Category: Camera

Explaining How To Properly Use A Monopod

Unfortunately dragging around a massive tripod can often be a huge challenge, not to mention that a lot of the time we find ourselves in a position where it is impossible to use one. There simply is not sufficient space.

Therefore, most photographers (at least the ones that are concerned enough to want great pictures) end up getting themselves a monopod.

If you didn’t know – a monopod uses the same type of camera mount and so forth as a tripod, but has the benefit of only using one leg.

This feature is both good and bad…

Having only one leg makes it lighter and less tiresome to carry around – it can even be used like a walking stick if you’re trekking out in the wilds.

However, after a few uses, the majority of us shooters come to the realization that using a monopod is not any steadier than not using one. What’s more since it has only one leg, it wiggles around so much that it is usually WORSE than shooting without one. So we heave our monopod in a spare closet and never touch it again.

This is a huge mistake! Your monopod is entirely as solid as a tripod, it’s only that so few of us have learned how to properly use it.

Generally we use it like a stick with our cameras affixed to the top – rather, we need to be using it like a tripod!

Here’s how to use the monopod…

  • First… For stability we need three legs. Like a tripod. The monopod itself is ONE leg, our own two legs, separated a bit wider than shoulder width form the other two legs of the tripod.
  • Second… Place the monopod in front of you far enough out so that when you tilt it back and bring the camera to your eye, it creates a 45 degree angle to the front. You’ll have to increase the monopod’s leg by quite a bit to get the 45 degree lean yet have it positioned at eye level. There is your tripod, both your legs spread to the side and the monopods’ leg extended to the front…
  • Third… Your camera should be affixed to a swivel mounting head. Tilt the camera forward with the swivel mount so that when you tilt the Monopods’ leg back at a 45 degree angle to your eye, the camera is level even though the monopod is leaning at 45 degrees backwards.
  • Fourth… Then when you are shooting, position yourself into a stable stance and press your camera’s viewfinder tightly to your face. Finally you have a – virtual – tripod that’s every bit as solid as most – real – tripods. Along with the added bonus of being easier to use!

Shutter Speed and Exposure in DSLR

It is indicated by some numbers like 1/10, 1/200, 1/4000, 1/2 etc. Basically it is always calculated by the fraction of a second, which means, 1/2000 shutter speed indicates the single unit of the time which we will get if we break 1 second into 2000 equal units.

  • Faster the speed of shutter, the sensor will be less exposed to the light. Faster shutter speeds are often required to capture very fast moving subjects like a panther chasing a deer or a formula one car at its top speed.
  • Fast shutter speed is one of the key things to freeze a subject which is a quintessential part of Sports Photography or Wildlife Photography.
  • Typically, a highest shutter speed in an entry level to mid-level DSLR camera is 1/4000 which extends to 1/8000 in the professional DSLR bodies.
  • A slow speed is also a very much handy tool for creative photography. When you are at a place with low light, it is necessary that the image sensor is exposed for a long time to capture your picture perfect image. Suppose you are eager to capture the Taj Mahal on a moonlit night, then the slow speed is the main thing which is going to help you to get your dream image.
  • It is treated as a slow one when it became 1/10 or slower than that though there is no hard and fast rule for defining slow ones.
  • Main obstacle often photographers face while handling a low light environment with a slow speed is the blurred effect in image known as motion blur and camera shake.
  • The motion blur is caused by anything (a car or a person) which was in motion during the exposure time. A slightest movement in someone’s body can also cause a motion blur when you are capturing images in slow shutter speeds. So, be aware of movement during shooting. But this motion blur could be interesting and an effective tool for creativity if you can handle it efficiently and intelligently.
  • The camera shake is caused by the movement of body or parts of the body of the photographer. Though you might think that it is very little and nominal, but your high precision DSLR treats it huge like you treat the earthquake. To eliminate this problem, a sturdy tripod must be used.
  • A remote shutter release cable with a sturdy tripod is the best combination when you are planning to capture photographs at night with slow and long shutter speeds.
  • The slowest one in almost every DSLR camera is 30secs, after which it gives an option known as “BULB”, in which the shutter remains open as long as the shutter release button is pressed.

Pick the Ideal Digital Camera

If you’re an amateur photographer, keep to the low-end of cameras, one that you can afford. Then teach yourself about composing photos, exposure, along with other techniques.

Once you determine that you enjoy photography as a hobby and you would prefer some advanced functions, then you can sell your old equipment and graduate to higher-end models.

If you figure out that you’ve got a secret gift in taking great pictures and you’re thinking that you may genuinely wish to make some money from your talent, then you can spend more money on fancy equipment.

But your cash goes furthest if you get quality lenses. This will make a bigger impact than buying a costly camera body.

The biggest misconception when picking a camera is that the megapixels make a big difference in the quality of your images.

Unless your image is going to be plastered on a billboard, every camera presently on the market should be perfectly sufficient to satisfy your MP needs.

Instead, think about these distinctions between high-end DSLR vs. low-end DSLR vs. point-and- shoots.

  • Price (the difference between the top and bottom could be a few thousand dollars)
  • Response time (the time it will take the camera to take the photo after you hit the shutter)
  • Auto-focus
  • Functionality in low-light conditions
  • Video functionality
  • Weather-proof bodies

So here’s how to tell if you are a true photography buff: if you’re always snapping pics with your camera, particularly of things that many people probably would not consider photogenic, then you can consider yourself a real aficionado. In this case, you’re probably a person who would take advantage of the extra features of a DSLR.

Improve Your DSLR Photography Skills

Find out how to play with the shutter speed. You may choose to snap a quick picture or choose a slower exposure to capture a flow or movement in its entirety. You’ll have to experiment with this and discover what type of speed matches specific situations. This is a question of personal style instead of a general rule to follow.

It is possible to allow the camera pick the proper white balance for any particular environment, but sometimes the camera will get it wrong and the photo will look washed out.

If you’re having difficulty holding your camera straight, purchase a tripod. A tripod will go a long way in helping to keep your camera in position, so that you can focus on other variables aside from balance. Tripods work great if you’re in the wilderness or in an irregular terrain.

Use a fantastic lens to have a better image quality. It is possible to make artistic pictures with any sort of equipment if you work hard and adapt your style to your gear. But getting a fantastic lens opens up more possibilities.

Make use of lines to draw the viewer’s eye to the photograph. If done properly, the lines themselves may even be an interesting subject themselves. The use of lines in photography is a complex topic, but the most important issue to consider is they should draw you in, not push you apart.

You can do a lot to change the quality of your pictures by adjusting the focus of this shot. This doesn’t always need to be in the middle of the photo. Getting your subject in the lower right hand or left hand corner, as an instance, can increase dramatic aspects of your picture.

You may move the subject around so you can get a shot you find interesting. Depending upon the impression you wish to convey, try shooting your subject from different sides or from above and below.

Patterns can be an excellent design motif if you use them properly. You will find patterns on almost anything. You can locate them on lots of clothes, in design, and even in character.

Ultimate Camera Controls

Practice, practice, practice

This is by far the most important, but it must be done consistently and with a concentrated effort. It took me a long time to understand the relationship between each of the crucial settings on my first camera, but the more I practiced and experimented, the quicker I understood, and then once it just clicked and I no longer had to think about it.

Practice costs nothing other than time, especially now that we are in a digital age with a delete button, to erase our mistakes!

Simplify the scene

Including too much in your scene is often too much to view, hence why one of the most effective techniques is to lessen what’s in your shot. Keeping a single subject, complemented by a plain simple background or surroundings will make all the difference.

Line edges up

Using the edge of something in your scene to interact with another edge creates a visual pathway. The shoreline of a beach leading out to a headland can create the impression of a continual line. Use these to your advantage, line up as many things as possible to lead to your subject.

Tell a story

I am always looking for a way to convey a message in my photography, and it can often mean finding a bizarre angle, a lower vantage pint or simply getting closer. But all in all, every photograph is about telling a story and to do so, you need a connection. The stronger the connection between your subject and its surrounds/environment, the stronger the message, therefore the stronger the appeal of the image. Look to include items/things/views etc that compliment the subject or challenge it, either way, questions drawn from your image, all lead to building a story.

Experiment with colour

A colour photograph isn’t the aim for every photograph. Experimenting with different colour hues, such as converting to black and white or sepia, or some other monotone, or even just desaturating (removing some intensity) the colour a little can help be less distracting. Too much colour, can sometimes distract the viewer from the subject, because they wow over the colour and then look for a subject. It’s all about experimenting.

Show it off

Showing you work is one of the best ways to get feedback. Show your images to everyone you can, friends, family and little to their very first reaction… “wow” or “oh OK”, or “that’s nice”. The latter two is your first indicator that the image didn’t grab their attention immediately.
Look at what can be improved and get out there.

Lens Hood

Lens Hoods

The hoods are supposed to prevent the lens flare or glare. But when it comes to lens hoods, the range of choices is quite large. Firstly, there is the basic version. This is similar in resemblance to a lamp shade and it is utilized on the lenses which work in the larger areas of the tele zoom. Since in this case the angle of vision is very narrow, the phenomenon of vignetting (obstructing the field of view used by the lens) will not appear. Today’s market offers various types of lenses which can start from wide and continue to telephoto regions. In this case, the regular lens hoods cannot be used particularly since they can cause vignetting.

Design

The aspect of design is taken care of by using hoods which are specially created for this purpose. They are constructed by measuring the horizontal and vertical angle of vision in a separate manner. Normally, the horizontal angle is larger than the vertical one and the sunlight brought by it. This requires a design shaped as a flower or even a petal.

In what concerns the hood for every lens, this needs to be created according to the angle of the lens or else vignetting will appear. In addition to this, the lens hood also protects the lens from getting physically damaged. Some of the hoods for cameras (prosumer models) fix filters of teleconvertors directly on them. When it comes to macro photography, the short lens hoods have ring shaped LEDs placed over them. This way great lighting is assured from closer angles. The hoods mentioned are very flexible and offer great freedom to photographers. But when battery packs are included, the camera might lose its stability a bit.

Matte Box

The matte box is used especially in the video area rather than in the photo field because it can help the photographer adjust the length of the fins. Also known under the name of French Flags, the fins come with a great flexibility and freedom of movement. They are less used in the still photography and they are mainly dedicated to small environments such as studios (mostly due to the huge size of the matte box). Next to this, they also are a great place to fix plastic or glass filters.

Thus, when you decide to purchase an object of this type, you should also include a lens hood in the deal because it will provide a better quality when working with direct sunlight. This way a better contrast is created and pictures can look more powerful due to the hoods, since sunlight will not fall on the front elements of the lens.

Essential Accessories for DSLR

Camera Bag

Hauling your camera and its accessories around can be quite distressing if you lack the proper way to carry it. A camera bag eliminates all the hassle. Acquiring one should be based on how much equipment you have. Shoulder bags are the go-to choice for most as they offer easy access to the camera. It is likely that you will buy filters, flashes and lenses down the road and having a safe place to keep these will matter. Besides, a bag will shelter your camera from dust and rain.

Utility Strap

Holding on to your camera for the entire length of your photography session can be quite tiresome. If you need to use your hands, you are compelled to lay down your camera, which exposes it to damage and theft. This conundrum can be solved by investing in a utility strap. It will ensure the camera is close to you at all times. It is especially recommended since it eliminates all risk of you accidentally dropping your expensive DSLR.

Tripod

Tripods are awkward to carry around, but their usefulness cannot be understated. It is a must have if you want to capture the most stead shots. You might not use it every time you are taking pictures, but it is very important that you have it with you. Aluminum tripods are good and sturdy, but also heavier to carry around. Carbon fibre ones are lighter, but also more expensive to buy.

These are the most important accessories to start out with. You might also want to think about lenses, density filters, flash diffusers and flashes as well if you want to make the most of your photography experience. The cumulative cost for a one-off purchase for all these can be quite high, so it makes sense to start out with what you will need for your kind of photography (nature, weddings, etc). The abundance of proprietary stores online should make it easier to find something that works with your needs, and budget.

35mm Film Camera Light Metering

The extinction meter was a beautifully simple solution, but in use it suffered from subjective interpretation, and variations in the sensitivity of the human eye, which differs from person to person.

Photovoltaic Selenium light meters came next. This material converts solar energy into electrical current, and generates a tiny voltage proportional to the intensity of light exposure. Both hand held, and built-in Selenium Meters became commonplace. They even allowed the development of simple automation, where mechanical systems exploited electrical deflection of a meter needle pointer to induce other physical changes (to set apertures or shutter speeds).

Selenium meters were inexpensive to make, and cost nothing to run, and did a pretty good job provided that they were not exposed to moisture. The most iconic exposure meter of all time – the Weston Master – was a Selenium meter.

The shortcoming of Selenium was that it is incapable of measuring lower light levels accurately. This became an issue as ever-faster films were developed, and so CdS (Cadmium Sulphide) replaced Selenium. CdS meters work differently, and exploit the phenomenon of photo-resistance. CdS is a material with an electrical resistance to the passage of a current that changes proportionately to the intensity of light exposure. Accordingly, CdS based meters require a battery to provide a current.

Most manufactures incorporated CdS meters in their cameras, as did the makers of hand-held systems, but CdS eventually gave way to another material; Silicone. This worked in the same way as CdS, but was even more sensitive to lower light levels, and reacted faster to changes in illumination levels. Silicone is today’s standard light measuring material.

Once Cds had been adopted, other forces (technological advancements, and consumer needs) conspired to make light meters an integral, and internalised component of the evolving camera, and design moved towards the exposure meter measuring light on its path to the film, rather than capturing an approximate measure of lighting levels in the vicinity of the subject. Here I am thinking and writing primarily about 35mm SLR cameras, and the development of through-the-lens metering.

The advancement of battery operated, CdS meter equipped camera brings us to the point of this article, since the following typical metering systems were adopted by manufactures.

Average metering

This is the simplest form, where the camera will use all the light coming from the entire scene to determine the exposure setting. No weight is given to any particular portion of the metered area, so an anomalous bright spot, for example, can result in overall under exposure. True average metering is a very rare thing. The vast majority of 35mm SLR film cameras employed the second form of metering.

Centre-weighted average metering

In this system, the meter concentrates between 60 to 80% of its sensitivity towards the central part of the viewfinder. The advantage of this method is that small areas at the edges of the viewfinder that vary greatly in brightness have less influence, and most subjects are generally in the central section of the frame anyway. In truth, centre-weighted metering was more of a consequence that design feature, since light scatter from the focusing screen coupled with the positioning of the meter cell(s) naturally caused an intensity fall off at the edges.

Partial metering

This type of metering works on the same principle as centre-weighted average, but intentionally ignores areas on the edges of the frame, which could otherwise influence the metering unduly if there are either very bright or dark. Partial metering typically concentrates on around 10-15% of the entire frame. Canon was a manufacturer quite keen on this system at one time.

Spot metering

Here the meter will only measure a very small area, typically at the centre of the view screen, and usually between 1-5% of the viewfinder area. Spot metering is very accurate and is not influenced by other areas in the frame. It is commonly used to shoot high contrast scenes. For example, backlit subjects, where perhaps a face is much darker than the bright halo of sunlight around the subject. Spot metering enables the photographer to select which element of a shot is correctly exposed, and the consequential under or over exposure of other, less important areas. Spot metering was usually a second option on high-end cameras, and not an every day metering pattern.

Matrix or Multi-zone metering

This is a much later development, where the camera measures the light intensity at several points in the scene, and then combines the results to find the best compromise exposure setting. Matrix metering was first seen on the Nikon FA, back in 1983. This pioneering camera didn’t sell well, because nobody understood how its metering system worked, and so didn’t trust its accuracy. Yet today, this system is the basis of evaluative metering, the name by which Matrix or Multi-zone has become more commonly known in digital cameras.

Obviously, as we move down this list, the metering systems become potentially more accurate, but the desirability of any system really depends on what you mostly want to photograph. There are no hard and fast rules to say which type of metering is most appropriate, and familiarity with the performance of any metering system is really the best way to exploit its particular strengths and weaknesses.

Once upon a time, the photographer might notice a bright spot in their centre-weighted metering viewfinder, and realise they needed to compensate, without recourse to more sophisticated metering systems. Evaluative metering has found its place in the modern age because photographers now want cameras to do the thinking for them, and they trust their superior powers.

Auto Focus in Digital Camera

Autofocus vs. Manual

It sounds very simple and it is, but there are a few points to remember before you shoot the picture. On the most simple auto-focus cameras the area analyzed by the auto-focus mechanism will be in the center of the frame; it will be this part that the camera focuses on even if the main subject is to one side and therefore out of the auto-focus range. It’s very simple to learn how to alter the focus by manually overriding this mechanism. The true art lies in knowing when it’s the best situation to use either manual or automatic focusing, if you can figure that out then you’re well on your way to becoming a much better photographer all-round.

More Beams, More Accuracy

Some of the more sophisticated cameras have a larger area of focus than that of the central spot found in the more simple models. These more sophisticated cameras send out three separate beams and make a ‘judgement’, either from one of these or from a combination of all three. Many of the single lens reflex cameras (SLR) that take interchangeable lenses are of the auto-focus type. Most of these will, of course, have a manual override for focusing but when in the auto-focus mode the same alterations may be required.

The Advantages of Automatic Cameras

If your camera has auto-focus then most other things will be automatic too. Here are a 5 reasons why choosing an automatic camera is more advantageous;

  • It allows for spontaneous and creative pictures to be captured instantly without time-consuming dial adjustments
  • The built-in flash provides quick, on-the-spot lighting for every occasion
  • Light exposure is metered automatically, saving on adjustment and measuring time
  • ‘Hands-free’ pictures can be taken using the self timer; so even the photographer can appear in the shot
  • The small and compact shape makes the camera easily portable in all situations.

Accessories for the Canon EOS Cameras

Zoom telephoto lens

A zoom telephoto lens (up to 200mm) is a common feature of a top lens collection. Even though it is possible to get a great picture with a 24 to 105mm lens, the high focal telephoto lens is a must-have piece of equipment for the photographer taking the landscape photos. The better quality lens includes an image stabilization feature to help avoid issues with camera shake. They are also quite light in weight, which makes them easy to transport when on-the-go.

Memory Cards

A 2GB, 4GB, or 16GB memory card offers the ability to store and look at the picture shortly after taking it. It is simple to upgrade the memory card, but it is necessary to check the write-speed on the camera. This relates to the maximum speed for saving images to the camera. A high-quality image or photos shot in a burst can delay the time it takes to write the photos to the memory card. Also, the brand of card can impact quality and usable storage life. If a memory card seems to be slow to write or you are running out of space, upgrading the card is certain to increase the enjoyment of using the camera and viewing the pictures.

Battery Grip

A battery grip is a simple accessory which makes the camera easier to hold, especially for those with large hands. They offer three main advantages: more battery life, more buttons and another handle. By attaching the battery grip, you include an extra handle making it more comfortable to use and control the camera. Since the battery grips include extra battery life, they are able to extend the usable life of the camera by a significant margin.

Flash

A flash unit helps capture light in low light conditions to increase the potential range of photos. A high-end unit opens up endless opportunities to be more creative in the type of pictures taken and the preferred locations. A wireless flash is designed to illuminate a range of areas. This makes it possible to take photos from a variety of angles and improves the quality of the pictures.