Friday, 30 September 2011

Shooting in Prozac Mode

Are you one of those tens of thousands of tourists on big tourist buses who walk around in Prozac Mode? You've got your DSLR hanging around your neck; you just forced down another buffet lunch at the tour hotel; you drank three glasses of red wine at lunch and NOW you are ready for your afternoon 'nanna nap' on the bus (preferably with your mouth closed).

Wait! The bus just stopped at a 'photo point'! You don't look left or right or behind, you shoot just what's lined up with your lens axis. Yes, you are definitely in Prozac Mode - that's the 'P' button on your camera.
Of course, you could be really boring and look left, right and behind and find a whole mob of legs without torsos in downtown Antalya in Turkey.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Specular Highlights


Feeling a little flat, low in tones or just plain bored? Add a specular highlight for extra ZING! Water, glass and chrome all work - especially if they reflect large light sources. What bigger and better light source than the sky above? Shot in foyer of the Tulip City Hotel in Istanbul on my amazing little Fuji X100.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Is your 1/15 sec speed still a virgin?

Are you one of those photographers who spent a  couple of grand on a fancy DSLR and has never used 1/8000 sec or one second as shutter speeds? After ten years your 1/8000 and one second may still be brand new and virginal. These shutter speeds allow you to extend human perception. The human eye has the equivalent of about 1/15 sec as a shutter speed. our eyes can't freeze action like your camera. Neither can your eyes record the movement of subjects with trailing lights.

In this little exercise in one of my UWA courses I asked students to shoot a walking portrait. No tripod, no monopod and no Photoshop. I start my students practising on 1/20 sec. When they get it right I move them to 1/15. Then, when they are hot I let them loose on a 1/10 sec pans. One tip is to have soft, low-level lighting, a great background and the subject about 4-8 metres away. Its also a  good idea to switch the camera to manual focus to stop the camera focus 'hunting'.
Be prepared to shoot lots of image - this is no 'one-trick dog shoot. The averagae is about one shot in 50 looks reasonable.
My UWA courses recommence early in 2012. Keep an eye on http://www.extension.uwa.edu.au/courses/leisure/photography

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Its just too damn dark to take a photo

How often have you thought. 'There's just not enough light'
You know, even when the fastest ISO was 400ISO, there was still enough light. Maybe you didn't have enough time! Like a 60 second exposure on f8. But you needed patience and one of those photography type gizmos with three legs related to a  gastropod.
But these days we have 6400ISO, 12,800ISO even 25,600ISO. With 25,600ISO you can shoot upa drainpipe at midnight and still get a shot.
But, you know, I actually think a photo with more dark areas might be more interesting sometimes. My mate, Urs Buhlman reckons that a lot of photographers treat serious subjects too lightly.  Thats sort of like wearing your Tony Abbott budgie smugglers to Liz's garden party.
So next time you think 'there's not enough light', take a deep breath, glue your camera to a table-top with your left over chewy and watch the magic happen!
pic. Rosie in Bali