The Golden Hour

You have probably heard the term “The Golden Hour” before, probably when admiring a spectacular landscape photograph that makes you marvel in the beauty of the light. Why don’t your pictures look like that? Well it is as simple as the time of day the photo was taken.

Suprise View Sunset
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Perfect Exposure in Difficult Lighting Situations

One of the most frustrating things about learning photography is when you find yourself in situations where you just can’t get your exposure right. I found that there is a really simple trick for getting it right every time. Here is an example of how:

I came across a rocky outcrop while on the moors looking for landscapes to photograph. The is some interesting detail in the sky so I set up and take the first shot. It looks like this. The sky is blown out with no detail. Eeeuuugh.

Exposure 1

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Your Camera’s Mode Dial – In Beginner Speak

Almost every camera has a modes dial of some description. They come in various shapes and sizes but most of the positions on the dial are common across all cameras and brands. Knowing what each of the steps on the dial does is the first step to being in the correct mode for the type of shot you are going to take. So lets crack on and work our way round the dial: (I have focused on the modes as they are implemented on a DSLR, P&S cameras may differ slightly but in general are the same)
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Photoshop Elements Tutorial – Converting to Black and White

One of the best things about shooting digital is that you don’t need to choose black and white or colour when you load the film, or even when you set up your camera and press the shutter. Not only can it all be done on the computer afterwards, you actually get better results that way. You can use it on anything from scenic landscapes to arty portraits and being digital you can always go back to colour if you don’t like it. In this post I will explain how to convert a colour images to black and white using the full editor in Photoshop Elements. Hopefully with a bit of luck you will end up with something that looks a bit like this:

Peak District Landscape, Yorkshire, England

Peak District Landscape, Yorkshire, England

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Progressing to the Next Level – Photoshop

In a previous post I outlined the benefits of editing your images so I thought it would be a good idea to outline the thought process behind my choice and some of the trade offs that need to be made. Admittedly it is nowhere near as important a decision as buying a camera but it is still a significant purchase than needs time and thought.

Free bundled software

I started of using the software that came with my camera, Olympus Master. However I quickly became frustrated by certain elements of the program and how it worked. Here are the main things that bugged me about it:

  • It’s slow as hell. Doing any adjustments took time and converting a RAW to JPEG took over 60s and killed the rest of the computer while doing it.
  • Lack of features, particularly for RAW development
  • Ropey looking results (although this is probably user error!)
  • Destructive work flow. Any edits made to pics are permanent so seeing the effect of what you have done is difficult.

So I decided to upgrade. I chose Photoshop Elements but why?

Photoshop Elements

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Black and White

It is amazing how something so simple as converting you shots to black and white can improve your shots. The beauty of digital is that you don’t need to decide on B&W before you shoot either. Its much easier and actually a far superior to convert later in your computer. I find it works best for photos with strong compositional elements where colour is not that strong anyway. Everything from sweeping landscapes, cityscapes to classic portraits can benefit from a lack of colour. So give it a go, I did.

London Eye Sepia

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The Exposure Triangle – In Beginner Speak “The End of Auto Mode”

In previous beginner speak posts I have written about aperture, shutter speed and ISO and how they affect your photos. Understanding each of those aspects of photography is necessary to have creative control over your shots. “So what is this Exposure Triangle?” I hear you ask. The exposure triangle explains how the individual aspects of exposure (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) affect the final exposure of the photo.

What is exposure though?

The technicalities of exposure are rather convoluted and a bit mathsy, however the end result is that exposure refers to how bright or dark your photo is due to the amount of light that is recorded by your cameras sensor. A properly exposed photo should (normally) resemble the brightness of the original scene. A poorly exposed photo will either be too dark or too bright and may contain areas that are so dark or bright that they contain no detail (know as blown out). So how can we control the exposure of a photo? That is where the exposure triangle comes in.

What is the exposure triangle?
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Welcome to my blog

I am an amatuer photographer living in Sheffield, England. My blog will detail my photography journey, from fumbling beginer to, hopefully one day, competant and knowledgeable photographer

By sharing my experince hopefully I can help every one else with the same goals and maybe, just maybe impart some of the knowledge I have leaned

If you have any questions or comments about the blog then why not email me.
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