Painting with light

Light paint­ing has actu­ally noth­ing to do with ‘paint­ing’ per say, but rather is an artis­tic form of pho­tog­ra­phy. To go about it, choose a sub­ject to shoot, turn off the lights, and while hold­ing your light source, move it around. Play­ing around with‚your shut­ter speed will affect the out­come of the shot; a good shut­ter speed for this type of artis­tic imagery is 20–30 seconds.

Image by Marko Kulik

Image by Marko Kulik

This is a fun way to exper­i­ment with your cam­era and light­ing, and can pro­duce some fab­u­lous results. Best thing? You don’t need to have much‚patience for it! 20–30 min­utes is all you need and you’ll get a nice hand­ful of shots.‚Nice idea when doing this type of exer­cise is to wear black cloth­ing… oth­er­wise you may become the focal point of your shoot!

For some tips and exam­ples check the link in our pho­tog­ra­phy forum
You can also take a lis­ten to our paint­ing with light podcast

69 — Street photography tips

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #69 dis­cusses street pho­tog­ra­phy; what gear to use, what to shoot, how to shoot, should I ask the subject’s per­mis­sion before I shoot etc. This topic was sug­gested by TJD of our pho­tog­ra­phy forum, so many thanks TJD! One thing I for­got to men­tion dur­ing the pod­cast con­cerns model releases. If you never plan to sell the image, in Canada and the U.S. at least, you prob­a­bly (I’m not a lawyer so this advice is worth what you paid for it as opposed to 2oo bucks an hour) don’t need one. If you plan to sell the images you shoot, then it makes good sense to bring a release form with you.

Street photography by Henri Cartier Bresson

Rue Mouf­fe­tard, Paris and Behind the Gare St. Lazare, Paris by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Robert Dois­neau

July’s Heat” assign­ment on the forum

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :) Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except — Please hop on over to the blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. I Sub­scribe with iTunes I Sub­scribe via RSS feed I Sub­scribe with Google Reader I Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — and get all the posts/podcasts by Email
You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Memory Cards

Let’s talk mem­ory cards. More specif­i­cally mem­ory cards with higher writ­ing speeds, qual­ity, and size. Higher writ­ing speeds are a def­i­nite asset when shoot­ing things like wed­dings, lit­tle league games and dance recitals — any­thing that requires you to shoot long bursts of shots. Higher writ­ing speeds are also use­ful when the card is full and you need to trans­fer the images to a com­puter as quickly as pos­si­ble via a card reader.

Qual­ity is cer­tainly not com­pro­mised whether or not you pur­chase a ‘brand name’ ver­sus a ‘no name’ mem­ory card — if the card works, chances are you have pur­chased a fine card which will hold those price­less moments for you.

And what about size… does it really mat­ter? 2GB, 4GB, 8GB… it’s all a mat­ter of pref­er­ence. But a great tip for those who shoot events would be to buy a few smaller mem­ory cards (4 GB) in case some­thing ‘should’ hap­pen to one card, you know you have a few other cards that your shots are on. Now that’s safe think­ing! FORUM LINK:‚

How Important are External Flashes?

Exter­nal Flashes have many advan­tages over on-camera flashes; not only is an exter­nal flash much more pow­er­ful than a small‚on-camera flash, but it also has a tilt-able head so that you can bounce it. Bounc­ing a flash is a great way to soften the light since direct flash is quite harsh.

An exter­nal flash gives you far more con­trol over how you want the scene lit — the built in flash on your cam­era is usu­ally only good enough to light a sub­ject from a short dis­tance and the light from the flash can only be used from one plane. This is another area where an exter­nal flash shines :)

Exter­nal flashes can be taken off cam­era. This allows the pho­tog­ra­pher to cre­atively light a sub­ject from dif­fer­ent angles. You’ll need a way to trig­ger the flash and there are sev­eral good meth­ods depend­ing on your bud­get. The cheap­est way (20 bucks or less) is with a sync cord but a bet­ter way is a wire­less trig­ger­ing sys­tem like the Pocket Wiz­ard.

So if your bud­get can cope, an exter­nal flash is a prime invest­ment and a step­ping stone to get­ting you closer to the ‘advanced pho­tog­ra­pher’ sta­tus. For addi­tional info check this link from our pho­tog­ra­phy forum.

Lenses not making your image sharp? Think again.

Lenses are one of the most impor­tant com­po­nents of your cam­era in terms of get­ting crisp and clear images. The lens does all the focus­ing, so the bet­ter the lens, the bet­ter the pho­to­graph (espe­cially when mak­ing enlarge­ments). How­ever, there are other ele­ments respon­si­ble for the sharp­ness of your images. Before you blame an unsharp pho­to­graph on the lens, there a few other cru­cial things to con­sider. In fact I hate to say this but the vast major­ity of unsharp shots are the result of pho­tog­ra­pher error not a lemon lens.

Shut­ter speeds that are too slow for some shots such as mov­ing tar­gets, will not pro­duce the sharp­ness you are look­ing for if you are look­ing to ‘freeze’ the action. Mov­ing tar­gets require faster shut­ter speeds. Gen­er­ally though, for objects that are not mov­ing, the rule of thumb is 1/focal length of the lens as the slow­est shut­ter speed to use while hand hold­ing a cam­era. This means that if you have a 200mm lens the SLOWEST hand­held‚ shut­ter speed you need on any sub­ject is 1/200. Choos­ing a speed slower than that intro­duces the photographer’s own move­ment into the image and sharp­ness is sac­ri­ficed. Gen­er­ally fol­low­ing this rule will give you favor­able results. Prac­tic­ing at dif­fer­ent shut­ter speeds will give you a good grasp on things; so prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice. While you’re prac­tic­ing, slap the lens on a tri­pod and shoot some text on a news­pa­per pasted to your wall at dif­fer­ent aper­tures. Use a cable release. Now you can gauge the sharp­ness of that lens you were questioning!

For more info on this topic click the link to our Pho­tog­ra­phy forum