Monday, December 10, 2012

Another Year Ends

Hi members,

We had our last meeting for the year this morning at which Diane showed us how to improve our holiday snaps over the festive season.

Thank you all for joning us throughout the year and we wish you a happy festive season and all the best wishes for next year.

See you all again in the new Year,

Moday's notes 'Christmas Photography' are now posted on this blog. See top right.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Our last Meeting for the Year

Hi Members,

On Monday, we'll meet for the last time in 2012.

We start off with members' pictures taken at our photoshoot at the Maritime Museum recently.

Then we'll look at Christmas Photography. Tips and suggestions of snapping the festive season.

And to finish off, we have a short video of pictures taken of club activities over the last year or so.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Today's Meeting

We had a fantastic outing with the Camera Club today, visiting the Queensland Maritime Museum at South Bank, this was followed by our end of year lunch at  the Plough Inn at South Bank. Thank you to all the members who ventured into town for this event.

The group met at the entrance to the museum

The Bulwer Island Light House

The Forceful Tug

The Group enjoyed lunch at the Plough Inn

and a nice chat

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Meeting Monday, 26 November 11.00 am

Hi members,

We're going on our last photo shoot for the year on Monday, at the Queensland Maritime Museum at South Bank. This venue will have fabulous photo opportunities for us where we can practice just about every topic we've discussed during the year, except maybe a sunset, ha ha.

The Maritime Museum at the southern end of South Bank and you can get there by train, bus or drive yourself. Diane and I will take the train from Kuraby Station at 9.50 am and it gets to South Bank at 10.22. It's a short 5 minute walk down to the Maritime Museum. We'll meet at the entrance of the museum at 11.00 am.

Afterwards we're booked at the Plough-Inn for our end of year lunch and a social get together, something we can't normally do at our meetings. So please join us for this.

Here is a map of where it is:
Map of where the maritime Museum is

Monday, November 12, 2012

Today's Meeting 12.11.12

We had another well attended meeting today, starting with a slideshow of members' photos from our last field trip to Cleveland Point.

Photos: Alan Brown

After that Diane told us all about street photography which included several topics such as urban photography, architectural photography as well as cityscapes. 
Diane's notes on Street photography will be posted on the sidebar of this blog soon.

Then Kathy Roman told us about the forthcoming solar eclipse on Wednesday morning and what we should do to protect our eyes and our cameras from the sun's harmful rays. 

Here is Kathy's presentation:

Kathy sent me the following information after the meeting:

Hi Bill
Could you please add these notes to the blog. I hope they are okay-I have just cut and paste from different articles.

Also could you mention that if anyone would like solar glasses $4 or solar film to use on their camera lensD, $3 to $5 depending on size, these can be bought from Astro Petes Café in Palmdale Shopping Centre (Across from Garden City). He appears to have sufficient numbers of both. Phone 0412 085 224.
Many thanks

See below:

Notes About Photographing Solar Eclipses

Your camera lens is not protection enough
The biggest challenge with photographing a solar eclipse is that this is the sun itself that you're looking at. As we've all been told since we were little, looking directly at the sun is a bad idea. Not only can doing so permanently damage your eyes, it can also damage your camera's image sensor. For that reason, you need to take special precautions to protect both your camera and your eyes. Never, ever look directly at the sun without looking through a filter.
Your camera's optical viewfinder does not offer any protection from the sun's harmful rays, so you can't just watch through your camera. If you have a compact camera with an LCD screen, you could, in theory, watch the eclipse on the screen, but it will still probably damage the camera's image sensor, so we wouldn't recommend it., how-to guides and more at to help you get the most out of your technology.
The easiest and cheapest filter you can get that will allow you (and your camera) to safely view the eclipse is a simple pair of eclipse glasses. If you have a point-and-shoot camera, get two pairs — one for you and one for the camera. Then you can attach one lens of the camera's pair to the camera's lens, and you'll be good to go. It's not the most elegant solution, but it works.
If you've got a DLSR camera, things get a bit trickier, since the lenses of the eclipse glasses probably won't be big enough to cover your entire camera lens. You'll need to find a special solar filter for your particular lens size. These are usually made of Mylar or glass and can be purchased through various dealers, including Amazon.
Setting your settings
The best advice we can offer about photographing a solar eclipse is to practice before it happens. For many people, a solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you'll only have one chance to get the photos you're hoping for.
What you can do, though, is go out and take some photos of the sun on a non-eclipse day. Make note of which settings work best, so you can easily go back to them when the big moment comes. The settings you use for pre- and post-totality will be different from those you'll use for the brief time when the sun is completely eclipsed, so practice switching between them — or better yet, have two cameras available.
When it comes to choosing a lens to use, remember that the sun is, of course, extremely far away. Even when viewed through a 200mm telephoto lens, the sun itself will still look pretty darn small. Ideally, you should aim for around an 800 to 900mm focal length so that the sun's disc fills a good portion of your viewing area.
Using your camera's manual settings will work best, since your camera will likely be very confused about what to focus on and what aperture and shutter settings to use. Since the sun gives off plenty of light, set the ISO to a low number such as 100. Before and during the period when the sun is only partially eclipsed, use a small aperture such as f/16. When the eclipse reaches totality, the intensity of the available light will drop dramatically, so try using larger apertures.
What eclipse types mean to your photography
The eclipse that occurs on May 20 is an annular eclipse, which is a little different from a total eclipse. During an annular eclipse, the moon is at the farthest point in its orbit around the earth, and its relative size isn't enough to completely cover the sun. Thus, even when the moon is dead center in front of the sun, a thin ring of the sun itself will be visible around the moon.
Even during the height of an annular eclipse, don't take off your solar filter or glasses. The ambient light will go way down, but it's still not safe to look at the sun because there will still be a ring of direct sunlight. During a total solar eclipse, you'd have to take the solar filter off your camera to get a decent photo, but that's not the case during an annular eclipse.
While you can plan for and practice your settings for the partial phases of an eclipse, the total phase requires either a lot of math or some guesswork. Both NASA's and Mr. Eclipse's websites have extensive tables that will help you figure out the optimum exposure settings for various phases of the eclipse. It can all be very confusing.
The salient point you should remember is bracket, bracket, bracket. For every photo you take, take at least one or two with your aperture and/or shutter speed set higher and lower than the setting you think you should use. Yes, you'll end up with hundreds of photos you'll have to sift through when all is said and done, but you also stand a much higher chance of getting that great shot you're looking for.
Ideas for viewing method alternatives
If you don't have the time or money to purchase expensive lenses for your camera (and your eyes!), you can still get some great photos of the eclipse. The best way is to use a lens or create a pinhole camera to project an image of the eclipse onto a piece of white cardboard (or any other smooth surface), and then take a photo of the projected image. You can use a pair of binoculars with one lens covered or a telescope, or create your own simple pinhole camera by poking a very small hole (about 1mm in diameter, about the size of a pen tip) in a piece of cardboard.

A solar eclipse begins as a small notch slowly appears along one edge of the sun. During the next hour, the moon will gradually cover more and more of the sun’s bright disk. If the eclipse is a total solar eclipse, the last remaining minutes of the partial phases can be dramatic. The crescent of the sun grows thinner as the moon’s shadow approaches. The abrupt darkness of totality is stunning to view, and the solar corona is an awe-inspiring sight. The sun’s corona can only be seen during the few brief minutes of totality.

Starting Exposure (Nikon cameras)
Solar eclipses may be viewed and photographed, provided certain precautions are taken. You can photograph a solar eclipse with any type of camera: D-SLR, COOLPIX or Nikon 1. The longer the focal length of the lens, the larger the images of the sun you’ll be able to make. While you can also use film cameras to photograph eclipses, this article specifically discusses digital camera use.
With a D-SLR, you can also combine a super telephoto lens with a teleconverter to increase the focal length. You can also increase the relative size of the eclipse image by selecting an FX camera’s "DX Crop Mode". If you’re photographing the solar eclipse using a COOLPIX compact digital camera, turn the built-in flash to OFF.
How large you want the sun to be in the frame will determine what focal length lens to use. For a D-SLR camera with a full frame FX sensor, choose a focal length of 2000mm or less. For a D-SLR camera that has a DX sensor, the maximum focal length is about 1300mm; any longer and you won’t be able to get the entire sun in the frame.
However, if you also want to capture the sun’s corona during the phase of totality, then you should choose a focal length that’s shorter still—no more than 1400mm for an FX (full frame sensor) camera, or 900mm for a Nikon DX camera.
Place your camera on a sturdy tripod, and manually focus the camera, setting it to infinity.
If you are using a telescope on an equatorial mount, the electric drive will track the sun keeping it centered in your camera throughout the eclipse.
A solar filter must be used on the lens throughout the partial phases for both photography and safe viewing. These filters typically attenuate the sun’s visible and infrared energy by a factor of 100,000. Almost any ISO can be used because the sun gives off abundant light. The actual filter factor and choice of ISO will play critical roles in determining the correct exposure.
The easiest way to determine exposure is to run a calibration test on the un-eclipsed sun on a clear day prior to the eclipse. Digital cameras are ideal as you can see your results almost instantaneously. Shoot the mid-day sun at a fixed aperture, (choose an aperture between f/8 and f/16) using every shutter speed from 1/4000 second to 1/30 second. Looking at the exposures, choose the best shutter speed/aperture combination and use them to photograph the partial phases of the solar eclipse. Your camera’s histogram function is an excellent way to evaluate the best exposure. The histogram should not be clipped but should lie toward the upper end of brightness values. Because the sun’s brightness stays the same throughout the partial phases, no exposure compensation will be needed. You may also decide to bracket your exposures to ensure that you photograph the solar eclipse with a perfect exposure. If you ran your test on a sunny day and the eclipse occurs on a hazy day, increase the bracket of exposures an additional f/stop

1) The Danger of Viewing and Photographing a Solar Eclipse
Before I talk about the process of photographing a solar eclipse, let me first talk about the dangers of doing it. First of all, you should never look directly at the sun with your eyes, especially through a DSLR viewfinder that shows the sun much more magnified. Remember Galileo or those crazy Indians that stared at the sun and went blind? You surely do not want the same faith. Looking at the sun through the viewfinder without blocking any light, especially UV can result in immediate blindness. See this article on Wikipedia for more details.
So what do you do? If you prefer to see the eclipse with your naked eyes, then get a pair of eclipse glasses. If you cannot find them or it is too late to get them now, then there are two things you can do:
  1. Build a small pinhole camera/projector
  2. Use the camera’s liveview/LCD for viewing the sun
Building a small pinhole camera/projector is very simple. Just grab two pieces of cards, make a small hole in one card, then hold the card above the other one and align them with the sun. The sun’s image will be projected through the hole into the second card. If you want something more advanced, check this tutorial out.
The second method to view the sun through the camera LCD is what I did. First, make sure to mount a very dense/strong neutral density filter in front of your lens. Then, use your camera’s LiveView function to look at the sun. It is ideal to have a camera that allows manual exposure control, so that you could stop down the lens and increase the shutter speed while looking at the sun through live view. Bear in mind that if the ND filter is not strong enough, viewing the sun through the LCD could actually damage your camera. Either way, I would not use LiveView for more than a minute or two, since it could overheat the image sensor. I only used LiveView when taking pictures and turned the camera off in between. When the sun is too bright during partial eclipse, unless you have something like Hoodman loupe, you might not see much when looking at the LCD though.
If you have a point and shoot camera with a relatively small lens, the same eclipse glasses you war could be used as neutral density filters. Just hold one in front of the lens and it should work great.
2) Photographing the Sequence
One thing you need to decide on, is whether you want to shoot the entire sequence of the solar eclipse, or just the middle of the process (period of totality) when the moon blocks most of the sun, creating a “ring of fire”. I would personally recommend to document the whole process from the beginning to the end, so that you have pictures of all the phases – from partial eclipse to totality and then back to partial eclipse. The nice thing about having the entire sequence in pictures, is that you can later combine images together, creating a nice sequence.
Bear in mind, you will have to be very patient though, as the process could take a while. If for whatever reason you cannot stay for the entire duration of the eclipse, then I would just stay for the total eclipse to capture the “ring of fire”.
3) Camera Equipment and Lenses
When it comes to photographing a solar eclipse, the type of equipment you are using plays a huge role. Using a camera with a bare lens is not going to work, because the sun is way too bright (especially during partial eclipse) – it will be totally blown out. Even stopping down to a very small aperture like f/22 and lowering ISO to the lowest value might result in an exposure faster than what your camera allows. Therefore, you need a very strong neutral density filter that would block most of the light from the sun, allowing you to use slower shutter speeds and larger apertures. If the neutral density filter is not strong enough, you might need a couple – in my case, I had a 6 stop ND filter stacked with a 3 stop ND filter together, but a 10 stop ND filter would be better. Stacking multiple filters is not a problem, because you will be shooting with your longest lens at its longest focal length anyway.
Talking about lenses, the longer the lens, the better. I used the Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S with a 1.4x teleconverter, because I had it handy. Longer lenses are ideal, so if you have a 600mm lens with a teleconverter in your arsenal, then get them ready! My 300mm was already mounted to my Nikon D700, so I did not bother changing the camera body.
Camera does not matter, because you will be capturing the solar eclipse at the lowest ISO. Cropped-sensor/DX cameras would work great, because they provide better magnification on the pixel level.
4) Camera Settings
Camera settings are quite simple. Here is what I recommend:
  1. Set your camera and lens on a tripod.
  2. Set your ISO to the lowest value like 100.
  3. Set your camera mode to Manual.
  4. Start out at the fastest shutter speed your camera has to offer, such as 1/8000 and see if you need to lower it.
  5. Start out at f/8 and stop down a little more if the shutter speed is too fast. If the sun comes out too bright and overexposed, it means that you are using a weak ND filter.
Depending on what ND filter you are using, your shutter speed should be fast enough to not cause any vibration issues. I was shooting between 1/500 to 1/8000, depending on the phase of the eclipse and how bright I wanted to sun to come out.
5) Focus Accuracy and Sharpness
No matter what lens you are using, getting a very accurate focus on the sun and moon is extremely important. I know that some photographers suggest to shoot at infinity using the lens marks, but since many lenses now allow focusing “beyond infinity”, getting a true infinity focus is not that easy – a slight inaccuracy in focus will make the sun and moon appear blurry. Forget about trying to acquire focus on the sun without an ND filter – it is too bright and could be too small in the frame for that. What I would do, is point your lens at a really far object and focus on that object (either through viewfinder or LiveView). Instead of dealing with refocusing every time you take a picture, I highly recommend to switch off autofocus once you get an accurate focus. Take a picture and use the LCD screen of the camera to see how sharp the sun is. Zoom in all the way and make sure that the sun appears sharp.
One more thing I would like to point out, is if you are using a lens with a teleconverter, or if you are using a consumer zoom lens, the optics are probably not very sharp when shooting at large apertures. Stopping down the lens aperture to f/8-f/11 should give you the sharpest results. Don’t use apertures larger than f/16 – diffraction will kick in and make the moon appear even softer.
6) Composition
Unless you are shooting at short focal lengths with a foreground object or some sort of a scene, don’t worry about composition – place the sun anywhere in your frame. The location does not matter, since you can easily crop the sun out in post-processing. If you have some thick clouds in your frame, then play with the exposure a little and see if you can use clouds as part of your composition. Here is an image that I captured with the clouds, when clouds opened up a little bit during the start of the eclipse:
7) Post-processing
As for post-processing, aside from cropping and playing with white balance and saturation levels, the only issue you might have is dealing with some noise that might show up even at the lowest ISO levels. Noise levels will increase if you underexpose and try to brighten up in post-processing, so try to expose the sun correctly (you can also bracket your shots). If noise is an issue, see my “noise reduction tutorial” that I posted a while ago – there are plenty of tips in that article on how to clean up noise in Photoshop and Lightroom
1. Use a proper solar filter: Never look at the sun with your naked eyes, or through a telescope, binocular or camera viewfinder without a safe solar filter. Failure to do so can result in serious eye injury or blindness. [How to Safely Photograph the Sun (Photo Guide)]
Use a No. 14 welder's glass filter, or purchase special solar filters from companies such as Thousand Oaks, Kendrick Astro Instruments, or Orion Telescopes & Binoculars, and fit them securely in front of your equipment.
2. Use a telescope or telephoto lens with a focal length of 400 millimeters or more: This helps to get detailed, close-up shots of the eclipse. This will give you a reasonably large image of the sun's disk in the frame.
The best way to attach your digital SLR camera to the telescope is to use an appropriate T ring and T adapter for your camera brand. (Check with your local camera retailer.) Other helpful accessories include an electronic cable release to operate the shutter and a right-angle magnifier that attaches to the camera’s viewfinder to assist you in focusing.
CREDIT: Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre
3. Use a sturdy tripod or mount: Make sure your tripod and head are strong and stable enough to support your camera gear. Keep your setup as portable, light and easy to assemble as possible in case you need to relocate in a hurry to escape clouds.
4. Set the camera to its highest resolution: To record as much detail and color information as possible, use your camera's highest-quality (least-compressed) JPEG setting or "lossless" (uncompressed) image formats, such as TIFF or RAW.
5. Use a high ISO setting: Set your camera to ISO 400 (or higher) to keep exposures very short and prevent blurring from vibrations.
6. Switch to manual: Set your camera to "manual" (M) so you'll be able to control its focus as well as exposure and white-balance settings.
7. Focus carefully: Don't let poor focus ruin your images. If possible, prefocus your camera the night before the eclipse using a bright star. Otherwise, focus carefully on the sun's edge (or on sunspots, if some are visible). Place a piece of adhesive tape on your telephoto's focus ring (or lock the telescope focuser) to keep it from accidentally being moved during the eclipse. Be sure to recheck your focus as the eclipse progresses and refine it if needed.
If you don’t have a DSLR camera, don’t worry — you can use your automatic “point-and-shoot” camera to take decent pictures of the eclipse through a filtered telescope. Insert a wide-field eyepiece and hold the camera lens close to it. Use the camera’s built-in LCD screen to center the sun and compose your shot. Zoom in as needed.
CREDIT: Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre
8. Minimize vibrations: The mirror slap in DSLRs can cause blurred images. If possible, use the camera's mirror lock-up feature before each shot to keep vibrations to a minimum. You should also operate the shutter with an electronic cable release to eliminate camera shake. Lastly, choose an observing spot that is shielded from the wind.
9. "Bracket" your exposures: It's a challenge to determine the correct exposure beforehand, so shoot the eclipse at various shutter speeds.
10. Use a fresh battery: DSLRs can easily drain their batteries, especially if you use the LCD screen continuously. Make sure you have a fully charged battery right before the eclipse begins, and have a spare one handy, just in case.
11. Test your imaging setup: Be sure to try out your actual setup before the eclipse. This will reveal any potential problems with focusing and vibrations, as well as internal reflections or vignetting in the optics. Take some test shots of the sun to give you an idea of what exposure to use with your solar filter.
12. Try to shoot the sun in hydrogen-alpha: Unlike "white light," the plain, visible light from the sun, H-alpha is the red light given off by hydrogen atoms in the sun's atmosphere. A portable H-alpha telescope offers a wealth of stunning details of the sun at a wavelength of 656.3 nanometers.
13. Process your images: Since the camera's output is already in digital format, it's easy to enhance the images' brightness, contrast, sharpness and color balance using image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. You can also "stitch" the frames together to create a movie.
Shooting the Eclipse with Video
As with digital cameras, you need a proper solar filter over your camcorder when recording the sun.
The color of the solar image will depend on the type of solar filter used. Metal-coated glass and black polymer filters produce a pleasing yellow or orange image of the sun, while aluminized Mylar filters show a bluish sun. Welder’s No. 14 glass filters give a greenish image (not shown).
CREDIT: Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre
Today's camcorders have zoom lenses with up to 40x (or more) optical magnification. To videotape the eclipse, simply mount the camcorder on a tripod and zoom in on the filtered sun to the lens's highest power. (Hand-holding the camcorder can result in shaky footage.) High-end camcorders have manual controls for adjusting the gain, f-stop and shutter speed so you don't overexpose the sun's disk.
Again, it is best to test your setup before the eclipse. On the day of the event, be sure to use a fully charged battery and bring a spare one as backup. Take two- to three-second clips every two to five minutes to produce a time-lapse sequence that compresses the eclipse's hourlong partial phase into just under a minute.
High-end DSLRs are capable of shooting HD video. (Check your camera manual.) In a pinch, you also can use your cell phone camera to shoot video (or still images) through a filtered telescope. Low-cost webcams can also be useful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Next Meeting - Monday 12 November - 11.00 AM

Hi Members and Friends,

It's been a few weeks since we had a regular meeting at the library.

So we begin on Monday with a slideshow of pictures, members took at Cleveland at our last outing.

Then we have our coffee break where we can help each other with ideas or problems with cameras or photographs.

After morning tea, Diane will tell us about the fascinating subject of STREET PHOTOGRAPHY.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cleveland Point Photo Shoot

The club ventured out to Cleveland Point yesterday for an afternoon photo shoot of the bay and the sunset. This was an alternative to our normal meeting time as some members suggested we should take advantage of afternoon light for a photo shoot .

Takeaway fish and chips from the nearby Lighthouse Restaurant, helped pass the time waiting for the sun to set.

All in all a very enjoyable outing.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Next Meeting Monday 22 October - 4.00 PM

Hi members,

A couple of members suggested we should go on another field trip but to take advantage of the light, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. After discussions it was decided to go to Cleveland Point in the afternoon to catch a sunset.

So on Monday we'll cancel the meeting at 11.00 AM at the library and meet at Cleveland Point  at 4.00 PM in the afternoon. Those who like to join us afterwards, we'll have a bite to eat at the Lighthouse Restaurant right there. They serve some great food.

We meet here:

If anybody needs a lift, let us know and we'll arrange something.

Here is a tutorial on Sunset Photography which will give you a few tips before we go:

How to Photograph Sunsets and Sunrises
By Diane Bohlen 

1. Think Ahead
Look for a good place beforehand, where you can track the sun down to the horizon and where there are interesting foreground elements and silhouettes.
Sunsets only take half an hour, so be prepared. Find the time of the sunset and get there ½ hour before. Often the lead up and after the sun has gone are where you get the best shots. Check the weather. Clouds, dust and smoke make for interesting sunsets.

2. Composition

Shoot a variety of focal lengths; wide angle (short focal length, and zoom long focal length).
If you want the sun to be the feature, zoom in, but use a tripod.
Sunset without a feature can be boring. All photos need a point of interest e.g. palms, pier, person, mountain, boat, animal.
Use the Rule of Thirds. Place the horizon, the sun, a silhouette off centre.

3. Exposure

It’s best not to use automatic settings. Unfortunately, automatic shutter speed can cause shots to be underexposed or overexposed depending wether the camera is using the dark foreground or the lighter sky to set the speed/aperture. Shoot a variety of exposures. Use aperture and shutter speed mode and take a variety of shots at different exposures. Don’t go lower than 1/20 sec or you will need a tripod. There is no correct exposure for sunsets. The key is to experiment. Small aperture f5.6 - f11 gives a long depth of field and can make the sun look like a star.
Bracketing: Look at what the camera suggests for aperture and then go up and down with exposure, e.g. 1/60 sec (f5.6 - f11) taking a series of shots with each different exposure. Some cameras have a special feature for bracketing.
e.g. -2…– 1…O…+1…+2.
It is best to avoid overexposure by using negative exposure compensation , go back 2/3 to 2 stops. This will keep the foreground dark and the sunset colourful, otherwise the sky will be washed out. However, after the sun has gone, use a long exposure (slow shutter speed or bigger aperture). You will need a tripod.
Auto exposure Lock: Another trick to use. It allows you to point the camera at something darker, like the ground and lock the exposure. Return to the sunset and shoot.. You will get an overexposed shot.
ISO: Use the lowest ISO as a high ISO will enhance the ‘noise’ of the sky.
White Balance: Use automatic white balance (AWB).
Vivid Mode: Use vivid mode for high colour and more contrast.
Filters: You can enhance sunsets by using a polaroid filter or neutral density filter.
Flash or Torch: You can use a flash or torch to expose the foreground. This is especially good for portraits. (1/250 sec - f8)

4. Focus

Some cameras have trouble with auto focusing on sky as it hasn’t got a focal point. So it is best to use manual focus and set it at ∞ infinity.

5. Look around You

Often there are good shots behind you where the sun is hitting the landscape.

6. Keep Shooting

The sky is constantly changing well after the sun is hitting the landscape or sea.

7. Post Processing

If you are not happy with your shots, remember enhancing them with a computer program can give you great shots.

8. Warning

Never look at the sun with your naked eye or through the viewfinder.

9. Challenge

Watch out for clichĂ© sunsets – look for scenes you haven’t seen before.

10. Examples
For some stunning examples and ideas click here:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Last meeting

Hi members,

We had another interesting guest speaker visiting the club. Weis Fajzullin, who was talking about sports photography.

Allan Brown took a few photos:

We are very grateful for Weis to donate his time to the club.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Next Meeting Monday 8/10/12 - 11.00am

Hi Members,

Diane and I will be on the way from Sydney to Canberra while you are meeting on Monday morning.

We have organised a terrific guest speaker, Mr Wies Fajzullin. Wies specialises in sports photography but also does general photography. So please make him welcome and we'll see you at the following meeting.

Sports Photography is a great subject for amateurs as well as professionals.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday's meeting

Hi Members,

Somehow we are not meant to discuss photo blogging. If you remember, last year when the topic was on the agenda, we ran out of time before the lesson finished. So we put it on the agenda again for Monday's meeting.

When we entered the lecture room, we discovered the overhead projector was missing with only the cables dangling from the ceiling. The library staff was extremely helpful and in no time we had an alternative projector projecting from a table onto the screen.

First we looked at the wonderful pictures of people and children, members had submitted and once again there were some fabulous shots. We got about 3/4 into the presentation when all the lights went out, including the projector's.

A library staff member came to advise us that Underwood had a major power outage and wouldn't be fixed until at least 1.30pm. So we couldn't discuss the art of blogging.

We will never-the-less post our lecture notes on blogging onto this blog in a few days.

Well how time flies, this was our last meeting for Term 3 and we are now in recess until Monday the 8th of October when we have a wonderful guest speaker talking about sports photography.

Until then,

Have a good break and keep taking those photos.


Bill and Diane

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Next Meeting - Monday 10 September 2012

Hi Members,

On Monday, we start with the portrait pictures submitted by members. If you haven't already sent us 3 photos, we encourage you to do so before lunch time tomorrow. We asked for a full portrait, full or a part of a body, and free choice but any shots are okay.

My sore toe

Then after morning tea, we look at creating a photo blog for the camera club which can be used by any member. We'll also show you how you can start your own blog.

See you there

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


We had another successful meeting last Monday. Thank you to all those who came. Below is a copy of our notes and illustrations for those who want to refresh and for those who couldn't attend. Looking forward to seeing you all at the next meeting on the 10 Sept.

 Your Challenge is to send us three photos of people/children. One close up, one whole or part of the body and one free choice. Try to get the photo to tell something about the person. (The challenge is not compulsory)

Tips for Photographing People Especially Children

When I hear the term Portrait Photography it conjures up the image of a head and shoulders, however Portrait Photography is more than that. It can be of the whole person set in their environment to make the photo tell a story, which is what we should be aiming for in most of our photos.  On the other hand it can be a photo of parts of the body like hands or you can fill the whole frame with the face or part of it. So I prefer to call it Photographing People rather than Portrait Photography.
using a flash: It is best to turn off your flash to create ambiance. Flash creates harsh, flat lighting.  When indoors you can turn on lights or use natural lighting. You can set your camera for different light by using the white balance settings: sun, cloud, tungsten, fluorescent, flash, or automatic.
If your subject is backlit it can create a nice portrait with highlights in the hair. 
Photo from DPS (Digital Photo School)

However the face may be too dark so use a flash but try to diffuse the flash or bounce it off a wall or a ceiling. Some cameras have a flash setting for keeping the subject and background evenly lit. Check yours.
When using a flash, do not have the subject too close to a wall or else you will get harsh shadows. In fact it always better to move the subject away from the background.

natural light: When indoors use light from an open window or door. Side lighting is more flattering than front on. Don’t have the subject too close to the lighting source.

When outside it is best to use early morning or late afternoon light. This will give soft shadows and create a 3D effect of the subject. 
Never ask people to look into the sun they will only squint. Learn to read the light. Where is it coming from, are the shadows hard edged or soft edged? A bright day gives hard shadows. A dull day gives no shadows and a flat photo. An overcast day gives soft shadows and definition to the face. The sky acts as a diffuser. When there is a harsh light move the subject into the shade or diffuse the light. You can buy a diffuser or use a plastic bag or shower curtain. You can get rid of harsh shadows by bouncing the light off a reflector. You can buy one or use aluminium foil over a board, a car sun reflector or a white foam board.
camera shake: If you turn off the flash or you are in low light your camera will automatically increase the aperture. If you are using semi manual settings then use F4 to F5.6. This will let more light in and give a short depth of field, which will make the background soft and blurry. However in low light, when the aperture is wide open, the shutter speed slows down too so it is very easy to get camera shake and a blurry photo. 
To avoid camera shake, steady your elbows on a table, a fence etc. If the shutter speed goes below 1/60 sec you need to use a tripod. Increasing the ISO will increase the camera’s sensitivity to light but it will also give your picture more grain, which can be used as a special effect or corrected with post processing.
grain or noise
composition: There is a temptation with portraits to place them in the middle but you will get a more dynamic shot if you don’t. A portrait doesn’t always need to be head and shoulders it can be the whole body. 
Photo from Currys
The whole person placed in their environment tells a story about that person. e.g. on holidays, in the garden, shed, den, kitchen, sports field, park, playroom.

Photo David Pickvance
 For something different, fill the whole frame with the face from the eyes to the mouth. Shoot hands or feet.
Photo from DPS
Try to take candid shots. To put people at ease mingle with your camera around your neck they will get used to you and relax. With children interact with them, play with them, and build up a bond with them. “Let’s throw up the leaves,” “Lets play with the blocks.” etc. Be yourself and relax, kids are perceptive. Sell your personality. Treat them with respect. Give them space; use a zoom lens at first.
Let them play
Talk to them and SNAP many times and you will get one good one.
Some kids like an audience and others are painfully shy. Work out what the child prefers.  Use familiar surroundings like where they usually play. Give them something to do: use paint and paper, balloons, bubble machine, dress up clothes, go to the park, or play with a pet. If they remain shy and introverted capture them hiding behind mum. Parents can be in the shot reacting with the child. Take chidren when they fall.
Photo Bernie Curry
Let them have a comfort object. They don’t always have to be smiling or laughing, take them serious, curious, grumpy, silly or sad.

This will lead to more natural expressions. Use continuous or burst setting and you are sure to get some good shots.

more tips:
Eyes: The eyes are the most important feature to highlight. The focus point must cover the eyes; they must be in sharp focus and lit well. (Use post processing to sharpen eyes and soften skin.) Try to capture catchlights. Get the subject to look straight down the lens. This connects the subject with those viewing and it is very important to engage the viewer to the photo. Sometimes break the rules and place the subject in the middle.
If a child is engrossed in playing you can call him/her and capture them when they are looking at you.  

On the other hand the subject can look out of the shot, pointing, laughing or surprised this creates interest out of the shot

Or the subject can look at something or someone within the shot.

Photo from DPS
When taking a profile, which is not completely side on the nose should not stick out beyond the cheek. Also remember to give the person active space to look into.

Get down to a child’s level; level with the eyes otherwise they will look like they have big heads. Hover at their level and take loads of shots. With babies lay on the floor with them or set the camera on the table with them. Look directly into their big, beautiful eyes engage them with the viewer.
Photo from DPS

Change perspective, even get lower and look up 
Photo from DPS
Stand over them and look down be careful not to get your feet in the shot, or hold the camera at an angle. 
Photo Carol-Ann Pickvance
Use both landscape and.......                                                                                          portrait views.

Vary the distance you are away from the subject. Step back a long way and it accentuates their smallness. 
Photo Bernie Curry
Change the focal length; use both wide angle and zoom. With Point and Shoot cameras use macro and no zoom. A wide angle can distort the foreground for an interesting effect.
Photo from DPS
Experiment with expressions. With children play the expression game. Call out a word and they have to show you: happy, sad, surprised, shocked, and smelly. Or “What is your favourite thing to eat?” “What is your least favourite food?” Get them to shout.
Photo from DPS
Experiment with lighting. Get patterns of shadows across the face or only one side of the face lit.
Photo from Currys
Give the subject a prop, like blowing bubbles with soap or bubble gum. Give them a football, hockey stick, doll, car. Get them to wear a cap or a scarf covering part of their face. It is better for subjects to wear plain, dark clothing unless they are very dark or white.

Focus on one part of the body like hands........                                                or feet.

Frame the subject looking out of a window, 
or through a fence or an overhanging tree, or through Dad’s legs or through people.
Photo from DPS

Show Movement: Get the subject to move (jump, run, swing, cycle) and use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action

 or slow the shutter speed to blur the action.
Photo from DPS
Pan the camera to blur the background to show movement. 
Photo from DPS
Get the subject in focus standing still but others are moving around.
Photo from DPS
Be careful when using a fast shutter speed inside it will trigger the flash or it will be underexposed so bump up the ISO if you don’t use the flash.
Use reflections: A child’s expression can change when they think you are not looking. Capture their reflection in a tap, mirror, pond, or window.
Unfocused shots: Focus on an element in front or behind the subject, like a bubble or a flower. This makes the subject look dreamy.
photo from DPS
Backgrounds: Keep it simple and uncluttered and with natural light. 
Photo  Pru Upton
Use a plain wall or fence but don’t have the subject too close to the background. If you can’t get a plain background get the subject out in the open and give yourself room to zoom and blur the background. Use macro setting or a large aperture to get a narrow depth of field. Try different coloured and textured backgrounds.
photo  Pru Upton
Break the rules of composition: Put the subject dead centre or right on the edge with part of the face missing. 
photo from DPS
Shoot over the subject’s shoulder to show what they are doing like playing a game, drawing, using an iPad or watching a grader.
In the words of photographer Natalie Norton, “We don’t want to impose limitations on creativity. Take what you have learned here and modify it in a way that fits within the realm of your unique style. There is no wrong way. The right way is what you choose.”
Now Get Started
Use candid shots and get natural expressions when the subject has his/her interest elsewhere. Cut the “cheese” and camera face. 
This is my camera face
Go for authenticity. Let kids do their own thing. Shooting people how they really are makes photography editorial or photo journalistic. These images will tell a story or show emotion.
For formal family group shots try copying the old fashioned way of sitting grandparents in the middle in front and others standing around. Us a self-timer so that everyone is in the shot and a remote control to avoid fixed smiles.