Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

I’m living in England.  Some weeks that means that I feel like I am living in shadows. This has been one of those weeks.  An idea that I tried to capture on Instagram:

Quiet morning on a rainy day. #solititude #photography #candles

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

The photo has a filter on it, but the reality is that it was a very rainy and dreary morning in my office.  I liked the photo though, mostly anyway, so I decided to pull out my larger camera to see if I could create a photo that was more exactly in line with what I was thinking.  Here is the photo, taken with my Canon 50D, as it was before being edited:

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

One of the first things I did when shooting this version was to turn the red candle around so you can’t read the label.  Also, with this being a standard photo, I can allow for more space around the candles, something that Instagram is not set to do.  I set the f-stop to f/18 because I wanted the photo to be in as much focus as possible.  This of course means that there is less light for the exposure.  You will see that my shutter speed is a full 5 seconds.  So this photograph does require a tripod to be in focus.  In this case though, I just used my desk as a tripod, it just happened to be perfect for the angle that I wanted for the photograph.  Here is the final version:

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

I suspect the first thing you will notice is all the blur that has been added into the photograph.  You might find that odd considering I just made mention of how in focus I wanted the shot in the camera to be.  What I was thinking here was that I wanted the unedited version to be as close to reality as possible so that I could then decide what reality to keep in and what to edit out.  I’ve used the field blur feature of Photoshop to blur this image while keeping most of the candle sharp.  I’ve used the healing brush tool to remove a few marks and dust on the candles.

The final image is what I had in mind when I was originally looking at the scene.  It retains a lot of the reality of the scene but is a more subdued and meditative version. It is the version that I added to my Picfair portfolio.

What do you think of my various versions?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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A Simple look at the Rule of Thirds

If you are new to photography, one thing that you will hear a lot about is the Rule of Thirds. Not familiar with the term?  A simple, quick explanation can be found here.  As with all rules of photography, it is probably more accurate to call it a guideline.  Most of the time it works, but sometimes, really it is better to just ignore it.  For this photo below though, the rule of thirds is exactly what I had in mind:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/10 1/20

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/10 1/20

This photo was taken using the rule of thirds partly because I thought it was a simple, elegant composition.  I thought that using the rule of thirds would accent the simplicity.

I did also use a high f-stop.  I wanted to include as much detail as possible. In order to get that f-stop, I did need to use a tripod as my shutter speed was to slow for me to make the image just holding the camera.

As a photographer what do you think of the rule of thirds? Some cameras even have a grid that you can use in camera to help you achieve this effect, do you use it? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Cheers!

This Week in Digital Photography Class…

We are working on slow shutter speeds.  So, how’s it going? you might ask. Arg, I would probably say.  I took this photo:

ISO 250 f/4 2sec 28mm

Well, ok, you say, I can see that you have a 2 second shutter speed that’s pretty slow. You’re right, it is.  I think I got the kind of shot my professor is looking for, but we were supposed to be using our camera’s night portrait setting to get this sort of effect.  Here’s the thing with the photos I took in that setting, the camera is trying really hard to take a “nice” picture.  I am going for something a little different.  So, while it is trying to shoot “nice” it turns up only slightly blurry not really blurry like the photo above.  The problem with a little blurry is that the viewer has to decide if you did that on purpose or if you are just not very good.

So, for this, I shot in Aperture priority mode, with white balance set to shade, because I did want that sort of orange glow.

Your thoughts on slow shutter speed? what settings do you use?  Feel free to put a link back to your own examples to share in the comments section. Other word of wisdom? I’m listening.

Cheers!