Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Photo 2 Lesson 8

For our last night of class we took a look assignments #6 and #7

Critique Part 1:
Assignment #6: Flash
  • We broke into small groups. The shooter showed each of their images while explaining the technique that they were attempting for the shot. Did the shooter consider it to be successful? The other students gave feedback on what they thought works and does not work in the image. Discuss how they might change the image if possible.
  • We shared some of the best shots with the whole class.

We asked the class if they have any other questions about flash technique. We discussed purchasing flashes and that the single most important factor is to ensure that you get a flash that both swivels and bounces for the most directional control.

Critique Part 2: Assignment #7: The Leg

We took a look at the shots from the legislative building. We had the students show their images to one another. We had each member from the group pick their favorite image and explain to the photographer why it was their favorite from the series. We then shared the favorite shots with the whole class. There were some great images.

We finish off the critique session by reviewing the 5 steps of creative shooting.
  1. Choose subject (and light and lens)
  2. Compose (and focus)
  3. Decide if scene is shutter or aperture priority.
  4. Make correct exposure (*While maintaining your priority decision)
  5. Click
We discussed the importance of self critiquing and about some of the questions that you should ask when reviewing your own images:
  • What was the subject of the photograph?
  • What was the intent of the photograph and was that intent evident?
  • Look at the technical. Is it sharp? is it well exposed? Was it the best lens choice?

We discussed that the purpose of self critiquing is not only to find the best shots, but to learn from the not so good shots. Each time you repeat or get into a similar situation you will be more prepared than the last time if you self critique.

Technical: Raw Files and Lightroom Workflow

After the break we discussed the reason for post processing is to get the most from our files. The purpose of making a good histogram is to make the most printable image. Sometimes just the file straight from the camera (no matter how well exposed) could be improved in post processing.

We discussed with the students the advantages of Raw over Jpeg:
  • Designed to be post processed and manipulated
  • Has the most colour control because adjustments are applied after capture
  • Has a greater tonal capture range because it is not compressed (particularly in the highlights) like a jpeg
  • Greater exposure latitude gives you more (not too much though) exposure adjustments in post production
  • Most effective file type for making black and white or HDR images

Advantages of shooting in Jpeg
  • Sheer volume
  • Sheer Speed
  • Faster Transfer
  • In camera adjustments (contrast, sharpness, colour,) if you don't like post processing.
We discussed that the best case scenario is to shoot both Raw + Jpeg if you have the space. This gives you the advantage of having the quick Jpeg version. You can also shoot for black and white effects in camera, the effects will stay on the jpeg while you still have raw information to go back to if you choose.

We took a quick look the workflow process of lightroom:
We discussed the advantages of lightroom as a file managing and editing program.
We briefly looked at:
  • How to import an image
  • Where it lives in the library
  • How to select images and put them into a quick collection or collection
  • How to change exposure, contrast, colour, (show slight differences with a raw file vs. jpeg if you have one)
  • How to crop an image
  • How to export an image that may be sent out to print
  • Quickly show the slideshow and webpage (note they can be exported for the purpose of giving slideshows and making web based slide shows)

We discussed that lightroom is an all in one editing program, where you can simultaneously organize your files while you are editing and tweaking them. Lightroom editing happens in real time (if the computer crashes while lightroom is running you may only loose a couple of moments of work). Raw, Jpeg, Tiff, PSD all appear to be the same in the program and you manage them in the same manner.

That was the end of the class.

Good shooting to everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Photo 2 Lesson 7

Night 7: Field Trip at Legislative Building

For tonight's field trip we discussed:
  • Making the longest exposure possible so that we you can play around with a couple of special techniques including:
    • How to paint with light with a flashlight.
    • How to paint with light with an on camera flash.
    • Zoom effect (long exposure zoom lens during exposure).
    • Ghostly effect (having a subject stay in frame for approx 1/2 the total exposure time).
We then talked about some other photo ideas. Then the students were given assignment #7:

Assignment #7: The Leg

Take advantage of this wonderful building to explore line, shape and form, the building blocks of composition. Remember there is not much light here so a tripod will probably be required for most shots. Here are some ideas to challenge you:

  • Architectural Abstracts: This is a good place to start your assignment. Keep things nice and simple at first. Look for visual contrasts. Look for patterns. Consider using a longer focal length at first to keep the images simple. Try minimum depth of field to emphasize or separate your subject from your background.
  • Shadow Patterns: Film and digital sensors see shadows deeper than the human eye; if you see shadow it will usually show darker in the image. Try using the shadow as a subject all by itself, or perhaps use a small part of the actual object that is casting the shadow to give a connection or reference to the viewer.
  • Angles: There are lots of straight lines in this incredible building, try skewing them. Use wider lenses to create converging lines and interesting perspectives. Twist the camera, look up, look down, just don’t look straight. You may want to use lots of depth of field to accentuate the lines and movement within the frame.
  • Ghostly Motion: Here is where you want to take advantage of long shutter speeds and a tripod. Make sure that you are able to make the histogram happy. There are many moving things in the building (including yourself). While making exposures have some one walk slowly through your frame or have that person sit in one spot for 1/2 of the total exposure and then leave the frame or move to another area within the frame for the second 1/2 of the exposure. These shots can add a very different feel and dynamic to a scene.
  • Painting with Flash: With an on camera flash and a long exposure on a tripod, use the flash within the scene to brighten areas of the frame (like a person in the shadows or to highlight a sign). You will need to experiment with your flash's output power to create different brightness within the scene.
  • Zoom effect: For this one you will want long exposures again. Set your camera up on a tripod with a zoom lens at the widest or most telephoto setting. Start you long exposure and slowly zoom your lens from one extreme to the other and see what you get. Vary how fast you zoom and which end of the zoom range you start at.

The key here is to enjoy and experiment. Think of this opportunity to consider ideas and concepts that you may use on your next trip with interesting buildings and exhibits.

Pick your favorite 10 frames from the evening and bring them with you to your next class on a flash drive.

*Don't forget to bring in your assignment from lesson 6 (Flash) to the next class. Print at least 4 4x6 prints of the flash assignment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Legislative building


This week class is at the Legislative building.

Don't forget your tripod, water bottle and warm clothes.


RAIN???!!!! In December???!!! Bring a plastic bag to cover your camera just incase.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Aviation Museum


The aviation museum is located
958 Ferry Road

Here is a link to the aviation museum

Here is a link to a google map

See you on Saturday at 10am with your tripod!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photo 2 Lesson 6

Class #6
In this critique we broke into small groups and tool a look at the progression of shooting a single subject while changing technical variables such as aperture, shutter speed, focal length, etc.

Technical: Intro to Flash
We discussed:
  • What flash is, and why it has such a quick duration.
  • We found out what camera sync speeds are.
  • We showed how flash is not effected by shutter speed (other than sync issues).
  • We demonstrated how flash moderates it's output according to the aperture and the distance you are shooting at.
  • We discussed that while using shutter priority modes or manual how to mix their flash with the ambient light.
  • We discussed the difference between flash exp comp, and regular (ambient) exp comp.
  • We looked at how flash falls off because of it's distance from subject and size.
Creative: How to use flash effectively.
For this portion we discussed:
  • That using an on camera flash looks about the same as the pop up flash that is already on the camera (with a little more power).
  • To make better light we need to change the direction and the size of the light source.
  • We demonstrated how to bounce and modify flash.
  • We did a small demo on wireless flash.

Assignment #6

The purpose of this assignment is to get you to play with your flash. You will be trying to find situations that suit the following techniques:

Fill Flash: Try this one on a bright sunny day or with a light source that is directly above and/or slightly behind the subject. Take a shot using no flash at all. Then use your pop up (or on camera flash) and try the same shot again. Try a couple of variations with flash exposure compensation higher and lower as well as exposure compensation up and down.

Flash with a long exposure (slow shutter sync): Try this one in low light conditions where you can make shutter speeds of 1 sec or longer @ f/5.6. An evening street scene or city scape in the background (far from camera) with a person in the foreground (close to camera) would be a good situation to find. Take a shot of the subject with no flash (long exposure) and see what you get. Now try the shot with the flash on (in TTL), the camera in manual at f/5.6 at your camera's sync speed (1/125ish). Then try one more shot with the flash on and the long exposure to see what you get. *This can make results similar to the night portrait mode on your camera. A big key to successful looking shots is to have some sort of lights in the background.

Bounce Flash: (for those that have an on camera flash): For this technique find a subject (person or thing) that is near or can be placed near a wall. Try one shot without any flash at all if possible. See what you get. Then take one with your flash on, shooting straight at the subject. Then try to bounce the flash off the wall and see what you get. *To make sure your flash has enough power, take these shots around f/4 or f/5.6 at 400 or 800 ISO.

The more you do this the better results will get, so try to find several situations that may work. Make at least 4 4x6 prints of the best shots from the sessions to class 8. Have fun!

Some interesting links:
Strobist: Lighting 101 Try this one out. All about portable flash techniques. The first link is the the intro page. There is lots to look at on the sight.

Natural Looking Flash A wedding photographer Neil can Niekerk. He has some really good hints and tips on how to work with an on camera flash.

Remember that next weeks class is a field trip at the Legislative building. We will meet at the front entrance at 7:00pm.
Bring your Tripod or borrow one if you can, it will give you way more creative choice if you do. See you there!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Photo 2 Lesson 5

Class 5: Histograms

Critique: In the first part of the class we took a look at the prints that the students made from assignments #3 and #4. It was a lot of fun as we were looking at prints in small groups and we saw a lot of good images in both black and white and colour.

Technical: Histogram
We had the students take their cameras out and they shot a couple of frames while ensuring the meter was happy each time (or in AV with exposure compensation at 0).
We had a piece of paper with a white, grey and black area and then shot:
  • Only the white portion of their sheet.
  • Only the grey portion of their sheet.
  • Only the black portion of their sheet.
  • All three areas in one shot.
We discussed:
  • why the meter made incorrect exposures.
  • how the histogram interprets the scene.
  • that every histogram is simply a representation of the scene's tones, it isn't right or wrong, each is unique, like a fingerprint.
  • that the only way to asses a histogram and it's "correctness" is to view the histogram along with the scene that is belongs to.
Here is a link to some examples and further explanation of the the histogram:

We also did some in class shooting to find the highlight or white point in the frame and how to use exposure compensation or manual techniques to place the highlight in the right portion of the histogram for correct exposure.

If you wish to post processing your images there is some further info on exposing your images a little differently and you can read further about that here:

We also discussed:
  • the highlight warning.
  • when it may be okay to have parts of the scene that are overexposed (backlight, light sources, specular highlights)
  • the importance of using the histogram as an exposure tool and not to rely on the preview of the screen. You can change the brightness of the screen to the brightest and the darkest and that the histogram doesn't change.
  • metering modes, what is useful and what is not.
  • using spot/partial metering if you want to get a specific tone or perhaps during a backlit situation (otherwise evaluative/matrix will usually do the trick).
We discussed:
  • the importance of practicing all techniques.
  • we reviewed the 5 steps of creative shooting.
  • the importance of self assigning and sticking to that assignment so that when you get to a once in a lifetime scenario, you have a chance to make the great images because you have past experience (ie. practice at the zoo before you go on your once in a lifetime safari).
We gave the students their next assignment:

Assignment #5

The purpose of this assignment is to force you to see and photograph a subject as many ways as you possible can. We all have preconceptions that we must get past in order to make images that are uniquely our own. Some people are lucky enough to see through preconceptions and get to an original image quickly; however, most often we must take a look at our image and then take another image and another until we get the photo to a place that we are happy with. Your assignment is this:

Pick any subject that you like, transform that subject with 20 frames. Use different lenses, positions and lighting to transform the subject into as many different images as you can. Make sure the images are sharp (if needed) and well exposed.

Print all 20 images as 4x6's and bring them with you to the next class.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fort Whyte Weekend Field Trip

Hi folks!

WOW it looks like a great day! See you at Fort Whyte
Don't forget a bag to cover you camera.

Fort Whyte Alive
1961 Mc Creary Road, Winnipeg, MB R3P 2K9

Don't forget:

-Dress warm

-Plastic bag to cover your camera if it snows

-Tripod and quick release plate (there is a sod house that is a bit dark on the inside)

- Fully charged batteries

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Photo 2 Lesson 4

Class 4: Field Trip at St. Boniface Cathedral

During this field trip we took a look at:
  • How to over and underexpose
  • Painting with light
  • Why our auto focus won't work when it's dark out

  • We discussed the LCD and how much variation there is when viewing it depending on ambient light conditions.
After our discussion in the field students were given Assignment #4:

We have a scavenger hunt for you. Find as many of these items or concepts as you can.
  • Cityscape
  • Fossil
  • Converging lines
  • Riel
  • Silhouette
  • Circle framing a subject
  • Something old
  • Something new
  • Moon
  • Infinite
  • Wind
  • Still
  • Soft
  • Hard
  • Leaf

Pick your favorite 5 images from the whole assignment, print them as 4x6 colour prints. Bring your prints to class 5.

While in the field the instructors had the chance to have one on one discussions with the students and to help them out with their shots in the field. We look forward to seeing the results from the field trip.