How do you make rich streaming waterfalls that look great?
Pictures that present full streaming waterfalls are the result of a longer shutter speed. You’ll get better results if you use a tripod. In full daylight try a shutter speed of about 1 second and check the results. If the streaming effect is not sufficiently pronounced then go for 2 seconds. In low light situations the shutter speed could be 3 seconds and the aperture setting may be quite wide so monitor depth-of-focus.
How do I shoot fireworks?
Let’s assume it is dark at the time. A tripod could improve results along with a remote shutter release. Turn off the flash and any auto focus mode on your camera. Point the camera in the general direction where you expect the fireworks to appear. Use the “B” for “bulb” setting on your shutter. With this setting the shutter will stay open for as long as you keep the shutter button pressed. Set a medium aperture around F 8 or F 5.6. If you don’t have a bulb setting try 2 seconds on the shutter. You should be able to see the rocket rising up before the explosion so you know it’s time to push and hold the shutter button. When the brightness begins to fade release the shutter. Advance the film or leave it if you want to try multiple exposure blasts.
This composite of bursts was made by photo editing 4 shots into 1. If you are using a locking remote release don’t leave the shutter open after the shot. It may look dark but twilight, headlights and other light sources that you don’t normally notice will have a cumulative effect and will bring unwanted light patterns onto your shot.
How do I keep my camera lens clean?
It is important to keep your camera lens clean and clear. However, don’t clean it until you see dirt or smudges that make the job necessary. Cleaning too often when not actually needed will wear down the lens coating and introduce the possibility of scratches for no reason. Also don’t forget the idea of keeping a UV or skylight filter on all the time. That move could greatly lessen the need for cleaning the lens. When it’s time to clean your camera lens then take a moment to do it right. Photographic lens cleaning supplies are available at Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and most similar stores. Used sparingly lens cleaning fluid will help you remove dirt without scratching the lens. Lens cleaning tissues and cloths will also do fine without the fluid as long as you don’t rub too hard.
Landscape vs. Portrait
One of the most common tendencies of new photographers that I’ve noticed is shooting everything in landscape orientation. At some point they’ll discover that some pictures look better if you turn the camera on its side and shoot that way. Which leads to the second most common tendency: too many portrait shots. So eventually you’ll learn how to decide which orientation is best for a particular shot and when it’s best to shoot one of each and choose your preference later. Landscape vs. Portrait doesn’t always seem like such a big deal. But to a new photographer it’s like getting a second camera for free.
Tips for Portraits
If you aren’t satisfied with your portraits of people there may an easy fix. Some people may tend to tense up when being photographed which causes them to look stiff and uncomfortable, have tight lips or extra wrinkles on their forehead. Learn to approach the photo session in a way that sets a tone of calm and unobtrusive ease. Talk with your subject for a while prior to the shot maybe while suggesting a more comfortable pose. Remind yourself that you have a goal to convey the person’s personality as well as their physical appearance. With that in mind don’t insist that they always look into the camera for the shot. Let them chat with someone who is off camera or give them a meaningful prop to hold and to interact with. Remember what we’ve discussed elsewhere about introducing people’s hobbies or pets into the session.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that gathering more expensive and technically advanced photographic equipment will make you a better photographer.
When I first discovered photography I devoted a lot of effort to becoming familiar with and geeky about the latest photographic hardware. I was fortunate to come upon some writing by a famous and pioneering professional photographer early in my hobby development. His ideas shot the air out of my fantasies about expensive equipment which caused me to set aside the photo catalogs and glitzy magazines and to focus more upon the core principles of photography.
I read it ‘several years ago’ so I don’t have the full exact quote but it was Andreas Feininger who said that a talented photographer can take great pictures with only a cardboard box and a pin hole. He expanded that idea by saying that good photography is, “. . . nothing but a matter of seeing, and thinking, and interest”.
People photograph buildings for reasons such as architectural studies, historical preservation and real estate sales. For a comprehensive study you may want to break down your subject into tasks such as interior, exterior, setting, architectural design and detail.
Interior shots include consideration of woodwork, halls, lighting fixtures, fireplaces and any significant details or unique features you may discover. Highlight the defining features of the interior design style. The exterior shots will present the outside building appearance including the layout of windows, entrances and roof lines. Check for a porch, sunroom, lanai, and outside entertainment areas. Especially for homes, emphasize the lines and features that define the style such as Victorian, Mediterranean, Colonial or Tuscan. When considering the setting you may include neighboring buildings, the lawn, pool, garden, tennis court and shots from the street.
You may be luckier with your building shot and not have to deal with electrical lines that hurt the shot.With exterior shots of tall buildings, such as office buildings and churches, you’ll likely experience problems with perspective in your shots as lines converge toward the top giving an odd and unnatural appearance. If you are serious about this type of shot you’ll want a tilt-shift lens to correct the perspective problems. The most interesting part of building photography is capturing details that people pass by every day but don’t notice. Examples of details are gargoyles, brick design and fancy trim.