Tip: Stitch.

When you travel, so some panorama shots.

You can do them in your iPhone or similar. But you can also do them—and probably at higher quality—with your DSLR. Like this:

  1. Camera on tripod. Manual mode. On a day with consistent light.
  2. Take a photo on the left of your scene.
  3. Rotate the camera around its axis (hence the tripod, too). Overlap 20-30% with previous shot. Click.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you reach the right.
  5. Take all these shots an put them together in Canon Photostitch, or Photoshop, or whatever other software you have (you can download lots of apps).

Now you get this: click the image repeatedly to see it at  full size:

That’s the Las Vegas strip. In all its glory.

 

Myth-busters!

(To the tune of “Ghostbusters”).

Often, my posts point out common myths and misconceptions. Of which there are many… many. On the Internet, no-one knows that you’re a dog, and no-one knows that you are wrong.

So, two oft-heard “truths”:

  1. You cannot shoot with TTL if you are a pro.
  2. You cannot use just one light for a serious portrait.

So. TTL was used in this portrait of students and friend Diana; remote TTL in fact (light flashes from on camera flash drives off camera flash); and the light was one flash through an umbrella. The on camera flash was disabled, except for those light flashes.

1/125 sec, f/8, ISO100.

The curtain was chosen as a classy background, but the umbrella was close to the subject so the curtain would get little light. TTL handles this fine; if the subject had been too light or too dark, a touch of flash compensation would have sorted that out.

The one light-with-umbrella gives us enough light for a portrait with Rembrandt lighting. Fairly dramatic chiaroscuro-type lighting, but not so dramatic that it becomes unflattering. On the contrary, this is nice light.

The blonde hair stands out nicely against the dark background; dark hair would have needed more light.

So there, a real portrait with “studio settings”, i.e. just one light, and using TTL. I could do that all night.

 

Turn turn turn

Another reminder to those of you who do outside portraits: turn your subjects away from the sun. Like this, I photo I made yesterday of Oakville’ mayor Rob Burton and friends:

The advantages:

  1. The nice shadows coming towards you.
  2. The sun becomes the hair/edge light.
  3. The subjects do not squint.
  4. The light on my subjects’ faces is not harsh like sunlight.

Of course this needs a… flash. To light up their faces. I used a Bowens 400 Ws studio flash, powered by a Bowens “Travel Kit” battery.

Camera settings: 100 ISO, 1/250th, f/7.1. Flash set to 4 (out of 5), bounced into an umbrella.

And that is that. Simple.

 

Blur

I asked a photographer about studio the other day. She said we needed 1/200th sec, to freeze motion. After all, you cannot shoot moving things at, say, 1/40 second. Right?

Wrong. And right.

That is: if you use only flash (i.e. your settings make ambient light go away) then you effective shutter speed is the speed of the flash—which is 1/1000 sec or faster.

So this shot was taken at 1/40 sec while the subject waved her hand quickly:

What you see is:

  1. The hand is substantially sharp: that is the flash part of the exposure.
  2. There is some “ghosting”: that is the ambient part.

If we had gone to a smaller aperture, say f/11, that part (2), the ghosting, would have disappeared. Even if I had shot at 1/10 second.

This is ONE reason that flash gfives you sharp images: it “freezes” everything.