Three Ps Photography Workshop Series News August 2015

September 06, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

From James

In this edition of Workshop Series News we start our journey back to basics with a brief look at the first element of the exposure triangle- shutter speed. In gadget talk we review the Westcott Omega 10in1 reflector designed by Australian photographer Jerry Ghionis.

We have released the dates for the next 
Studio Fundamentals and Getting Off Autophotography workshops. You can see them in the "Workshop release dates and booking" section.

Please drop me a line with your photography or processing based questions and we'll find the answers together.

Back to Basics

My beginner workshop is called "Getting Off Auto" and it is all about the basics. While I feel I have developed rapidly in my photographic journey I always try to reflect on the basics. This has helped me because the basics are so relevant at every level. Photography is a process, while our craft is creative, we must follow a technical process in order to achieve the best results. With this in mind I thought I would start with the most critical element of photography, exposure. In particular the relationship between shutter, aperture and ISO. So let's kick off this edition the first element of the exposure triangle, shutter.

To explain shutter is simple, it is all about the length of time the sensor is exposed to light, right? It would be great if it were that simple but we know that shutter speed does a little more than that. It is also a creative element for the scene and if set incorrectly can ruin an entire shoot. If it's too slow, your hand held portrait shoot will be left looking a little shaky and blury, however if it is to fast there is a risk of underexposing the shot or simply creating a lifeless landscape without movement. It can be tricky to know exactly which setting is best, let's break it into 2 categories hand held and long exposure.

Hand Held
When operating a camera hand held we run the risk of camera shake due to slow shutter speed. To reduce the risk of camera shake the general rule is to set the slowest shutter speed to 1/* the focal length of the lens e.g. for a 50mm lens the slowest shutter speed should be 1/50 sec. When using zoom lenses, set the slowest shutter speed to the lenses longest length eg  for a 70-200mm lens set the slowest shutter speed to a minimum 1/200 sec. Other factors can play a part as well. If you tend to get shaky hands, this needs to be considered with a buffer by increasing the shutter speed further. Our saving grace is the image stabilizer feature that is available on a lot of lenses. This can reduce shake by up to 3 stops but this should only be a guide.

Long Exposure
Sometimes we may want to slow the shutter speed for creative reasons or to increase exposure. Whether you're shooting a landscape at sunrise, light painting or creating motion blur in a waterfall, you will be considering a shutter speed of 1/4 sec to 30 sec and beyond (or anything that you can't hand hold because of camera shake.) In this situation you need to support the camera on a stable base.

A necessary piece of equipment is a good quality solid tripod. It is one piece of equipment you can't really cheat on and if you have ever experienced one of those $50 tripods you will know what I mean. The tripod needs to have solid legs and the head needs to have no movement when locked.

As you can see, shutter speed plays a key role in the exposure triangle. Over the following editions we will discuss Aperture, ISO and the relationship between the three elements called the exposure triangle.

Remember the faster the shutter speed, the less light that reaches the sensor and the darker the exposure.

My little holiday tip. If you're travelling and don't want to carry a tripod, get yourself a wheat bag. They're not only great for soothing those muscles after a hard day of site seeing but are great for supporting your camera on any surface including hand rails and other odd shape objects.


Gadget talk!

Kayell Australia loaned me the Westcott Omega 10in1 reflector, so I took it along to the Finding The Light workshop to put it through it's paces. At stages during the workshop I show people different reflector techniques using a 5in1 reflector to enhance and filter light on a subject. When we pulled out the Westcott 10in1 reflector I wasn't sure that it would make much difference. I couldn't be more wrong. The addition of the shoot through panel was the winner for me and how this reflector smoothed out the light was sensational.

Let's step back a little and explain. A 5in1 reflector is a great economical gadget that enables you to filter, redirect and change the colour of light and works well in a lot of cases particularly with side light. With light coming from behind the subject we can try to use the reflector to direct light however it can be challenging and leaves shadows because of the angle of reflection, while also not taking up the photographers space. The Omega can however be placed straight in front of the subject to provide lovely soft light while allowing the photographer to shoot through the removable panel. It is a great piece of equipment which offers a lot of creative opportunities. One thing we found is that the white panel is best for shooting through as the silver can be blinding for the subject. Did I mention that I loved the soft gold panel which is much lighter toned to the standard gold that you get on most cheaper 5in1 reflectors. Kayell sells the Omega reflector for $220 on their website however Peter Munro will offer a special to those who mention me, 
P I G S (Facebook Group) and the Three Ps workshop series.

Breaking News- Peter from Kayell has allowed me to bring the reflector along to the P I G S Cockatoo Island meetup on the 9th August so people can give it a try.


Workshop release dates and booking
Please click on any of the workshops below for more information and to book.

Sometimes it's those little things that are so special.
What's Coming up

Over the next few editions we will look at Aperture, ISO and the exposure triangle. We will also try to demystify tonal range and discuss Raw V Jpeg. Watch to future edition and share you passion with others.


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