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Features information, tips and hints on all aspects of photography as well as photo editing technique. Your critique, comments and compliments are always welcomed to help me improve and learn.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Best Time To Take Photography

The most important element to many great photographs is the lighting. Warmth, depth, texture, form, contrast, and color are all dramatically affected by the angle of the sunlight, and thus the time of day. Shooting at the optimum time is often the biggest difference between an 'amateur' and a 'professional' shot. In the early morning and late afternoon, when the sun is low, the light is gold and orange, giving your shot the warmth of a log fire. Professional photographers call these the 'magic hours' and most movies and magazine shots are made during this brief time. It takes extra planning, but saving your photography for one hour after sunrise, or one to two hours before sunset, will add stunning warmth to your shots.

5am: Pre-dawn: A pink, ethereal light and dreamy mist for lakes, rivers and landscapes.

6-7am: Dawn: Crisp, golden light for east-facing subjects.

7am-10am: Early morning: The city comes to life; joggers in the park.

Midday: The sun is too harsh for landscapes and people, but perfect for monuments, buildings and streets with tall buildings.

2pm-4pm: Afternoon: Deep blue skies with a polarizer.

4pm-6:45pm: Late Afternoon: Terrific warm, golden light on west-facing subjects. Best time for landscapes and people, particularly one hour before sunset.

6:45 - 7:30pm: Sunset: Great skies 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after sunset.

7:30-8pm: Dusk is great for skylines, while there's still a purple color to the sky.

9pm: Night shots, or go to bed - you've got to be up early tomorrow!

Ten Tips For Better Photography

1. Hold It Steady

A problem with many photographs is that they're blurry. Avoid 'camera shake' by holding the camera steady. Use both hands, resting your elbows on your chest, or use a wall for support. Relax: don't tense up. You're a marksman/woman holding a gun and it must be steady to shoot.

2. Put The Sun Behind You

A photograph is all about light so always think of how the light is striking your subject. The best bet is to move around so that the sun is behind you and to one side. This front lighting brings out color and shades, and the slight angle (side lighting) produces some shadow to indicate texture and form.

3. Get Closer

The best shots are simple so move closer and remove any clutter from the picture. If you look at most 'people' shots they don't show the whole body so you don't need to either. Move close, fill the frame with just the face, or even overflow it. Give your shot some impact. Use a zoom to crop the image tighter.

4. Choose A Format

Which way you hold the camera affects what is emphasized in your shot. For tall things (Redwoods, Half Dome) a vertical format emphasize height. Use a horizontal format to show the dramatic sweep of the mountains.

5. Include People

Photographs solely of landscape and rocks are enjoyable to take but often dull to look at. Include some of your friends, companions, family, or even people passing by, to add human interest. If there's no one around, include yourself with the self-timer. Have you ever got your photos back only to discover that something that looked awe-inspiring at the time looks dull on paper? This is because your eye needs some reference point to judge scale. Add a person, car, or something of known size to indicate the magnitude of the scenery.

6. Consider Variety

You may take the greatest shots but if they're all the same type or style, they may be dull to look at. Spice up your collection by adding variety. Include landscapes and people shots, close ups and wide angles, good weather and bad weather. Take personal shots that remember the 'being there' - friends that you meet, your hotel/campsite, transportation, street or hiking signposts.

7. Add Depth

Depth is an important quality of good photographs. We want the viewer to think that they're not looking at a flat picture, but through a window, into a three-dimensional world. Add pointers to assist the eye. If your subject is a distant mountain, add a person or a tree in the foreground. A wide angle lens can exaggerate this perspective.

8. Use Proportion

The beauty of an image is often in its proportions. A popular technique with artists is called the Rule of Thirds. Imagine the frame divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, like a Tic-Tac-Toe board. Now place your subject on one of the lines or intersections. Always centering your subject can get dull. Use the Rule of Thirds to add variety and interest.

9. Search For Details

It's always tempting to use a wide angle lens and 'get everything in'. However, this can be too much and you may loose the impact. Instead, zoom in with a longer lens and find some representative detail. A shot of an entire sequoia tree just looks like a tree. But a shot of just the tree's wide base, with a person for scale, is more powerful.

10. Position The Horizon

Where you place the horizon in your shot affects what is emphasized. To show the land, use a high horizon. To show the sky, use a low horizon. Be creative.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rule of Thirds

Rules of Composition

Camera Interactive

Cameras Interactive aims to help novice photographers grasp the main concepts of SLR photography.

The Flash-based Virtual Camera gives users hands-on experience operating an Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera.
Four tutorials explain focusing, aperture, shutter speed and exposure.


How to check Shutter Count? (For Nikon user)

Check out this site. If you are looking for software that can check "shutter count". Here it is.
Just choose the image from your computer or URL and voila. You can check a lot of Exif info from your image taken from shutter speed, aperture, ISO, shutter count and so on.