The weather is finally starting to shape-up! Talk about your long winters. I don’t know about the rest of you, but with all the bad weather, and no spring in sight, I’ve got cabin fever bad, so bad, I think I’ve put on 20 lbs over the winter. It’s time to get out and start moving. Time to take some pictures..
Tonight, Saturday March 19th is the night of the Supermoon. The moon will be closer to Earth than it has been in more than 18 years; the biggest full moon of 2011. Depending on your location and weather conditions you could have a great photo opportunity. The best time to take a look at this full, perigee moon is when the moon is located near the horizon. Direct your eyes to the eastern horizon during the 7 and 8 o’clock hour. Low-hanging Moons have a tendency to look unnaturally large when framed through trees, buildings and other foreground objects. We’ve all seen the photos with an airplane passing in front of a full moon. Having an object in the foreground will make a more interesting photo and give a nice sense of scale with the moon in the background.
Here are a few tips when attempting to photograph a full moon. Set your camera on a nice sturdy tripod. Use a cable release if possible. If not , you can use your cameras self timer. Next turn your autofocus off. You heard me right, turn it off. Most cameras have a terrible time with low-light shooting. Low-light shooting can cause a cameras autofocus system to constantly hunt in the dark. Autofocus is simply not needed for shooting a full moon. Simply set your lens to infinity. As to setting up a proper exposure, believe it or not, shooting a full moon is very much like shooting on a bright sunny day. The light reflected on the full moon is almost the same as the sun during the day here on earth.. We all have heard of the sunny 16 rule from time to time, that would be my starting pointing. Set your camera to it’s lowest native ISO speed, that would be generally ISO 100 for Canon, or ISO 200 for Nikon SLR’s. Set your Shutter speed to 125 with a aperture of f16. That would be a good starting point.
Take a few test shots and adjust your exposure up or down a 1/2 stop or 2, ensuring the moon has some detail. the most common mistake is a over exposed moon that looks like a lifeless glowing ball, with no detail or surface shadows. Most of all, get out and have some fun. Remember, photos are made, not taken.
Want a Challenge? Challenge yourself with a 50/50 Photowalk. Arm yourself with a fast 50mm lens, and commit to taking a picture every 50 feet. It’s a challenging exercise for a photowalk, and you’ll learn a lot. A fixed focal length lens will cause you think and frame shots differently. Being forced to take a picture every 50 feet opens your eyes to see detail and really simulates your creative juices. You’ll be surprised at the results. So get out there and shoot, and remember, pictures are made, not taken.
Photowalking has taken America by storm, and has become one of the fastest growing activities throughout the land. The introduction of the digital camera has brought photography to the masses, and made it affordable for everyone to enjoy. Digital cameras have literally changed the world. The digital camera has caused a revival with America’s love for photography.
Photowalking is the act of walking around with your camera and photographing your surroundings. The term photowalking, has recently become synonymously known as a social gathering of photographers, walking in predetermined locations and then sharing their imagery. Alone or with a group, the purpose is still the same and that is to go out and enjoy photography.
Photowalking is now photography’s hottest ticket! So let’s get started.
The lowly histogram is one of the least understood tools in digital photography, and quite possibly, one of the most useful. Virtually every digital camera, from the simplest point-and-shoot to the most sophisticated digital SLR has the ability to display a histogram. So let’s start off explaining exactly what a histogram is.The simple definition is this: a histogram is a visual representation of the light and dark elements in your photograph. It helps you instantly determine whether your photos are being correctly exposed.
How to Read a Histogram
A histogram display is usually set up so that dark pixels are on the left and light pixels are on the right. Peaks in the histogram show you whether the photo is predominantly dark, light or somewhere in the middle. For example, if your photo includes a lot of shadows and dark areas, the peak of the histogram will be on the left side of the chart. If your photo includes a lot of bright areas, the peak will be toward the right side. If your photo is fairly evenly balanced (then the histogram will look like a bell curve, with the peak somewhere in the middle.
Using a Histogram to Determine a Properly Exposed Photo
This first example shows you an image that is correctly exposed. Since the image is correctly exposed, the matching histogram is a bell curve, with the peak toward the middle.
The trick from an exposure standpoint is making sure that the bulk of the histogram falls in between the two endpoints. If the bulk of the histogram is over to the left your photo is under-exposed, and if it’s too far over to the right your photo is probably over-exposed.
Now that you know how to read a histogram, you can set up your camera to show you a histogram every time you take a photo. So if your camera by default isn’t showing you a histogram when you preview a picture, it’s time to get out your camera manual and lookup on how to turn on your histogram display. Histograms provide access to quick, easy to read valuable information with every photo you take.
Now that your able to read a histogram, you’ll now be able to instantly tell when:
Your entire photo is over-exposed.
Your entire photo is under-exposed.
Your photo is clipping Highlights or Shadows.
You can use this information to make adjustments to your camera settings in the field, so that you get a perfect exposure every time you take a photo. After all, nobody wants to take that once in a lifetime photo, only to find out that it’s underexposed and unusable when you get home on the computer.