Add some colour to your life

The images below were processed with Topaz B&W Effects –  highly recommend as it is very versatile, user friendly and if you look for discount codes very affordable at approx £30.  In my opinion.  The results speak for themselves!   Or is it more down to my god given talents?

I’ve adjusted the image in B&W to a point that I’m happy with and then using the programs ‘Transparency’ option bought back in a hint of the colour of the original image.  I like it if used sparingly and with the right image.

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Remember kids always shoot in full colour and convert to grey-scale for B&W as this gives you the option do this + adjust the tonal range of the image by adjusting the sensitivity of individual colours.  For example. reducing the sensitivity of blues for more contrast between clouds and clear sky.

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My Sensational Equipment

To achieve the quality of images that you see on my little blog thing you may think that I use pricey pro quality photographic equipment.*  Lenses that cost as much as a small family car etc.  No no no.  Those lenses tend to weigh nearly as much and are rarely required unless you are a Sports or Wildlife photographer where a fast camera/zoom lens is essential.   Anyone can pick up a fast and sharp portrait lens or wide angle lens for less than a £100 that will produce images every bit as good as a £2000+ Nikon or Canon equivalent. It’s what you do with your equipment that counts.

As long as you have at least one eye, a finger and a brain you can take great pictures with a modern digital camera.  The camera does all the work for you making it a doddle and don’t let anyway try to convince otherwise.  No wonder pro photographers are having a hard time these days.  Pro quality results can be achieved with the cheapest SLR’s.  Truly great photographs can be taken with an iPhone or a plastic toy camera + film.  One camera  and one lens is the ideal set up and this is something I am working towards. For now this is what I’m burdened with:

Nikon D90 (£450) + Nikon 18-55 kit lens (£35) + Nikon 35-80mm f4-5.6d (£20) -Nikon 50mm 1:8 D (£110) + Nikkor 80-200mm D (£20)

Olympus Ep-l1 (£150)  + Panasonic 20mm (£220) + Minolta adapter (£20) + Minolta 50mm 1.4 Rokkor (£45) + Minolta 50mm 1.8 MD (Free)

I probably only need the first two.

* Or possibly not.

FILL YOUR BOOTS!

Always take too many pictures.  Never be prematurely convinced that you have THE shot.  In the days of film unless you were a pro you has to be cautious – film/processing was expensive.  A modest memory card of 4GB for example will allow you to store 300 images at least so go mad!  Keep moving, keep you camera focused, compose your shot and most important of all release the shutter again and again and again.  And again.  Edit at home on laptop and not in camera as there is more danger of missing a crucial detail  when pressing the delete button.

Please find below two shots taken over the past weekend.  Not the greatest but the sunlight on The Shard and the girl with flame red hair in the second image help to elevate them from bog standard to not bad..  I took a lot of exposures approx 30 of each scene and the girl and the light only make an appearance in these two images.

Nikon D90 + AF Nikkor DX ED 18-55mm lens.

SECRET SNAPPERS OF THE WORLD UNITE & TAKE OVER!

One way to photograph people on the street without alerting them to your intentions and thus making them uptight, self-conscious, angry/violent is to simple set your camera to take a timed shot.  Set time as short as possible –  2 seconds or less is best.   Release the shutter whilst facing away from your subject and then casually turn around and allow the camera to do all the work – photography sans hands!

 In order to not alert your subject look anywhere other than in their direction.  Be cool –  read a book, text a loved one or simply place hands in pockets.   Do not touch the camera or your  prey will flee/pounce!   

This technique works especially well if you are able to set your camera to multiple timed exposure!

I was standing fairly close to the two gentlemen featured in the below image and I’m sure that if I had raised my camera to compose the shot I would have alerted them and the moment would have been lost.

Taken with a Nikon D5000 + 18-55mm.

USE YOUR BOTTOM

When attempting to shoot in low light whilst still retaining a clean, sharp and noise free image and you have no tripod to hand look for a flat surface to rest your camera.  Set the camera to timer or use your remote shutter release if you have one.  Focus and fire away.  Adjust aperture/shutter speed if image is under or overexposed and try again.

Flippin obvious I hear you shriek!   I KNOW however a lot of people will attempt to illuminate a large space in low light with wholly inadequate inbuilt camera flash – see it all the time.  How this amuses me!   The next time you’re inside the Sistine Chapel lay thy camera down switch off the flash and time the shot.  

Even if shooting in decent light images will be sharper if the camera is placed on a solid surface and untouched by human hand when the shutter releases.  

Here’s a couple of snaps taken whilst I had nothing better to do.  The first was taken with a cheap compact camera set to a 2 second exposure – worked a treat!  The second taken through a window in my flat and placed the camera on the windowsill.

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RAW POWER!

If you have the option and a decent sized memory card take your pictures in RAW.  You will then have the capability of making adjustments to the image quality of each picture in ways that are not possible on a standard JPEG file.  For the me the main advantage in shooting in RAW is that images tend to be sharper, detail in shadow/darker areas of an image can be recovered and over-bright highlights can be muted and detail again revealed.

To choose RAW  go to Image Quality in your cameras menu and adjust to suit.  I always have my camera set to RAW + JPEG Basic and use the JPEG image for reference before editing the images I like.

 Below is an example of an image taken as a JPG.

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And below is the same image taken in RAW and with quick adjustments made to the shadow/shaded areas.  I’ve also muted or ‘Protected’ the  bright highlight areas/spots slightly.

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And as you can see we now have detail in the trunk of the tree that was hard to see in the original JPEG image. A rather sinister reptilian like eye is revealed!  The highlights in the  background are also less harsh and therefore less of a distraction.  Adjustments like this take less than a minute on the software that should be provided with any half decent camera.   It’s simply a matter of moving  the slider on the shadow or highlight protection  in the adjustment options.

So do you have RAW capability?  Check it out!