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  • Better Photos Blog 4:16 pm on April 1, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: 'ISO settings', , avoiding camera shake, iso, setting ISO   

    ISO – Digital Camera Settings 

    …or, ISO Need a Faster Shutter Speed

    Camera ISO settings

    Setting your camera's ISO

    Relationship between ISO and Shutter Speed

    At any given aperture you can raise your shutter speed by increasing your digital camera’s ISO setting. Doubling your ISO number doubles the speed of your shutter.

    Why would you want to do this?

    This is handy when you are in low light conditions and want to capture sharp images but you don’t have a tripod, or you are already at your widest aperture (at a set ISO) and want an even faster shutter speed to ‘freeze’ fast moving subjects. High ISO settings also enable you to capture images in low light conditions, such as concerts, where the subjects are beyond the range of your flash.

    ISO Settings

    You’ll find your ISO setting in your camera’s menu and/or as a dial on your camera body. There is also an Auto ISO setting which makes your camera flex its ISO settings according to the lighting conditions and aperture combination. Some Auto ISO settings have a limit of 400 or 800 ISO and these are often not high enough for low-light photography, so you’ll need to set your ISO manually.

    ISO settings and Image Quality

    Beware: There is a downside to raising your camera’s ISO – a reduction in image quality. Images at higher ISO settings contain more ‘grain’. The higher the ISO, the grainier the image. (The issue is less apparent when using new pro and semi-pro cameras, where ISO settings can be increased substantially with marginal loss of quality, but it still occurs).

    Your lowest ISO setting produces the highest quality image.

    Your ISO Settings Stay Set

    Remember: Your camera’s ISO setting stays set, even when you switch off your camera. It’s good practice to reset your camera’s ISO to it’s minimum when you finish taking photographs.This makes sure that you have the highest quality settings for your next shoot, or trip.

  • Better Photos Blog 7:52 am on March 31, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    Caldbeck, Cumbria – a great place to take photographs 

    River at Caldbeck, Cumbria

    Looking for a fabulous place to explore with your camera, that’s away from the hustle and bustle? Then head for Calbeck, Cumbria.

    Caldbeck is a traditional Cumbrian village located just outside the northern edge of the Lake District National Park. There’s a wide variety of interesting subjects to photograph. Caldbeck Common offers wild, sweeping views; there’s a village green with a pond; the cottages are ‘chocolate box pretty’ and the river has attractive rapids and waterfalls.

    Location fact file: There is a public car park in the centre of the village, next to the river. Grid ref: 322 398. You can explore the village and surrounding area from here.

  • Better Photos Blog 9:19 pm on March 27, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , photography tuition   

    Better Photos Video 

  • Better Photos Blog 9:01 am on February 28, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: aperture priority, , , , , ,   

    BBC Radio Cumbria interview on Friday, 26th February, 2010 

    I was interviewed again on Friday, 26th February at the BBC Radio Cumbria studios. This time, I talk about aperture settings, shooting in burst mode and discuss a favourite photography location in the Lake District, Cumbria.

    The interview can be listened to again using the BBC iPlayer. Press start and move the slider to 1 hour into the show. (It will be available for a few more weeks.)

    You can hear my interview on BBC Radio Cumbria by following this link:

  • Better Photos Blog 9:08 am on February 15, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: A mode, aperture prioity, AV mode, camera settings, , ,   

    Camera Settings: Aperture Priority Mode (AV or A) 

    Using AV or A mode to set aperture

    When you turn your camera dial to AV or A you can choose your required aperture setting. You set the aperture and the camera reads the light in the scene and calculates a shutter speed that will correctly expose the image. Whichever aperture you choose, the camera makes adjustments in shutter speed based on the prevailing light levels. This means that if you took a series of shots, one after the other, at different apertures and under the same light conditions, the images are exposed in the same way (i.e. have the same level of brightness).

    Why use Aperture Priority mode?

    Turning your camera dial to AV or A enables you to set different apertures, which changes the depth of field of your photographs. For example, you might be taking portrait photos and want the background to appear blurred (a shallow depth of field – low ‘F’ aperture number ), or taking photographs of landscapes, where you want the foreground, middle-ground and background to appear sharp (a large depth of field – high ‘F’ aperture number).

    How to use AV mode

    1) Turn your camera dial to AV or A mode.

    2) Adjust the aperture – F number (check your camera manual to find out how to change aperture, which varies slightly from model to model).

    3) Press the shutter half way to focus/meter the light.

    4) Take the shot.

  • Better Photos Blog 11:21 am on February 3, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: creative photography, photographing ice, tungsten WB, WB, white balance   

    Trying something new with White Balance 

    White Balance Settings

    White balance settings are normally used to correct colour casts from ambient light. An example of this is when you take pictures indoors under tungsten lighting, such as household light bulbs. These cast an orange-coloured light over the subject. Our eyes adjust to this lighting and to us the scene looks normally lit with neutral-coloured light. Your digital camera, however, records the orange light, which might make the photograph look unattractive. To correct this, set your WB to tungsten and this adds a blue ‘digital filter’ to your image which counteracts the orange cast and brings the light colour back to neutral.

    Getting Creative with White Balance

    You can get creative with white balance by setting your camera to the tungsten WB setting and taking shots outdoors. There is no orange light to counteract, so the image comes out blue. It’s a creative way to enhance cold, icy subjects or dusk scenes.

    using tungsten white balance

  • Better Photos Blog 2:00 pm on February 2, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , exposure compensation, photographing flowers, skiing pictures, , travel photos   

    Radio Interview with BBC Radio Cumbria today 

    Just back from BBC Radio Cumbria where presenter Liz Rhodes interviewed me about photographing snow scenes and spring flowers.

    You can listen to the interview again by clicking on this link to BBC Radio Cumbria. You’ll need to move the slider to 1 hr 10 mins into Liz’s show to hear the interview.

    I hope that you find it interesting.


    p.s. BBC Radio Cumbria have invited me back to do more interviews on photography. I’ll post the links on this blog once they take place.

  • Better Photos Blog 11:39 am on January 21, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , Friar's Crag, Keswick, , photo locations, , Theatre by the Lake   

    View across frozen Derwentwater, Lake District 

    I took this photograph last week when Derwentwater in the UK Lake District was frozen over. It was a bright, sunny morning and the views were spectacular.

    Frozen Derwentwater, Lake District, UK

    Frozen Derwentwater

    It’s taken from near Friar’s Crag, an attractive viewpoint which overlooks the lake with views across to the popular peak of Cat Bells. It is a short walk from Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. The water level was low, so I could get low down for this shot and show the boulders in the foreground.

    This area is a good place to photograph at any time of year but get there early to avoid jostling with other photographers and sight seers. On sunny mornings, the peaks are lit with a beautiful warm glow, making them even more photogenic.

    Location fact file: Friar’s Crag, Derwentwater. Grid Reference: NY 263 222. Park on the pay and display near Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. Walk down towards the lake and past the boats and jetties. Continue walking along the path that runs parallel to the lake for around 5 minutes. Friar’s Crag is a rocky knoll on the lake shore.

  • Better Photos Blog 9:59 am on January 5, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: EV, , photographing snow,   

    Photographing Snow 

    Ever wondered why your snow scene photos look a little dull and grey, rather than the brilliant white you can see with your eyes?

    Newlands Valley, Lake District, UK

    That’s because predominantly bright white scenes fool your camera into underexposing them.

    To get the snow looking bright white, you need to increase your camera’s exposure. Look for your camera’s exposure compensation setting. On most camera models it is a button with a plus and minus displayed on it, other cameras use a dial. You can also use exposure compensation via the camera’s menu screen.

    To get your winter scenes looking snowy white, you need to apply positive exposure compensation.  Around  + 1 compensation is usually about right.

    Experiment with a little more and a little less compensation and check the results.

  • Better Photos Blog 6:26 pm on January 3, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: best camera, Chase Jarvis, , mobile phone photos   

    Use your Best Camera 

    Great to be outdoors today, magnificent snow-covered scenery. I didn’t take my camera but managed to get a few snaps using the camera on my mobile phone.

    Remember: As well-known US photographer Chase Jarvis says (and has written a book about) Your best camera is always the one you have with you, even if it is a mobile phone.

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