. It can be avoided by using a support such as a tripod, or even resting your body against a wall, raising the camera's ISO, or opening the aperture. Some lenses come with image stabinsation bu i'lt in.

MODE DIAL The best mode to choose is shutter priority" marked as S or 1\ICfornme Value). Altemativelbl, manusl(M)

al lows control of both shutter speed and aperture

COMMAND :DIAL Situated at the back or near the shutter release button. the commanddlal can be used to choose thespeed wewishtousa

LCD SCREEN Amongst the information displsbjed on the screen ,is the shutter speed. Usualll,j. only the denominator figure Is shown 025 =' 11l25sea)

RELEASE BUTTON Aside from operatlngthe shuttermechanism,."this button also activates the cernertrs focus, metering and white balance

Fast shutter speeds

The reciprocal effect of apertu re and shutter means that as you open the aperture, the shutter time gets shorter, or the 'speed' becomes 'faster'. For average, everyday shooting with standard looms, a speed over 1/60-1/125sec will prevent ca rnera shake. However, as the shutter speed goes past

1/500sec, you ca n then start to take advantage of the faster shutter speeds' abil ity to 'freeze' action. Entry-level to mid-level DSLRs offer a maximum shutter speed of about 1/4000sec, while professional cameras, such as the Nikon D2x, offer speeds as high as 1/8000sec. For high-speed or

sports photography, this is really useful, should you really need to catch the detai I of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren. Of course, this also requires either wide aperlu res, bright lighting conditions or an adjustment to the camera's ISO speed =or a combination of all three - to make using these speeds possible.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 21

Take control of ~our camera

Shutter speed and motion

This sequence shows how the shutter speed you choose affects the way the camera records moving subjects. Remember, though, that the precise effect wi.11 depend on various factors, including the speed of the subject.

For everyday subjects, faster shutter speeds

have little effect on the picture's look, with 1/500sec a nd a bove freezing fast-moving objects. Most people do not need the fastest speeds other than to allow wide apertures, though specialised. photography such as ballistics testing do.

22 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

PANNING

A common shutter techniques is that of panning. If you are shooting a racingcar, for example, using a fast shutter speed of 1I1000sec, then you will get a frozen, motionless-looking car in front of a pin" sharp background. However, use a slower shutter speed of 1I60sec, and you'll get a blurred car as it travels too fast to record sharply on the sensor.

Pann ing i nvolves followingthe car with the camera and pressing the shutterrelease button at the same time, so the car stays reasonably sha rp but the movement of the camera blurs the background. This takes some practice, especially w,ith fast-moving subjects, but it adds drama to the image, and creates a sense 01 movement and speed.

Camera specifications often quote an X- sync speed. This is the fastest shutter speed possible with which a flashgun will work. The sync speed is typically set at a round 1/60 to 1/250sec, although higher speeds can be used with ded icated hi -speed flash units.

The x-sync shutter speed is determined as the point when the shutter is fully open and the camera sends a charge to the flash to fire. The

bu rst from a flashgun is typicallY much shorter than the ti me the shutter is open, but there is all optimal point when the shutter is fully open .. If the shutter speed is too fast for the flash, the image will not be fully exposed to the flash burst and areas of the image will receive no light, so black lin es appea r in the final.image. Slower shutter speeds can be used to exploit the ambient or background light.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES .23

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering

. .

Image noise

and shutter speed, your camera's ISO setting is worth a closer look

Affecting both

The basis for proper exposure of your images depends on shutter, aperture and one final key ingredient - the sensitivity of the sensor in your camera to light. Without knowing this, tile camera can't begi n to measure an accurate readi ng or provide a true exposure.

This sensitivity is set in the factory and is commonly known as the ISO speed, a standard originally set for the photographic film industry and adopted by digital camera manufacturers.

In fact, thelSO in a digital camera is really

an equivalent of the old film standard, with the sensor on Iy truly having one sensitivity. All the other ISO speeds are produced by ampl ifyi ng the signal from the sensor through the processor.

Wh ile this rna kes digital cameras very useful and adaptable, it can also produce detrimental effects - notably by increasing image noise, which often shows up as speckles in the image. But this is noth i ng new - the silver halide of film also produces 'grain ier' images as higher ISO

speeds are used. One of the key differences between film and digita I photography is that with digital cameras you can rate Individual shots at whatever ISO suits the conditions you are shooting in, whereas with film you have to buy a whole roll sensitised to a specific speed. Just like with film, however, an understanding of how ISO setti ngs on a camera work, and how to use it to our adva ntage, is vital to producing well-exposed and high-quality images in the right light levels and environments.

24 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

I.SO and exposure

Getting the ISO setting correct is as integral to your exposures as the shutter speed a nd the aperture. Get it wrong and tile images could sufferfrom camera shake, underexposure or heightened noise.

For the most part, in the UK, a bright summer day allows a low setting of ISO 100, which will give you a 'camera shake free'

shutter speed of around 1/ 125sec and an aperture f/8 to ensure sharpness. I n poorer lighting conditions you may need to raise the I SO setting to 200 or 400.

And, as light levels drop even further, or when you go indoors, the I SO can be raised to allow faster shutter speeds and smaller apertures to be used accordingly.

ISOsele~iQn

AS well as full onestop increments, you can select 113· orl/2- stop values. Using the Auto setting lets the camera do the work

FastaQcess

As ISO is one of the key controls on yot.lT cernera, there is usualll,l afast 8COOSS button to allow Idouto m8ke quick changes, ratherthango through the menu

ISO and low light

Tile average shutter speed necessary for hand hold i ng a non -stabi lised camera with a standard zoom lens needs to be over 1I60sec for the majority of people. If th is can't be achieved due to low light, you have three options: use a tripod, choose a wider aperture or raise the sensitivity setting.

If, for exam pie, your meter read i:ng is 1/30sec at f/8 a nd you want to keep the aperture as it is, then you need to use a camera support or to ra ise the ISO setting. A tripod or monopod isn't always practical, so in many cases the only option is to raise tile sensitivity.

Like, the reciprocal ruleof aperture and shutter speeds, tile same is true of ISO. Raising the sensitivity from ISO 100 to 200 doubles the exposure, so that the previous meter reading will now allow an exposure of 1/60sec at f/8 - much better for a handheld shot.

Doubl i Ilg it again to ISO 400 (a nether 1 EV increase) further enhances your chances of a steady, well-exposed shot by providing an exposure of 1 /125sec at f/8.

rn is is especially useful inlow-light situations like duringthewinter months, when light levels are a far cry from that perfect June day,

How does digital ISO differ from film?

Film ISO

Back in tile mists aftime, photographers used films that Were rated by the ASA (American Standards Association) system, in whicllthe numerical rating doubled with each doubling of sensitivity. Thls became the basisforthe ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) standard, whlch came into effect in 1987.

Traditional film technology depends on the light-gathering power of sltver halide, with larger.sllvergralnsafowing higher ISO speeds. Faster, more sensitive films produce 'grainier' images.

Technological developments have produced ever faster iii ms with less obvious grain. The general-purpose dayl'igllt film of the 19205 and 30s was around 20 ASA. By the 19705 it was ISO 100, but by the end of tile 1990s it was ISO 400. all with little discernible difference in grain size.

Digital ISO

When digital cameras appeared in the 19805 it was decided to keep sensitivity standards as close as possible to those of film to allow for an easy transition. DigilallSO is not, however, achieved by using larger pixels {like film uses larger silver grains}, and sensors don't display the same characteristic curves asfilm when under or overexposed.

Digital sensitivity is Increased in a cou pie of ways, primarily by a simple amplification of the signal from the sensor. A process known as bitshifting, which uses mathematical rather than analogue a mplification, is also applied. M any cameras use a combination of both.

The increase in sensitivity gained by raising the I SO setting results in more image noise, 'not larger sized grain.

Sensor a nd processor technology is forever im proving. Sensors a 1.lowing settings uplo ISO 3200 are now possible - producing noise that would match that of ISO 400 or even ISO 800 just a few years ago. As the technology matures, we can expect to see further noise reductions and higher ISO settings.

DIGITAL PHOTDGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 25

Take control of hdour camera

Noise

Noise is to sensors what grain is to film. just as with Iii m, when the I SO setting is raised, image quality becomes increasingly affected by noise, which usually appears as coarse speckles Its minim isation Is a com mon goal 0'[ camera designers and photographers alike.

There are two main types·of noise :Iu rnirrance (monochromatic) and the more obtrusive chroma noise, which is typically displayed as

multi-coloured speckles. Noise is most visible in areas 01 uniform tone, such as skies, and especially in underexposed shadow areas.

Not only does visible noise increase with

ISO sensitivity, it may also increase as pixel size decreases, which is why cramming too many pixels onto a small sensor can be detrimental to image quality, and wily camera choice should not be based on pixel count alone.

-------

'.- .-~ .. ;:~I

- . .:

- > - -'.

26 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

ISO and long lenses

Longer lenses are also more prone to camera shake, and tile rule ot thu mb is that to ensu re sharp pictures, lhe shu t ter speed should be at least as high as the focal length in use. So if you are shooting at 200mm, you ideally need a shutter speed of at least 1/250sec to prevent camera shake. If longer lenses force you to use

sma Iler apertures, but at the same time you need to use faster shutter speeds to cou Iller tile risk of camera shake (unless you're shooting static su bjects and a re a ble to use a tripod), there may be only one solution: raise the ISO. So, with lila! 200ml11 lens, if your meter is reading at 1/125, then you need to double tile ISO (raise it byone stop) - from ISO 200 to 400, for example.

Of course, modern developments ill image stabl I isation - either optical or camera-based - will affect the base ligures in these scena nos, bu t tile pri nciple remains tile same and so is worth remembering.

ISO and action

I magi ne a cornbinati on of the previous scenarios - you're usi ng a long lens and the light is low. Even worse, your subject is moving qu ickly - or as qu ick as middle-aged five-a -side footba Hers ca n ru n on a Thu rsday evening in November.

This is the perfect opportu nity to raise your I SO. Increasing the sensitivity will allow two

things: the use of a smalleraperture to ensure depth-of-field and sharpness, and a fast shutter speed to freeze the action and eliminate camera shake.

I n fact, even on a bright day it may be worth raising tile ISO just to allow faster shutter speeds of arou nd 1/500sec,. to freeze any action happening in front of your lens.

DIGliTAL PHOTOGRAPHY iTECHNIQUES 27

How to shoot ...

As the sun dIps belew the horIzon, plenty of subjects begin to present themselves to the keen -eyed photographer, providi ng am pie opportunity for flexing you r photographic skills. Here, we show you how to captu re firework displays and use shutter speeds to their full creative potential.

Metering at night

As the meters contained i,n most digital cameras are designed to work within the shutter speed range of the camera, few models can be used to measure exposure beyond 30 seconds or so.

I n order 10 solve this problem, try metering the scene with the lens at the widest aper1u re first. Note down the settings and then extrapolate the required exposure for a smaller ape rtu re setti n g.

For exam pie, a setting of 30 seconds at f/2 is the same as 60 seconds at f/2.8, 120 seconds at f/4, 240 seconds at f/5.6 and 480 seconds at f/8. Don't forget to double the exposure time for every full aperture setting change.

2.8 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

The serious nlgt1t-sliooter can obtain

more accurate results using a sensitive

hand hel d meter .. The best models are very sensitive and, after measuringthe available light, provide a range of shutter and aperture combinati ons that you can use with tile scene. If you r budget doesn't ru n to this level, then the best option is to ma ke a test exposure and use a 'best guess' shutter and a perture com bination. Check the resultant image, and re-shootif necessary.

Exposures beyond your cam.era"s longest shutter speed

Toobtain exposures longer than the maximum seltingfor your camera, you will need to switch to the 'Bulb' mode and use a sturdy tripod. This shutter speed selling keeps tile shutter open while the sh utter button is depressed. Once tile button is released the shutter closes. It is ve~y difficult, if not 211 most impossible, to keep tile camera steady while holding tile shutter button down for minutes at a time, so if

you want to photograph under low-light conditions regularly, invest in a cable release that can be locked in the open position. Couple tile remote release with a small stopwatch

and a torch, and you are readyfor exec uti ng the long exposure ti mes necessary for creating moonlit images.

Time and motion

When most people thin k of shooting cityscapes at night, they envisage images full of the twisting light streaks of speeding cars, as shooting in low light requi res longer shutter speeds than we use in daylight, Longer shutter speeds mean moving objects are not frozen: n the frame but are recorded' as streaks flowing through tile photo. The speed of the movement, the position of the subject and the length of exposure all contri bute to the effect.

Controlling the movement

Longexposu res provide us with a unique opportunity. Designing how the photo will look when so much 01 the pietu re's impact is based on moving su bjects ca n be tricky, however .. The three-way cornbi nation of shutter speed, aperture and I SO determine the way the movement is recorded. For images with less bl ur, use a higher ISO (400, 800 or 1600) and lowerf-stop values (f/2, f/2,8 or 1/4). These settings will enable faster shutter speeds that will, in tu rn, help freeze the motion. A lternatively, longer exposure

EXPOSURES

STARTING EXPOSURES FOR LOW-UGHT SHOOTING SCENARIOS (AT 150400):

Brightly I it street scene -1!60sec @ fJ4 City skyline at night - lsec @ f/2.8

City skyline just after sunset-

1/60sec @ f/5.6 Campfire-lJ60sec@f/4

Fireworks against dark skylsec@f/ll

Landscape with full moon - Bsecs @t/2

ti rnes will produce more streaks and more blur. To obtain the slowest shutter speeds, employ higher t-stop values (fill,. f/16 or f/22) and at the sa me time use lower ISO settings {50, 100 or 2001.

White balance

U nli ke with film, when tile colour balance is customised towa rds either daylight or tungsten light sources, d igita I white balance systems can adapt to a range of differently coloured lighting conditions. III normal 'daylight' shooting conditions, selecting the Auto option for your white ba lance system will generally

p rovi d e can si ste nt I y go ad (neu tral) resul ts, but when it comes to recordingthe colours of mixed light sou rces, neutral ity is not what we are looki ng for. A better way of working is to select the Da.ylight setti.ngfor your night images. This way, the camera will not try to remove the cast caused by the various I ight sou rcesin the photo.

Shooting fireworks

If recording colour is your thing, then firework demonstrations provide a great opportun ity to flex your low-I ight shooting muscles. Capturing these brilliant explosions of colour and light is not as hit and miss as it may at first appear. This is especially true for digital photographers, as the results of our efforts can easily be reviewed on the spot via the monitor on the back of the camera.

Tile explosion of a firework takes place

du ring a period of a few seconds. There is the initial thump or sound of the mortar as the shell is launched skywards. This is followed by tile first explosion, maybe a series of smaller bursts and a host of trails of twinkling light. To ensure that you capture the full effect, you need to use a long exposure,

Start by setting your camera on a tripod and point it to the general location in the sky where the fi rst few bursts occu r. Be ca reful when including complex backgrounds or well-lit structures in the frame, because these may distract from the fireworks themselves and affect exposure Ii meso This said, judicia lly positioned horizon detail does provide a sense of sea Ie for your images, so analyse the environment and take a few test shots before making up your mind.

'M.an.ual focus andma.nual shutter release

Wilen shooting fireworks in particular, it is importa nt to turn off the autofocus mechen ism a nd manually focus the lens into the dista nee, For most situations the 'infin ity' setti I1g works fine, but it also pays to check this focus setting

Rifht Use a tripod with long exposures to keep the images harp, orhandhold the camera to introduce deliberate blur

with thetirst ccuple of photos and adjust where necessary. If you are capturing a street scene with detail in the foreground, use the distance scale on the top of the I ens (if it has one) to ensure that important subject areas are sharp. Next, attach a cable release to the camera. If you don't have one ofthese, set the shutter speed to 4secs (this is a starti ng potnt and call be altered later when you review your first few shots).

Now that you are set up, simply open the shutter when you next hear the thump of the mortar and keep the shutter open for the full length of the burst, releasing the button only when the I ast few trails die away.

SHOE REPAIRS

lJ250sec @f/2.2

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 29

with D3 sensor U~!i~-~II~" ~u!! frame but half lhe SJZe - read OUI nisi impressions of Rikolls new DSLR

RawvJPEG

Raw til e s a re often referred to as the 'digital negative', as they a re composed of the original data captured by the sensor, having bypassed many of the camera's processing functions,

Contrary to some preconceptions, they are often compressed slightly, though using lossless compression, so all the data is intact. Typically, this results in a closed file size around half that of an open file, so an IBM B image becomes 9M B. This is much biggerthan the average J PEG, so they take longer to write to the card, 10 download, and to open, and of course you get "fewer of them on a card. Their slower write ti mes also make them less su itable for burst shooting situations such as fast action.

Raw files are not supported by most image-editing programs in theirnative format, so must either be converted before LIse, or processed using dedicated raw

processing software, wh ich may be that supplied with the camera, or a third-party program. Since raw files are not yet standardised, software must be compatible with you r pa rticular camera. One solution to th e cross-compatibil'ity issue is Adobe's DNG format, an open raw format that has been adopted by manufacturers such as Leica, Panasonic and Hasselblad.

Since no processing has been applied in-ca rnera, raw f les generally look poor on first opening and require more work to produce an acceptable result than J PEGs do. However, once this has been done,

th ey have th e po ten ti a I to 10 ok better. Since more data is contained with in a raw file, it's possible to reta in more high light and shadow detail, and even to adjust the exposure and white balance after the fact, if you feel you didn't choose the optimu m settings at tile time.

V Most raw files are 16-bit, so contain a greater dynamic range than an 8"bit J PEG v You get the full range of data from the sensor. None is discarded

v Your raw conversions are done on a computer (with a bigger and better processor than that in your camera)

v You can change your mind about white balance, exposure and some other settings after YOLl ha ve ta ke nth e pi ctu re

)( Raw files are bigger than JPEGs, so have longer read/write ti mes and fewer shots

)( They must be processed on a computer beforelhey're usable (so you can't use them straight out of tile camera)

)( They ca n't be viewed. by family or friends u nless they have a suitable raw converter )( Raw liles must be converted to TI FF, PSD, J PEG or another file format before they can be pri nted

32 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TEOHNIOUES

The nameJPEG is shortfor Joint Photographic Experts Group and was set in the early days of digital imagi ng as a file format that could be read by any digital image display device.

Even before the advent of digital cameras as we now know them, photographers and designers were sharing j PEGs across computer platforms and on the internet.

J PEGs are processed in-camera, setting white balance, exposure, sharpening, colour and contrast, among other thi ngs, Unless tile user has overridden the default settings in tile menu, these presets are determined by the firmware programmed into the camera by the mall utacturer,

J PEGs are also compressed by the camera to makethem smaller, making them quicker to save to memory and enabling you to squeeze more pictures onto a card. The compression used by J PEG is

'lossy' - that is, some information is destroyed in the compression. For example, when. the processor recogn ises large expanses of simi'larcolour (such as sky) it may choose an average of the pixels that make up the colour to represent the entire area, discarding some of the subtle hues originally captured. There will usually be a choice of compression settings - the lower the compression the better the quality, but the larger the f Ie. Higher compression produces smaller files, but poorer images.

Of course, you ca n also save images as JPEGs on the computer, and it's quite possible that even if you shoot in raw mode, the picture will end up as a JPEG eventually, especially if it's goi ng to be emailed or posted on a website .. If used in this way, resizing may be necessary as mostJPEGs converted straight from raw files wi II be too large (one exception is stock I ihraries).

JPEG pros and cons

v J PEGs are a 'universal' file format and can be viewed on almost any computer v J PEGs are much smaller than raw or TIFFfiles, so you can get more on a card v They write to memory more quickly. so are betterfor burst shooting

v Most people find good J PEGs almost indistinguishable from raw or TI FF fi les v J PEGs require much less effortto get good results than rawfiles. Typically, you can get a good pri rrt straight ou t of tile camera, or with minimal enhancements

v J PEGs can be easily emailed or uploaded toa website

)( In processing, some of the data is discarded, so overall there is less information in the pictures

)( Settings such as exposure and white ba lance are fixed in tile processing and can't be changed so readily afterwa rds

DIG1TAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 33

RawvJPEG

Comparing raw with

We followed identical raw and JPEG images through a typical workflow

Straight out of the cam.era

Lookingat these studio portraits, taken on a Canon EOS 400D, the raw file is rather dark, while the JPEG appears well corrected, though not quite perfect. The raw file is less sha rp than the J PEG too, which is to be expected as the camera sharpens images when it processes them intoJPEGs. Clearly, at this stage, the raw image needs some work to get it to its best.

CORRECTING THE RAW FILE

Once the raw image is processed, there is a subtle but noticeable difference between the two files. The image was processed in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), using the set of sliders on the right of the interface (see top right). Even just checking the 'Auto' boxes made a big difference, bu t further adjustments were made to get the best image we COUld. We added a small amount of sharpening a nd reduced noise sl ightly. The image was then saved as a 16-bil TIFF file to be opened in Photoshop (see right). If we had wanted to, we could also have used these controls to reduce or boost the saturation, colour and so on to add creative effects to the image.

34 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

PEG

CORRECTING THE JPEG FILE

While the straight DI'.""'_""IIIl=I===-.;J:]

JPEG is probably fine

for general-purpose printi ng or use on a website, we decided to try to match the tonality of the raw version, using a combi nation of the Curves and Levels tools. While not matchi ng it exactly, tile resorts are pleasing (see right), The raw file is marginally warmer in colour, sharpness IS similar, while there is slightly less noisein the raw image, when compared to theJPEG. The histogram does, however, show some loss of tones.indicated by the comb effect (see above) where pixels are missing. Similarly, tile document size has changed from 18MB to 16.7MB (a 7% loss of data).

Resizing

There may be times when you want to resize you r

i mage, perhaps for printing to la rge formats. Using raw files in ACR, there is a small men u that will do this wlth in the plug-in before you convert your image to TI FF.

We resized the JPEG using the I mage Size menui n Photoshop {the most popular method), though third-party options are also available.

The raw file definitely coped better with upscaling, The J PEG suffered from more noise, loss of detail and increased contrast, with subtle tonal shifts, especially in tile upper registers of the highlights. losing detail.

• •

FIxing exposure error

How do raw and JPEG files cope with exposure error? To find out, we made a sequence of shots at va ryi n g exposure s, then tried to co rrect the m in Photoshop.

Even images that were under-exposed by five stops (-SEV) could be rescued (see right), although with some increase in noise levels.

JPEGs are less flexible, with the limit at arou nd -2IEV before image degradation spoils the image. As you can see, at -5EVthecolour.is poor and much of the shadow detail has been lost (see right).

Underexposure

I n digital photography, it is usually easier to rescue an underexposed: image tna nan overexposed one .. Raw fi les are especially easy to correct in Photoshop using the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in. Here, tile Auto Correction has done a good job, and only a few tweaks were required 10 finish the job.

Overexposure

Overexposing poses more problems for both J PEG a n:d raw files than underexposure does as, once lost, highlight detail cannot easily be regained.

In ACR, raw images overexposed by two stops can be rescued, with only a minor loss of highlight detail (see right).

Incidentally, the highlight rescue function in Adobe Photoshop Ughtroom does a good job here.

JPEGs are, again, more problematic.

Even at +2EV, highlight detail is completely blown and can't be rescued at all. I mages can still be improved at a

push, if you don't mind having highcontrast images with no sky (see right).

COMPRESSION AND DETAIl..

Modern cameras' J PEG algorithms and sensor combinations seem pretty good. On the images, using a

combination of Canon, Nikon and Olympus cameras, we found I ittle evidence of detail loss in J PEGs when used at the best quality setting. This can usually be seen in details

such as brickwork and grassy areas, which traditiona Ily lose detail as the J PEG processing struggles to differentiate between deta i:I and colour.

......

> III 101) ,

...

C!II III 1:1. ...

THE VERDICT

Images from raw files are only as good as the photographer's Willingness to make the effort to get tile best out of them. Wh i le it's undoubtedly tile supreme formal for ultimate image quaftty, it's not for everyone, or even for all photos. Its rna in downside is the speed of use- not only do cameras record raw files more slowly than JPEG, they a Iso demand more ti me on the PC. You could argue that the raw workflow requires about two to three times more work lor a quality gai n of, maybe, 10% - if you can quantify such things. If you

think that 10% is worth the extra effort, then go for it.

If not, modern DSLRs produce very good print/web-ready JPEGs which come very close to prinlsfrom raw. So if you don'tfancy the extra work that raw entails, don'tfeel

g)J llty about shooting in high-quallty J PEG mode, because if you're careful, the difference is quite subtle. You can enjoy the extra time you'll have on your ha nds by going out and ta king more photos, rather than sitting in front of your PC.

There is, of course, a th ird way and one that would seem to offer the best compromise .. Select the raw plus high

qual ity J PEG option on your camera, which gives you both formats simultaneouslyeven if it's iustfortbose important shots.

Til is does take up more space on the ca rd, but media is cheap, and you ca n delete the dross later. That way you'll get the convenience of the JPEGs with a raw backup should you want to go back and play with an image at a later date.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 35

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering

Unwanted colour casts? Time to get to grips with your camera's white balance controls

Light comes in many colours, from the blue tint of a winter morning to the golden glow of a summer evening, from the green cold glare of a neon tube or the warming yellow of a bedside

I ight. Our eyes may not pick up tile subtleties of tile light's colour, but you can be sure til at you r camera's sensor will.

I n days of yore, when dragons roamed the Earth and maidens were an enda ngered species, photographers used daylight- or

tungsten-balanced colour film. The variations of light colour, or colour temperature, were controlled with filters or by introducing artificial lighti ng sou rces such as flash.

The advent of digital cameras brought with them a new feature - white bala nee (WB) control- a way of electron ically measuri ng and correcting tile colour of the I ight entering tile lens to reduce unnatural colour casts.

Forthe majority of users, the simplest way

to control white ba lance is to set it to Auto and let the camera do the work. For the most part, this is fine, especially as white balance systems have become increasingly accurate, particularly when dealing with multiple lighting sources. For ultimate control and optimum results, however, an understanding of the other settings, as well as manual control, will increase your creative resources and freedom.

36 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

White balance In h:jour camera

Dependingon your camera model, there are two waysto access the wh.ile balance, either through the m enu or via a fast access function button on the camera's exterior.

The most common Iy used white balance setting is Auto, butthere's also a selection of presets for specific I ighting conditions. Common settings incl ude Oay:light, Cloud, Shade, Tungsten and Fluorescent. Some models have others, so consult your camera's manual for more deta Lis.

AutD

Thls usas an automated system to assess

the lighting conditions

PRESET These include Hourescent, Cloudy,and

Sun light settings

Typically, the white balance is applied after the image is taken, when the camera is processing the image. In simple terms, the processor a nalyses the image and, using white point information, corrects any colou r casts that affect the whites. Thisi nformationis stored with the image, so that when the J PEG is opened the image is colour corrected. With raw files, this information is stored with the image and can be easily changed in a raw conversion application on your computer.

The colour of visible light is measured on the Kelvin scale, usingthe notation 'K', attsrtne 19111 century Britisl1 scientist William Thomson, lst Baron Kelvin. Colour temperature is determined by comparing the chromaticity with a theoretical black-body radiator (in physics, this is an object that absorbs all electromagnetic radiation that falls on it). The colour temperature of differi ng light sou rces is based on the su rface temperature aftha! black-body radiator. However, some lightsourcessuch as fluorescent lamps do not emit radiation in the form of a black-body curve, so a different standard ,known as colour correlated temperature is applied to correlate the perceived colour to that ofthe Kelvin sea Ie. The diagram below indicates where common light sources

fall on tile

'f(elvin scale ..

Auto white balance

For the most part, 99% of people use Auto WB for 99% oftheir shots and, 99% of the time, they are pleased with the results. The camera does a pretty good job of it, so why bother to setit rnanua Ily? Especially when usi ng raw format, any errors or minor tweaks ca n be easily cna nged (see page 39).

For j PEGs though, that 1 % that can go wrong can be more problematic, as it is more difficult to apply a globa I correction to correct colour casts, especially for those untrained in colour correction. Not only that, but data in tile file may be destroyed using traditional pixelbased editing software such asPhotoshop,

10,000

Kelvin Scale

9.,000

8.000

Blue sky

7,000

Overcast day

6,000

5,000

,Direct sun1f1ash

4.;000

3,000

House li.ghtbulbs

2.,000

1.000

Tungsten right

Candlelight

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 37

Take control of ~our camera

White balance presets

The preset white balance settings measure tile colour temperature in narrower parameters, according to the type of lighting you determine. A tungsten hght, for example, has a colou r temperature of around 2 ,SOOK, though variations such as other ambient light, the bulb's age and its power may also come into play and affect the final result.

iMa.nual white balance

Most DSLRs allow you to measure the scene and adjust the wh ile balance to your own preference in a manual WE mode. The quickest way to do thisis to take a picture of a white or grey object in tile scene, such as a wa II or tablecloth, and view the preview on your LCD screen. From there you ca 11 assess the colour and either take another or save the setting if the white is as good as you want it to be. Alternatively, your camera may let you adjust the white balance using the Kelvin scale.

There are accessories that hel p to accurately fix WE in the scene, such as the Expodisc and l.astolite's XpoBalance.

38 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Mixed lighting may also fool the while

bala nee of you r camera. For example, if you're shooting a subject next toa window with a tungsten lamp nearby, you can choose which

I ight source to balance for. A daylight setting produces natural ambient colour, wh ile the tungsten setting filters the yellow, so tile daylight will appear much bluer.

Extreme mixed lights

Roc k co n ce rts and theatre s use s tron g coloured lights that constantly change colou r, so you may want to set you r preset accordingly, Manually measuring the light is too slow, and Auto WE may filter much of the atmosphere. Using the Daylight setting will record the colour m uch as the eye sees it, so bold blue, green and red lights will' remain true to the way you rememberthem.

When you begin a shoal, include a white or grey card in thescene tortheflrst shot or two. Th i s wi II provid e th e referen ce poi n t for the wh lte ba lance eyed rapper,

Open your images as a batch in Adobe C~ m e ra R~w (AC'R)e ilher u si ng Ad 0 be Bridge crthe File>Open command, The images will open in the ACR window, with the first image in the main pane, aniJ the othe rs i 11 ali I rnstr i p at the si de. Ch 005e the WB eyedroppertool (in the latest version this isin the lop-left cornerof the ACR window).

t, ... _

,

S elect an a re a tha t she u Id be neutral grey or while, The softwa re knows tile colo u r val ues 01 these colo u rs, so will au tamalically co rrectthe colou r gl oba lIy (over the entirelrnege), Forthls image, we used Lastolite's XpoBalance 1001. There will be a s'l ight differencei n til e results whether you choose wh ite 0 r grey, so pic k th e a rea that give s you the most pi e as i ng resul ts.

As lang as you are shooting with the same lighting you. can click the 'Select All' button and synchronise those

co rrectio ns wi th a II th e other images in yo u r balch, saving you much time in applying your co rrections to eve ry i ma ge i nd ivid u a II y.

White balance and raw

An advantage of shooting raw files is that you can adjust and change the white balance very accurately using Adobe Ca mera Raw, Lightroom or a nether raw processing software. Not only can you choose from a list of preset white balance setti ngs, Just as you do with your camera, but you can fine-tune the colour using a slider tool based on the Kelvin scale. This is

perfect if you want to warm up or cool down an image. It also allows you to correct an image shou Id you accidentally use the wrong WB setting in-camera.

Alternatively. there's an eyedropper tool that you can use to select a neutral white or grey in thei mage, and the software will automatically correct the colour cast.

Getting it right: portraits

Using this tree as a prop has notonly added a useful com positional element, but has also served the practical purpose of giving the model something to lean against.

The most important thing in a portrait is to keep the eyes sharply in focus. Th is is because the eyes reveal so much of the emotion that tile subject is feeling. Lock your focus on the eyes and then recompose your image as you wish to frame it.

epth of field

By using a wide aperture, such as f/2.8 or f/5. 6, you can create a shallow depth of field. In this way you can focus the attention of the viewer on to tile subject a nd away from distracting elements in the background.

40 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

Backlighting

The natural backlight created by having the sun behind the subject works to outline the person and create an a I most 3-D quality to the image. This allows you to expose for the background and, using fill-in flash, you ca n stili get good detail In your subject without harsh shadows.

composit 0

There a re no absolutes in regard to

com position, but it is worth considering the rule of thirds, This places the subject at Ihi rds within the image, in orderto lead the eye of the viewer through tile picture and create a pleasing dynamic.

Fi nding a qu ietlocation that lends itself to posing the subject is an important early decision. You can sou rce this in advance of the shoot, so that you ca n make the most of your time with the subject at the location.

Follow these pointers for a perfect outdoor portrait

The checklist

• Choose a location that I ends itself to the shoot, avoid busy backgrounds that might detract from the subject.

• Ma ke sure you have a shallow depth of field.: this will keep the viewer's eye on the subject.

• Control your lighting conditions and take a flash or reflector along as backup. Check the weather forecast for the day, so you are prepared for each possibility.

• Try a range of poses and experiment with different angles. Keep talking to your subject iI possible, if you tell them you are happy with the shots you are getting, it will encourage them and avoid any awkward silences.

• Think about your composition. Try using the rule of thirds to compose the image, or use colour to lead the eye into the picture.

CAMERA SET UP

Set your AF and drive mode to single shot, your white balance to daylight, and ISO to 100 (assuming you have good day I.i ght), Use apertu re p riarity and select a large a perture between f/2.8 and f/5.6 to blurthe background. Take your point offocus from your subject's eyes and reframe your shot each time. Take your exposure from your subject if you are not usinga flashgun; if you're using fill-in flash, take the I ight reading from the background. Be careful not to go overthe camera's flash sync speed. Choose an above normal focal length.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 41

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering

42 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

If you want to trip the light fantastic and really get a grasp of exposure , knowing your metering will help you make the grade

Exposure is one of the fundamental ingredients methods to choose from, eva luative (or multi-

of a good photograph - get this wrong and it zone), centreweighted, and spot metering.

can feel I ike you're banging your head against a brick wall, Fear not, however. as every DSLR has a set of options that will help determine the correct exposure and give you the picture you want. These are the metering modes.

Metering determines how much I ightis needed to capture a n image and how long the shutter remains open, and there are three main

But always remember, there's no such thing as a perfect exposure. What seems right to you may not receive the approval of someone else. But that's one of the great th ings about photography - beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there are endless opportunities to be creative. Joi n us for the next few pages and we',11 show you how.

Metering modes

. -

In hJour camera

Depending on the model of camera, there are norma Ily two ways to set up your metering mode, either in tile menu or, more commonly on newer DSLRs, via a switch on the body of tile camera. Each mode can be used for specific situations.

Metormode

A grophlodlsplays the selected mode

Evaluative metering

Evaluative metering uses anum ber of specific points across the frames (the number va ries between cameras and manufacturers), and produces an average of all the zones to give the correct exposure value. It takes into account such factors as the focusing point in use, su bject size, position, distance, overall lighti Ilg level, and colour, and usually uses a database of thousands of exposures to

Meter ;mode button This allows !jouto select the metering mode- evaluative. centrewelghted'.

or spot

EXposure compensation

This graphic displsldS the EVvalue otthe selected compensation of bracketing

eva I uate the type of I igh!i n g and sub ject,

Evaluative metering can deliver exceptional photographs in various lighting conditions, and is most useful for general su bjects without large shadow or extremely bright areas. It's also good for action photography ..

For the majority of people this will bethe only metering mode they will ever use- it's reliable and covers most situations.

METERING

Knowing how your camera measures light .Is crucial if you want to achieve consistent and accurate exposures. But how does the camera actually meter the scene?

All cameras have a fundamental

flavy inthat they can Mly measure reflected I.ight - that is the light that is reflected from the subject This means the best they can do is guess how much light is hitting the subject (i nciden! light). If all objecls reflected the same percentage of incident light th is would not be a problem, but they don't, and they vary considerably.

lncldent light can be measured

by the use of a light meter, which takes a reading from the subject's position, usually wh ile pointing back to the camera. Reflected light, on the other hand, is the light from a light source, such as the sun, bouncing back off a n object.

Forthis reason, in-camera metering is standardised based on the luminance of light that would be reflected from an objectappearing as middle grey. If tile camera is aimed directly at any object lighter or darker than middle grey, then the camera's meter will incorrectly calculate the light level and under or overexpose respectively.

Because most subjects contain a combination of highlights, shadows and rnidtorres, the exposure will usually average everything out 10 produce a good image. However, understanding the process and assessing the scene to be shot will allow you to produce better images and more consisientexposures.

Light 5C1un:~

Above: Incident and reflected light

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 43

Take control of ~our camera

Centre weIghted

This setting produces an average overthe scene, but places emphasis on the centre area (typically 70%) and 30% of tile outside area.

Cameras of the past used th is metering techn ique with their bunt-: n meters, and it works very well for portraits.

Centreweighted metering is better suited to compositions til at aren 'I too contra sty, and is less influenced by a small area of extreme brightness or shadow within the metering area. This setting is useful when your main subject covers a large portion of the image.

Ri!!:ht; Ce ntrewelgh ted metering is good for Images with a wide .-angeaf mldtones

Spot metering

Spot, or partial, metering is where a small, central spot of tile subject or scene is metered. In some cameras, such asthe Nikon D300, you can adjust the size of the spot yourself. This usually ranges from 6-13m m, and can vary in coverage from anything between 1% and 3% of the whole image, and even up to 7 %.

44 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Using spot metering lightened the moe and ignored the backlighllng

Spot metering is used in d ifficu It lighting, such as with backlit su bjects or when you need a specific area to be correctly exposed.

Out of al.1 th ree metering options (spot, evaluative and cenlreweighted), the spot metering mode is especially good when shooting high-contrast scenes. It can produce

great i mages and can be incorporated into a shot via the exposure lock setti ng. Th is will take a spot reading of a particular area in the photograph, then give you the opportun ity to re-compose tile image. This is tile option to go for with close-up photography, where you

requ ire a precise measurement.

Exposure compensation

Exposure compensation is a method of fine-tu rung the exposure of a scene by compensating for overly bright or dark a reas: For example, if you are taking a picture of a white piece of paper, your camera will make it grey. To make it white, you'll need to overexpose it. For black paper you would go in the opposite direction and, underexpose it. Typically, the extremes of black and white need up to 2.EV to reproduce them correctly.

Exposure bracketing

With exposure bracketi ng you take three to five pictures - the first image is your 'as metered' picture, with the others incrementally under and overexposed, Preset the exposure differences (for examp'le, one stop over and under) and then choose the correct exposure. Bracketing is a good way to learn how your meter behaves with certain subjects, and ensures you get at least one good picture.

Greb] card

This piece of kit that is great for helping to get the exposure right. The card provides the meter with its perfect reference point - a midgrey, which is tile exposure the meter 'thinks' it wa nts to produce.

If you don't have a grey ca rd to hand, you can take a meter reading from a path, tree bark, even tile palm of your hand - anything of an average mid tone. Using spot metering and the AE lock method will allow you to take a reading and recompose the image however you like.

As mete,red

+1EV

EXPOSURE LOCK

Theexposure lock (AElock) on a camera works pretty much the way it sounds - when activated, it locks the camera's exposure setti ngs so you can compose the picture any way you I ike and press the shutter at you rleisure. For example, if you want a landscape photo to have a perfectly blue sky, lock the exposure in the sky, then compose and take your picture, However, it isn't a failsafe method of ensuring everything in the picture is exposed correctly. Though one part may be perfectly exposed, other pa rts of the image may suffer, especially if tile lighting is radically different throughout tile image.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 45

Take control of ~our camera

Centre weIghted

This setting produces an average overthe scene, but places emphasis on the centre area (typically 70%) and 30% of tile outside area.

Cameras of the past used th is metering techn ique with their bunt-: n meters, and it works very well for portraits.

Centreweighted metering is better suited to compositions til at aren 'I too contra sty, and is less influenced by a small area of extreme brightness or shadow within the metering area. This setting is useful when your main subject covers a large portion of the image.

Ri!!:ht; Ce ntrewelgh ted metering is good for Images with a wide .-angeaf mldtones

Spot metering

Spot, or partial, metering is where a small, central spot of tile subject or scene is metered. In some cameras, such asthe Nikon D300, you can adjust the size of the spot yourself. This usually ranges from 6-13m m, and can vary in coverage from anything between 1% and 3% of the whole image, and even up to 7 %.

44 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Using spot metering lightened the moe and ignored the backlighllng

Spot metering is used in d ifficu It lighting, such as with backlit su bjects or when you need a specific area to be correctly exposed.

Out of al.1 th ree metering options (spot, evaluative and cenlreweighted), the spot metering mode is especially good when shooting high-contrast scenes. It can produce

great i mages and can be incorporated into a shot via the exposure lock setti ng. Th is will take a spot reading of a particular area in the photograph, then give you the opportun ity to re-compose tile image. This is tile option to go for with close-up photography, where you

requ ire a precise measurement.

Exposure compensation

Exposure compensation is a method of fine-tu rung the exposure of a scene by compensating for overly bright or dark a reas: For example, if you are taking a picture of a white piece of paper, your camera will make it grey. To make it white, you'll need to overexpose it. For black paper you would go in the opposite direction and, underexpose it. Typically, the extremes of black and white need up to 2.EV to reproduce them correctly.

Exposure bracketing

With exposure bracketi ng you take three to five pictures - the first image is your 'as metered' picture, with the others incrementally under and overexposed, Preset the exposure differences (for examp'le, one stop over and under) and then choose the correct exposure. Bracketing is a good way to learn how your meter behaves with certain subjects, and ensures you get at least one good picture.

Greb] card

This piece of kit that is great for helping to get the exposure right. The card provides the meter with its perfect reference point - a midgrey, which is tile exposure the meter 'thinks' it wa nts to produce.

If you don't have a grey ca rd to hand, you can take a meter reading from a path, tree bark, even tile palm of your hand - anything of an average mid tone. Using spot metering and the AE lock method will allow you to take a reading and recompose the image however you like.

As mete,red

+1EV

EXPOSURE LOCK

Theexposure lock (AElock) on a camera works pretty much the way it sounds - when activated, it locks the camera's exposure setti ngs so you can compose the picture any way you I ike and press the shutter at you rleisure. For example, if you want a landscape photo to have a perfectly blue sky, lock the exposure in the sky, then compose and take your picture, However, it isn't a failsafe method of ensuring everything in the picture is exposed correctly. Though one part may be perfectly exposed, other pa rts of the image may suffer, especially if tile lighting is radically different throughout tile image.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 45

How to

translation ?-

tecl iC1ues and treatme ts emerging·

i ages 0 image-sllaring site F. ickr now

10 e <I d nore i to the odem

., •• ~ ... ... I ..

As with est new tech iques DR can

seem intim Idating at first, wi til tile initial steps to creatingtop-quahty HDR images beillgthe hardest. However, D P.] is here to help ake

these steps easier.

So what exactly is HDR? And ho

As can be seen by the examples on these pages and the plethora of images creeping into the photograph lc community, H ORis an unarguably eye-catching technique. However, it serves more than just an a rtistic purpose: it can be used as a practical tool to i mprave you r photography,

The H DR tech n ique allows the photographer to display the full dynamic range of an image, al.lowingdetail otherwise lost in shadows and highlights to be revealed. It also allows a wider range of tonal details that, while visible to the eye, are unable to be captured through a single exposed image, wh iehis likely to have blown out highlights and murky shadows.

The practical implications of the HDR technique are best illustrated by the following example. Imagine taking a photo from the inside of a room a nd attempting to get both an a ccu rate rep re se n tat i on of b 0111 the roo m and, say, the fa ntastic view out of the window despite difficu It lighting.

Capturing such a scene usinga single

exposu re would be almost impossible due to the huge difference in brightness levels between

48 DIGrTAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

'The HDR technique is a practical tool to improve your photography'

the inside of the room and the sunny outside. Muchthe same would be the case if you were shooting shadowy architecture, for example.

The beaulyof HDR photography is that such a problem is easily surmounted due to the abiatyto blend and tone map several exposures of the same scene, taken with different

ex posu re setli ngs to record both h ighl ight and shadow detail. In the instance of the mom, you can maintain the details of the interior while also sl-now,ing tile view through the windows.

While H D R might present you with a whole new range of post-production challenges and tools for image rnanlpulation, it is important to remember that tile fu ndamentals of photography are still as im portant as ever.

After all, while H DR has the ability to

tra nsform a good picture into an excellent one, it isn't a miracle cure for a bad picture, though it is often misused as such, with horrific consequences! Alongside the reminder to

consider the basics of photography, there are a few helpful things to bear in mind.

Composition and the "basics'

One of the most important ingredients 01 a good picture is composition, and th is is alsc true of

H DR images. Try to think of the areas that are going to be emphasised that may previously have been hidden or overlooked, such as tile shadowy areas in architecture. Also, don't be afraid toi nclude more of a cloudy sky in landscape images, as tone mapping will br.ing out th e clou ds to su ch an exte nt th at th ey may subsequently become an unexpected and eyepleasing foca I point of tile image.

Low and wideangle shots can also benefit greatly from HD R process: ng. Much the same as with conventional shooting, always look for a perspective beyond the norm to transform your images.

HDR software

Three tools to have you HDR-ing in no time ii1 PHOTOMAnX Free to try, $99 to download the full version

(advanced)

J PHOTOSH.OP _' CS3£570

FOR TOOLS

Free (Basic) £29

www.adobe .

.... _---""'---=-~ com/uk

Photoshop is fantastic to use as a separate manipulation

1001 fa r both pre- and poslHDR creation, with both Camera Raw and standard Pholoshop image tools. It also has a more basic option to convert to HUH.

www.fdrtools.com

One of the cheaper options in HDR development,

FDR tools (Full Dynamic Range) Is praised in the HDR commu nity and offers a broad range of tweaks and creation tools for HDR images ..

www.hdrsoft.com Photomatixis generally considered to be the most capable introduction to HDR processing and is available for a full free trial, with only the restriction of a few watermarks on finalised images.

WHATISHDR?

Above: Theflnal: result

Dynamic range is defined as the ratio between the brightest and the darkest areas 01 a scene. Therefore, when referri.ngto a 'high' dynamic range,

we are concerned with the ability to display a wider range of bright and

dark areas than is possible in standard digital photography, or a limited dynamic range image. I n essence, it is the ability todlsplay details in shadows and highlights otherwise lost in a conventional image.

The process olthe High Dynamic Range imaging technique ma nsges

to overcome the restrictions of the limited dynamic range of conventional digital cameras by utilising 'both exposure blending and tone ma ppi ng techniques in tandem, using either recent versions of Photoshop CS or specialist software packages.

'It is the ability to display details otherwise lost'

The ideais.to take several: images of the same subiect at different exposures, either man ually or by util ising AEB (automatic exposure bracketing), and then merge them together. The results are often striking, yet the technique is beset on all sides with potential problems in production, making it a technique that takes a lot of practice to perfect. The n umber of different exposures needed can vary, so don't be afraid to experiment when shooting.

Above: Thethree images created using AEB

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 49

When to use it.?

The H DR technique can be applied to a whole host of settings a nd subjects. However, there are several gen res to which the technique lends itself n particular ...

Landscapes (Right)

One of the most popular subjects for the H DR post-processing treatment is landscapes. The ability to ha ndle the dynamic data throughout a landsca pe shot is a huge benefit when shooting a scene where tile sky and foreground necessitate different exposures. I n the shot to the right, for example, detail on the fa r mountains a ne highlights on the clouds would have been lost without accurate HDR processing. For excellent results, try to get out there when either the su n is setting or there's a storm brewing!

Architecture

Managing to reveal both the fine highlights and what lurks in the crevices of bui Idings is a real benefit of the technique, as is the effect on subtle lighting. Next time you're at church on a Sunday or pop outfor a pint, consider taking your tripod and bracketing a few images.

IPortrait/Stilllife (Far !lIght)

While portraiture and still life im ages may not be the most conventional of subjects for an

H DR treatment, the effect can be remarkable. Subjects shot in difficult or moody I ighting otten create the best results.

Interiors (Below)

Gaining the correct exposure for both the interior and the exterior of a room is nigh on impossible without a soph isticated lighting set-up, yet is easily achieved with HDR. Historic build ings are perfect subjects.

50 DIGIITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

'You gain the maximum amount of dynamic data'

Bracketing and data maximising

While it is possible to create a type of HDR image from a single raw fi Ie, to gain the true H DR with minimal noise, it is best to

shoot multiple exposures using the AEB or bracketing tu notion bu ilt into most ca meras, orto sim ply shoot a range of exposures manually I n conjunction with a tripod. The reasoning behindAEB functions is to expose one i mage correctly and then over and underexpose two more by a selected number of stops. In doing so, you gain the maximum a mount of dynamic data from you r subject,

a nd willi n turn have more image data to play with at the processing stage.

As shooting H DR is concerned with keeping

and displaying as much image information as possible.it is a good idea to shoot the composite exposures in raw before converting them to TI FFs. Much the same as including several bracketed exposures, the uncompressed raw fi Ie will contain more image information and wiLl benefit your final image. Whilst it may result in a slightly longer wor.kf.low due to the demands placed upon the post-processi ng capabilities of your computer, the end results wi II be more than worthwhile.

There is a lot of debate about how many exposures you need to combine in your finished image,. with numbers of composite shots from two to 16 all producing fantastic images. However, the general consensus is that in areas of higher contrast you'll need a higher num ber of exposu res, and vice versa. Most cameras have the abil ity to capture at least three images in AEB mode, a nd for the majority of scenes that'll be enough to captu re the full dynamic ra nge. lt's often an idea to experiment with the number of exposures and the range of ± EV values and see what su its.

How to shoot an HDRimage

There are many ways by which you can obtain good raw material for HUR processing. Here are a few top tips .. ,

1 Mini misi ng camera shake and movement is essentialwhen looking to get a crystal-clear HD R image. Set up your ca mera on a sturdy tripod and shoot either bracketed images or manually, us: ng a remote ca ble release or the self-timer.

2 Where ca mera setti ngs are concerned, try to shoot in raw at all times. T'~iS will allow you to both perform any rrunor tweaks needed at a later date a nd will also capture the maxirnu m amount of image data tor yourfinal image.

3 To determine what range of

exposu res to use, set the ca rnera to auto a nd meter for both the lightest and the darkest areas ollhe proposed shot, then set the camera to the middle of the two and shoot the required images in either AEB or manually.

ACHIEVE HDR RESUL.TS WITHOUTiHE SPECIALIST SOFTWARE!

For those of you who already have Photoshop CS2 or CS3, it isn't essential for you to indulge in a spedal ist item of HD R software quite yet. Photoshop allows you to achieve excellent results wlth its 'Mergelo HD;R' feature

1. You can find the 'Merge 10 HUR' option by clicking on File>Automate> Merge to HDR. You'll then be required to select the images you're looking to merge before clicking OK.

2 .. The next window to appear is the H D R viewing window. This gives you the option to view the amount of dynamic range introduced, from each exposure, and allows you to delete anyas desired. When done, click OK.

3. The Image will now be In 32-bit format. To edit tile image, convert it down to 16-bit by clicking on 1 mage> Mode> 16-bit. In doing so, you will be presented with four choices of

HD R conversion:

EXPOSURE AND GAMMA -This will aLlow you to toggle the brightness and contrast of the HDR image, but subtle tweaks are best

H.I GH LIGHT COM PRESSION - An automatic tool that compresses the luminance values to fall. into the 16-M image file, with no toggling needed due to it being automatic

EQUALIZE H,ISTOGRAM - Another automatic tool that compresses the HDR dynamic range yet preserves contrast

LOCAL ADAPTATION - This option adjusts the tonality of the HDR by calculating areas of brightness and' correcting as necessary

These are all quite intricate conversion options, so it's best to just see which one suits your image through practising. Once finished, click OK and complete final adjustments in Pholoshop ..

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 51

How to shoot ...

Create anHDR image with Photomatix

So you've followed our tips and got your fantastic, andl iteral, raw material together poised for the HDR treatment. Now it's time to put you r masterpiece together .. Here goes ...

llf you've taken your images in raw format, the first step is to get them converted into images to blend a nd map. Open the files up in a raw processor, such as Adobe Camera Raw, and save them as either II FFs or J PEGs, II FFs are preferable if you have the space and the processi ng capabilities, owing to the extra image data they store.

2 Open up your chosen HDR software. For th_iS tutorial, we'll be using Photomalix as it is commonly believed to be the most capable HDR processi ng software. Once the software has loaded, the first step towards generating an image is just two clicks away. Select H DR from the toolbar, and then click Generate on the drop-down menu.

4 Ihis step is where the magic really happens. The image you see in this window wi II be pretty horrible looking, so we'll have to start tone mappingand playing with a II of the

settings described in the tone mappi ng box. Once you're happy with the basic HDR overlook of thei mage, cl ick OK and save it as a TI FF fi.le.

52 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

5 Open upyourHDR processed image in Photoshop and complete the finishing touches, such as manipu lation of Curves a nd Levels as you would a normal image, to create your HDR

3 Now select your range of bracketed exposu res by browsi ng the folder in which they are saved and click OK. You'll be taken to an AI ignment and Curve Oplions window, Now check Assume Standard Tone Curve and Align Source Images. Once that's done, simply click OK to start tile HDR generating process rolling.

. ...._

-_.

, .

- oJ" ~ - -

masterpiece. These

finishing touches are important to an HDR image, and can really set the image off. Have a playa nd see what su its the scene.

RICOH

PLATINUM DEALERS

A J Purdy & Co Ltd Austi n RlIssell

6ass & Bligh

Beryl Houghton cameras Cambrian Photography Camera +

Camera Solutions Camera World

Camera World Camerama.

Cal'marthen Cameras Charles Eagles

Chas Norman Cameras Chesham cameras

Chiswick Camera Centre Chris Goodhead Photo

City Photographic

Cleveleys Photo Centre Clifton Cameras iDarl1ngtoliPhoto Cen tre Digital Depot

Fairs Cameras

Hordes. Photographic 'Harpers Group (Waking) Ltd 'Harrison cameras

Hyde Camera Cerrtre

Jacobs PhotQvideo

!Klngsley Photographic

,London Camera Exchange Bath

LODdon Camera ElIchange Bristol Horsefalr London Camera Exchange Derny

London Camera Exchange Gui1dford London Camera Exchange Gloucester London Camera Exch.ang,e Uncoln

Loodon Camera Exchange Manchester London Camera. Exchange Paignton

Morris Photographic

Norfolk Camera Centre

Park cameras

R GLewis

'Ravenscroft ca:meras

Richard Caplan

Seymour Harrison

SkeatS Photographic

Station Carn.eras

Sunrise Telecom Ltd

The Camera Shop. Perth

Walters Photo Video Ltd

Wessex Photographic

West End Ci'\meras

Whitbys

Wilkinson Cameras Wilkinson Cameras York cameras Ltd

Harlow Ramsgate Skipton Coventry Colwyn Bay Cookstown Chester Chel:>mford London KenIlworth C3mlarthen Sunderland Sevenoaks Chesha,m London

Burton Upon Trent ,Southampton Cleveleys

Dursley

Darllngton Stevenage

Ro€k Ferry Invemess

Waking

Sheffield

Hyde

London

London

Bath

Bristol

DerbY

Gulldford Gloucester

Uncoln

Manchester Paignton

Chipping Norton Dereham

Burg.ess Hill

London

Cleethorpe.$

London

Orpingt(m Northampton Reading

London

Perth

GaerphllIy Sturminster Newton london

Chichester

Kendal

Pr<eston

London

01279 414556 O1B43 -591626 01756 796570 02476 224639 01492 532510 02886769057 01244 403540 01245 .255510

0.207 636 5005 01926859977 01267223355 0191 5679306 01732 742986 01494 783373 0208 995 9114

01283 561894- 02380 032709 01253 852627 01453 54812B 01325 359744 0143& 353706

01516455000 01463783850 01483 756601 on4 2899855 01613681366

02014365544 0207 3B7 6500 01225 462234 0117 927 6185 01332 348644 01483504040 01452 304513 01522. 514131 0161 2365819 01803 553077 084-54302030 01362693506 01444 245316 0207 242 2916

01472 342007

0207 807 9990 016898715Bl 01604 630675 01189 59779.5 0207 323 5441 01738441995 01685 723419 01258 472317

0207 387 WB7 0}243 774646 OISJQ 735055 01772556250 0207 .242 7182

Take control of h:jour camera

Mastering

To get a really great picture you need it to be pin sharp, and that's where focusing comes in

Focusing is an integral part of a ny camera operation. Whether you are using '" basic point-and-shoot model, orsomethingthat enables you to fine-tune your focusing, picking the right mode and getting tile sharpness where you want it is the difference between a poor image and a sturm i Ilg one.

For many people, focusing is something that is regarded as a given, but, as with all photography techniques, it is not quite that straightforward. There areotherthingsto bear in mi nd, not least the many creative ways in which focusi ng can be used to change a picture. Digital Photography Techniques is here to guide and assist you.

54 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

~ocusing modes InbJour camera

Most consumer digital cameras have more than one focusi ng mode, The two rnai n ones are autofocus and manual focus,

ONTHELCD

Thls acreen allows you to

pick the specific focus area via the toggle onthe back oftne=mer.a

INTHEMENU Within the menu you can pick the focus mode you wish to use

Autofocus

At its simplest. when using autofocus mode, focus is locked when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway, The LC D screen or electron ic viewfinder indicates when - a nd sometimes where - focus is locked, A visual indicator in the viewfinder confirms when focus is ach ieved, and this will change colour, Alternatively, you may hear a beep when focus has been reached,

There are various types of a utotccus:

subject in a particular area of the screen, depending on wh ich AF point is selectedusually tile central point Once the focus has been set, it stays locked at that distance until the shutter button is released, even if the subject moves in the meanti me,

continuous AF

I n this mode the camera continually focuses on the subject, so it's useful when shooting movl ng objects, It also ena bles the camera to track the subject, even with the finger on tile shutter,

Single-area AF

With single-area AF, the camera focuses on a

AUTOFOCUS

How does .

autofocus work

Autofocus is the mode on a camera that 'i nstructs the lens to focuson a subject. First, however, the camera has to collate enough information for it 10 be ableto create a sharp image.

A typical autofocus sensor usesa charge-coupled device (CCD), This provides input to algorithms (step-bystep guides to calculations) that compute the contrast of the actual picture elements. The CCD is typically a strip of 100-200 pixels a nd.as the light from the scene penetrates this stri p, the rnlcroprocessor analyses the values from each pixel, assessingthe difference in intensity a mong the adjacent pixels. If the scene is out of focus, adjacent pixels have very similar intensities, This being the case, the microprocessor will then move the lens elements to see whether the intensity between the adjacent pixels has got better or worse, The microprocessor will than search for the point where there isrnaxirnurn intensity difference between adjacent pixels and decide on that as the best point of focus,

This method of focus must have light and su bjectcontrast to do its job, If you try to take a picture of a: plank waH, for example, the camera has no adjacent pixels to compare and therefore won't be able to focus,

Most types of a utofo cu sl 00 k for contrast on horizontal areas ottne AF points, but more cameras today have the ability to. assess contrast on the 110 rtzontal and the vertical, known as 'cross- typ e' a utofocu s,

Su bjeds need contrast to attain focus

DIGITAL PHOTDGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 55

Take control of ~our camera

Multi-area autofocus

Nowadays, ca mera technology gives increased control to the user over the picture they are taking. Multi-area, or multi-spot, focusi ng is an example of this. A set of points seen through the viewfinder allow the user to focus on specific areas. Some ca meras may have as little as three AF points in the viewfi nder. Others, such as Canon, conta in 45 selecta ble

AF points, while Nikon's new system pushes that even further to 51. With this method. the camera automatically focuses using one or more poi nts, with the focus positions changing accordingto the position of the subject being photogra piled. The user has the option to let the camera automatically decide which point to 'focus on. or manually select It themselves.

Manual focusing

This method was tile original method of focusing before autofocus. By rotating the focus n ng, which moves the lens elements, the user ach ieves focus. This method is particularly useful for close-ups, or for low-light situations, where the autofocus fails.

As tile lens is fo cu sed , the image in the

viewfi nder will become clearer. Often a central split image in the centre of the viewfinder will enable finer deta i I to be focused,

Some cameras allow tile user to fine-tu ne the focusing manually while in the AF mode.

56 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Predictive autofocus

If it's constant focus that you require on a moving subject, then continuous AF will mainla in that focus. However, it is not always accurate for taking a sharply focused picture, as there is a short time lag between when the shutter is pressed and when lhe picture is actually taken, Th is is referred to as the release time lag. The way to solve the problem is through Predictive Focus Tracking System, a feature on many DSLRs. Th is method forecasts the position of the subject at the moment the image is captured based on the measurement of the subject's movement, and shifts the lens elements accordingly. In essence. it detects the subject's speed of motion by taking the release time lag into consideration.

This option is effective for taking pictures of an object moving at a constant speed towards the camera, but it does not provide maximum focusing performance for a subject that abruptly changes direction, or one witillow contrast moving randomly. To focus accurately on such a subject, the autofocus system must accumulate more data on the subject's movement using multiple focus areas- as mentioned earlier - so that an appropriate judgment can be made.

Ph t D· St di Frank Foster

v.·.· .. · .... ···~ o_o __ ._e_sl_g_n_._.·_U_._IO __ ~~u~~_e.~u_se

• ·1 ... 01271 870222 Woolacombe,

. Premier Leica Dealer MAIL. ORDER SPEC.IALIST ~~v3~n7BB

THE l,'EICA M7 ENTRY SET

The lEICA M7 entry sel.

An attractive set that makes your choice easier and provides you wfih an introduction to the professional world of Leica. II incuces a black LEIGA M7 and the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm F2 lens and allows you to take your first

easy steps into the M system

Our price only £2,656 (list £3,320)

Offer .Iimited to existing new stocks onlYI call today!

Premier LeicaDea.ler

LeicaM8

(now with £400 Cashback)

-

'iI~1 .... iii

~ -

LeicaM7 LeicaMP

Please Phone for latest deals!

Smallest Leica Digital 7.2MP 28-100mm Lens (EQUIV) Leather Case + 2GB Card

£298

* Great prices on Leica M Lenses

* Leica 28mm fl.S ElmaritM Aspb only £969

SEE LISTING BELOW FOR GREAT SAVINGS

- -

-

r • \

Outstanding value! 1QMP 35-420mm Lens equivalent. FREE 2GB Ultra II Card

£385 (including £150 cashback)

I,EICA M DEMO

{Low Pl"i",~ II< Q"IC,1] ilLJJI \Vn:t'1':iUUY &. Pimpor1

Lclcn 9Onm-.l-1,S Sl!lI11.1l13ril-}r I;li~,~t. 6-bLI Lcice t 151M! f-14 ApL1·T~ly[·M

Lclen !:t~i[lr.l Crunk gll~"Cr or ·B!n~l

Lclca MOI:or-M 14~08

LEICA R

I •. clcn f.!:8 Sjt~l:r C11f(Im.>:: Body ilo~c:I Lcicn R3 Siht'r Chrome eoo~ ilt.I~ L~i"-il RJ Cbroo:te Germnn Bxd [1'f'{~m::111 Lcica MUlor-Drift R4

Lelea R.8(!;,'1 Motm WI:Jld.:-r Boxert Lcica ERe fm Rm + Wimb IH: .. Lcica R Re.ll~ e:"tfllmll~r

Electamic !E.tLofllS;iu{1 0.tblto R4-i B;.;d J 4274

=]~~[~I:~~r! ~~!:~o!~~21

18-7lmllll 1>354.5 Y.I:ri(I·ElmLiJ'-R Rom Ei:ul l~mJi1 F2 Summlcmn-R ROil, I;lll~c.d

]5tum .1-"2 Summicret-R Relill Boxed

Lelcn i5-ZOO F~..5 V~r:iiIl-f.~m3r-R ~ C:UTl

:81} 200r_lml 1'4 'Vlli_(t-E!mil.r· R ROLi~ U1i.'SI; ;fliJo.-2(]Qnlln v.vb·ElmilJ·R F"4 RMl ~ Macro Adepter 14m I3m:('(~ (ROM!

Lciea l~m H . .J i\j')I_.1·Tolyl·R (s.er\li~l 1..L'.icIJ UIC'mm P2_.8 Bmurit-R 'lk-r.2

Leloa Apu-ht?Llder--R ~ ,4;(

lcica EOO P-Ciir Fi~l.trC'::.sc &:mtI LeiCD SFlO FlilW Ullit BiJ-UId l..C'iL!:1 SfiWFI~liti U"h

~rtS.I·loL.H.I ftrl'"2811.8 PC-A.I_lg,UJOll·R Bx-d LdO;:I L!=11S H~ll1rl ~ 2.JM for 15150 It

Lcica R Ei3t:k!!)B.at:kCullplc-r

Lciea Fll~cn ftx' R S),.5-1o.m please 'illl L~iCiJ R ERe fir ~c-rn Cases ptcuse call

Nlkcn 2.8m111 I--',j Po [S Lens Sl,Ipclfr.! Nirull J:Smlll F2 11.1 L~li

Nlknn 1.1·1 (15m'" f'.5~_; .\15 Lens Nikon J 3Sorm F1.5 A[ Lcrti

N ikun R~ttel')' P'.JJ:k MBr 15 for Fl 00 N"iJ-:"Oll f~ H.I::K!~ L::~CI'll:r ERe

~,,~ f15

E:-:+i++ 015

"';/++ [<15

E~L"+ (45

E1L:.¥- [J9

f,,;/+T OS

CD I Premier teica Dealer

Carryi ng large New UK Stocks

LEICA Cameras, Accessories, Binoculars and Projectors. All competi ~1/ely priced an d we W()U ld be happy to take your 0 It!

Surplus equipment in part-exchange,

M~Bl- .[--1"5

I!J~++ {42:5

Mim- £l'95

El:L'++ L52

Mim ftJj

Mhll- [79

Ex~++ ~

NEW OJ

NEW ~

"'UBl- £3~j

Milll· fl1.5

'E.-.;~++ {.41~

tlL':ofo-+ f4JS

E,\:c-++ {i93

Ex~++ !67.:i

Exr: lJ.9j

MLlll rl,'9_~

J:ilC+ .t.:2U

Ex1.'-++ i4S3

E.1:~'" ll95

Miul- ftlO

Mi.IIl· £7:8

MilO· !&

Ex~i-+ [4;g

;E):L!T+ iU

El~++ (to

P.lK!rI~ iP.llmlt

111:;:1'110 {@5

D.::11it! £~S

Demo 1M

'Ch::1l1(1. t:27J

HASSELBLAD

50mm r-4 Dt:s.1JiH.t1rr Cl~ (Fl..E) Bu-I~rl L:J1£ 13frLiun F'I Snuuar Cf (L-LIf.t)Ei.ro:C'cl:

A 12 ~rl(l M.:rgnz:i!'~ 6~6 (I...:.te,..t) :H.moo PME3 J Mo2'~.r~d Pti~m ~:S

I OOOF complete {'(II' WS!)JilY or r~ IOOlTlm F.J..5 CF T-' 1"1!l";J:r tees H3F&C'IbtuJ AN QlI"(ltik B;l.'.:k 1990

A 12 fUm t"lU,gill'..lL'ti: 199(j, (NPW li.gJ~l lli-ps) A 12 Film M.Uglltil.lt 19i4 (No:\\l Li.thl Tr"r~) H=IIlI",1 IlOt1 Sac. 1%;

£aliy 11:Q SIlJr.:Lt: B:r.y.OJJ !HL'ft lusens ~xd HasselMiltl EXU'IISiI:!Il1'u.]);o J~ L~le Bxd H_lllIadPQb:!roidlOO

Hassclblad rittCJ~. Leua Cups, Elroy C~ Hclicpan Blj'. 70.1101 Ii: 1.5 hh:.f!r Case ~~I'i-.rl WIDtnllg Cml~O [1m:~1 H35."iC'l'bbJ Lc,nthcrStr.rp

Lclt!i. Hood B-~y. 51}l8() IWxetI (1I,6'Jl' rare!) H.:!~lbbrll-fll~ Heed B:r:y.60lJ:S~ Ha!Se'lbhd Ltll~ r,r~l(jcl BlY.6W [00:-2:51}

MiJlI- tszs

MinT l:599

MlJrl- l:[t9

Mim- £295

EJ:+i++ njO

r,.lL!+ 025

EI~'t+ !!31

iEIL:.+ r&j

Exc+ .rI5

ElL." !;..!j

EA~+-=- M

MilLL~ [70

E..l+l+T !,5S

Phone

Mim- Oll

Milll- 1:l6

Ext:+J.. ns

t.XI,,"t-:- !J~

Mint- [.3()

£XL't+ £2-8

LEICAM

WANTED ALL LEICA M CAlI-IERAS IN TOP CONDITION

Lclen M1 ~rjl(I~

Lcica M2 all. Buoy fill] R.cltJ!h:J: by Lcca l.cic.,MlClJr",ijlt-l3udy

3et'ilill F2 SlililLiliL'l'iJl'I l~1L.~ oI.ll(1t)!) SlIr:-e:rll! 50mul F2 Sunnnicsen Chrome

~nill fo4 Ebru]J CoU3:j5lbl~

Lcuz OOmm F4 Elmur C Lens

90mlrl f2..B mrrW'iL + CilSC'

I J5mm F2_S E.l1II.1rll (idea.! far I\ol~) I J5m.m f'2.R BI:rt:illL rHl~1 for fo..l il'I Lcica 5flO FllSti UI~il

Lclea r.", !I].:.L!~ I{~ F:~~ Leus Ci1l~CT Leicu M6 B hock Learner ER:C

Lclcn R~'1I1Q Cr:r.:rr'k (3.11)1:1.;; P.,i:Jr,1 &w;.~1

~:~ ~;;'~'l:~~~~'!~~~r~~~M Kb~i

o.rigill~l ~Ll7. MI~ [IJ M Adapmr,;;

f'llOtlC

~fml" £SW

b:o'+ fl11

fu:1.>I-+ f31j

ElL'++ Phone

Ere+ JlfiDtlL1:

i!xc++ {1R5

Prom fl~_'i

E.:.:+/+I- Phone Ex+l++ £i1J

Miln- !'.611,

bc+ til

fu+l .. zss

~li'" 165

ExL'+io £79

ElL" Phone

EII."++ J.J~

1,EICA SCREW

WANTED ALL LEICA SL1l.EW Lclce (l-!-i('n!:S Bored rTol.;]lly llmJ.!;tdJ

~:~ ~WC Il~ Cl1J~in 800y

Leicu me 8aJ)' \kIjgU:Lndi:'r,~8I1l111 PI.!} UlLIn" Leica lilt'lln I~j OlfCHfi(' Leica .5Omm F1.5 OiruflA'

l£itii: 9Qmrn r2 Summicece (S'upt'rb!)

Leicn njmm p.j, f.lm3r II:ilti Keeper FOKOS Short BBt' !R.::IIl:sd'illtitr BlkMitkf'.I I;OFER Nl_ ] F Etl1~clifldet '" Case (MLI J P~!>Ol'ltik Ul mm VilCwfindcr

L.eio: vnx» [CHROM 1j~ [:33 Vi.twfi.rul~ Lelen ~:I.tJCf 8tC i!-I'-'-[:e~II'r,iIl, fJf-;:~~r:- i"'i'im~ tens Hoods lur~ ~~lt(:L!rlll pl~ pltm'lc

i.l.1ml r&05

PI~Itie: :P1r.;!Cl~ PlkJt'l~

Mim- !PII>II{II::

;P11irOO~ PIKlt1~ b+l .. £)7;

Mim· Pl.:!fIe

l!1L~-14 £85

Ex'-* £Q5.

NEW JS()

Ex!_': £4.{1

E1;~ rll'll{ll::

IPIr.;![lC'

TRIPODS

I,-'flkll1 CX~5UG~ Quick iR~~ He-JIll S",I~' PI" C,6JO + PIlt>< I Q Ili~ t,! 0) C ITZO 61121 MK2 MOlJi!l~I~fr Carbon GrIZO GillS M Mag H,,~

GITZO G j :1 'J'BM Ceuter B~ll Hcud

LEICA HOVE BOOKS

Po.>"T fRf.F. ON BOOK ORDERS OVll R no.lJO

lI:i.;;:) Cu-!I{J~MS GlIiu~ 21R1 ED NhW RELEASE. roo

M~ Lift' l,IiilJl lire- LtiL"'."! by WnlLhcr BclISL""!" fW

Lctca ~de:i Buck RECENT 7{11 ED £20

Lcica .4L".-C~!YI~1)' GuidI:' 21)1) ED ro

Lclca [m;::mLl1wlliIl PM~ GLti~ g~1l ED !9

III!:,'ll1hJl.ioll!o. frLl Mt-4.1 ll[!J., 250 I IJ, Irll!,r& !:1 {lO

NikDB RLrngdilldcr Camerns Book J:lO

TlIe all}lpk~ Ni kn:.1 Rlll~diild~ SY.!l1eJrl fjl

METznASH

MC!IIZ34 MZ·4i 1d",44MZ·l

M~:z Leica seA 3:5-02 iMl Adepter

ML11. SCA 3102 (or mgiiLl:t J & V-lLl~·1 MC'il1. SCA l402 to,.'16 ror Niko;nl

ln srock 09

I, sec tl92 ln stcck El9S ln sreck [9j

]'" suck (15

I!~ anck !~46

ll[bt~1.;: £[6B

h1~[OCk .D""2

]nslD:.:k £41:l.

ln steck £411

LEICA MNEW

WANTED ALL Lli"J.CA M C,\~fERi·IS IN TOP CONDmON

Lelca 10.1:& E Iik'-k !!I' Silver S~i:a~ 0lTi'l'S ]11 stock PIKItle

lcieu FiJI! R;JllD"i:: nf UV 11 R Bltcr.!o J II steek :P1 ... K1C'

Leic~ M iEmry Sct M7..:. :x)l2 EJ1.:.5Jlcd.af ]11 ~tock n,6M

I...C'!;::., M7 Ell;.1£:,", 0If CIll.rmll;· sr~i:r.l prkc-~ J II ~1I.lC1.;: Q, 100

~iC<i M P Bklli:" Cr nll'tlll:ti'. .:Sp..""(:j~II)tjL':t! III s[b.;k C.I50

~ic.~ 1:-6-IB-2:lrnm r~ 1ii-Elrtl~r-M+F'il\lt:r jll ~rn.;:].;_ (~;8{)

li-i;;:;~ nmm n.3 Aspll EJl'It.'lllL·M fi-b~[ JJI ~[OCk [1,949

Lei('.11 24mm t1.8 Aspll :C~lTI",u.L~M 6-1:1£[ l fI ~[OCk t: 1.919

1..L'.icJ 2!bnm 11 A£ph Summ.irnm.-M rl-bi I III ~Lock (1.92'9

l_.,;:ir;;:a 2imm t.l,S EJm:ant·M Awh 6·bH ]11 s[OCk 1969

l£.ic~ JSrnm rt.4 As-pll SlJ.mmiJIfi-ty'16-ml In nnh Q.I:r1

LeiCl lilt'lln t1 Ab.pll SommjL'tUlL-M 6·hi I J II s[OCk £ 1,4.[9

J-ffiW J.J:"i~, lSmlTlfl5SLiIJlmrrrlt-fo,ol B~il~k TII~IDCI.;: ~8li

~ic~ 5OrLiIi~ n.4 Mpll S'lIJ(lI:nilllx·fi..16·bjL lUlllllg ll,N5

J..ek:~ 50mm 1"1 Su.nnniJ:I'IJrI·M BI:;['.k 6:-l:Jil 1 fI ~tt:r.:k i9J7

IiE.W L.:-i~ SOmm l~1.:S Sllm.m~ri!-M I3ir.;d: J II ~[ock HiJ9

Lci('.11 ISfmn t"2 ~.i'I.~lnrunjcroll·fi..1 lfl ~[OCk t:1,6n

NEW Ldell 15mmJll.:') SLllilmuril-!lill1liJd.:. III ~Lock £825

L.ei(!a '9OilliU t1: Asp9t J\j'lI:i--SulllJr!it:i'Ol'l·fi..1 J II s~>..;k ,f: 1.714

NEW I;d~, WJrrllii ft-.S S:1,:I1'Il11l~lil-f .... 1 I:U._'~ Ifl51Jx:1.;: r825

Leicll~'il·M Eibc_k P:riill Fmisl:'1 SpeGil?ll Plio:::. JII s[OCk £3"95

l...C'i;:;':1 $fi 2-LD Pt,sl1 U" ii J II ~1I.lC1.;: £ 199

l£icu Ulliile-B3I-Pllll'i!u:r M III ~Lock f2S4

[gic" ~~'ltlr:: E,'L'Ct' R_;;-~cl)' C~ for r.\fllMCi 1 r-. ~tt:r.:k t: l.j(l

l..c:icu ~~.Iht1 Cmncr'Jo Prolll!xtm rm 11.18 J II ~[ock f66

Lcmlx:r C'.aJry1r1,11; Slnp wim 5iJo~r SCt'-lioo l fI ~{OCk ±:8-l

l..ciL.:.' H~(Iogrtp ~1~ III st.nck .tl3o'9

l..eic~ i [:ltid~rip M J II s~·l(;k 1.'11

L.eiC.1 lA:l1S Carri~f M 1..j.ij.O..I ]11 :;;~xk ±: Il a

Hc.orl fIJI' F2_lV2lJ2o.1 &. r-04l28·35~:51} tlj92 ]11 s[OCk £%

I-ioocl ;'42 for lJ.121i1j,~ Eit Paim ]245;t lfl ~tock £gg

I£IIg Dip A41Blk P.linl [4003 111 SLoc" DO

UJLi'L-~':!IiJJ WIlt. V~'fiJl.d,:r l(jrI8·2I·_l4·28 1r-. ~tt:r.:k i29j.

l..ci("~_ Vi~",,'limlcr :2 lJ::!:4128mrn BlkK.ll1:' J II ~[ock :L:2S4

L{'ic~ V[('wfjl1tl~ Ml,IDolificr' M 115 x J il s[OCk f I S'9

I.;::ic., C;lble- iR('.hc~;iJ;" SO~ j II st.nck 128:

l..ei('.j]Thbl{:[fVi'~1 JIIs~>..;k £67

Lei"-il Billhmd·~SUl.:k~1 H-Eild 111 :;;~xk ±:Ill

l.cieu mtl.i!ll;RUL1l. CmJlblIUlLi!K1-Il~ III ~Lock fi5-t

Any ~tem~ 111)1, lisled p)e,ase call PDr oompifililh1: p:rioo

MJSCFJJ .. ANEOUS

Pufi GX680 MKUl Gear Pt-rDl.'K' r or dnulls i.J:iQ.. TriJl.O.\'ru. 1:t42.B \'i;~rn CilSC

B~rr .& StrUlI.rI CF24 8.GiJo (~I lglu hiJ.l.r=) Bxd l..i-icnP"illlrul!.il~(Q(..lff.:lil~rill:fuor}

Z::i~ f!roll. Cmni~ + ERe ~trrn" 5p~~~) ~klW Cmll;u SlR [8.MJ;l A E 13-~rlGtrnriln CUII[;]:X G2 ~ 4SI!Lni F2 Pbllilr'T* H:Jud BId Rnl13e- 3S1-ED l:l1~t;:1.;; in 1.c.~tll'Cr C.'l::S('.

Rol Ll~ XF 35 IU;:ni:

Rullj~ Fl;L';;1l ~111 ~!'11)1.-~ C~m&1"LI:-s E I)B ~[Klr:li~' Whilt' Ilillillrre ~1mlll

Cupy Stil.ild Uuh:J',:;rwitll ROC qLtiL':k relril.S~ Nik[lll Adimr, fl iilO~ulilJS. R .-: 4Q( l/_~ rric~~!l

DIGITAL CAlVlERAS

Lciea M:!! B luck or Silver SIlec.i31 Offers Lelcn V-.I...UX·~ + F'lCC" Wid Drr.I

L.;:[(lil [I·lllX 1 !B1<ti::k -ir C~ + .lUI:); CilTd l..;:ic.:1 C-J .. UX i + C~:;C + frrc' ~G:B c.,rij:

LeicLi D·LUX ill Le-il.tll~ D'-*'

Mint- Phnne

fuL:++ ens 01",,· tlt

NEW Enj

f.n+- I:l-R

Min1- [145

fu~++ 075

F,.l~+- [50

EI~'t ,£]0

!EHiH tlj

.()'j [20

NEW .(4-~

JnslD:k P.1I'm~ ms~ PlrOll~ lnsLu.;k .i:MJS ,J;n.bt~1.;: iPll{m~ h1 ~[OCk £30

LEICA RNEW

L.cica R9Jo,mllr~!::itloi Eioo:y L:ieu Molllr- Wm\'.lcr i L1r RS!9 L.ciC.~)(I1tlLlln.S1l.lmrtiL:;mfl!R

,,~'" Moo,l, H8 28014mo" (118431 l.cic.:1 ~w M:r.clu-ArI!ijl(~-R lU.;;I £499) ~ica A~O.EJ:{(:lldPr~R f .4x

l.i:'ic., VIcv.tiJl(IC"'f-R 9OAu_~J-c.- I>+JOO

~~ ~~~~~E9~::-~~~~'l~~~pB

L.cic.~ .sl,,",ft:~illi ffiT R,8fR9 ruc,mr'[R Ctir-oollcll~ C~, r(lr 12546 [ode-: t43M ~I';':~ OJm-~~ lztl~ Far R.I· R 7 rnl'"~ Prrnt:r P'J.o::kloc: ~(otor Wi:rr.dtr R8{R9 .E.lcelJic. C~bll= Rr:'Ic:~~ .5 lI1e.m~ RSiR9 231ll E):te(j~iUlI, C-Llbl~ F-j)~ Rde-3!.C-' RYR9

111 ~mck :i:ljll

Do:ma :1:215

Ins[OCk £52.)

DrlllO £1.2'9.5

1,·, .... , £i9J

D01fi.Q £523

In ~1;(k,'1.;; £1&9

hl~[OCk n~j In ~[ock £46 In soo;;:k rhDt:I~ ]'" ~[ocl IW In ~to;:k ]1wL1e

JnS~1C1-:. L55

In ~1;(k,'1.;; £-61

hl ~[OCk .f7j

LEICA BINOC1JLARS NEW

In ~I",,-].;_ 1;9;8.

In ~Lock 02:.'2

In,.." £.l% In~LocI-:. i4t1 to order .iA15 lo nnler !442 [0 ooJ~r !:I.,LW ]n ~1Dc1-:. ,[IJ:~5 lilflrock (1.412 jn ~rn.;:~ t:~95

hlij[OCk [28

E:H++ £315

~il!:lTrlJ:ln\iidRtZ{J.u.cA

l..c:icu Trl!m'r'irl LQ k li OCll; Ldc., UJ1r;wid R x 2() :B~ 1..L'.icuUltr.l'tirJ8r.Wlll L.;:i(l,1UI~idlOx25I3R

l£.i~il Ulotr.Jllid lO I l5 D L

l.&ic~ Ulmwid g J: 12 HD EJiJ.Ck It'.icu UI1r.!1Virlll:~42Hlil3l:)[:k ~iC<i UI'lEowicl U J: jO UD Bb::k

Ld.;., E':;L'.pi~r:-·17'J2:r;WW J TG2:l61.W'W _li-i..;;) LRf Tr'I:wi!cl AdlpJ~ 4221 I I."dlzli"i:rrovld i'I4~B \\'i.1h (;."!I...c:

WANTED FOR CASH

All 1..lf;!'h,~;I, ot(lel' Ii !i.iSeBb!~ ~ ild Pro N .·kOD G--eUI:" ill: ~Ii "' 01" Neul:" j\ofl [II ronditiuJi.

A II :!i,toek a~ Pl'jeed' pillS PQ..~tag,e OpeJl = ?_00-~'5_30' MOfl(hi), ~ ~klay Sillu t~' by ap po:i iltt.nt III .l!.hnt-r::t..lk.!i.ign..Swdia ·Po;lic}' on idcpbOlIol!" .:.!,nd ~hap Ijales.. '·,Ve ,,:u.31I'JU1I!l!'1! YU'll CoQ'mpletlE! .0;1) tl'if";fiefloll w~1 Ii ~It se<:oOlldliill] d Uem.s.

A .tull IT rotHI ,tess ~h)~e "111 bt- !!:h'tn fOI· allY ltli!m r-e4:urnt::d -u-ithLn 3 .. jj.3.}'!'io ,fOl' what~ l'Ii!~on (e'.ll<d'IJJdin_l;l, d;J,m&!ge b~T burn)., hi adrlitiun~ all 'ClIIIlt:ruS Hlld IttiS:t:s jmliiuf~"L<:hi:rtd 8(h:1" .1990 UJ"('.'.

COY-IlI"1!d :br .1:1 ,I) lnoll HI!i full guarantee.

VOli 'GakAj~)NGta~f!"

~illl.t ..................................•.......•.......•........ AsNe'I~'

i:\Unt;, • • • • ._ LIliQ:lji. A~ Nl!w

EXe++ • "_ Very LiW1t" Use

l~xc+i++ .................................•• ,~~~A !.JOve A 1,'u.YJ::,e

.. .::xt. ~ "'" , .• ,',.,',., ••••• Signs of 'Usc

Exc .()brlou:<i Si:l!:,m; nf Use

I~c-, ~~~,_____ _ .we:U lls.:1I;]i

Credil Cards Acct;Eled Tel: 01271 87u222

R9 Leica New Stock Anthracite £1525.00

NEWNIKON

UK STOCK, Bf:ST PRIns

M,IIL ORUEllI'IIICf;S.INCLUlJE VAT NiliLolI 10-.5 rnm f'2.8.(i ED AP ox Pisl:It:)1:: 18rl~1l11ll t--lj..il,,,SD [f. ED AF ZOOIll IS·JOOmm Fl.S·S.6 UX ll'·WAI'·S VR Nilo;;ofl Te· ~ 7E ] I, AfaS R[;::!XIt1~'eJ[u

Nit:oll SBIiOO Sr:=Cl:.DitlrL

Nlb-:oll At:tio:it 8 iflll~l:IhLI~ 8 ~ 4Q( I/J ilriL'e~!}

]11. ~1Dc~ !J79 J..nstcdi: n~j In ~l.OCk f4W In stock J:lOO In ~I.ocl: {l89 NEW £49

NIKON AUTO FOCUS

N&on I~ s'[,.~ BO(.I~ wI!;

Nil;:lJIl Jj·;&(hjllll f4._}_6 Am EiuwJ N il(o" Sa-~.4 ~1~;jfr Unil

Ni~ul' SB~n AilSh Ullil Bdrtcl Nilo;;ofl SB~ I i) Rasb Uflii Baud Nit:oll 72rnm L IBe Pill!!r Bo1ed

M~IIl- f301)5

Milll- f4ll

fJ;~++ £6.~

M~fn- 00

M'M· m

M~I"- 06

FuJI Passports & Warranty

R~L-rur&nbk Ilmof~ for DM-R Un:illCrsru ClliJtg.:r For DM·lt Mu;illb Unll. Fm DM- R

I.'''' Cop A9! {fo' _ r~1 '''"' t'M l..eiJ[Ji{:r'I.'3.._[;ot furiifir E.lprtJlLillidl. J4551

In ~l!:l('k {o/)

tll:~to::k i12

1:11 ~1:oc.1-:' i72

1'11.51:(10;1.;: US

l1L ~oo..:k fL~

NIKON I\1ANUAL

NitDfI Mf- ~ 2.50 ~h(l'I:;:1m: E:M:I.:: (f!.'iI' f2)

Mtm- ff95

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering

Have you ever wondered how it's possible to take a picture of a far-away tree, yet have tile subject fill the entire frame, despite it's distance from you and your camera?

Or how a. picture can be taken close to a subject, yet include a whole host of things either side 01 it? Stay with us and we'll tell you all you need to know.

In the world' of photography, the toea I

length describes the distance in mi I.limetres between the lens and the image i!forms on the sensor (orfil m) when it is sharply "focused at infinity - that is, the farthest possible distance. This distance determ ines the angle of view - how much the lens sees - which controls what portion of the scene will be

ca ptu red. And this portion in turn is dependent on the size of the sensor (orfilm). The lens' focal length determin es the magnification, thai is, the size of the image that the lens forms. And to ach ieve the pictures you want, you have to em ploy lenses with different focal lengths - but more on that later.

58 OIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

It might sound a bit complicated to start with, but there really isn't anything to be scared of when it comes to defining lens focal lengths and their relationship with your photographs

How does it work?

When a ray of light passes from a less dense to a more dense medium (such as from air to glass} it slows down. If it strikes the glass surface at an angle, it is also bent a little, and this is called refraction. When it passes back into air, it speeds up again, and is again refractediflhesurface is aten angle.

Therefore, a curved piece of glass will focus a parallel beam of light (arriving perpendlcularto the lens, along its axis) to a point. The interestingthing happens when the light rays are parallel to each other, but not parallel to the axis through the centre of the lens. This same lens will also focus these, but to a point above, below, or beside the focal point for rays along the axis, AHthese points offocusof parallel rays form the focal plane of the lens. So, put the sensor at this focal plane, and you've now used the lens to concentrate the light on the sensor.

Focal length is fair.ly easy to understand with a lens that has a single element, but most camera lenses are made up of lots of separate individual elements. These compound' lenses have an effective distance from the image plane, somewhere among all the elements and groups, a nd the further away from the image plane that is, the longerthe focal length. So, when you focus on something closer than

infi nity, and the lensis moved further away from the sensor (film), the lens will get longer.

This Is not the case for all lenses, indeed, many have fixed focal lengths that cannot be adjusted. Th is means that technically a 400m m fixed-focus lens should be 400mm long. But, if you were to get a ru ler out, you would see that this is not the case. This is because all thei ndividual glass inside the lens makes it behave as if it is longer thani! is.

Different compound lenses house varying cbaracterlstics.eucb as the angles atwhlch they refract and disperse light, whloh ultlmatel!d affects Image quallty

The sensor size

Rather than having the historical 36x24m m recordi ng area of 3 Smm film, the image sensors in most cameras are smaller. Th is means that the equivalent focal length of digital ca meralenses is numerically longer (more telephoto) than thei r film equivalents. For exam pie, a 50mm lens, having an angle of view of about 47°, is considered to be a normal lens "for a 3 5mm film camera, that is, it produces a n image that th rough the human

eyewauld be recognised as normal, not distorted in any way. So for a digita.l camera with a sensor that is smaller than the customary 36x24mm recording area, the lens will in effect become more telephoto, creating a smaller angle of view. As digital photography has progressed, so more com panies have made DSLRs with full-frame sensors that are the sa me size as 3Smm film, making thei r angle of view the same as that of film cameras.

FOCAL LENGTH EQUIVALENTS

In terms of today's DS lRs, most sensors have the APS-C-si.zedformat, smallerthan that of a 3 5mm (full) frame, This results in a magn ification of a lens' focal length, the value of which is determined by the sensor's size in comparison to a standard full frame. Manufacturers refer to this magnification as a 'crop factor' - or, how much of the image is cropped due to the smaller sensor.

The APS-C format, measuri ng around 24x16m.m, is smaller than a fullframe sensor by a factor of I.5x. Therefore, the tocal length of a lens must also be mufiipl led by this amount to arrive at its effective (3 5mm equivalent) focal length. So,. a 28mm lens becornes a 42mmlens, a 50mm lens become a 75 mmlens and so on. The APS-C format does vary slightly according to different manufacturers, with Canon's APS-Csensor ata factor of 1.6xand Sigma's at 1.7x,. but in any case, It's simply this figure that needs to be multiplied by the foca llength to arrive at its effective length ..

ManufactUrers have accounted for this by adapting their lenses. As the traditional wideangle lens used to have a focal length of around 28mm, most kit lenses startfrom 18mm in orderto meet it (18 x 1.5 = 27mm). Forthe Four Thirds format, the 2x multiplication factor means that Olympus's kit lenses start at 14mm. The smaller sensorsize means that lenses designed specifically for digital cameras are both lighter and smallerthan their 3 5mm equivalents.

Full-frame 3Smmsensor

APS< SiJ,ed: Seno;ors -....

.Acornparisonof tile different size sensors. While the fuJI-frame format Is fixed at 36x~4mm. the APS-C format comes In sligtitly different sizes

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 59

Take control of ~our camera

The focal length rule

You can work out how focal length will dictate the pictures you can ta ke by memorising the fol.lowing rule. As the focal' length of a lens increases, its angle of view decreases because the magnification increases, wh lch resu Its in the object becoming larger in size.

Focal length affects perceptual perspective too. As the focal length and magn ification of a lens increases, the image appears more compressed, resulting in less visual distinction and separation between the foreground, middle ground, and background.

soommtelephoto

60 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

What lens should I use?

There is a plethora of lenses out there for the budding photographer, as you'l:I no doubt discover. You'll need to choose one that's suitable for the type of photography you practice, but wheni! comes to specifics, here are a few pointers on what lens is best for what scenario,

Standard

On full-frame DSLRs, standard lenses fall between 40mm and 55mm, though 50mm is the accepted norm. Closest to the field of view of tile hu man eye, standen:! ;Ienses off~r an undlstmted perspective and are often used for flattering portraits. The closest equivalent for APS-C-sized sensors is a 35mmlens. Most DSLRs come with a standard zoom, which spans from moderate wideangle to short telephoto, Consumer lenses tend to have a lower maximum aperture.

:Macro

If you've ever wondered how photographers fill tile frame with sma II su bjects such as petals and insects, the answer is the humble macro lens. Allowingfor 1: 1 (lifesize) reproduction and focusing from as close as 2in, true macro lenses are specifically constructed for close-up photography. They are commonly available in focallengths between 50mm and 180mm. Tile macro lens is not restricted to purely close-up photography, though, and many photographers em ploy their services for portraiture as well.

Wideangle

With shorter focal lengths and wider angles of view than standard lenses, wideangle lenses are employed by landsea pe and reportage speCialists. R~member you'll need a shorter focal length on many DSLRs to get the equivalent field of view if you don't have a full-frame sensor. There are plenty of wideangle lenses available, from 8mm 'fisheye' lenses to 28mm optics. Wide zooms are increasingly popular and effective.

Telephoto

Any lens that weighs in with a focallengthIn excess of 50mm is said to be a telephoto lens. Traditionally, short telephotos (between 70mm and 120mm) are ideal for portrait photography, but that 50mm standard lens you used on your old film camera offers the equ ivalent angle of view to a 7 5mm lens (i 11 3 5mm terms), so is now an ideal lens for portraiture. Longer toea I lengths (between 13 5mm and 300mm and above) are perfect for sports and wildlife photography.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 61

Getting it right: flowers and gardens

s

Follow top garden photographer Clive Nichols' tips to

.

Improve your macro

photography

The checklIst

SHOOT AT THE RI GHT TI ME

Get up ear.ly to make the most of the dawn light.

USE A RE.FLECTO R

Gardens often have dark corners where

the light doesn't reach, so use a reflector to bou nce sunlight back onto the subject and lift the colours,

MACRO MATTERS

A long macro lens, such as a 200 mm, will a Ilow close-ups without getting too close to the subject.

OPEN UP OR CLOSE DOWN

Use wide apertures for close-u ps a nd small ape rtu res for fu II ga rden shots ..

THI NK ABOUT COLOUR

Use a colour wheel to hel p select corrtrastl ng or complementary colours.

KEEP IT STEADY

A good tripod is one of the most useful and long-lasting pieces of kit you can buy.

:Blurred background

Using the widest aperture will throw the background out of focus and blur unwanted background elements. This enables the main subject to stand out, rather than fight for attention with other eye-grabbing flowers.

62 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Diffused lighting

Soft, diffused lighting ensures even coverage and helps keep contrastto a minimum, reducing deep shadows and burnt-out highlights. Adjust your camera's white balance to its cloudy or overcast setting to ensure accurate colour bala nee. A small reflector can be useful for bouncing light onto a subject.

Shallow depth offield

Aside from the blurred background, a very narrow depth offield concentrates interest on a very specific area, in this case the centra I stamen of tile flower, while the gradual blurring leads the eye.

:Bold colours

Yellow and purple are complementary colours; use a colour wheel to see which colours are com plementary and which are harmonious. Complementary colours are directly opposite on a colour wheel and provide striki ng contrast, as here. Harmonious colours, on the other hand, a re adjacent to the flower colour and share a more balanced tonal pa leUe.

Some colours need more or less exposure than others to record accurately, especially when they're set against an opposing colour. Check your camera's LCD and histogram to ensure accuracy. It's we'll worth usi ng a grey card to achieve an accurate exposure.

Crop

Tight cropping helps keep interest on the main subject. Moving back may lead to a

n ice group shot, but concentrating on a single flower is often more dynamic.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 63

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering -

UI

-

-In

Thought your builtin flash was just for low light? Find out how you can use it creatively whatever the situation

When the going gets dark, the built-in flash gets going. Unless you've got a top-of-therange pro camera in tile Nikon or Canon range, the chances are that your camera features a built-in flash. Always situated on top of the camera body, and small and low-powered , this add ition comes into its own when tile I lghtlng gets tricky or you'd I i ke to add a bit more sparkle to your images.

There are two ways in which the built-in flash can be used, by letting tile camera dictate when it comes into play or by manually operating it, thereby using it when it suits you. You can do th is by either physica Ily popping the flash up, or altering the settings so that in certain light, the flash will pop up and fire. Here, we take you through the uses of built-in flash so that you can ti nd out what all the fuss is about.

Flash modes explained

Depending on what flash mode you select, the interacts with your exposure system, For

camera controls its flash system - this applies whether it's built-in or external. The modes are controlled either via the button on your camera or, with some models, through the flash set-up menu in the camera's main settings. These modes also control tile way that the flash

example, if your camera's exposu re system determines that it is too dark, and yourflash mode is set to auto, your camera will automatically be comma nded to pop up the flash and fire it.

Tile standard modes include,

t

Al!IdtJTO

AUTO: Tilis option automatloally Ilres the flash when it's dark or the light level lslowlt'sa converse III setting for rnoetehootlng situations

ANYTIME FLASH

(!':IlL FLASH): With this mode selected, the flash fires every time a ploture Is taken. This can be utilised when thereis a bright light source behind t,loursubJeot -If that baok IIghtlstoo bright, then the actual subject would be too dark

AUTO

UTO

ANYTIME 'FLASH WITH RED EYE REDUCTION:

This is designed to reduce anld potential red elde problems bid firing off a series of small flashes before the main exposure

PC socket

I n this instance, PC doesn't sta nd for personal com puter, but Prontor Compu r, who made shutter mechanisms for ca meras and originaHy designed a nd devised a system fortriggeri ng a flash unit at the same Ii me as a camera sh utter. Its industry standard compact electrical socket, which connects the camera to a fl ash

SLOW SHUTTER. FLASH: By picking this option, you can combine a longshutterspeed with theflash operation. It's best used for night portra its. where the flas Il lights up the person and' the long sh utter records tile night or oily lights, Which intum will create a more natural effect

FLASH C.ANCEL:This forces the nash off scthat It won't fire, even If It feels it isne08SSarbJ_ You mabJ needtoadjust your ISO or exposu re settings to compensate for this

using a cable, is called a PC socket. Without one of these, should you want to use an

externa Illash, you would need sorneth ingl i ke a hotshoe flash adaptor incorporating its own PC socket, or a cordless slave system where the camera's own tlash unit Ii res the external flash usi ng an optical trigger.

RED EVE

AND REMOVAL

Unfortunately, tJlis handy I ight source has its shortcom ings too. In portraiture, fot example, it is easy to get 'red eye' with every s 110t. Til e rea son be 11 i n d thi s is that these small flash units give illumination that is flred 'flat on' at the subject, therefore producing images that have unnaturallocklng lighting

o

Light reflects off th 8 back of the B ya straight into the I ens

effects. It is exacerbated by the flash unit being located very ciose to the lens, When you look at someone's face, the pupil in the centre of each eye appears naturally black. In actual fact, the lightsensitive retina at the back 01 the eye is pink, but is too recessed and shaded to appear coloured under normal lighting conditions. But when you fitea flash at someone, it easily lights up that part of the retina. Ca mera designers have gone to great lengths 10 minimise the defect by locating the flash fu rther from the lens. Another approach is to try and give one or moreflickering 'pre-flashes' just before flash ing at full power with tile shutter, fhis is done to make the eyes of whoever you are photographing react by narrowl ng their pupil size, which in turn resu Its ina redu ct io n in the occu rre n ce of red eye.

In addition to these techniques, you can minim-ise red eye by sngl ing the camera to avoid straight-on portraits. But the best approach of all, i! your camera accepts an add-on flashgu n, is to 'bounce' the light and avoid red eye altogether.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHN.IOUES 65

Take control of ~our camera

Controlling flash exposure

FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATON With some ca meras, you can exercise control over the flash. a ne such way is through flash exposure compensation, which lets you manually adjust tile intensity of the flash without eha nging the camera's apertu re or shutter speed. This 'is an ideal way to balance flash and natural light when usingfill flash and to correctly expose scenes or su bjects that are darker or lighter than normal. This option can be used ill conjunction with regular exposure compensation.

GUIDE NUMBERS

On e of the key aspects of using a flash is the Guide Number (GN). This figure is often used to indicate the power of the flash, a nd is based on ISO 100 and a lens focal length of 50mm. I n terms of a built-inflash 's G N, they are fairly standard and usually a mount to arou nd 10· 14m .. This is OK for subjects reasonably close to the camera, but when it comes to covering larger groups, they are not powerful enough to provide effective fill.

66 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

Front

and rear curtainsbJnc

The cameras of yesteryear had just one flash option: the sync speed'. Today'scamerasgive th e 0 plio n affront a nd rea r cu rta i n synchronisatJon. Essentially, the flash can be fired either during thefrcnt curtain's opening or that otths second cu rtain, This can have

dra malic effects on the images when used in combination with slow shutter speeds - known as slow sync.

Wilen it comes to front curtain sync, the front curtain (sometimes known as 1st) will record

til e su b ject first, then th e Ira i Is as th e fl ash fi res quickly in the exposure cycle. With rear curtain (2nd) sync, the flash fires later in the exposure, so th e ambient light is reoc rd ed f rs t, th e n the flashed subject, so the trails are behind the movement of the subject rather than in front of it.

Shutter speeds and aperture

Flash is closely aligned to tile shutter speed and, more specifically, the duration of the exposure. Camera specifications often quote an x-sync speed. This is the fastest shutter speed possible with which tile flash will work. Tile sync speed is usually set at around 1/60- 1/250sec, although higher speeds can be used with dedicated oft-ca mera flashguns. The xsync shutter speed is determined as the point when the shutter is fully open and the camera se nds a cha rge to the fla $11 to fire. Til e burst from a flash is typically shorter than the time the shutter is open, but there is an optimal point when the shutter is fully open.

The aperture controls how much .Iight reaches the sensor. Close the aperture (larger t-number) for less flash exposure, open it (smallerf -nurnber) for greater flash exposure.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TEOHNIOUES 67

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering

The menus are the heart of the digital controls, allowing you to set up and customise your camera and your

i mages. From basic tools such as setting the Ii me and date, to changing colour modes and altering the overall look of your images, the menus provide a whole host of options to make the camera performi n exactly the way that's right for yo u.

Menus on different brands and models vary, so we'll talk about generic or common modes and features that are found on most models. For more specific information consult you r camera's manual.

Delving into your camera's menus can seriously improve your photography. Give it a try

68 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

The Set-up menu

Before you even begin to take pictures, the camera needs to be set up properly to make it work effectively. New cameras are set to

factory defaults, which willie! you take pictures straightaway, but there a re still a few alterations you may wish to make.

Time and date

When you turn on your ca mera for the first

tim e,il will flash up a. screen asking you to set the current date and time. Th is is actually an important step, because when you later search for i mages the date is recorded within the

meta data. This will a Ilow you to search for pictures quickly, or act as useful memory joggers. You'd be su rprised by how useful this

is, and not only when your Aunt M abel asks when a certain picture was taken.

In the Set-up menu, selectTime and date and set it to the current time and date (obviously!). The camera will also give you format options such as the order of the data, 12-hour or 24-hour clock and so on. Select your own preference.

FORMATTING

While a memory card can norma lIy be used immediately, it's often a good idea to format it first. This wipes tile memory a nd sets up the best compatibility with your camera. Because computer data isn 't stored lineally like it is on tape, tile memory can become fragmented and, as you use and re-use your card, it can become i netficient. Regularly formatting your memory cards keeps them in bestcond:ition.

Be aware, though, that any info on tile card will be deleted during formatting.

FILE NAMES/FOLDER

Many cameras will a Ilow you to select folders, or create new folders on your card, in wh lch to store your images. This can be especially useful if you have a high-capacity card and are shooting different su bjects. You could, for

exa mple, create 'work' and 'family' folders. When you download your images, you can then quickly find and download the specific folder you want.

Some cameras also allow you to set your own image name, rather than the cumbersome'DSC_021562'-type naming conventions. A ratherslow alphabetical or 'qwerty'-type menu screen lets you customise your prefix using the four-way control a nd set button. You can also set the way the files are nu rnbered, a nd reset the numbers back to zero if you want.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 69

Take control of ~our camera

JPEGSIZE AND QUALITY

Most cameras give you the option to choose the quality of your J PEGs. Because the JPEG file is compressedthat is, some Information is disearded In order to save space- a certain amount of qual.ity from the final image can be lost. Fa r b est res u Its you sh ou I d use til e top level, which, depending on which camera you have, may be called fine, best, or marked by a number of stars. This is especially important if you need to preserve fine details and subtleties of tonality in your images.

Lower-quality files increase the amount of compression so they should really only be used in an emergency, or if you need to email the files or post them to the web, or when best quality is simply not required.

The size of the image can usually be chosen as full- resolution images-

10M P, for example - though sma Iler resolution files are also ava'ilabJe, such as 5MP, 2MP and lMP. Again, for best quality work, choose the maximum resolution, as the lower resolutions don't use all of the pixels on the sensor. Sma Iler-resolution files are useful if you're taking pictures for snapshots or posting to the web, such as eBay, as you don't need the highest quality a nd the files will be q uickerto process, resize and upload,

It's worth remembering that larger

fi Ie sizes and finer quality j PEGs use up more space on your media card.

Function menu

A more recentfeatureof DSLRsis the Function button, ill lowing quick access to features that were previously buried in tile menu.

The Fu nction button will typically allow you to access and change tile ISO. white balance and flash mode more directly, although different cameras do have less or more comprehensive systems.

Right' Tihe Fun cnon button opens a. fast access menu for common camera settings

Raw+JPEG

The file format is one of the most funda mental controls, and affectslinal image quality. Raw files are often ca lied digital negatives, as they contain the pure digital data, with llttle processing by tile camera. Wilile they offer tile best qual ity, they require the photographer to process the images on the PC, so are not the best option for quick snaps orfor beginners. The larger file size of raw images a Iso reduces the camera's shoot! ng speeds.

j PEG is often the most preferred format.

Thesefilesare processed by the camera, with

70 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

white balance. sharpness, exposure and colour bala nces all being corrected to some extent by tile camera. JPEGs are the most commonly used Ii Ie formats on the web and. by printers, so they a re ideal for sharing and can be used for direct printing to home inkjets from tile camera.

There is often an option to record

raw+ J PEG, giving you the best of both worlds, but with slower recordi Ilg and shooting speeds.

See pages 31-37 for more information on these two file formats.

Setting control function

One of the most useful ways to personalise your camera is to change the function of the exterior controls. This is especially usefu I if you are new to the system - SUCll as switchingfrom Ca non to N ikon - and you want your new camera to behave similarly to the system you're used to.

In the custom menu, you will find numerous items that let you change the function of the

controls on you r cam era, such as command dials .. You can usually nominate some exterior buttons for quick access to teaturss that you often use, such as nominating an AE lock or

A F lock button .. Exposu re compensation factors can be chosen, such as whether to operatei n on e-third or hall-stop increments, while you may want to bracket over five

fra rnes or three frames.

LCD ADJ USTM EN'TS

At default, your LCD screen may not be accu rate, so it's worth spending a few minutes adjusting tile brightness a nd contrast to show your images at their best. While it is almost impossible to calibrate your LCD accurately, in such a way as you can on a PC monitor, it is possible to get a betterview .. Some cameras, such as the new Pentax

K20 D, even let you adjust the colour,

A good way to adjust your screen is to take a photo and copy it to your PC. Open it, then view the same image on your camera. Adjust the LCD brightness until it looks as close to the image on your peas possible.

.. ~ Si 5". "liLt rm.

LCD b ri. htness:+; ;+:;

DatelTime 25/031' 08 11: 38

Language English

Video system PAL

sensor cleaning

live View function settings Flash control

Colour space

There's a choice of colour spaces available to you in the men u, which lets you set the colour prof Ie of your i mage soother applications can correctly match the colours. Adobe RG B is the best for work that requires post- processing in Photoshop, because tile range of colour, or gamut, is wider.

Images for the web or direct printing should betaken in sRGB becausetl1is is the standard for those media.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 71

Take control of bJour camera

LIVE VIEW

The latest technology to make waves in the camera com munity - a live view of the image to be photographed on the LC D - is a given on compact cameras but has traditionally been harder to achieve on DSlRs. This is because the viewing system and, notably, the camera's minor, blocked off the feed to the sensor. The new system requires the mirror to be I ifled and the shutter opened to allow a video feed from the sensor to tile monitor to take effect.

The result isthat the photographer has the optjon of Live Viewer viewfinder use, but not both. ln order to take the picture, the shutter has to close again, then reopen and close fer the exposu re, a nd then reopen once more to return to Live View. The system is therefore suitable only for a few certain circu mstances rather than everyday photography.

Live View was first developed by Olympus and Panasonic on their respective E-330 and l-l models, but it's taken a couple of years forit to become a more mainstrea m function. Now Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Samsung all have Live View modes available on selective cameras.

. [>

MostSljSlems 11ft the rnrror toprovlde a feee fram the sensor

The LCD monitor

Now, of course, the LCD is an integral part ofthe camera, allowing access to menus, shooting information, image previews and even live video feeds of the subject. While you cannot always rely on the image it displays to confirm that you have a good exposu re, most cameras feature a histogram view and 11ighl ightJshadow warnings that keep you fully informed.

The histogram

While preview mode is useful as a visual aid, the am bient light or brightness of the screen doesn't always accurately reflect the image's true exposure. For Ihis you need to use the histogram, usually available by pressing the info button, or similar on the camera.

The histogram is an electronic graphical representation of the exposure over the 256 levels of the image. The left cfthe gra ph covers the shadows, the middle the midtones a nd the nght the highlights. For a n average

111'.~~~6 ~-2, 100-9669 rrn

.. ~. l_.

Tv 00 Ir]IOO

a ~.O.O.,O

~ 11.0MB Adobe RGe

70nS 2110212008 12: 49 :35

The histogram ,Is bunched to the left. whloh indicates underexposure

72 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

HI.GHlIGHT/

SHADOW WARNING, TOOL

A quicker visual tool than the histogram (see below) is the highl.ight/shadow warning tool. This adds a tlashing coloured patch ina reas of underexposure and overexposure-often red for the highlights and blue for the shadows.

If you have a lot of flashing fed skies. for example, you know that they will be blown outi n the final image, so you need to adjust you r exposu re to

com pensate by reducing it by a stop or two. You can always brighten the midtones on the PC post-capture,

subject, the chart should show detail across the full lana I range. If the graph is bunched

up to the I eft, the image is likely to be underexposed, while to the right signals overexposure. If til ere are peaks at the edges of the chart, left or right, the h.ighlights or shadows are likely to be clipped - that is. beyond the sensor's ability to record them,

If this occurs, shoot again and adjust the exposure. Particularly high- or low-key images will produce a more bu n ched-up histogram •

The histogram In grouped, In the middle. showing detail across the full tonal range

• •

SCHOOL OF

P HOlOGRAPH.IC IMAGING

• • • • •

www. I

• • •

uk

Di ital photo co irses

for all levels - enrol today!

Digital Photography for beginners

The Foundation in Digital :Photography teaches you how to use your digital camera.

You will learn:

_ Viewpoint and composition _ How to use your

camera's program models _ All about lenses

_ Sha rpe[]i·ng you rim age

_ Form atti ng; si zing & p rinti ng .'50, Rash, exposure

& white bala n ce ,etting _ Basi C Image ed iti ng

Course level: beginner

Digital Photography i nte rllledi ate

The Diploma in Digital Photography is more a technical cou rse that teach es yo u advan ced digital skills such as:

_ Working with tones:

Level, 8< Cu rves _ Contrast control

• Using while balance

_ B lad" &. wh i te techruques,

toni ng &. sti\ioi ng _Working with colour

_ Rlrto U th i ng.& sh arpen i ng _ 51zi ng, pri n tin g & stori ng

Course level: intermedete

, 4." ~~arrowfile J~SO,PS

J_d~ I.itj., .1 ... , .jJ 11.1' ... rrl.lUII ,... ttcftllfU.OdI',lJ1KIa

PhotoBox~

Student testimonial

'I ryou want to learn the fundamentals ofphotogr~phy, then the SPI F oundation in Photography ;5 a goo d place to start. Eve ry mod ule brings anew ch 01 lellge , helped by co nstructive rriti dsrn wh ere appropri a te fro m yo UI" own p ers ons I tutor I wanted to learn the basics Of camera controls, to learn 'th e effect of exposure-and apertures.Hyou hate using auto, then this is the course for you!'

Adrian Wicks - Birmingham

Your course includes

• Full-to I" U r; IIlu strate d manual

• Pe rsc no} ru tor

• Written leedbock on rh.e co ur's ework y" u su bmlt

• F ree 1<1 t: (co nten ts vary dEpending on the ceurse)

• £600 "If Photoshop CSS Extended

.50% off an annual

'U bsari ptlon to A moteur Photographer or WlJat Digital CameTII rnagazl n e

• 20% off ,d jgi tal pri ht orders with Phot.o:Box

• 20% off d illi tal

prints With Arrowflle

.10%0If [esscps branded products

• Official

course

ce rtlfi care on gradu'l;(ing

For detailed course contents visit www.arnateurphotographer.co.uk/spi and download an Information pack, or call Elliot Smith on 0203 1484326.

r Yes, I'd like to enrol on the Diploma in DigrtaJ Pliotography

D Please ,end merrore details about lfle courses

I

Mr/Mrs/Hs. Forenerne . , SUI-name ... Address,

'U Yes, please "",d me a bank inS!I1JClkln form to ded uct til"", monthly debits of £ 105 fmm my account

Ib<rtcode,. , Daytime tel number , Email .. , ... ,

If)<'lu 'Mluld like to receive the SPI studen l E-new,lette,- please tick h~",r'

HOWTo PAY,(UK RATES). ~i15 fees iWailable on request

BY CHEQUE OR POSTAl ORDER; Made payable to I PC Media [01-:0 0.99

BY CREDIT CARD:

'I: Please debit £29':1

Mastercard I:M"" :c

Card number. ,

Issue number, , Start dale _ Expiry date, , . ,

Th""'-<ligi! SOCUlity number ,

Signalure(1 om oyer I 8)

BY DIRECT DffilT;

Please note, if you are payin,g by [)ieeel Debi l the full cost of the course will be 015

Signature (I am r:Net- I 8)

tr}'ooWJ:'Uk:l hke [0 1L"'T.:o..."'Ni! cmaus Ircrnme Sl'l CIJ!T..amlllii: .-.c'NJ. JP~I~I cffer!li'i\ll1d ~1J~~;d ~I~ .-&:rfTTlIliIIQll ~ndtakE"pmin.l"esE:ilf[h,ple35elid!ll._">i""E.I'J

Amirt·;:u- Ptrotographen PLJ~t:hiW !wIPe 1MOO<3 flPQ. ...... liI.;J;IIi!Kl, Yt;i>..r;;II:r:oan.!!llnfCdTT1~111;,otDf!~:;~"f~

cstrv .. lrcw~ like to contact veu bvpcst or telcphce,c

rc PO-.:;lrTl:9"!E: ~n~ .. ak y~ QP!nlQrJ i;C"I QlJr pr:lJdLll;'t.:I; ... d services, Tio- hera rf .... w p-eter-not to hear- f"f"om. IPC C

Ire will aa:ii9CIl~itv p-.:I5S 1J01J'" detarls 1~ .can=f'ull'r' ~~d cr,t;:;;ni!Sti[);"f!' ~ ~y ~81"1 ~':IrItf.n ~'OI.J uy ~1~1i13l"'~ 01· ~!t wrth~rd5tGPl"1JlTlct~and

1"C~!,.JI~nil'l~t];l!!if'"prtd..:a.~

~r!~:k:~u~~ SPIJ~

rrm:kbI!:COI"Itn:c~,r

nPllBUH

Take control of bJour camera

LIVE VIEW

The latest technology to make waves in the camera com munity - a live view of the image to be photographed on the LC D - is a given on compact cameras but has traditionally been harder to achieve on DSlRs. This is because the viewing system and, notably, the camera's minor, blocked off the feed to the sensor. The new system requires the mirror to be I ifled and the shutter opened to allow a video feed from the sensor to tile monitor to take effect.

The result isthat the photographer has the optjon of Live Viewer viewfinder use, but not both. ln order to take the picture, the shutter has to close again, then reopen and close fer the exposu re, a nd then reopen once more to return to Live View. The system is therefore suitable only for a few certain circu mstances rather than everyday photography.

Live View was first developed by Olympus and Panasonic on their respective E-330 and l-l models, but it's taken a couple of years forit to become a more mainstrea m function. Now Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Samsung all have Live View modes available on selective cameras.

. [>

MostSljSlems 11ft the rnrror toprovlde a feee fram the sensor

The LCD monitor

Now, of course, the LCD is an integral part ofthe camera, allowing access to menus, shooting information, image previews and even live video feeds of the subject. While you cannot always rely on the image it displays to confirm that you have a good exposu re, most cameras feature a histogram view and 11ighl ightJshadow warnings that keep you fully informed.

The histogram

While preview mode is useful as a visual aid, the am bient light or brightness of the screen doesn't always accurately reflect the image's true exposure. For Ihis you need to use the histogram, usually available by pressing the info button, or similar on the camera.

The histogram is an electronic graphical representation of the exposure over the 256 levels of the image. The left cfthe gra ph covers the shadows, the middle the midtones a nd the nght the highlights. For a n average

111'.~~~6 ~-2, 100-9669 rrn

.. ~. l_.

Tv 00 Ir]IOO

a ~.O.O.,O

~ 11.0MB Adobe RGe

70nS 2110212008 12: 49 :35

The histogram ,Is bunched to the left. whloh indicates underexposure

72 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

HI.GHlIGHT/

SHADOW WARNING, TOOL

A quicker visual tool than the histogram (see below) is the highl.ight/shadow warning tool. This adds a tlashing coloured patch ina reas of underexposure and overexposure-often red for the highlights and blue for the shadows.

If you have a lot of flashing fed skies. for example, you know that they will be blown outi n the final image, so you need to adjust you r exposu re to

com pensate by reducing it by a stop or two. You can always brighten the midtones on the PC post-capture,

subject, the chart should show detail across the full lana I range. If the graph is bunched

up to the I eft, the image is likely to be underexposed, while to the right signals overexposure. If til ere are peaks at the edges of the chart, left or right, the h.ighlights or shadows are likely to be clipped - that is. beyond the sensor's ability to record them,

If this occurs, shoot again and adjust the exposure. Particularly high- or low-key images will produce a more bu n ched-up histogram •

The histogram In grouped, In the middle. showing detail across the full tonal range

• •

SCHOOL OF

P HOlOGRAPH.IC IMAGING

• • • • •

www. I

• • •

uk

Di ital photo co irses

for all levels - enrol today!

Digital Photography for beginners

The Foundation in Digital :Photography teaches you how to use your digital camera.

You will learn:

_ Viewpoint and composition _ How to use your

camera's program models _ All about lenses

_ Sha rpe[]i·ng you rim age

_ Form atti ng; si zing & p rinti ng .'50, Rash, exposure

& white bala n ce ,etting _ Basi C Image ed iti ng

Course level: beginner

Digital Photography i nte rllledi ate

The Diploma in Digital Photography is more a technical cou rse that teach es yo u advan ced digital skills such as:

_ Working with tones:

Level, 8< Cu rves _ Contrast control

• Using while balance

_ B lad" &. wh i te techruques,

toni ng &. sti\ioi ng _Working with colour

_ Rlrto U th i ng.& sh arpen i ng _ 51zi ng, pri n tin g & stori ng

Course level: intermedete

, 4." ~~arrowfile J~SO,PS

J_d~ I.itj., .1 ... , .jJ 11.1' ... rrl.lUII ,... ttcftllfU.OdI',lJ1KIa

PhotoBox~

Student testimonial

'I ryou want to learn the fundamentals ofphotogr~phy, then the SPI F oundation in Photography ;5 a goo d place to start. Eve ry mod ule brings anew ch 01 lellge , helped by co nstructive rriti dsrn wh ere appropri a te fro m yo UI" own p ers ons I tutor I wanted to learn the basics Of camera controls, to learn 'th e effect of exposure-and apertures.Hyou hate using auto, then this is the course for you!'

Adrian Wicks - Birmingham

Your course includes

• Full-to I" U r; IIlu strate d manual

• Pe rsc no} ru tor

• Written leedbock on rh.e co ur's ework y" u su bmlt

• F ree 1<1 t: (co nten ts vary dEpending on the ceurse)

• £600 "If Photoshop CSS Extended

.50% off an annual

'U bsari ptlon to A moteur Photographer or WlJat Digital CameTII rnagazl n e

• 20% off ,d jgi tal pri ht orders with Phot.o:Box

• 20% off d illi tal

prints With Arrowflle

.10%0If [esscps branded products

• Official

course

ce rtlfi care on gradu'l;(ing

For detailed course contents visit www.arnateurphotographer.co.uk/spi and download an Information pack, or call Elliot Smith on 0203 1484326.

r Yes, I'd like to enrol on the Diploma in DigrtaJ Pliotography

D Please ,end merrore details about lfle courses

I

Mr/Mrs/Hs. Forenerne . , SUI-name ... Address,

'U Yes, please "",d me a bank inS!I1JClkln form to ded uct til"", monthly debits of £ 105 fmm my account

Ib<rtcode,. , Daytime tel number , Email .. , ... ,

If)<'lu 'Mluld like to receive the SPI studen l E-new,lette,- please tick h~",r'

HOWTo PAY,(UK RATES). ~i15 fees iWailable on request

BY CHEQUE OR POSTAl ORDER; Made payable to I PC Media [01-:0 0.99

BY CREDIT CARD:

'I: Please debit £29':1

Mastercard I:M"" :c

Card number. ,

Issue number, , Start dale _ Expiry date, , . ,

Th""'-<ligi! SOCUlity number ,

Signalure(1 om oyer I 8)

BY DIRECT DffilT;

Please note, if you are payin,g by [)ieeel Debi l the full cost of the course will be 015

Signature (I am r:Net- I 8)

tr}'ooWJ:'Uk:l hke [0 1L"'T.:o..."'Ni! cmaus Ircrnme Sl'l CIJ!T..amlllii: .-.c'NJ. JP~I~I cffer!li'i\ll1d ~1J~~;d ~I~ .-&:rfTTlIliIIQll ~ndtakE"pmin.l"esE:ilf[h,ple35elid!ll._">i""E.I'J

Amirt·;:u- Ptrotographen PLJ~t:hiW !wIPe 1MOO<3 flPQ. ...... liI.;J;IIi!Kl, Yt;i>..r;;II:r:oan.!!llnfCdTT1~111;,otDf!~:;~"f~

cstrv .. lrcw~ like to contact veu bvpcst or telcphce,c

rc PO-.:;lrTl:9"!E: ~n~ .. ak y~ QP!nlQrJ i;C"I QlJr pr:lJdLll;'t.:I; ... d services, Tio- hera rf .... w p-eter-not to hear- f"f"om. IPC C

Ire will aa:ii9CIl~itv p-.:I5S 1J01J'" detarls 1~ .can=f'ull'r' ~~d cr,t;:;;ni!Sti[);"f!' ~ ~y ~81"1 ~':IrItf.n ~'OI.J uy ~1~1i13l"'~ 01· ~!t wrth~rd5tGPl"1JlTlct~and

1"C~!,.JI~nil'l~t];l!!if'"prtd..:a.~

~r!~:k:~u~~ SPIJ~

rrm:kbI!:COI"Itn:c~,r

nPllBUH

Take control of ~our camera

Mastering

parameters

Find out how to use your camera's image parameters to stamp your personality onto your images ...

DSLR menus are an area that, if used properly, will fuel your creativity and allow you to personalise your pictures however you wish,

Film photographers use a va riety of

films to achieve certain looks. This can be as simple as choosing colour or black & white, though more experienced photographers may

choose specific films for their particular characteristics. Some may opt for the wa rmth and slight magenta tones of Fujich rome Velvia, or the colour accuracy of Koda k Ektachrome" In any case, most photographers use specific fi Ims for landscapes, a notherfor portraits and anotherfor documentary.

Black & white films also offer the same choice - the fine grain of Ilford Delta or the grittylookof Kodak Tri-X, for instance. On top of that, different developers can alter the tona I range and acutance of the film, while a multitude of printi ng techniq ues, papers and toners can further en hance the image and give it more life.

In the digital, age, much of that individuality, skill and knowledge is being lost, replaced instead by sensor characteristlcs, image editing software and the on-board image parameters that we'll explore now.

74 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

Contrast

Contrast describes the difference in brightness between highlightsand shadows, and all the tones in-between, across an image. H lghcontrast images usually have extreme differences from very black blacks to very white whites. Low-contrast images have soft whites and plenty of detail in the shadow. The m idtones a re also affected, with less gradation

between tones in high-contrast images and more in low-contrast images.

Digital cameras are set by default to replicate the colours and tones that the human eye can see, so contrast looks, by default, pretty norma I. However, the angle and brightness of the su n, for exa mple, can lead to scenes of high contrast, with

h ighl.ights blowing out a nd shadows

becom ing very deep. By reduci ng the contrast in the contrast submenu, we can adjust the image to appear more natura I. Simila rly we

ca n boost the contrast in flatly-liti mages.

Creatively, adding contrast will add more 'punch' to an image, while reducing it will give an image a softer look.

Above: Thes81mages showthe eff8otsof ohanglng contrast from dafauttto the extremes of high contrast and low contrast

Some cameras feature a hue control that allows you to change the overall colour balance towards a particular colour tone, or hue. For exam pie, you can make the images look slightly bluer (or cold), a little more magenta (warm) or green .. This can be usefu I. not on Iy for adding creative elements to your photography, but also if, for instance, a dominant colour in the image is affecting the overall colour bala nce (based on the white ba lance metering).

SATURATION

As with image contrast, digita.l cameras are designed to replicate the world as accurately as possible. By increasing

s atu rati 0 n you inc rea se the .i nte ns i ty of the colour, while reducing saturation gives a flatter, softer feel. Extremely high saturation can give images an almost pop-art feel, whIle the reverse resultsi nan old-fashioned, faded look.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 75

Take control of ~our camera

Maxim':'" ~I

Sharpness

We have become used to seeing images that look absolutely pin sharp, when in actual fact the world is a little bit more blu rry. look at something close up and every tiling behi nd the object is slightly blu rred. In fact, it's Lilli i kely the edges of whatever you're looking at are as sha rp in rea lily as they are in your images. Try taking a picture of your computer man iter, and then compa re that picture with the edge 01

your monitor in reallffe - the I lkelihcod is that the photograph has a more defined edge.

Sha rpness works by i ncreastng the contrast between pixels, especia Ily at subject edges, making the edges appear more defined and the i mages therefore sharper.

Be careful when using the sharpening tool, as overdoing it may lead to white Ii nes, or halos, around edges within an image.

76 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

'BRINGING

IT ALL TOGHTER

By using one or a combination of the four controls (contrast, hue, saturation and sharpness), you can achieve many of the effects in-camera that you may add in post-production. The images can then go straight to your website or printer without you spending time on tile PC. You can also give your images a unique, personal style.

M any of a camera's presets are a combination of these four controls and most ca meras will allow you to change the ind lvidual settings within each preset. Most cameras also offer custom areas to create and save your own settings.

Each camera manufacturer has its own naming convention - Canon's Picture Style and Nikon's Colour Mode, for example - but they all essentially perform the same function. Check your manual for specific information for your camera model.

Scene or subject-based modes work In much the sa me way, usinga combination of these settings that are sym pathetic to the subject, while also selecting the correct aperture, shutter and meteri ng combination.

But remember, the parameters you set cannot easily be changed once the JPEG image is taken, and trying to remedy poorly chosen options afterwards in Photoshop is a one-way ticket to Frustrationville. The exception to this is with raw images, which will allow you to post-process all you wa nt from tile original, unmodified files.

Monochrome and toning

Amongthe colour settings you'll find a black & white, or monchrome, setting. Simply put, this removes all the colourtrorn your images to leave you with a black & white image. Some cameras have other enhancements, such as

digital filters. The yel.low, orange and red filters will darken the sky to varying degrees, by filtering out those colours (which intensifies blues and makes clouds stand out), while the green filter will turn foliage white,

You may also have some toning options, the most com man being a sepia effect, which adds a brown tint to the image, replicati ngtoned prints of the 19th cel1tu ry. Some cameras offer blue, red and purple toningas well.

Abllve: A basic colour image canbe turned into a monochrome image (top right) or even toned to a vintage" look sepia (bottom right)

D~n8mic !range

Most cameras now offer some form 01 dynamic range extension. Digital camera sen SOtS are less sensitive to the varying tones and' brightness than negative fi 1m, a nd are less able to cope with extreme areas of light and dark. There have been severa I sol utians put forward to remedy th is during the years, beginning with

Fujifilm's HR sensor, which featured a second set of photosites to capture highlight detail more accurately .. Sony and Nikon offered firmware and softwa re solutions that work in a similar way to the Highl.ight/Shadow featu re of Photoshop, essentially adding a curve to tile image tol ift midtone and shadows from

backlit, contra sty subjects. This tool is still being refined, however, with N ikon recently adding it as a shootlng teatura rather than a post-processi ng type. Other manufacturers are also adding sirnila r fu nctions to their products, with Pentax and Olympus incorporating it into thel r latest DS LRs.

A-bllve: Dynamic range features allow you to open up shadow and highlight detail- especially useful when shooting against the sun

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 77

Getting it right: autumn landscapes

s

Here's why this bestselling landscape shot by Jeremy Walker works so well

The checklist

PRENISUALISE THE SCENE

In landsca pe photography, it's essential to be able to have a sense of how a scene wi 1.1 record once photographed, Without this ability,. Jeremy may well have walked on past this one.

USEATRIPOO

Landscapes benefit from a slow, considered approach. Walk a round the subject to be sure of selecting the best viewpoint and lighting and, once found, set tile camera on a tripod. Not only will this enable you to fi ne- tune your composition, but it will also allow you to use a small aperture for maximu m depth offield while achieving optimu mimage sharpness.

SEE THINGS 01 FFER ENTLY

While the sta ndard kit lens lets you get good shots in most situations, it's worth .investingin a wideangle or telephoto lens. These enable you to look at the world ill a different way a nd find pictorial opportun ities you wouldn't otherwise see. Don 'I just rely on lenses for this, though .. Experiment with Iowa nd high viewpoints, and don'tforget to turn the camera to portrait format to see what th is offers.

Great use of eo lour

The contrast between the bright yellow of tile tree and tile deep bl ue of the background was created by the fact that the tree was lit by sun while tile background was in shadow. The result is a landscape with enormous impacti n which the lone tree really stands out.

Superb lighting

Jeremy found til is scene early in the morning when the su n was low and striking the tree from the side .. This has created a strong contrast between those areas lit by tile sun and those in shadow, which brings the scene to life and provides a great sense of atmosphere.

78 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

IHarmonio_us composition

Jeremy used a. telephoto lens to isolate the tree from its background, a nd pi aced it in tile centre of th e frame to create an appealing symmetrical composition.

Sharpness

As well as using a study tripod and cable release, Jeremy's choice of a Nikkor 80- 200mm f/2.8 zoom lens (at 200m m) ensured sharp detail in what could otherwise have resulted in a big green mess.

Perfect exposure

High-contrast lighting can play havoc with exposure meters, as they struggle to retain detail in both highlight and shadow areas. Shooting in raw mode and exposing for tile sunlit half of the tree allowed Jeremy to retain full detail in the shadows.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 79

There are two filters that landscape photographer have in their gadget bag. the polariser and

Polarisers

The most essential filter of them all

If you only ever buy one filter for your camera, make it a polariser. This is the one 'filter that has yet to be replicated digitally, and is just as usefu I now as it has ever been.

With the. help of a polariser, pale blue skies can become saturated almost to an inky black and obscuring glare can often be removed com pletely from water and other shiny surfaces. It's also an effective neutral density filter, absorbing around two stops of light - ideal when longer shutter speeds are needed.

POLARISERS IN ACTION

These pictures illustrate the benefits of using a polariser. See how in the mai 11 image (below) the sky has been made a deeper bl ue and the grass greener. Meanwh ile, in the shot of the car, the reduction in the reflections on the shiny bodywork has made the red pai ntwork richer. You can also see more clea rly through the windscreen.

Tips for using polarisers

1 With a two-stopi.ight-absorbingfactor, you may want to compose your scene before adding the polariser.lf you are using multiple filters, the polariser should always be furthest from the lens, so that it can't alter the light

from the other filters. Consider usi ng a tripod, which will gua rd against ca mera sha ke and free upyour hands. To avoid frustration, lenses with rotating front elements should be focused manually so as not to alter the filter's position.

3 While viewing, rotate the fi Iler slowly, Keep an eye out for a ny changes that cccurtn reflections or with colour saturation.

4 EXP. osure is best calculated uS'ing the camera's TTL meter, as it wi II take into account changes made by the filter. You ca n a Iso use a handheld meter and deduct the

filter's light-sbsorbingfactor Iabout 2EV). ~

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 81

Improve bJour shots

D r

s

llght-blocklng tint. Asthe name implies, this is distributed in subtly decreasi ng density from the top to the middle, where it becomes clea r. Neutral density grads are sim ilar to pola risers in that they block light , but do not introduce colour, Coloured grads, on the other ha nd, change the picture's hues as well as blocking light. (These can also be useful in some circumstances, to enhance a scene, but are often misused).

Coloured grads

Coloured grads are amongst tile most creative and enjoyable olfilters to lise. For instance, poor skies ca n benefit enormously from the addition of a tobacco Dr mauve tint. There's no

reason Wily grads can'! be combined either. By choosing two opposing colours, one from the wa rm half of tile palette and one from the cool, images of great individuality can be formed.

Sky too light? 'Then turn to the dark side - of your ND grad filter!

Except at night or on the odd thundery occasion, the sky is almost always brighter than the land . At certain times of day, often when the sun is low, the difference can go way beyond what a single exposure is able to capture, and there are other instances when the sky is overcast and filled with highly reflective and featureless cloud. In both these circumstances you can make a. big difference to your results by reachingfor that other essential landscape photographer's filter - the neutral density graduated filter (or 'ND grad', for short).

How do they work?

Grads are half clear and half covered with a

GRADS IN ACTION

Neutra I density grads a re useful for retaining detail in a pale sky til at would otherwise be burn! out by overexposu reo They can also make a blue sky darker. Grad filters a lso come in other colours to add a tin! to one half of the image (usually the sky). Neutral density filters come in solid, ungraduated form too, to red uce exposure evenly across the fra me (for when you need to use longer shutter speeds).

82 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

Tips for using grads

2 Staying with your chosen aperture, take an average reading from tile area of sky that will feature in your photo. To reduce contrast, exclude the sun or Ii mit its impact by positioning it behind an object.

3lt's likely you'll have recorded two quite different shutter speeds: one for the sky and a longer one forthe land. To create a wellbalanced image, both figures ideally need be si milar. Work out how many stops difference there is between yourtwo speeds; "for example, lj60sec to 1/125sec is one stop; 1/60sec to 1/250sec is two, and so on. If tile shortfall is one stop, you need a x2 N D grad; for two stops, a x4; and three stops, a x8.

41f your lens is of the type whose front element rotates during focusing, you should focus first before attaching the filter, then switch to manual focusing to stop it from moving. Insert the filter into the holder and, lookingthrough the viewfinder, carefully slide the 1i I ter up or down untl I the graduated portion covers the sky, but doesn't darken th e land. If your camera is equipped with a depth offield preview button, you can use It to get a better idea of where the zone of gradation comes into play.

5 Now dial in your previously deduced exposure settings. Remember, thls was the exposureforthe darker portion of the scene - the NO grad will take care of the lighter half. Check the fra me for fla re, shading the lens with your ha nd if you find

a ny, and take the shot.

Improve ~our shots

Create a stunning

Creating wide-fermat pictures is easier than you may think. There's no need for specialised wide-format equipment- all you need .is your camera, a tripod, some carefully photographed sequencesot images and a .1 ittle time spent with your image-editing program before you start producing amazing pa noram ic pictures.

After shooting, load the source images into the Photomerge feature in Pilotoshop Elements (File>New>Create Photomerge Panorama) When launch ing Photomerge you must first locate a nd load your source files using the Browse button and dialogue. After loading the files, click OK to commence loading, matching a nd stitching the image pieces. As part of the opening process, raw and 16-bit files will be converted to eight bits per chan nel. Photomerge is generally able to 'identify the overlapping images and blend them in the editing workspace: .A few of the source fil es might not be automatically placed, but these pictures can be manually moved into position later.

The Select Image tool is used to move sourcei mages around the

com position or to place unmatched pieces. The Use Perspective option, together with the Set Vanishing Point tool, manipulates tile perspective of your panorama. The first image that is positioned in the Composition area is the base image (I ight green border), which determines the perspective of all other image parts (red border). To change the base image, dick on another image part with the Set Vanishing Pointtool. To correct some ofthe 'bowlie'-like distortion that can occur when using these tools, check the Cylindrical Mapping option in the Composition area of the dialogue. You can't use the perspective correction tools for images with an angle of view greater than 120°, so ensure these options a re turned off.

The fi nal panorama can be completed by clicking OK in the Photomerge dia logue box.

84 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

It is helpful to use a tripod for capturing the sequence, and even better to use a tripod head that uses the lens' 'nodal point' as the pivot when you are rotating the camera. If shooting handheld, try rotating the camera around the lens rather than pivoting around you r body, and use longer focal lengths rather than wideangle settings. Adjust the following before start! ng.

FOCUS Switch the camera to manual focus. EXPOSUR E METER

R EAmNGS can change dra matically from shot 10 shot, so set the ex posu re mode to rna nual.

WHITE BALANCE Ad) ust WB manually to suit the predominant light.

ZOOM Don'! change zoom settings while shooting the sequence or, when you stitch them, the edges won't match. If your camera has a Panorama shooting mode, sel €let that. It fixes the exposure, tocus, WB and contrast for the sequence.

Ilf S~OOling. handheld, pivot around :he camera rather th8.n. your waist. Adjust zoom and focus to SUit both near and far subjects. Turn of! AF and switch to manual exposure and white balance. Attach a remote cable or use the self-timer to trip the shutter. Take the first shot, then rotate the camera ensuring an even overlap (20 to 50%) for the next shot. Continue for the sequence.

--'-----_-'......_-------_.-

3 Photomerge is .ge. neta. I.IY a b. Ie .. to id .. entify and. bl.end th.e.o .. verlapping images. Pictu res that can't be placed will be moved to the slide

table area at the top of the screen. Ensu re the Snap to Image is selected (right-hand side 01 workspace) then drag them from the top into the workspace. For skewed images, click on the Rotate Image tool and drag the source image to pivot it into position.

~.-...~1K.iPt ~~d'J" .... ~_I.I .... 1I'I~ ... ~IIz...,.. .~IIMIII.t.DI

2 I n Elements' Standard Editorworkspace select File>New>Photomerge Panorama. The Photomerge dialogue wi II appear. Press the Browse button and then locate and select the source pictures. Click Open in the Browse window 10 transfer the styles back to the Photomerge dialogue. Press OK. The Photomerge workspace will open and attempt to organise your overlapping pictures.

.~~~~~~=~~--~--

$~{~~====================~

Select the Advanced Blending option to help minim ise exposure differences between photos. If the vista covers less than 1200, you can also select the Perspective option which uses a single photo as a

base image and adjusts the perspective of the other pictures to fit. When Photomerge has finished, you'll be left with a single layer document. Finetune the final image with standard contrast and colour changes.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 85

Improve hjour shots

Great photographs are often produced by filteri ng out u nwa ntedinformation from the Ira me, usi ng careful composition or by waiting patiently until the conditions are just right,

U ntortunately.in some circumstances, no

a mount of patience or skilfu I framing is able to remove some problem areas in a picture. It

hjour plctures

may be the scaftoldlng around the famous monument, orthe appearan ce of unwanted spectators in the foreground of a beautiful vista, butthe effect is still the same: a less th a n perfect resu It.

This is when the art of digital retouching comes to the fore. Both Photoshop and

Photos hop Elements ccntain several powerful tools that you can lise to recreate the vision that you saw through the camera, but were unable to capture. Here, we put these tools to work to refine a typical British street scene, adding some grass, removing TV aeria Is and security alarms and generally tidying LIP tile picture.

1 Start the,' corre,ction process by creating a new blank layer (Layer> New>Layer) a bove the background layer. Dou ble-

d ick on the layer's name in th e Layers pa lette and rename the layer 'Retouching'. ln orderto work no n -destructively whenever possible, we will try to keep a II the retouch ing changes to this layer.

86 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

2 To remove the aerials from the chimney stacks, first dick the' Retouching' layer in the Layers palette to make it active, Select the Spot Healing Brush 1001, then choose Sample All Layers in the tool's options bar. This will enable the brush to sample from the background layer wh ile painting onto tile 'Retouching'Iayer.

3 Click and dra g the brush over the aeria Is in a painting motion, Be su re to cover all pa rts of the aerial before letti ng go of the mouse button. Tile brush uses th e colour, texture and detail surrounding the tip as reference when retouching, If unwanted detail is i ncluded select Ed it> Undo Spot Healing Brush.

CLONE STAMP

This works by sampling an a rea and pasting its characteristics over a blemish. Afterfinding the area lor repai r, locate a reas of si milar ton e, texture and colour. Now sa mple this second area by pressing the AIl/O ptkey and clicking with the mouse. Then click and drag the mouse to paint over the blemish.

4 0 ne way to restrict the sampling of the

su rrounding areas is to d raw a selection around the area to be repaired. Make sure that you exclude any pa rts of the picture that are contaminating the results. In this case, the ch imney stack is excluded from the selection. Now reapply the Spot Healing Brush inside the selection. The same tool can be used for removing the concrete from the grass verge at the front of the photo.

5 To remove the signs from the lamp post, we need to use the Clone Stamp tool. Select the tool, then ensure the Sample All Layers setting is active in the tool's options bar. Hold down the Alt key and click to ma rk the part 01 the post above the sign as the sample point. Move to tile sign area and click tile mouse key to paintoverthesign. If the sampled area doesn't quite match the background, undo the change, resarnple and paint.

6 Removing the security a larm from the side of the roof dormer window can also be achieved with the Clone Stamp tool. This time, the sample point is targeted on the clear wall on the dormer to the left otths security alarm. This area of the photo has the same I ighting as the a rea to be repaired. Once the sample is sel ected, the brush Ii pis positioned over the dormer wall and the alarm box painted out.

7 To magically grow some grass overthe road area, we need to use more drastic measures. Target the background layer and make a rough selection of the grass. Feathertlle selection (Select> Feather) by three pixels to soften the edge, and copy it to memory (Edit> Copy). Paste the grass section as a new layer (Edit> Paste) and drag it into position over the road. Repeat the process until no road is no longervisible.

THE HEALING BRUSH

The Healing Brush is also a two-step process. After selecting the tool, hold down the All/Option key and click a clea r area to use as the sample for the healing, This action is the same as you would take when using the Clone Stamp tool to select a sample point. Now move to the area to be repaired a nd click-drag the cu rsor over it. The Healing Brush will use the tones, textures and colour of the sampled area to paint over the blemish.

~ ~-.l~------------------~

The Spot version of the Healing Brush removes the sampling step from the process. To use the brush just select the feature, adjust the brush tip size and harness, and then click onto the blem ish. Almost magically the brush a na lyses tile surrounding texture, colour and tones and uses this as a basis for painting over the problem area. Click-dragging the Spot Healing Brush tool across marks, hairs, streaks or cracks will remove them too.

8 When using copied layers to cover unwanted picture pa rts. sometimes the repeating elements show up as a visible pattern, alerting the viewerto the fact that editing has occurred. To help disguise this, use the Spot Healing Brush to paint over areas of obvious patterning.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 87

Improve h:jour shots

How to correct

It's a fact of life that when you take pictures with a wid e angle lens .vou attect the perspective of the resultant image.

I n urban areas, this wi II typically lead to buildings lean ilng backwards, with a II the vertical I ines sloping inwards from the ground to make a trapezoid. Whils! this may excite some of the more ava nt-garde architects, it can spoil the natu ral appearance of our pictures.

Luckily, Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements have a cou pie of

IPerspectivetool

The perspective tool is designed to correct verticals lila! converge syrnrnetncally and will correct both sides of the frame simultaneously

Rctillta

~o;>rm ,Crop

DIvide SL""ned pWo< R"size

Mllcie

Corroert colCll' l'(ofiI~

Begin by making a layer from the background (Layer>Layerfrom Background), Select I mage> Transform> Perspective from the menu, A black line with grab points ill the centres and corners will

surround tile image,

88 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

digital spirit levels in their toolbox to solve the problem,

Elements in particular is usefu I for this, with a dedicated perspective tool in the Transform menu, which can quickly and easily pull the distorted shape back into line, Th is works best with images, that are symmetrical and shot straight on,

I! you want to correct buildings that are shot at a more diagonal angle, then the Skew tool, again in the Transform menu, is the way to go,

Use your mouse to grab the top left or right corner point, and pull the lines away from the image edges" The perspective tool wi II match the movement on the opposite side of the image and the

vertical lines within the image will straighten out Keep an eye on the verticals by aligning them with the edge of the i mage box, When you're happy with tile correction press Return. You may have to crop within the image to tidy .it up a little,

Skew tool

The skew tool enables asymmetrical perspective corrections - ideal if you were shooti ng slightly to one side of the centre of the building

TOP TIP

life is easier if you mi nimise the degree of distortion at capture. If possible, use lenses with a focal length over 3 5mm, which may entail moving further away from the subject to fit it in.

You can also try to find a high viewpoint to shootfrom, if possible, and keep the camera back parallel to the building. It is hel pful to secure the camera to a tripod and use a hotshoemounted spirit level to ensure it is on an even keel.

If architecture is your thing. invest in a shift lens, which allows correction in -carnera. They are expensive, however, so consider how much use you'll get from it.

Pull the points away from the image edge to correct the verticals on one side of the image. Theil adjust the other side.

Experiment with srna II corrections in order to fine-tu ne the vertical alignments. The central grab point can be used to tilt and shift the central areas ot the image - again, try small. adjustments to keep it looking natura I. Depending all the a ngles of the image, you may have to move the points Lip and down, to 'skew' the image into a natural perspective.

Whell you're satisfied with the correction press Return. You may have to crop the image sl ightly to remove unwa nted transparency grids caused by the skewing.

Begin by making a layerfrom the background (Layer> Layer from Background). Select Image> Transform

>Skewfrom the menu. The black line and grab points will appear. These points are independent of each other, which means that you are able to make subtle adjustments on all four image edges.

CONVERGI.NG VERTICALS

••• AND HOW TO ENJOY THEM

If you can't avoid converging verticals, then sorneti mes the best solutionis to exaggerate them. Fit your widest angle lens, get in close from a low perspective, and ti It the ca mera to you rhea rt's content. Explore different angles and view poi nts, and try rotating the camera to see the effect. This shot, from a corner of the White Tower in the Tower of London, emphasises its invincibility.

DIGfTAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 89

Improve h:jour shots

Simple steps .

COO

r

o

Here are three easy ways to convert your colour images to black & white using Photoshop Elements

Despite the origins ofthe black & wh ite photograph, producing greyscale images in the age of digital photography is definitely not an 'old school' activity. The sheer power and beauty of a well-produced monochrome image means thai th is style of photography is as popular as ever. In fact, producing black & white pictures digitaHy provides us with more choices and more power

to customise and fine-tune these images than ever was the case when film was king.

To give you seme idea of the possibilities, we take the same image and convert it to greyscale in til ree different ways using Photoshop Elements 5. All the techniques have their own strengths and' weaknesses. Try them all and find yo urtavo mite.

90 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

Photoshop Elements uses the term 'saturation' to rete r to the strength of th e colo u rs ina picture. I ncreasing saturation makes the colours in a picture more vivid; decreasing saturabon makes tile hues weaker. The program employs the Hue/Saturation control (Enhance>Adjust Color> Hue Saturation) to adjust the colour's strength. If the Saturation

1 The easiest way to remove the colour from a photo is to select the Hue/ Saturation control from the Adjust Color heading in tile Enhance menu and drag the Saturation slider all the way to the left (-1 OO). Alternatively, you could use the Enhance> Adjust Color> Remove Color option, which produces the same results as movi ng the Saturation slider in the Hue/Saturation feature.

slider is moved all the way to the left (to a setting of-lOO) then all colour is removed from tile

pi ctu reo You a re effect i vel yl eft with a greyscal e image that is still an RGB file. This means that even though the photo no longer contains any colour, the colour mode it is stored in can still support colour. So if you want to try a little digital ha nd colouring, or experiment with

~I n. g

""" t_ ~tlj""' "ai5

2 Such sim. pie co .. nversion .techn .. iques often need a little tweaking afterwards in order

to balance tile tones. Start adding in a levels adjustment layer above the image layer. Dragthe black and white input sliders towards the centre to add contrast (or the output sliders inwa rds to reduce contrast). Movillg the

m idtone input slider to th e right wi II darken the photo, and moving it to the left will lighten it.

pictures that contain monochrome as well as colour components, then this is the technique for you. Be warned though, once your picture is desaturated the colour is lost forever and so itis always a good idea to use layers, making a backgrou nd copy first Or alternatively, save a copy of tile colour version of tile i mage before proceedingto change the file.

3 Fi nally, add some drama to the pictu re

. by selectively lightening and darkening

_ pa rts of the image using the Dodge

and Burn tools. For a non-destructive alternative, add a new blan k layer a bove the

i mage layer and change the Blend M ode to Soft Light. Then use a wh ite soft-edged brush to lighten a reas and a black soft-edged brush to burn in detail.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 91

Improve bJour shots

Elements 5 contains a Convert to Black and White feature that a Hows you to customise the way colour areas are mapped to grey during conversion. Tile dia logue consists of large before and after previews, six conversion presets based on popular subject types, an Amount slider

With tile colour image open in the Full Edit workspace, go to Enhance>Convertto Black and White. Click through the different _ conversion styles, checking tile After preview for a suitable result.

O_~L.ntr.ooo O"_b <h~JjCjIiII O~~-cdEff:_rct-

3 Where the changes ... made with e. a.cllC.lkk of an adjustment button are too great, use the Adjustment Intensity slider (found at the bottom left ofthe dialogue). Move the slider left for smaller increments of cha nge, an d right for more dramatic effects. Click OK to apply the conversion, Reset to remove current settings or Cancel to quit.

92 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES

that controls the strength of the changes, and eight thumbna il buttons forfine-tuning. This enables more sophisticated conversions by allowing you to adjust which colours (red, green or blue) feature more prominently in the final result:

.-- ...... , _.._."..__,--,--_.,.,..".--,.-

IIQI. ,...n...1111 t;I,...,.. .. ~I~ ... tt.cJlilt-. a-.~;OJd { ...... ,", Rp ,..d w ....

2. To customise the conversion, select a conversion sty le that is closest to your desired result, then fine-tune by clicking one of the _ adjustment buttons - more blue/less blue, and so on. For a more dramatic effect, click the opposite of another option - less/more red,

4 TO.balan.ce .. out the reSl.lltingtones in the converted image., add a new blank layer Change the layer's blend mode to Soft Light and label the layer 'Dodge and Burn'. Darken parts ofthe image by painting on the layer with a black soft-edged brush. To lighten parts, switch the coiour to white before painting overthe chosen area.

TOP TIP

The bwconvert.lxt file located in the C :\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements 5 . .D\Required folder sets the values for the presets in the Convert to Black a nd White feature. This file can be eas i.1 y ed itedif a user wants to have their own conversion preset values, Of course, we highly recommend backing up the insta I.led version of the file so that you can easi Iy restore the settings to the default values.

This techni que is based upon a custom conversion process created by Russell Brown from Adobe. It uses the Adjustment Layers technology in

Photosh op Elements as a way to both convert the colour image to black & while (desaturate) and also

1 Create a new Hue/Saturation adjustmenllayer above your background. Don't make a ny changes to the default settings for this layer. Set tile mode of the adjustment layer to Color. label this layer 'Filter'.

3 Next, double-click on the layer thu mbnail in the Filter layer and move the Hue sl ider, Th is cha nges the way that the colou r values are translated to black & white. Sim ilarly, if you move the Saturation slider you can em phasise pa rticu lar parts of the image.

to control how the colours are represented in the greyscale. Like a lot of Russell's tech niques, it leaves the original image unchanged in the background, and hence this style of image

en hanci ng is called non -destructive ed iti ng,

2 Make a second Hue/Saturation layer above the Fi Iter layer a nd alter tile settings so Satu ration is -100. Call th is layer' Black & White' conversion. The mono image now on screen is what we would expect if we had desaturaled the coloured original.

4 Finally, introduce some dodgi ng and bu rning by adding a blank layer above the background' layer. Change the Blend mode of this layer to Soft Light and then burn in using a black soft-edged brush, or dodge using a white soft-edged brush.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIOUES 93

Improve h:jour shots

Our ten top tips for great black & white photos

1 Shoot in raw mode

Shoot in raw modeto preserve the maximum amount of image data. Raw f.i les offer a far greater range of tones than J PEGs do, and they don't suffer the further loss of data

from thein -carnera processing (sharpen ing, contrast/co lou r adjustment, and' so on) that J PEGs go through.

2 Customise your conversions

Converti ng your image to greyscale, or desaturating il via the Hue/Saturation control, are the-obvious ways of creating a mono version, but these methods do not produce such high quality, controllable results. Use one of the alternative methods on fhe previous pages instead.

3 Shoot in colour, con.vert later

Unless you want to get black. & white prints straight from the media card, it's best to shoot in colou r and do your mono conversions using software such as Photoshop Elements afterwards. This gives you much more control overthe final result. If you do want to prod uce in-camera 'b&w, some cameras enable you to make a mono duplicate of you r colour file. I n N ikon DS LRs, th is feature is accessed via the camera's retouch menu. This is in add ilion to the greyscale mode where you actually shootin black & white.

4 Better mono p,rints

Not all inkjet printers are equal when it comes to getting good black & white prints. Colour

in kjet printers have to combine their colou r inks to produce the grey tones, which can often I ead to su btle hi nts of colours coming through. Some printers have methods to deal with this problem, though. Epson, for example, has a technology ca tled the Advanced Blac,k and White mode - A BW - which uses its black and grey inks betoreit starts usi ng the coloured inks, to give a better greyscale. Some HP printers, meanwhile, enable the user to replace the entire colou r

ca rtr.idge with one that conta ins shades of blac k ink, for great quality mono pri nts.

94 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful