Category Archives: Photography Tips

Fall Multiplied Part 2

After my last post on Multiple Exposures, I decided to try some more. This can get addictive. At least it is a nice break on a dreary November day. 

The following half dozen 10-shot multi-exposures were shot with my camera set to Add (equivalent to No Gain on some cameras) and an Exposure Compensation of -3.

Fall Multiplied

This was a great fall foliage season, though some would disagree.  I have posted some photos HERE and HERE.

While making these “normal” images I tried some multiple exposure shots. Many modern digital cameras can made multiple exposure images and some offer a number of controls that are very useful in different situations.  Some of these techniques are discussed HERE.

The photos in the slide show that follows are all 10-shot multiples taken with a Nikon D500. All were shot handheld.

 

There are other ways to make multiple exposure images. One of the more unusual and interesting is with an iPhone and the ProCam app. (The Android app with the same name is NOT the same app.) In addition to allowing the iPhone to record raw images, this app has a neat motion blur mode that makes images with a “shutter” speed of 4, 8, 15, or 30 seconds. But such long exposures would overexpose the image, so what this app actually does is blend many photos taken at a short shutter speed. For making motion blurs of moving water, you definitely want to use a tripod. But if you set this app to 4 seconds and move the phone while hand holding it, you can make a multiple exposure image. Here are three photos taken this way followed by a normal photo of the image that precedes it.

Give multiple exposure a try sometime. You might like what you get.

 

Photo Lessons

This weekend I gave two 3-hour photo lessons to two very enthusiastic photographers. It was fun for me, and I think they benefited from the time we spent together. Both Saturday and Sunday we started indoors covering techniques and composition. Then we moved outside to practice what was discussed, answer questions, and touch on other topics in the field.

Saturday was sunny, but when we headed to the Etna Library area the sun was softened by some high clouds. This allowed some nice flower photos that otherwise would be poor in bright sun. We photographed mostly with shallow depth of field to blur the background.  I like this one because of the background colors.

And then there were some fast-moving bees to try to capture.

One simple thing I stress when teaching is that if the sky is not dramatic and does not contribute to the photo, try to eliminate it. Previously I had photographed the nearby barn with very beautiful skies, but this day the sky was white. So I practiced another simple composition tip — sometimes a piece of the subject can be better than the whole.

Sunday afternoon we headed to Hanover and the Dartmouth campus. The other option was Moose Mountain, but it was way too sunny for that. The woods are too contrasty for good photos with full sun. But architecture is often excellent on a sunny day. So we took some photos of buildings. I suggested focusing on details rather than trying to get it all in. And I pointed out that sometimes shadows are an important part of the composition. 

 

I showed how to get a sun star. It is caused by diffraction (bending of light) at the edges of the lens diaphragm. It is strongest when the physical size of the aperture is small, which means both a large f/number and a wide angle lens. At any f/stop, the aperture is 10 times smaller at 20 mm than at a focal length of 200 mm. I wanted to create one at the very top of Baker Library, but a tree got in the way and blocked the sun. So I put the sun star on the top of another building.

We tried some panning. I showed how to create some motion blurs by zooming during exposure with a slow shutter speed.

 

While we were walking and looking for the next interesting subject, I got a few photos of people on the Green and along the streets.

 

It was a good weekend.

Hayes Farm Park and Trescott Ridge Wetlands

On Wednesday I led a photo walk at the Hayes Farm Park and Trescott Ridge Wetlands.  We visited the King Bird Sanctuary along the way. It was a beautiful spring day. The blooms on the trees were a bit past peak — missed that by about a week.  You can see photos I took in the King Bird Sanctuary four days earlier by clicking HERE.

I gave a few photo tips before the walk started. I have also included other photo tips and suggestions in the Blog.

One of the tips I started with was, if the sky is blank and uninteresting consider minimizing or eliminating the sky in your photos. Many “landscape” photos can be much better without the sky. But not this day — the clouds were beautiful.  I made the above photo shortly before people started arriving.

Here is a photo I took right next to the parking area at the Etna Library. It nicely illustrated using color contrast in photos — here the complimentary colors of red/purple and green.

As we walked through the area we found some interrupted ferns. “Interrupted” describes the gap in the middle of the blade left by the fertile portions after they wither and eventually fall off. This photo nicely illustrates tonal contrast.  There is only one hue (color) in the photo. The image is carried by the difference in tones between the dark fertile spore-bearing pinnae and the lighter sterile fronds.

I took two photos to show the effect of sun on flower photos.  Most photos of flowers are better on overcast days.  For this example, Gail simply held my hat so as to shade the flower. 

 

When we got to a nice grouping of mushrooms that were growing on some wood chips, I carefully shaded them with my body when I took the photo.

A dandelion provided an example of aperture on depth of field.

 

I took a photo of a wild strawberry flower putting it slightly off-center.

Near the end of the walk a few of us took a short detour to see a huge yellow birch. I photographed it backlit by the afternoon sun.

As the walk was nearing its end we found a crab spider had captured a wasp on a Golden Alexander wildflower. These flowers are attractive to many kinds of insects seeking pollen or nectar, especially short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, and beetles. It is a member of the Carrot family.

I took out my macro lens to make the photo below — actually not specifically a macro lens but my small LX7 camera that can focus to less than a half inch. If you study the photo you can see the two eyes of the spider on either side of one of the wings of the wasp.

I had decided in advance to walk home after the workshop. My wife was in the library with another group, and we only brought one car to save a parking space for both groups. On my way up King Road I took a pair of photos that illustrate a tip I gave at the beginning of the photo walk. Be sure to take both horizontal and vertical photos — don’t get stuck just using your camera in the easier-to-hold landscape mode. If you have both you can later decide which you like better. If you have only one then the decision is easier, but perhaps not as rewarding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was also a beautiful stone wall that I could use to illustrate another tip. What is it? Does this stone wall look long?

One way to make a subject like this look longer is to not show the ends. Showing the ends limit the length of the wall.

A nice cluster of white birch gave me a chance to illustrate some of the tricks to convey the feeling of three-dimensions in two-dimensional photos. An obvious one is to have some object in front of others. Another way is to use size contrast as I did here with the trees.

Since the group had walked down from the King Bird Sanctuary into a bit of the Trescott Ridge Wetlands on a very sunny day — not a good time for photography in a forest — my wife and I hiked through this area to Woodcock Lane Thursday morning before the rain started. The photo below illustrates using diagonal lines in your compositions.

A fern fiddle-head gave me another chance to play with tonal contrast and depth of field, f/5.6 in this case.

Two minutes later I took the photo below at f/18 to get a lot of depth of field. Too many photographers shoot only on Auto which often sets the camera lens at f/5.6. And too many photographers who are just beginning to use Aperture Priority leave their camera set to f/5.6.  In both of these cases deep depth of field cannot be captured.

I hope these simple photo lessons were helpful. And do visit the Hayes Farm Park and Trescott Ridge Wetlands sometime. There are normally plenty of parking spaces in the library parking lot.