Fringe.

Or rather, de-fringe.

Look at this photo of my garage during last Sunday’s garage art sale:

But look at original size and at the very edges, where there is back light (think: a tree against a sky), you will see some colour fringing (known as “chromatic aberration”). Look at the black picture frame, or perhaps even more clear, at the model’s head, and you will see purple/red on the left, blue/green on the right (it may help to look at the image full size):

Now, in the “Lens Corrections” panel, you see the option “Remove Chromatic Aberration”? Let’s click that on. Now we see:

Can you see how it is now gone? You can go into the “Color” tab within this panel and tune the settings, but you usually do not need to do that.

Now, back to the exhibit. Look at the full image at its original size. That was my Garage Wall Art Sale. Now “was”: it is my sale, since it is ongoing. I am selling framed prints and unframed prints, mainly at 13×19″ size, some larger, in categories including:

  • Colourful: images whose bright colour is the main feature
  • Travel and cities: images of iconic cities like New York, Hong Kong, Toronto, London, Jerusalem, and so on: I have worked in 40 countries.
  • Black and White: images that look great as artistic B/W prints on any wall.
  • Nudes: artistic nudes, of which I have hundreds, featuring my muses
  • Sailing: showing that even “Lake Onterrible” can look great.

These prints are handmade by me on permanent museum quality paper using permanent pigments (not dyes, which can fade after just a few decades). They are also autographed, and are made in limited editions or even as one-offs.

In other words: they can form the basis of your wall art collection. Collecting such wall art can be an amazing hobby. See www.michaelsmuse.com for more detail, and remember: if you buy out of the garage, Garage Sale prices apply, and these can be as low as one quarter of art gallery prices. So, come see what’s in the bins and display racks and decorate your home with originals today.

 

The Camera Puts On Ten Pounds

…or so it is said, in the case of TV, where the camera does really put on ten pounds. Why? Because TV is made with wide angle lenses.

To illustrate this, let’s make a portrait using a 200mm lens:

An undistorted view of the subject. Now let’s zoom out to 35mm. But then, wait….  the subject will be small, very small. So we will have to get closer to keep the subject the same size. It is that closeness that causes the subsequent distortion:

All distorted, and again, this is not because of the wide angle; it is because of the closeness that the wide angle necessitates. That is why we say:

“Do not use a wide angle lens for portraits”.

What we really mean is:

“Do not use a wide angle lens for portraits where the subject is large, because then you’ll have to be too close and you’ll get distortion as a result of that closeness.”

That does not sound quite so punchy though, does it?

Sometimes we can use that distortion for a deliberate comical effect:

I suppose the one thing you may want ti take away from all this is: know your lenses and when to use which one. Pay attention in particular to:

  1. Depth of field.
  2. Perspective distortion.
  3. Susceptibility to (or resistance to) motion blur.

All three of these have something to do with focal length. When you are learning photography, it is your job to figure out in which way.

 

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f/4 and sharp

I often hear students say “but I had to go to f/16, because at f/4, it would not be all sharp from foreground to background”.

False. Or rather, “it depends”. Depth of field depends on lens focal length, and distance to close object, and aperture. So at f/4, if you are not close and use a 16mm (wide angle, on a full frame camera) lens, you get:

Yeah, at f/4 you can have everything sharp, from close to far. Check the tables, etc. All sharp.

But get close, and with the very same settings, now the background is blurry:

Now, at the same settings, the background is blurry.

So keep that in mind, And also, always distinguish focus blur (above) from motion blur:

That’s because I shook the camera, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with focus or with depth of field!

I wish all my readers a very happy 2015. Love, health, happiness: everything else is secondary or can be bought. And keep shooting. And reading. See http://learning.photography for the e-books: if you have a new camera or new gear, this is the time to start using it to its full potential. Go for it. You live only once.

 

Take direction.

I took a few photos today of talented photographer Lisa Mininni, to demonstrate flash direction to her when bouncing; and I thought I would share them with you here.

I often see people, even pros, walk into parties bouncing their flash straight up, at 180 degrees. Here:

Not good: dark eyes. Because of the straight-up bounce, the light comes from straight above. So the eye sockets fill with, well, with darkness.

Next, I see people all the time with their flashes aimed 45 degrees up, forward.

What’s happening here is that the light lights up the subject’s forehead, and the ceiling above and behind them. As we go down, it progressively lights less.

Now, we use a reflector. I have seen those in use many times before. I get:

Not bad. But.. a little harsh. The light could be better.

And when I see “better”, I mean bouncing 45 degrees behind me. Provided there is a roof, cekling, wall, somwethign to bounce back light, you can do this. Even with high ceilings, as in the studio I made these in, where I would estimate they were at least 13 ft high:

Perfect. To really see the difference, view them large and download to your computer.

Now, keep in mind:

  • 45 degrees behind is merely a starting point. And a good one. But the real way to do it is to start with the subject’s face. From there, mentally draw a dotted line to “where the umbrella would be” if you were in a studio. Now continue that line, and where it hits a wall or ceiling, that’s where you aim.
  • What I am talking about here works—usually. But each situation is unique, so “never say never”. Sometimes, “straight up” or “forward” are the way to go.
  • I am mixing with ambient light. A good starting point for that, as regular readers know, is the “Willems 400-40-4 rule”: 400 ISO, 1/40 sec, f/4.
  • Watch your power. If the ceilings are too high, or if you need to use a small aperture like f/8, you may have to go to higher ISO values.

Using a flash is easy once you know how. Learn, and see how amazing the options are that are now open to you.

 


TIP: My courses and books will help: see http://learning.photography—special Christmas pricing applies. Joining the Facebook Speedlighters Forum on https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpeedlightersForum/ will also help: many people will help you learn.