An Artists Communion Through A Lens

Posts tagged “Aperture

Heavenly Light

First Baptist Church, Cary, North Carolina

Made this while walking on Academy Street to photograph dancers performing in Cary.

Classic “Sunny 16” within 1/2 stop of light due to partial overcast.

Set ISO to 100 for best quality image  & Aperture at f8 for single subject and lens sweet spot.

Shutter at 1/400th of a second keeps it sharp without a tripod and tree leaves still.  Increased exposure about 1/3 stop in edit


December Azalea

_IGP8430Stuck inside since Thanksgiving with a bug, I needed some outside time today. Of course it was damp, grey and chilly.  The good news was, a few steps from our front door are some Encore Azaleas that survived my planting. They bloom in spring and fall and the color is welcome on a dull December 1st.

Soft diffuse light from an overcast sky doesn’t lend itself to vibrant color or contrast.  It’s simple to change that with a hand held flash.

I put my camera on a tripod and composed and focused the image.  The lens was an old manual focus 50mm stopped down to f8. It has a MFD (minimum focus distance) of about 18 inches. Adding a 1.5x Teleconvertor made the focal length 75mm without changing the MFD.  It let me fill most of the frame with a single blossom.

Shutter speed was 1/160 for flash sync and ISO to 100.  The exposure would be black except for flash contribution.  A wireless trigger in the camera hot shoe let me hand hold the flash, move around and change the light direction.

The camera was set for 2 second delay which in my case also activates Mirror Lock Up.  When I push the shutter on my wired remote, the mirror is locked in the up position and the shutter opens two seconds later to allow vibration form the mirror action to settle out.  Tripod, not touching the camera, mirror lockup – all contribute to making the camera as stable as possible for the sharpest possible image.

I wrapped a snoot around the flash to control light spill and set it to half power.  A few exposures showed me I need to drop the power to about 1/16th.

Gear used in this post: Pentax K5IIs camera, Pentax M 50 1.7 lens,  Kenko 1.5x TC, Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with Manfrotto 488RC2 Ball Head and Vello Wired Remote, Yongnou RF-603NII Wireless Trigger and 560III Flash

Editing Tools used in this post: Adobe CC2015, Nik Collection, Pixel Genius Photokit, Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet, Pantone Huey Pro


Frost Moon

Frost MoonAlso known as Snow Moon.  This is Waxing Gibbous, about 20 hours before it was completely full.  It rose bright and big the next day but there were light clouds so this was a clear sky.

Since it was a clear night, I knew the base exposure would be minus 1 stop from Sunny 16.  F11 and 1/100 with ISO 100 would do.

My lens is sharpest around f8 so by opening up aperture 1 stop, I could increase my shutter speed 1 stop to 1/200.  From experience, I wanted at least that shutter speed. The relative motion from Earths rotation can blur the exposure with a very long lens.

One last exposure variable came into play.  I added a 1.5x teleconvertor to make my 300mm lens a 450mm lens.  But that comes at the cost of 1 stop so I increased my ISO to 200 to compensate.

In sum, I set my exposure before I went outside to photograph and never used a meter.  Its not magic, its just a well understood exposure.  And of course, after making a an exposure or two, just look at your histogram and adjust.  That’s how I compensate as the exposure changes through an eclipse.  It’s really how I shoot everything.  Simply use Sunny16 as a base ( EV15 at ISO 100) and adjust from there.

Lastly is mounting to a tripod, a careful focus ( auto or manual or try both) and if possible, use a delayed shutter with a Mirror Lockup and a remote shutter release.  Make enough exposures so you’re confident you have very good focus on a few.

The final step is editing and preparation for presentation.  Its my habit to record RAW images so I can make all decisions vs the camera manufacturer’s built-in JPEG algorithms.  This image was mostly edited in Adobe Camera Raw aka the Develop Module in Lightroom.  I did open it up in Photoshop to add text, then used the Image Processor in Bridge to make the JPEG the size I wanted ( 720). Finally I sharpened it with the Pixel Genius plugin and an PS Action I wrote long ago.

Gear used in this post: Pentax K5IIs camera, Sigma 100-300/4 lens,  Kenko 1.5x TC, Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with Manfrotto 488RC2 Ball Head and Vello Wired Remote

Editing Tools used in this post: Adobe CC2015, Nik Collection, Pixel Genius Photokit, Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet, Pantone Huey Pro