Technical Notes

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This tutored photo shoot was hosted by Nina and Brian, who brought a wealth of professional experience to the day.  All photographs were taken using a Canon EOS 20D, using Canon's 'Raw' format.  They were then 'adjusted' using Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP), and output as a 3504 x 2336 jpeg file.  This was then cropped (if necessary), sharpened and resized using Paint Shop Pro.

85mm 1/500sec f3.5  (ISO 200)
 Virtually all the photographs on these pages are taken with a large aperture.  That throws the background completely out of focus, concentrating attention on the subject.  However, if the aperture is too large, only part of the subject itself is in focus (a mistake which you will see on a number of photos on these pages).  This photo was taken at f3.5, wide-enough to throw the background completely out of focus, but small enough that most of the berries and foreground leaves are in focus.

85mm 1/80sec f3.5 -1/3 stop (ISO 200)
Our tutors recommended shooting directly to high resolution jpeg files, rather than in raw format, in order to save time.  However, I have always preferred the fine adjustment available with raw format files:  jpeg (like standard Windows bitmaps) stores 256 levels each of red,  green and blue for each pixel.  This is fine to view, but if you need to adjust the balance it can be found wanting;  Raw format, on the other hand, stores 4096 levels each of red,  green and blue per pixel, which allows for fine tuning for the finished image.

This picture had its saturation boosted, but the tonal range flattened slightly, in order to give a result which is (hopefully) striking but at the same time natural.

17mm 1/30sec f4  (ISO 800)
Dull weather is actually preferable for many types of picture.  The light was barely sufficient for this photograph, but it was brightened by nearly a full stop within DPP, and the saturation again boosted.  The result is an interesting image created from a subject that was much more mundane to the eye.

Boosting the saturation of a digital picture is actually no different to the film photographer's use of high saturation films for landscape photography. 

85mm 1/200sec f2.8 -1/3 stop (ISO 800)
Taken while sheltering under the trees from a shower, this photograph has again benefited from being brightened up using DPP.  The sky was completely overcast at this point, but the image manages to convey a sense of brightness.

10mm 1/25sec f4 +1/3 stop (ISO 200)
Most photos were taken using either a wide-angle lens (mostly 17-40mm at 17mm), or a telephoto lens (85mm, or 200mm in a few cases).  I borrowed a 10-22mm lens from the tutors for this shot (at 10mm).

85mm 1/250sec f2 +1/3 stop flash on (ISO 400)
Our tutors pointed out many opportunities for close-up photography, and had specialist equipment to lend out for experience.  This shot, however, was simply taken using my 85mm lens set at its minimum focusing distance.

The image was brightened by using the camera's built in flash.  This was set to -1 stop relative to the available light, so that the flash didn't dominate 

85mm 1/80sec f16  flash on (ISO 800)
Depth of field is a big problem with close-up photography (as can be seen from some of the photos on the 'Close-up' page).  This photograph was taken on full manual mode, with a small aperture (f16) to give a decent depth of field.  This, of course, was too small for the available light, but the camera's built in flash automatically compensated.
17mm 1/640sec f6.3 +2/3 stop (ISO 400)
With a break in the cloud, we were suddenly shooting much brighter subjects than before, and it was easy to forget to adjust the sensitivity accordingly (the quality of the picture can degenerate at higher 'film speeds' - ISO).  However, the quality of the resulting image was little different from ISO 100 to ISO 400.  

In years to come I suspect that cameras may adjust their sensitivity (ISO number) in the same way as they adjust the shutter speed and aperture, to get the optimum photograph.  

On To "Trees With Character"  

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