Travel Photography & Advanced Photographic Techniques

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1 Travel Photography & Advanced Photographic Techniques Presented by Tallahassee Senior Center Volunteer Instructor: Dr. Mike Francis Website: Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 1

2 Session Topics Photo Taking Techniques Taking warmer photos Look Down, Look Up, Move to the Side Polarizing your shot Digital flash modes Slow motion and motion blur Shooting Stars and Star Trails Rule of Thirds Exposure, Focus Time of Day photography and Photographic Color Temperatures Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 2

3 Session Topics (con t.) Shooting better landscapes Dealing with low light conditions Time of Day photography and Photographic Color Temperatures Photo Composition Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 3

4 Taking a warmer photo Do your photos look cold or have too much bluish flavor to them? The default white balance setting for digital cameras is auto, and, while being fine for at least 75% of your shots, many cameras tend to be more on the "cool" side except for Sony consumer units. Most humans prefer a warmer look (image on the right) to their photos. When shooting outdoor still images and sunny landscapes, change your white balance from auto to cloudy. The way digital cameras are designed, this change has the affect of adding a warming filter to your lens. It enhances the reds and yellows thus producing a richer, warmer picture Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 4

5 Look Down, Look Up, Move to the Side An improved perspective can be gained by looking up, looking down, or moving side-to-side of the subject of the photo Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 5

6 Lens Filters -- Two Mandatory Filters and one optional for Digital Circular Polarizer UV Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. The circular polarizer filter, CP, reduces object glare and haze wash out caused by UV rays. Because of the sensors in digital cameras, always use a circular polarizer which is designed to protect the sensor and not interfere with the auto focus and metering. The UV filter should stay on a lens at all times. It protects the lens from dust and scratches. It also block UV rays that tend to wash out the photo and add bluish-purple tent. It can be used with a CP filter. Neutral Density This filter, ND, is designed for daytime outdoor photography in order to reduce the brightness of the top or bottom portion of the image. It helps keep contrast and brightness in balance. 6

7 Polarizing Your Shot It is hard to find a polarizer for many of the consumer digital cameras. But, If you really want to enhance the depth and contrast of your photos, you need a polarizing filter. A polarizer is the one filter every photographer should have handy for landscapes and general outdoor shooting. By reducing glare and unwanted reflections, polarized shots have richer, more saturated colors, especially in landscape scenes and sky shots. Can t find a polarizer for your camera? If you have a pair of polarized sunglasses with a flat lens, then use them as a polarizing filter. Place the glasses as close to the camera lens as possible, rotate the glasses for the desired effect then take the shot Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 7

8 Polarizing Your Shot Be sure to check that you are not shooting through polarized or reflection reducing glass when a polarizer is on your lens. The results good be dramatic. With polarizer on lens and polarized windows Without polarizer and polarized windows Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 8

9 Flash modes One of the hidden secrets of digital cameras is the fill-flash feature or the flash-when-needed feature that is generally effective from 4 to 8 feet. In the flash-on mode, the camera exposes for the background first, then adds just enough flash to illuminate your portrait subject. The result is a picture with better looking highlights, shadows and the main subject Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 9

10 Slow Motion Effect If you want to add an artistic effect to photographs when shooting running water, a stream or waterfall or anything with motion, you need to hold the shutter open for a longer period of time than the camera wants the shutter to stay open. Unless you can master holding the camera still for seconds, a tripod, and shutter release, if supported, on you camera are recommended Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 10

11 3 steps toward motion blur You'll need a tripod to steady the camera during the long exposure, and you preferably should use the self timer to trip the shutter. If you camera has an aperture priority setting, use it and set the aperture to f-8, f-11, or f-16. Smaller apertures provide greater depth of field and will force the shutter speed to slow down in order to allow more light onto the sensor. It generally takes at least a 1/30 to 1/2 second exposure to create the flowing effect of the water and provide the desired artistic Cotton Candy look. Find streams and waterfalls that are more in the shade instead of the direct sunlight and the camera will sense the need to keep the lens open longer. A polarizer over the lens will slightly darken the scene and force a longer exposure and may remove any unnecessary reflections from the photo Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 11

12 Shooting Stars (The Milky Way) Moonless nights and no ambient light are the best conditions for shooting star formations and galaxy spirals. Use you best lens with the lowest aperture. Try for an F/2.8 lens if one is in gear. An F/3.5 will work but it is best to get as much light onto the sensor as possible. Use an ISO range from 2500 to Don t worry about the digital noise. It is generally minimized due to the black of space. Set the exposure time for approximately seconds. Use a stopwatch, smart phone or simply count 1001, 1002 etc. This is all accomplished on a tripod. If a wide angle lens is being used to capture stars on the horizon, leave the lens open for at least 30 seconds. Do not expose too long or star trails will show up. Moonlight nights with little or no ambient light is more challenging when photographing starts. Use and aperture of F/5.6 or slightly larger and set the ISO range from 800 to A 20 second exposure is usually sufficient to capture star image Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 12

13 Shooting Star Trails Moonless or Moonlight nights will work for the star trails. Learn how to set your camera to an open lens. Also learn how to close the lens when the scene is complete. Cameras with extended timers and/or remote extended timers work the best since there is no human physical interaction with the camera. This is all accomplished on a tripod. Use you best lens with the lowest aperture. Use at least an F/4 or faster lens. The faster lenses let more light onto the sensor. Use an ISO range from on moonlight nights and ISO on moonless nights. Turn Auto White Balance off and set the white balance to 3500K or twilight or night shot WB. Turn Auto Focus off on your lens and use Manual focus. Set the camera in P or A mode. RULES: 1) use lower ISO for longer exposures and higher ISO for shorter exposures. 2) full frame cameras can use less exposure time than cropped sensor (APS-C) cameras. Experiment with exposures times from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. If an intervalometer is in the camera bag, use it Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 13

14 Shooting Star Trails (con t.) If more light is required, increase ISO is a last resort. Extending the exposure time if the best option. A zoom lens can be used. When zooming in on the stars, the trails show up faster therefore not requiring as long or as many exposures. If a multiple exposure arrangement is being used to shoot star trails, then keep multiple, charged batteries on hand. With an intervalometer, thirty to one-hundred twenty second exposures can be taken with at least one or two seconds between each exposure. Any of the camera modes, A, P or M is acceptable when shooting star trails. For full frame cameras, use an aperture of F/4 or greater such as F/2.8. For cropped sensor cameras, still use F/4 or greater but it is preferred to set the camera lens as fast as possible. When shooting star trails, a wide angle lens is the only one to use. While 14mm to 30mm works great for full frame cameras, cropped cameras require a smaller wide angle lens somewhere between 10mm and 20mm Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 14

15 Shooting Images Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. Stock images from Google 15

16 Rule of Thirds For better photo perspective try not placing the subject of a photo the middle of the scene. If possible, try not to place to primary subject of the photo directly into the middle of frame. For centuries this concept has been applied to artwork and is known as the Rule of Thirds. It is represented by a nine-box grid that virtually overlays the scene about to the shot. Many statues and painting have the face or the body of the subject looking away to broaden the images perspective Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. WRONG CORRECT 16

17 Review of Important Tricks Exposure All digital cameras have an auto setting which calculates what it anticipates will be the most suitable exposure. Most devices get it about right, but mistakes happen. There will also be times when you want a darker or brighter result. The camera s exposure compensation (EC) setting provides flexibility in determining the amount of light that the sensor processes. This allows you to deliberately over-or-under expose the image and is normally set in a range described as -2EV to +2EV, in EV increments of a third. A setting of +1EV effectively doubles the exposure making the image brighter. Deliberately underexposing an image can be an affective way of cutting through haze or bringing out a colorful sunset. Underexposing is also a technique used to produce silhouette photos. Overexposing is also handy if your subject is dark and you can t or don t want to use a fill-in flash Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 17

18 Focus Digital cameras have an auto focus mode but, as with auto exposure, this can go wrong. A common problem is where the subject in the foreground is out of focus, but the background is in sharp focus. It s clear that the camera has focused on the background by mistake. Understand that most cameras will focus on the spot in the middle of the frame as the default focus mode unless you use spot or zone focus. If the subject is not in the middle of your lens then point your camera at the subject, and lock the focus by pressing the shutter button halfway. Then, recompose the shot while keeping the button half-held and, finally, press it all the way to take the photo. Use a faster lens (f/4 for example) to minimize barb and fence wire interfering with the image. It works most of the time Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 18

19 About Those Sunsets As light passes through our atmosphere, it's broken up in a process known as Rayleigh scattering. When light comes through from directly overhead, the gas molecules in the atmosphere reflect the blue end (shortest wavelength) of the visible spectrum best. When the sun isn't directly overhead, such as when it's near the horizon during a sunset, the light must pass through more of the atmosphere, scattering out most of the blue light. This leaves the warm tones of red, orange, and yellow, which happen to be the longest wavelengths. With the scattering of light through gas molecules providing the color foundation, airborne particles give a sunset its zing. While the increase in air pollution is certainly lamentable, the added particulate matter in the atmosphere from smoke and smog means more light from the blue spectrum is scattered away, intensifying the red colors of a sunset. Water vapor from humidity has the same effect, as a hot, sticky summer night is more likely to produce a vibrant sunset than a cool, dry evening Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 19

20 Change the Shooting Angle Shoot from the high or low ground: So many good landscape shots miss the chance to be great simply because we lift the camera to our faces and shoot. While this captures the background of the scene it misses the beginning of the shot. Simply getting higher or lower to the ground can add more sky or reveal greater background Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 20

21 Perspective Shoot through something to frame the scene: Seek contrast: lights and shadows are allowed and many times desired. Seek beginning-to-end image like a long ceiling: This kind of image is best shot with a fast lens Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 21

22 Low Light Conditions Using a higher ISO ( ) to compensate for the lack of light will introduce noise in an image but allow for better exposure. Problems using wide open aperture to allow more light: limited depth of field potential for image blur Use flash if possible but remember that the flash is only usable from 6-14 feet depending on camera or flash model. Only use fill-flash in closeup situations, if your camera is so equipped Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 22

23 Time of Day Photography If you want an object that appears white to your eyes to appear white in a photo then you need to set White Balance in the digital camera. Automatic white balance is based on a guesstimate thus modern digital cameras allow you to change the color temperature of your camera based on the time of day, the object being photographed or indoor lighting conditions. Just before dawn the light is blue or cooler Just after dawn the light is warmer Mid-morning and mid-afternoon present a neutral light color. Shooting scenes away from the sun produces rich, saturated colors. Shooting at mid-day (high sun) in the tropics and around the equator can produces a more washed-out photo unless the shade is used. Shadows tend to be short but colors are more neutral. Late day light is often soft and colors are rich because the color temperature shifts toward a more warmer temperature. Late day photography will produce a less contrast image than early morning environments. This time of day is excellent for shooting sky and other reflections in any nearby water. When shooting sunsets, wait until the sun is low in the sky to avoid damage to the digital sensor. Dust and water particles accumulate in the atmosphere all day. By the time the sun sets, the light is completely diffused and produces an extremely warm light. The most dramatic color shots come from the afterglow of the sunset at dusk which exists more outside the tropics. A cloudy sky tends to reflect the residual rays of the sun back onto the earth to produce tremendous warm color temperatures Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 23

24 Photographic Color Temperature The visible light spectrum is divided into Kelvin temperatures develop by William Thomson Lord Kelvin in Great Britain in the mid-1800s. Color Temperature (in degrees Kelvin) is the temperature of a color emitted from a substance when heated. The human eye does not have a nominal color temperature. The eye sees white outdoors as one temperature, indoors as another temperature. The digital camera cannot perform this feat without the use of White Balance. Daylight is defined as a clear blue cloudless sky at 6000K. Most modern televisions have a color temperature of 6500K but allow you to adjust to a cooler or warmer look. The industry has called this setting White Balance long before digital cameras appeared on the market. Some digital cameras can be set to a default color temperature. For all practical purposes, set the camera s color temperature for your most common type of shooting: 5200K-5500K for general purpose shooting and 6300K-6500K for outdoor shooting. If your camera s default color temperature cannot be set then the camera simply does the best it can with automatic WB. Film has a native color temperature (daylight and tungsten) and is designed for a specified light source. Digital cameras use WB to set the color temperature for the scene being photographed and the overall color balance of the photo Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 24

25 Common Color Temperatures These temperatures are affected by time of day, elevation and haziness. 1500k candlelight, oil lamps 2000K early morning sunrise 2680K 40W incandescent light 3000K 200W incandescent light, warm fluorescent lamp 3200K sunrise and sunset 3400K tungsten light; dawn/twilight 3500K sunlight right after dawn, retail fluorescent lamp 4300K sunlight in early morning or late afternoon hours K xenon light, sunlight fluorescent lamp 5500K sunny day at noon time high noon daylight 5600K electronic camera flash K daylight made of sun and sky 6000K bright sunlight with clear sky K overcast sky K outdoor in the shade K partly cloudy sky 10000K heavily overcast sky K deep blue sky, open shade on a clear day 11000K deep blue sky viewed away from the sun 20000K open mountain shade on a cloudless, very clear day Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 25

26 Photo Composition Waterways: Waterways such as rivers and lakes provide for shadows and reflections in the water that are elements which add to the overall quality of the photo. Use a monopod or tripod and slow the shutter speed down if you want the flowing water to be blurred but the rest of the photo to remain sharp. Landscapes: when taking landscaped photos consider the viewpoint, time of day, and the weather. A cloudy sky, fog, and shadows all make for a more interesting photograph. When taking a landscape photo with a person in the foreground or background, the person should add perspective to the photo instead of being the subject of interest. What your eyes see in the landscape is generally different than the view the photograph reveals. The camera typically adds more detail to the photograph than your eyes perceive. Learn to take photos from a crouched position, an angle higher or lower than the normal standing position, or try to move in toward the landscape so that the camera comes closer to taking the shot your mind has framed. Seascapes: when taking beach photos there should be some clouds in the sky and preferably a wave rolling onto the shore. Automatic exposure cameras tend to lock onto the many reflections of the sky and water and cause the camera to think the image is brighter. The automatic exposure portion of the camera will underexpose the final image. This is where you lock onto the mid-tones of the image or an area with no reflections. By pressing the shutter button half-way while the camera is pointed at this area, turn the camera back to the full scene and take the photo. This helps balance the overall exposure of seascape scenes Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 26

27 Photo Compositon (con t.) Reflections: photographs with reflections are interesting but be sure that the reflection is discernible in order to add value to the image. Be careful taking reflection shots involving modern glass buildings if your camera has a polarizing filter on the lens. Many times the polarizer will turn the tinted windows of the building into a bluish tone that blurs the reflection you are trying to photograph. People: This type of image involves either a head view, full or partial body length, and people involved with their work or play. Skies: if you desire the deep blue sky look, use a circular polarizer on your lens if you can place adaptors on the lens. The use of a circular polarizer on the lens greatly reduces that chance of additional spots being added to the image from any bright light source while taking sunrise or sunset shots. Autumn: it is the most photographed time of year due to the richness of colors in the leaves in parts of the United States Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 27

28 Photo Composition (con t.) Close-up or Macro: it is best to use a very fast lens (aperture of f/4 down to f/1.2) along with a semi or fast shutter speed to get the best shot of a macro environment: flower, insect, coin, stamp, food, etc. Action and Sports: use of a fast shutter speed usually produces the action photo you see in the sports magazines and newspapers. No need for a tripod but a monopod or chest strap will help carry the lens weight. Sunsets: when taking photos of sunsets, especially with digital cameras, be careful not the point the lens directly at the sun. The camera s sensor can be damaged or the bright light from the sun will bounce off the senor back to the lens then back onto the sensor. You will end up with extra sunspots in your image. Panoramic: unless you have a very special, expensive camera, you have to make your own panoramic shots. Use a tripod and take more exposures than you think you need. Long Exposure: another tripod-mandatory photo composition if you want a sharp, non-blurry exposure over a period of time Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. 28

29 Waterways Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 29

30 Waterways Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 30

31 Landscapes Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 31

32 Landscape Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. Photo Courtesy of Charles Francis 32

33 Landscape Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 33

34 Landscape Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. Photo Courtesy of Charles Francis 34

35 Seascapes Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. Photo Courtesy of Lisa Chason 35

36 Seascape Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. Photo Courtesy of Marge Jones 36

37 Seascape Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 37

38 Reflections Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 38

39 Reflections Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 39

40 Reflections Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 40

41 Reflections Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of Charles Francis 41

42 People Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 42

43 People Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 43

44 Skies Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved 44

45 Autum Dr. Mike Francis, All rights reserved.. 45

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