Lets Talk Photography

Looking to learn more about the camera you are using.....well so am I so together we will take this journey together to explore the many ways you can use that expensive piece of equipment instead of using it like a "point and shoot" camera. Not that there's anything wrong with point and shoots, but don't spend the money for a DSLR camera and only use the "Auto" or "Program" settings. Life is about learning new things everyday so lets get out there and make beautiful pictures!

Follow me at: http://www.chuckadamsphotography.com/

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Understanding Aperture – A Beginner’s Guide

Understanding Aperture – A Beginner’s Guide

Aperture is one of the three pillars of photography, the other two being ISO and Shutter Speed. Without a doubt, it is the most talked about subject, because aperture either adds a dimension to a photograph by blurring the background, or magically brings everything in focus. In this article, I will try to explain everything I know about aperture in very simple language.
American Robin
Before reading any further, I highly recommend reading about what a DSLR camera consists of.

1) What is Aperture?

Simply put, aperture is a hole within a lens, through which light travels into the camera body. It is easier to understand the concept if you just think about our eyes. Every camera that we know of today is designed like human eyes. The cornea in our eyes is like the front element of a lens – it gathers all external light, then bends it and passes it to the iris. Depending on the amount of light, the iris can either expand or shrink, controlling the size of the pupil, which is a hole that lets the light pass further into the eye. The pupil is essentially what we refer to as aperture in photography. The amount of light that enters the retina (which works just like the camera sensor), is limited to the size of the pupil – the larger the pupil, the more light enters the retina.
So, the easiest way to remember aperture, is by associating it with your pupil. Large pupil size equals large aperture, while small pupil size equals small aperture.

2) Size of Aperture – Large vs Small Aperture

The iris of the lens that controls the size (diameter) of the aperture is called “diaphragm” in optics. The sole purpose of the diaphragm is to block or stop all light, with the exception of the light that goes through the aperture. In photography, aperture is expressed in f-numbers (for example f/5.6). These f-numbers that are known as “f-stops” are a way of describing the size of the aperture, or how open or closed the aperture is. A smaller f-stop means a larger aperture, while a larger f-stop means a smaller aperture. Most people find this awkward, since we are used to having larger numbers represent larger values, but not in this case. For example, f/1.4 is larger than f/2.0 and much larger than f/8.0.
Take a look at this chart (image courtesy of Wikipedia):
The size of the circle represents the size of the lens aperture – the larger the f-number, the smaller the aperture.

3) What is Depth of Field?

One important thing to remember here, the size of the aperture has a direct impact on the depth of field, which is the area of the image that appears sharp. A large f-number such as f/32, (which means a smaller aperture) will bring all foreground and background objects in focus, while a small f-number such as f/1.4 will isolate the foreground from the background by making the foreground objects sharp and the background blurry.
Depth of Field
Image on left shot at f/2.8, Image on right shot at f/8.0
As you can see, just changing the aperture from f/2.8 to f/8.0 has a big effect on how much of WALL-E is in focus and how visible the background gets. If I had used a much smaller aperture such as f/32 in this shot, the background would be as visible as WALL-E.
Another example:
Mailboxes - Aperture set to f/2.8
In the above example, due to the shallow depth of field, only the word “Cougar” appears sharp, while everything else in the front and behind of that word is blurred. If I had used a larger aperture such as f/1.4 and focused on one of the letters, probably only that letter would have been sharp, while everything else would have been blurred out. The larger the aperture, the smaller the area in focus (depth of field).

4) Lens Apertures: Maximum and Minimum

Every lens has a limit on how large or how small the aperture can get. If you take a look at the specifications of your lens, it should say what the maximum (lowest f-number) and minimum apertures (highest f-number) of your lens are. The maximum aperture of the lens is much more important than the minimum, because it shows the speed of the lens. A lens that has an aperture of f/1.2 or f/1.4 as the maximum aperture is considered to be a fast lens, because it can pass through more light than, for example, a lens with a maximum aperture of f/4.0. That’s why lenses with large apertures are better suited for low light photography.
The minimum aperture is not that important, because almost all modern lenses can provide at least f/16 as the minimum aperture, which is typically more than enough for everyday photography needs.
Nikon 50mm f1.4 AF-S
This 50mm lens has a max. aperture of f/1.4
There are two types of lenses: “fixed” (also known as “prime”) and “zoom”. While zoom lenses give you the flexibility to zoom in and out (most point and shoot cameras have zoom lenses) without having to move closer or away from the subject, fixed or prime lenses only have one focal length. Due to the complexity of optical design for zoom lenses, many of the consumer lenses have variable apertures. What it means, is that when you are fully zoomed out, the aperture is one number, while zooming in will increase the f-number to a higher number. For example, the Canon 18-135 lens has a variable maximum aperture of f/3.5-f/5.6. When zoomed fully out at 18mm, the lens has an aperture of f/3.5, while when fully zoomed in at 135mm, the lens has an aperture of f/5.6. The heavy, professional zoom lenses, on the other hand, typically have fixed apertures. For example, the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS Mark II lens has the same maximum aperture of f/2.8 at all focal lengths between 70mm and 200mm.
Why is this important? Because larger maximum aperture means that the lens can pass through more light, and hence, your camera can capture images faster in low-light situations. Having a larger maximum aperture also means better ability to isolate subjects from the background.
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please post them in the comments section below.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ISO Speed


So to better understand shooting in low lite situations in relationships to newer DSLR's, here's a quick tutorial on understanding what exactly the ISO really does: 

The ISO speed determines how sensitive the camera is to incoming light. Similar to shutter speed, it also correlates 1:1 with how much the exposure increases or decreases. However, unlike aperture and shutter speed, a lower ISO speed is almost always desirable, since higher ISO speeds dramatically increase image noise. As a result, ISO speed is usually only increased from its minimum value if the desired aperture and shutter speed aren't otherwise obtainable.
low ISO speed high ISO speed
Low ISO Speed
(low image noise)
High ISO Speed
(high image noise)
note: image noise is also known as "film grain" in traditional film photography
Common ISO speeds include 100, 200, 400 and 800, although many cameras also permit lower or higher values. With compact cameras, an ISO speed in the range of 50-200 generally produces acceptably low image noise, whereas with digital SLR cameras, a range of 50-800 (or higher) is often acceptable.


exposure bucket analogy diagram
Achieving the correct exposure is a lot like collecting rain in a bucket. While the rate of rainfall is uncontrollable, three factors remain under your control: the bucket's width, the duration you leave it in the rain, and the quantity of rain you want to collect. You just need to ensure you don't collect too little ("underexposed"), but that you also don't collect too much ("overexposed"). The key is that there are many different combinations of width, time and quantity that will achieve this. For example, for the same quantity of water, you can get away with less time in the rain if you pick a bucket that's really wide. Alternatively, for the same duration left in the rain, a really narrow bucket can be used as long as you plan on getting by with less water.
In photography, the exposure settings of aperture, shutter speed and ISO speed are analogous to the width, time and quantity discussed above. Furthermore, just as the rate of rainfall was beyond your control above, so too is natural light for a photographer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Canon U.S.A. : Canon Professional Services

Canon U.S.A. : Canon Professional Services

Chuck Adams Photography

Why I love photography                                          

Ask any photographer (professional, amateur, or casual shooter) what photography means to them, and you’ll get as many answers as there are stars in the sky. This is a good thing. This means that fifty people can be taking the same shot of a single scene and almost all of them will come up with their own unique take on it.
Photography like any art is broken down into two aspects. You have the nuts and bolts discussion on how to use the camera, and how far you can stress the camera to get the shot you want. The other part is the crafting an image to bring out a reaction from the viewer. Without the former skills under your belt the latter becomes much harder.
However, it’s the two as a whole that drives what I think photography is. My belief is a picture is pure emotion. That could be pain, anger, suffering, joy, silliness, sadness, tranquility, etc. However, it must evoke an emotion. If it doesn’t it has failed.
Note, I’m stating “emotion” and not a “story.” Each person that sees just the picture will overlay their own story on the picture. If as a photographer you have to handhold the viewer as to what the story is you have failed. You can add scene details through a header or a short blurb, but the image should stand without them.
Why? Because more often than not the photo is out of your control. You take a picture and give it to someone. They may or may not accept your “version” of the story you tell, but they can’t deny the emotion within the shot.
This is important because photos have different meanings to different people. A bride’s wedding book has a lot of personal meaning to her, because it was her day. It was the day everyone focused on her. Her children, her children’s children, or a historian may not have such a strong emotional bond to those images. They are a “slice of life” to them. An event that happened that could be studied to explain how things were done in the past. Thus to make it have any meaning to others there has to be a strong independent emotional feeling from the pictures.
I’m not saying that storytelling is wrong in photography. I truly believe it has it has a place in series and collections. Storytelling through series is as old as cave paintings, but unless you want an isolate image to lose power you need to ensure it has an emotional appeal of its own. Images that lack this are weak links, and honestly should be limited or culled.
Most photojournalist understand this idea. They are looking for the raw emotions when they are out photographing for a story. They are never sure how many photos will be used by the periodical and in what order. So they need to ensure that each image is captivating, because it maybe their picture that draws the reader seeing a headline “Hundreds Displaced in China” to read the article instead of skipping due to a lack of any personal bond to China or the people being displaced.
So my advice, take it or leave it as you wish, is to always go for the emotion. It will be the strongest shot that you can ever take.