30 Nov 2007

How to remove Exif tags

How do you remove the Exif tag information from your images?
There's now a brilliant piece of software that does the job in seconds - and it's free. Although you are asked to donate something, which seems pretty fair.
Go to www.rlvision.com and download their Exif Tag Remover.
It is very easy to use. Just open it up and you will be asked to browse for the images you want to clear of tags.
You will be asked if you want to overwrite the existing file of save it as a new file.
Check the boxes for the type of info you want to remove... Exif, Adobe/IPTC, comments, or all other applications tags.
Click Next and the job's done.
It works.

29 Nov 2007

How to freeze the action

By speeding up the shutter speed – in this case as high as 1/1000sec, the action is almost frozen. You can even read the writing on the cart in the picture of the horse. Blur has been eliminated. Good timing is even more vital with this method of capturing the action because the horse’s hooves must by outstretched. Here, all four hooves are off the ground. This is not just luck – although that always helps - but good timing.

I do not like squirting off several frames a second. I use only single shot for this type of action. I watched the legs of the horse intently as it sped past in order to press the button at exactly the right moment. This does need practice – but surely, that’s part of the fun of photography!

And yes, I did pan the camera as the horse rushed past me.

The down-side of this sort of ‘frozen’ action shot is that it also 'freezes' the background and shows any ugly, unwanted detail.

The backround helps the shot of the beach tumbler (an old picture of mine) because the palm trees are essential to give a sense of context. Once again this was taken with single shot and a shutter speed of 1/1000sec. I did not like the motor-drive of the camera taking one shot just before his hands touched the sand and the next shot just afterwards. Far better to time the one shot perfectly.

28 Nov 2007

How do I get great 'panned' shots?

It’s a great feeling for a photography coach when his students produce great pictures. It means the teaching and training has really paid off. Maria Falconer has been coming to me for tuition for almost two years now. This year she came for the second time to Menorca, and, as I am always looking for new ways to vary the itinerary, I took the group of photographers to the horse trotting races in Mahon.

Photo by Maria Falconer

This is an exciting, colourful and action-packed evening. Picture opportunities abound, both on the track and behind the scenes in the stables.
The main exercise for the event was to practice panning – capturing the action by following the horses in the viewfinder as they raced past. This sounds easy, but it needs a lot of practise to press the button at exactly the right moment in order capture a fast moving subject. The secret of a well-panned shot is to get the subject in the viewfinder as it approaches, follow it carefully and press the shutter button as the horses race by. But, most important of all, you simply must ‘follow through’ and keep the camera going in the direction of your subject AFTER you have taken the picture. A bit like a good golf stroke.
Maria photographed the riders as they came round the bend in the circuit with horses and carts tightly bunched together. It is a picture absolutely brimming with action and it has caught the very essence of speed. It is an impressionistic view of the race and you can almost hear the horses hooves pounding, the crack of the riders whip and the shouts of the spectators. Slight over exposure has created a ‘high-key' lighting effect and added an extra surreal effect to the picture
Maria used a Canon EOS 5D with a shutter speed of 1/20sec and an aperture of f10 The ISO was set at 1250. That slow shutter speed has created 'blur' and a tremendous feeling of movement.
If you want to capture the action by 'freezing' the movement, you will need very fast shutter speed for a fast-moving subject like these horses. I'll talk about 'freezing' action in my next post.
Philip Dunn

26 Nov 2007

Can I use a compact digital camera for landscape photography?

Michael Groom came up to Scotland from London for a day's tuition last week. He was determined to use his little Sony compact camera as he had no intentions of carrying a lot of kit around with him. Is it possible to get great landscape and seascape pictures with such simple kit? he asked.
Yes it is. In fact, my last exhibition was a series of landscape and people pictures taken entirely on my little Canon Ixus. Below is a short video of Michael at work - braving the elements on the Galloway coast. Take a look at the final shot (it's also shown here on the left) taken on a compact camera. I know that that image can be printed 20"x16" quite comfortably. Notice the beautiful light and that the timing has caught the waves just as they splash the rocks.
Remember - you must keep the ISO down to the slowest possible speed for the best quality. You must have a sound understanding of light, and your timing has to be spot on to capture waves like this.
I'll give you a few tips on how to do that very soon if you wish.

Meanwhile, I would be interested to know what you need most help with and what you would like to hear about.
Philip Dunn

How do I get the correct exposure

One of the questions my students ask most often is - which metering mode should I use? Well I can only say what works for me - I always use the 'M' Manual Mode because I like to be in total control of my camera and to interpret what I see the way I see it.
I nearly always select the 'Centre-Weighted' option.

There are exceptions, though, and for the picture of the butcher in the market in Kashmir, I used the 'spot' metering mode.

With his white clothes against a black background, this sort of high contrast subject is one of the most difficult of all to meter accurately. This is when 'Spot' metering really is useful. I pointed the camera downwards towards the meat he was cutting. This area of the picture is fairly bright, but not completely white. Had I taken the exposure off his white clothes, the bright, reflected light would have given a false reading and the picture would be under-exposed. If the reading had been taken of the black background, the image would have been over-exposed and the whites would have 'burnt-out'.

Remember, when you are using ‘M’ (Manual) mode and you take your light reading from a particular area of the subject. DO NOT be tempted to adjust the exposure again when you point the camera back to compose your picture. You may see the metering indicator 'needle' move. Remember – you took your reading off one area of your subject for a good reason. The metering indicator or 'pointer' may well move. Ignore it and take your picture – don’t ‘chase the needle’.
If you have any questions - just post and I'll do what I can to help.
Philip Dunn