Saturday, August 16, 2008

Silver Ring Thing Team Photos

I had the privilege to spend an afternoon with the Silver Ring Thing Team. "SRT promotes the message of abstinence until marriage centered in a relationship with Jesus Christ through two methods: a Live Event and a small group program called SRT 434." [SRT home page]

The team is an amazing group and is made up of leaders from all around the country.

We spent the afternoon at their office in Moon Township, PA, shooting some team photos 'indoors' then we traveled to the South Side of Pittsburgh. This image was taken on an overpass from Station Square to the docks along the river. The structure of the overpass made for an tremendous photo opportunity and the Lord provided an amazing day of weather. We could not have asked for a prettier day. There were beautiful clouds in the sky and the temperature was perfect.

I converted the image to an 'antique black and white' in Lightroom 2.0

We took over two hundred images throughout the day and every image is filled with enthusiasm and fun. I had a a great time!

I say this often and I mean it every time but photography and documenting life through photography is way too much fun to be legal. :-]

The last two photos show only a partial side of the fun and enthusiasm of the team. The team is a 'blast' to be around and always ready to show their joy and love for Christ!

The image of the team under the 'tree' was taken in a parking lot in Mt. Washington. Whoever painted the scene did an great job!

SRT, thank you for the opportunity to spend the day with an amazing group and the privilege of documenting an afternoon of your wonderful life!

Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Creative Exposures and Depth of Field

Do you wish you could get the image to jump off the screen or print? Do you wish you could understand why some photographers images look so different than yours?

1. Take your camera out of auto or program mode. [They have a purpose but not for creative images.] If you want a ‘creative’ image, auto or program mode will let you down. To create an image that screams creative begin to experiment with manual mode.

When an image is exposed, many combinations of shutter speed and aperture will render an image ‘exposed’ properly. However, normally only one image will scream creative when the shutter ‘clicks’.

Using any lens, place the camera in manual mode. In the viewfinder you will notice your exposure meter. To obtain an exposed image typically the line is in the middle of the meter or on 0. Adjust your shutter or aperture to set a ‘properly’ exposed image. [We will discuss how to use creative exposures in future lessons.]

All of the following combinations of shutter speed and aperture render an ‘exposed’ image via the meter on my D200 with the ISO at 1250 using my 70-300vr @ 70mm. [I am doing this exercise in my basement office with only one overhead light on.] Which exposure is correct? According to technical terms, they all are appear to be ‘correct’ but only one combination will render an expressive or creative exposure. Keep in mind the larger the number on your aperture the greater the depth of field. E.g. The depth of field [or what is in focus] is much larger on f/10 than f/5.6. Therefore, the correct exposure is the exposure that creates the image YOU are attempting to create. If you want a large depth of field [landscape image] where a large portion of your image is in focus, then you would use f/10. However, if you want to create an image where the subject is in focus but the background is ‘blurred out’, then you would ‘open’ up your aperture as much as possible.

Shutter speed: 1/30

Aperture: f/5.6


Shutter speed: 1/25

Aperture: f/6.3


Shutter speed: 1/20

Aperture: f/7.1


Shutter speed: 1/15

Aperture: f/8


Shutter speed: 1/10

Aperture: f/10

The above image I shot at f/5.6 with a shutter speed of 1/250 second and the lens I used was the Nikkor 70-300vr @ 250mm. Notice how the background is blurred out. If I used an aperture with a greater depth of field [f/11], the background would not have blurred out and the singer would have been lost in a sea of background clutter.

Go out and try this experiment. Have fun and enjoy taking pictures of life!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

San Rocco Days 2008 -Aliquippa, PA

I had the opportunity to shoot the 'crowning' of my beautiful niece as queen of San Rocco Days.  This image was shot at f/4.8 and 1/500 sec @ ISO 400 & 200 mm [Nikkor 70-300vr].  I converted the first image to a black and white in Lightroom 2.0.  Both images had their respective frames added in CS2. 
Today's tip: Getting the blurred out background.
Many folks ask; 'how do you get the background blurred out'?  In this case it is a result of the combination of focal length [200 mm] the aperture [f/4.8] and the distance I was from my niece.  

If you have a telephoto lens try this experiment.  Zoom to 200 - 300 mm, open the aperture as wide open as you can go.  In most cases the aperture will be in the 4.5-5.6 or in some cases 6.3.  Then zoom in on your subject and walk to your subject and away from your subject [changing the distance between you and your subject] and notice how the background begins to change.  The depth of field is changing which is changing the area in focus [in front of your subject and behind your subject].  If you want to study more on the subject, goto Online DOF calculator. The site is a tremendous resource in learning about this amazing subject.  
The third image was taken at the Steelers training camp and if you notice the background is 'blurred' out in this image also.  The combination of my distance from the subject [which was not too far, maybe 20 feet], the focal length [240 mm] and the aperture [f/5.6] created a very nice image with the subject in focus and the background 'blurred out' [Bokeh].  I will discuss more about this subject in future posts but my first suggestion.  Have fun, practice often, and capture the beauty of life!