31 May 2007
There might be occasions, where you want to separate these two steps. You might have focused on your object and just wait for the right moment to release the shutter without refocusing. You might have used the AF-ON button (1st image) on the back of your camera, probably by accident With the standard setup the shutter release button and AF-ON share the focusing. By splitting this functionality, AF-ON activates the auto-focus and the shutter release activates the light metering and obviously triggers the shutter.
Since I discovered this, I started using it for most of my photography. It is by far the fastest way of focusing, recomposing the image and take the photo with the preselected focus point.
So, how can you do it? Luckily, setting it up and resetting it, is easy.
1) Select MENU at the back of you camera and select the submenu with the pencil symbol and choose Autofocus.
2) On the following screen select AF Activation.
3) Under AF Activation, you can either select Shutter/AF-ON or AF-ON only. With AF-ON only, you split focusing from the release button. To undo this, just select Shutter/AF-ON.
Give it a try and let me know of your experience.
29 May 2007
Don't forget to have a look at the Lighting 101. You can learn a lot here. This blog is one of my favourite blogs about photography.
28 May 2007
In the slideshow you can see the difference settings and what effect they have on the picture. I worked with two different conditions. 1) Fluorescent light only 2) Fluoroscent light plus flashlight. The captions of the images display first the Camera setting followed by the light condition.
Using the preset gives you very good representation of the original light conditions.
So, how do you change the different white balance settings? The engineers of the Nikon D200 made our lifes very easy with their design. On top of the camera on the left hand side, you find a button with three keys on: Qual (to select image quality), ISO (to set ISO manually) and WB (to select the white balance option). My finger is pointing to it in the first image. Holding the WB button and simultanously turning the backwheel, allows you to select a white balance setting. You see your current setting on the top display on the bottom line.
When you want to create your own individual preset, follow the these steps.
1) Get yourself a white sheet of paper.
2) Select the white balance option PRE
3) Hold the WB button on the camera top left for a few seconds until you can see PRE flashing in the top display.
4) Point your camera at the white sheet of paper. Make sure that you cover the whole image field. Don't worry about focus, but make sure the exposure is correct.
5) Press the shutter button.
6) If the camera is happy with the result, you will see the GOOD flashing, if that is not the case, do it again.
That is not too difficult, but there is one more thing. You can save your own presets and use them again in the future, without measuring the whitebalance again.
After step 2), you hold WB down for a short moment and turn the front wheel at the same time. On the top display next to your exposure mode, you see something like d-0 to d-4. These are your individual memory slots. Select one and proceed to step 3). The setting is saved for the memory slot, you selected.
I hope that helped and makes things a bit easier for you in the future.
26 May 2007
If your mobile phone has the capacity to access the internet, you can log into your Google calendar by going to http://calendar.google.com. I got used to check my emails on the go and being able to check my calendar the same way is exciting. The capacities of the new feature are limited though. You can quick add new events, which is great, but you can't edit or delete current appointments. If you need a quick overview over your schedule for the next couple of days or enter quickly a new appointment into you calendar it is a useful tool. I assume that Google will upgrade the application in the future.
Check out the announcement from Google's blog.
25 May 2007
One of the photographers, I got exposure to, was Henri Cartier-Bresson. He is the man, who coined the expression of the decisive moment, the moment where a photo starts telling a story. If you hit this moment in your photograph, you are close to a good picture. He himself avoided to be photographed as his work was well known. He did not want to be identified as Mr Cartier-Bresson, who takes these great pictures. Most of the time he worked with a Leica M camera with a 50mm lens attached. His skill was the compostion within that frame. The M camera allowed him to take pictures in situations, where a SLR camera would make the picture impossible altogether. Have a look at some of his work. It is worthwhile. One of the books, I received from some photo friends and one of my teachers is called in English: America in Passing. The book is currently out of print. If you find it a second hand book, it is a worthwhile investment into your learning. Here is a general link to some books by/ about, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Alfred Eisenstaedt grew up in Germany in the beginning of the 20th century and immigrated to
Both photographers used as their main tool the Leica M system. The advantage of the system is the very small design and quiet operation paired with amazing interchangable lenses. It is a luxury, you have to pay for. Last year, Leica presented the first digital M camera after sticking to old concept for too long. Personally, I don't own a Leica M camera, though I wouldn't mind working with it. I like the concept and solid construction, but get far more versatility out of my current Nikon equipment, which I wouldn't call inferior. :-)
I will present some more photographers during the next few weeks.
24 May 2007
If you have to give presenations, you might want to read this: Compulsive Obsession with Details will save your Neck
Have you ever wondered how the Magna Doodle works? We had a huge discussion about that with friends tonight. Here is the answer
This is a bit of an older one from Strobist's webpage. It might not be the easiest way of getting a white background. Sometimes you just have to do, what it takes to do that shot. Check it out here
23 May 2007
Let's move right into it. First, the description for the D200.
1) On the back of your camera select the Menu button
2) Select the Custom Setting Menu
3) Select Bracketing/ Flash
4) Select Built-in Flash
5) Select Commander Mode
6) You are in Commander Mode
The built in flash operates now as commander for your external strobes (SB-600 or SB-800)
That is not too complicated. Just remember, when you are finished working with your external speedlights, to set the Built-in Flash Mode back to TTL.
For the D70 or D70s, you have to follow this route. For the D200 it is optional and sometimes the best way of doing it.
1) Put one of your speedlights (SB-600 or SB-800) into the hotshoe of your camera
2) Hold the SEL button pressed for a couple of seconds.
3) You should see the following selection, if not move up or down with the + or - button.
4) Click SEL again shortly and move via the + or - to MASTER
5) Hold the SEL button again pressed for a few seconds to confirm to get to the following screen
You are ready to work with your wireless flash setup.
On your flash display, M refers to Master (Built-in on the D200)
For both options, A and B refer to Flashlights that you define to group A or B. The display on the SB-800 gives you the option of a group C as well, This option is not available on the D200, if you work with the built in flash. Now, you need to set up your remote strobes in the same manner as in the setup of the flash as Master with one difference. You select REMOTE as option. The screen on the speedlight looks now like this:
By clicking SEL you can select either the Channel (1 to 3) or the Group (A to C). Within your selection you move via clicking + or -.
Now it is up to you. Select your sync time on your camera. I normally go for M or S. With the D200 you can go to at least 1/250 s to sync with your flash. Longer exposure times are of course possible. Experiment with the manual settings. The secret lies in the balance between exposure time and aperture. Try it yourself and document the results for your own notes.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment.
22 May 2007
It is worth taking notes and apply the new knowledge. Enjoy it.
There are far more talks available on TED's web-page. You can not only watch them online, but also download them to your computer. Follow this link
- The Pocket Wizards are rather pricy, at least from a South African perspecitve and I want to keep the expenses low.
- A quick and not comprehensive websearch did not result in any import of the Pocket Wizards in South Africa.
I couldn't find any volunteers today to work with me as models, so I had to the experiments on myself. At least I warned you. I thought about the setup for a while and came to the conclusion that I want to try to balance the outside light with the strobes inside. So, my first step was to do a quick measurement of the outside light. I did that using the spotmeter in my camera, checking the exposure of the vehicle in front of the house. A quick test shot pleased my expectation and started working with the strobe.
I mounted it on a lightstand fitted with an umbrella. A combination, I would also use at a customer's site. In the past I would have relied on the built in TTL system and would have chosen a TTL +1 or similar for the flash exposure. Well, this time I went straight to manual operation of flash and camera. I selected the aperture/ time combination I measured earlier and did my first testshot with the flash with a guessed 1/4 of the strobe power. Life would have been great, if the first test would have been perfect. I played around a bit with the right relationship between aperture, time and flash intensity, until I got the balance of light, I was looking for. Finding this balance, did take only a few minutes, as I also played with the position of the flash to avoid reflections etc. In this photo, you can see the even distribution of light between the outside and inside. Is this always the most pleasing result, I would go for. Probably not, but this was not the aim of the experiment.
21 May 2007
Is there a downside to it? Yes, the flashlights need to be in visual contact to the control unit. Otherwise the infrared receivers cannot pick up the signal and won't trigger. In most setups that is easy to accomplish, though not always.
I have been using until recently mostly the TTL setup as it is easy to use. Most of the time I would get the result, I was after, but sometimes it seems the communication between me and my camera did not flow perfectly.
A while back, I found the the strobist webpage with some great advice about using flashlights in a wireless setup. Strobist is run by David Hobby, photographer for the Baltimore Sun. I used the articles as inspiration for flash setups, but continued to work with the TTL setup. This weekend I decided to explore David's advice to go manual. Honestly, I was a bit sceptical, but went for it anyway. David also uses radio triggers for his flashlights, which cancel out the problem of visual contact between controller and flash. As I didn't have those, I just went with what I had.
Man! I was surprised, on how easy it was just to go manual. For the first few shots, I used a flashmeter, but packed away quickly. It was not necessary. All the information, I need I saw on the little screen on the back of my camera after did the shot. I just adjusted the manual output of the lights according to what I saw. That made the process quick and easy. Actually, as easy, if not easier than using TTL. I had the feeling to gain 100% control over the process again. It was almost like standing in the darkroom and printing my own images. A great feeling.
The objects of my experiments weren't very sexy and I did not bother too much with composition. The technique was more important for me than anything else. I will post some images over the following days, where I will use the newly learnt techniques in an attractive context.
18 May 2007
5 different sizes of the slideshow are offered:
144 px, 288 px, 400px, 600px, 800px
Here is a 400 px of one of my portraitsessions:
For more info check Google's blog:
Official Google Blog: Oh, the places you'll go....
17 May 2007
After we actually finished taking the pictures, the two became more playful and I just continued taking pictures. The result? A lot of images, quiet a few of them totally blurred as I worked with a slow shutter speed and no flash. Even though they are not 100% perfect in the sense of composition and focus, I prefer them to the standard shots. Have a look here:
Nice atmosphere and all, but this one is my favourite:
I enjoy the fun and interaction of the two most in this image.
14 May 2007
Beside the powerful organization of my images, Aperture offers image correction as well. Most of the adjustments that I need to perform, I do right in the application. All adjustments are non invasive, meaning the original file is not touched. At any time it is possible to go back to the original file without loss of any information. These days, it is only on the rare occasion that an image needs some more in depth manipulation that I turn to Photoshop.
Adobe released it's own version with name Lightroom recently. I haven't worked with Lightroom yet myself, but it appears to be comparable and some users give it better ratings than Aperture.
You can find out more about Aperture at the folllowing links:
Let me know, about your experiences with any of the applications. Maybe you have some other interesting links, I can add.
02 May 2007
Some pictures from this trip are here:
Right click the image and select open in new tab or window:
|Iron John Sedgefield April 2007|