Flare.

Sometimes, you will experience lens flare, a lowering of contrast due to incoming bright light. Like here, from a recent event:

You can’t do much about this: it will happen especially with longer lenses and lenses prone to it.

What you can do is minimise it and its effects. Here’s how:

  1. Remove any protection filter that your lens has on it. These make flare worse.
  2. Ensure that the lens is totally clean.
  3. Use the lens hood your lens came with.
  4. In addition, shield your lens from incoming backlight with your hand if you can.
  5. Position yourself so as to minimise incoming backlight. As you can see in the photo, this is not always possible.
  6. Avoid overexposing.
  7. In Lightroom afterward, use “remove chromatic aberration” in the lens correction section of the Develop module.

If you follow those tips, you have done all you can!


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Have you always wanted to be able to shoot pro images? Well… a short course can get you to an amazingly professional level. And for just one week, all personalized individual or group training, at your location or at mine, or via the Internet using Google Hangouts, is $60 per hour instead of $100 per hour – that’s 40% off! 

This offer is valid only until 4 May, but you can prepay now for later training. Take advantage if this opportunity and kick start your craft: Contact me today to book.

 

9 years…

This blog has been active for nine years, and it is fully searchable: use that function!
Here’s a re-post from 2009:


If you have been in any of my composition or travel photography classes, you will have heard me recommend that you simplify – this is essential.

And one way of doing this, I then go on, is to fill the frame. Get close. Concentrate on the essence and ignore the rest.

Like in this shot:

Candy Jelly

“Fill the frame” often meets resistance.

  • “But I’ll cut off bits!”
  • “But I’ll miss essential stuff”.
  • “But you can’t cut through someone’s head! Not allowed!”
  • “But then I won’t show the whole story”.
  • “But I was always taught I must never cut people off at the feet!”.

All very well. But think about it: if I had not filled the frame above, I would had had mess on all sides, black tables, hands, trays: clutter. The shot would have been much less effective. And sometimes you tell the story better by getting close-up.

I have a tip for you. Next time you hear my voice talking to you as you are about to shoot – or could it be your conscience? – just shoot twice. Once close in, like in the shot above; and once wider, with lots of stuff on all sides.

Then at home, see which one you actually prefer.

Focus Tip: AF-C/AI-Servo and back button focus

I am often asked “can I not leave my camera on AI-Servo (AF-C if you are a Nikon etc)?

The answer is: not a great idea normally. Because you cannot recompose. The moment you try that, taking your focus spot(s) away from your subject, the camera focuses on whatever is behind the subject!

But there is a trick, and I used it today to photograph these amazing insects:

Namely this:

  1. Set your autofocus mode to AI Servo/AF-C.
  2. Select “back button focus” in your camera’s menu (i.e. focus when you press a button on the back of the camera, not whenever you half-press the shutter button).

Now you focus as follows:

  1. Follow the insect, or hockey player, or whatever you are shooting.
  2. While doing this, keep the back button focus pressed, so your camera adjusts to follow the subject’s distance.
  3. But when the butterfly sits and you want to recompose, let go of the back buttoin focus. You can now move the camera to recompose, yet when you shoot, the camera will not adjust its focus.

Done and done!

A quick note about that amazing insect. Nature knows what many beginning photographers do not: you need a catch light in the eye to make it look real and alive. The butterfly’s owl eye has that catch light (the white circle part ion the “pupil”)! Amazing, eh? So learn from nature and always include a catchlight in your portraits.

 

Mnemonic Monday

OK, it’s not Monday, but that alliterates.

You all remember my mnemonic “400-40-4” for indoors flash for events? If not, read up on the Willems 400-40-4 rule for ISO, shutter and aperture.

I have another one for you: 4000-400-4. That is 4000 ISO, 1/400 sec, and f/4. And that is for hockey in a well lit hockey arena. Easy to remember, and results are thus:

200 mm lens, 4000 ISO, f/4, 1/400 sec, stabilizer mode 2

Have fun!

See. Feel. Touch… and read.

Great news. The first of my books is now available as a printed book, from Amazon. 

Go here: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Willems/e/B01CYO8Z92 and select the paperback edition. It is large (roughly 8×11″) and easy to read – it is also the very latest edition of this, the “know your camera” book.

Perhaps finally time to learn to use that expensive camera? I suggest you’ll find this book a very welcome addition. You’ll finally learn to take it out of the auto modes, for a start – freeing your creativity.  Become the photographer you always wanted to be!

And let me know what you do with your new knowledge.

More printed books soon.