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Basics of Photography

By | Photography

Basics of Photography 1

ISO, Aperture and Shutter

You may be taking photos with your camera set on AUTO. You will probably get totally acceptable pictures. However, understanding the relationship between ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed will help you to control these elements and produce even better photographs.

Combination of ISO, Aperture and Shutter forms, what is sometimes known as The Exposure Triangle. This is a set of guidelines that helps to understand the fundamental relationship to help us take better photos.

So to take a well exposed photo, certain amount of light is required to be allowed through the lens on to the sensor. I go through each of these 3 variables below and highlight the pros and cons of changing each one.

ISO

is the measure of the sensitivity setting. Higher the ISO settings, lower the amount of light you need. This allow you to take photos in low light by changing the ISO to a higher value such as 800 or above. So that’s the upside. How about the downside? The higher the ISO setting, the grainier the photos will look. If you don’t mind the graininess or that is the only chance you have to take the photo, then go for it. There are people who take grainy photos for artistic reasons.

Figure 1: Low light, high ISO, grainy photo

Aperture

Is the opening in the lens that let’s the light through to the sensor. The smaller the f number, the bigger the opening and hence more light is allowed through. Larger aperture will allow you to take photos with less light, for example evening and night time. However larger aperture means that for a given lens, the depth of field is limited. That means that once the camera is focus on an object, an amount of space in front and behind the focussed object is much smaller compared with a smaller aperture opening, represented by higher f number.

Figure 2: Remember – smaller f number means more light gets to the sensor

Figure 3 : Low f number, limited depth of field

Figure 4: High f number gives smaller aperature and greater depth of field

Shutter Speed

This is speed at which the shutter in the camera opens and closes to get the light to the sensor. Longer the shutter is open, the more light gets to the sensor and vice versa. Again, there are limitations here. If shutter is open for any length of time, any camera movement will get recorded, resulting in blurred photos.

Figure 5: fast shutter speed freezes movement of water

Figure 6: slow shutter speed blurs the movement of the water

So, let’s have a look at some scenarios when to change settings.

If you are thinking about venturing away from AUTO setting the camera, then I suggest you change to aperture priority. If there is sufficient light (day time) fix your ISO setting to 100, set aperture to f8 and let your camera select the shutter speed. Early evening? So not much light.

Do the following: increase your ISO to 800 and set the aperture to f4. Take photo. Camera will work out the shutter speed. Phot may be a bit grainy but at least you will have a well exposed photo.

You want to capture a fast-moving object. Unless you have fast enough shutter speed, your photo is likely to end up being blurred.

Do the following: Change the camera mode to Shutter priority and set your shutter speed to say 1/400. Set your ISO to 400. The camera will select the required aperture to expose the picture correctly. Now, these are suggestions and the exact settings will depend on the prevailing conditions – such as the amount of light and also the speed of the moving object. You will need to experiment with the settings.

Good luck and keep clicking.

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India 2016

By | Travel

India 2016

This blog is a record of my personal travel to India. It is not intended to be comprehensive and the photos selected reflect the areas we visited.

Since migrating to the UK in 1968, I have been back to India only twice.

First time in 2008 when we took our mum’s ashes back to India to be scattered.

Second time was in 2016. This was well planned trip thanks to other members of the family. Whilst the plan only covered a small part of India, it was still a very hectic 2 weeks.

After flying overnight to Delhi, we stayed at my sister’s apartment for 24 hours before flying over to Amritsar. This was great as the flying time is only 1 hour whereas a road or rail trip from Delhi to the Punjab could take several hours. Amritsar was very busy as was the Golden Temple even at 6.30am on a Sunday morning.

Disappointingly, the trip to Wagah-Atari border ceremony was not successful. We got to the border area but it was so busy that there was no way of getting to see the ceremony. There were thousands of people who did not get to see the ceremony on that day. I can only imagine it is the same every day. My suggestion for the Punjab government is to implement a ticketing system. That way people who have the ticket should be travelling to site.

Anyway, we travelled to Jullundur and visited our village for the afternoon. Everything seem smaller than it was when I was very young and lived there.

Back to Delhi on the Express train was good and orderly.

In Delhi, there is a ton of culture. Many places to see and visit. We used the metro many times to get into central Delhi. It works really well. There is no queuing system and everybody want to be first onto the train.

Delhi to Jaipur on the train was an interesting experience. Jaipur is so different. Most people seem to want to obey traffic laws and motor-cyclists were wearing helmets. Jantar Mantar, City Palace and Amer Fort are few of the very many places to see and visit.

The third leg of this travel triangle is Agra. Visit to Taj Mahal is very orderly. Tickets are purchased at a location around 1 km away and walk to the Taj is quite pleasant. Best to hire one of the many guides and you will get a lot more out from the visit.

Pictures below are a selection that I took. Enjoy and if you liked this blog and photos, then subscribe to the newsletter.

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Nottingham Xmas Day

By | Nottingham

Nottingham Xmas day

Nottingham City centre always seems busy, which is a good thing. That means there are lots of people buying nice things and spending lots of money. All good for the economy.

I have been there many times taking photos but never seem to have photos without people.

So, I set myself a target that I was going to take photos of Nottingham City centre without any people in. I went to a few times late at night but found people around. Must be students!

So I planned to do a photo session for Christmas day 2017 early in the morning when there would be no people around. For weeks, I looked at sunrise times and wondered whether there would be any sun at all that day. I planned my route along Broad Street, Carlton Street, to the top of Pelham Street, along Fletcher Gate, down to Nottingham Contemporary, Middle Pavement, Bridlesmith Gate, back to top of Victoria Street, down to Cheapside, High Street, Clumber Street and finishing in front of Victoria Centre Shops.

I had all my gear sorted the night before, and planned to do some focus stacking so had my travel tripod to hand.

On Christmas day, I was in town for 7.30am. Parked up on Kent Street and walked the route that I have outlined above.

Sure enough, there was no people around. No cars, buses or trams. Perfect. It was still pretty dark. No sun, no problem.

It was surreal walking around but great opportunity to take some photos.

Took lots of photos. As the morning progressed, there was the odd person. I came across one or two other people taking photos. Kudos to the guy who came in a taxi, took photos on his smartphone and went off back to the taxi, I assume to his next spot.

I was in front of Victoria Centre at 09.15am. There were a few people around by that time. Took my last photos and had a lovely time for the rest of the Christmas day.

My message to anybody thinking of any photo project is to do some planning beforehand and make sure you have all jotted down some of the main ideas that you want to execute.

Good luck with your project and see some of my photos below.

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Carrington Pottery

By | Products

Carrington Pottery

My initial contact with Guy Routledge at Carrington Photography was by chance. I was looking through the window at some of the ceramics on display and Guy just happen to pop out. I think we started talking about football and the conversation developed from there.

Discussion led on to work and once I mentioned that I was a photographer, Guy mentioned that he was somewhat baffled by galleries wanting digital photos in 300dpi. He also had a need to get some photos done for an upcoming exhibition for some of his new ceramics.

We agreed to collaborate and the results are in the gallery below.

I set up the studio in one of the preparation rooms at Carrington Pottery with a large table providing ideal base. Most of the photos were taken with a single softbox above the ceramics with the background curved to give a feel of depth.

Figure 1: Equipment and product setup

As most of the objects were fairly flat, I limited the depth of field to around f5.6.

Guy got involved with holding reflectors, making tea and telling stories about Manchester United and the football team he plays for on Forest Fields. Naturally, I chipped in with few stories about Chelsea.

It was successful session and I keep in regular touch with Guy.

The message here is that as a photographer, get out and network and share your thoughts with people. You never now, your next photo opportunity may be just around the corner. Or is this called Marketing!!

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Keep yourself in the loop by subscribing to the Mann Hans Photography newsletter.

The newsletter will showcase some of my latest images as well as provide some helpful tips on photography.

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