Archive for May 2010
If there is one lens that I believe every photographer should have on hand, its got to be a nifty fifty (50mm). Have you ever been indoors and find that you just cant get a sharp photo wothout using flash or a tripod? I know I have, and the last thing I want to do is raise my ISO up. Well with a nifty fifty you might just be able to get that shot! The nifty fifty generally comes in two different models the 50mm 1.8 and the 50mm 1.4. This wide aperture alows you to get sharp, fast photos and a great shallow depth of field. In the example images you can see the great softness and bokeh you can achieve with this lens. I often pull this lens out for portraits and find that it produces very flattering photos in natural diffused light.
A Lesson to be learned?
50mm is often described as being the most similar focal range as what we see with our eyes. Working with one focal range really makes you think about how you should setup and compose a photograph. Being a fixed lens you will have to (Gasp!) move yourself to zoom in and out, you may even find yourself leaning backwards and forwards slightly to achieve the best focus. Eventually you will understand when its time to bring in a wider lens to achieve a certain shot.
How much do they cost?
You may be surprised that a 50mm for Nikon or Canon run for only about $100! That’s really cheep for the quality of photos you can achieve with these lenses. Don’t let the price fool you, This lens is fast, sharp and crisp.
The nifty fifty is compact enough to take out if you dont feel like lugging around a bag of lenses. The wide range of aperture gives you amazing creative control. You will be amazed at the great effects and quality you can get out of this little lens. This lens is a must for indoor shots, its my number one go to lens for indoor weddings were there may not be a lot of available light.
Here are a couple of links for the nifty fifty:
The Lensbaby Composer brings a twist to everyday photography.
The Lensbaby is at around 50mm and works by shifting the angle of the lens, and thus changing the focus point. You can achieve some dramatic effects with the Lensbaby, It’s fun to use and really changes your perspective when using it. The Lensbaby has an optic swap system, so you can simply add a variety of different optics such as, a soft focus, fish eye, pin hole and plastic optic.
There are also some great accessories to go with the lens baby which include a macro kit, wide angle attachment, creative aperture attachment.
In ending the Lensbaby Composer is a fun and different way to take photos, if you cant seem to find the inspiration for a photo its great to take the Lensbaby out for a spin to get a different perspective on a subject.
You can get the Lensbaby here
The traditional photo album portfolio is slowly dissipating, Online portfolios are a convenient way to keep your work up to date. It is also more convenient for the person viewing the portfolio, when you hand someone a business card with the web address to your portfolio, it gives them the option to check out your portfolio at there leisure, when they have the time to thoroughly go threw it. I’m not saying that the old fashion printed portfolio is a bad thing, in fact some times its better to get a client in-front of you while there going through your work (that way you can use your charm to possibly land a job).
But I wanted to talk to you about an online portfolio service that is FREE, and I am still using to this day.
CarbonMade.com is a simple to use online portfolio service. There simple design is modern and stylish, but simple enough to not take away from your work. Just sign up for your free account that lets you have a total of 5 projects (subjects or categories) and a total of 35 images. The paid for version costs $12 a month and you get 500 images & 10 videos, domain binding plus video and flash projects. I am currently using the free version, being only able to have 35 images keeps it short but sweet, and I have to be very picky about the images I show.
CarbonMade.com is a great way to get your work out there, and its not only for photographers, there are many web designers, illustrators, fine artists and graphic designers using carbonmade.com as well.
You can check out my personal portfolio as-well as many others at www.skotniczny.carbonmade.com
Photographing star trails if a fun and different subject to photograph.
Although its hard to notice it, due to the rotation of the Earth the stars we see at night slowly make there way across the sky generally to the west. The stars rotate around the north and south celestial pole. Stars that are very close to one of these poles tend to move very slowly, but thous that are closer to the equatorial plane, move a lot faster. If your located in the norther hemisphere then you can only see the north celestial pole, like wise if your in the southern hemisphere you can see the southern celestial pole.
To locate the north celestial pole you will need to locate the Polaris star. If your aware of were the little dipper is located, the Polaris star is located at the end of it handle.
The south celestial pole is a little trickier to find, the way I would find it is buy using the southern cross and its two pointer stars. I would draw a line going down the Y axis of the southern cross, at the same time I would draw a line from in-between the two pointer stars, and were the two lines crossed is more or less were the south celestial pole is.
Now I know your thinking, “what the hell is this guy talking about” Its hard to describe were to find these poles so here is a wiki link with pictures that will help.
Lets start shooting!
You will need, a sturdy tripod and a camera with a bulb setting and preferably a cable or remote shutter release. You will need to set up your camera and point it at the location of the sky you want to photograph. Exposures for star trails can be any were from ten minutes to over three hours. watch your battery life, long exposures tend to drain batteries fast.
Once you get the feel of how the stars move through the sky you can look for a foreground object to include in your photo (such as a house, tree or whatever) if there is enough light from the moon your subject might just be lit up after you take your long exposure, otherwise use your flashes rear flash sync setting to light up the foreground at the very end of your exposure.
Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_pole for more information about the celestial poles and how to find them.
James Lee – jronaldlee.com
Aitor Escauriaza – www.flickr.com/photos/rotia/
Dylan Marriott – www.flickr.com/photos/d-32/
We all want to have a go at macro photography at some point, but the cost of a dedicated macro lens can be somewhat overwelmming with prices rangin over $500. There is a cheep alternatives to buying a macro lens.
The Reverse Ring
A reverse ring screws into the front of your lens like as a filter would. You then mount the other side of the ring to the camera body, Thus mounting the lens on your camera backwards. This may sound like a weird setup but you can get some decent extreme close up shots. With this setup you have to manual configure the shutter speed and aperture, due to the camera not being able to register the lens you will have to shoot in manual mode.
I recommend using a 50mm lens with an aperture ring when doing this, the aperture ring will be the only way you can adjust the aperture. If your lens does
not have an aperture ring you can gently wedge a piece of paper were the aperture leaver is to keep it open.
I have found that the depth of field when shooting with this method is extremely thin. You will definitely want to use a tripod and remote shutter, or the self timer feature on your camera. Even pushing the shutter can move your subject out of focus.
Find some reverse rings Here
There are other methods of acheaving extream macro, some of which include, using extension tubes and close up lenses. But I will cover thous in a latter post.
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