Long Exposure : Demystified

Time and again, I have had requests and queries on how to take the amazing “trails” photos, today, I shall try to demystify them.

Long Exposure, Trails, Diwali Night, Marine Drive
The technique is called Long Exposure. As the name suggests, we make the photo’s exposure long. In doing so, any light source, or lit up object, that is incident on the sensor, shall be registered by it. In technical terms, we extend the time the shutter stays open, by decreasing the shutter speed. This causes the exposure to be “long”.

Here’s an example:

Long Exposure, Queens Necklace, Marine Drive, Mumbai

Now, to achieve this, we need to have a shutter speed that is low enough to form the light trails, while the aperture has to be such that the photo does not wash out, all the while maintaining the ISO at a level where there is not a lot of noise.
We can get to this unique combination by fiddling in the Manual mode:

Nikon D7200, Manual Mode setting

Or, by setting the camera in the Aperture Priority mode (AV mode in Canon).

Nikon D7200, Aperture Priority Mode setting

The objective should be to have an optimal exposure, despite the slow shutter speed.

Nikon D7200, Aperture Priority Mode setting

With enough practice, taking stunning photos shall not be difficult at all.
Long Exposure is amazing for smoothening out ripples in water, or giving the water a milky flowy look. Do try them out.

Long Exposure, Smootheing of Lake, Bangla Sahib, New Delhi

Slowing down water flow, Elephant Falls, Meghalaya

It is also useful to take photos in low light environments such as this dimly lit monument at the Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi.

Long Exposure, Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi

I shall conclude by stating that unless you practice, you shall not be perfect. Go out there, and explore the amazing world of long exposure.

Cheers!!

Goddess in Progress

Saraswati Puja 2018 convened a few weeks back all across the country and abroad. Saraswati, being the goddess of knowledge and art, is cast into idols with care, affection and respect.

I was in Dhanbad, my hometown for a week, preceding the puja and it gave me an opportunity to capture the goddess being cast and in progress.

Saraswati Idol in progress

Rows of Saraswati Idols

Saraswati Idols waiting to be painted

Face of a would be goddess, Saraswati

Saraswati Idol

I was with one of my teachers whom I admire and look up to, Mrs. Chaitali Sarkar (CA Maam for the DPS Dhanbad alumni out there), who is now a Youtube Vlogger. She has an exceptionally pretty terrace garden and she lets you in on her secrets in her channel; check it out here.

Am still working on the next batch of photos from PetFed 2017. They shall be up soon.  Here is a link for the Part 1 of the same.

PetFed2017 Mumbai – Part 1

For the pet lovers out there, the owners and the pets themselves, one of the best and amazing events that took place in Mumbai last year was the PetFed2017.
There were dogs of varied breeds from tiny Chihuahuas to big fluffy Chow Chows, Alsatians, Labradors, Golden Retrievers. The most common members were from the Pug and Shih Tzu categories out there, the trend owing to the limited spaces found in Mumbai. There were a couple of Spaniels and Huskies too in the crowd. Few cats had shown up and they had separate swag of their own. There was also one rabbit in the huge list of attendees.

Lets have a look at some glimpses of the event.

White Maltese Puppy

A gorgeous Afghan Hound

The cat named Nemo

This is how Nemo travelled around

French Bulldog

Shih Tzu

Siberian Husky, different eye colours

Persian cat

Chow Chow Puppy

Alsatian

Angry Persian Cat

Golden Retriever Puppy

Chow Chow

Shih Tzu with different eye colours

Labrador Puppy

Shih Tzu puppy

Glenn of Imaal Terrier

Possibly Maltese puppy

Shih Tzu

Dogs bonding, Golden Retriever,

Cute desi kitty, cat, white

Cocker Spaniel

Intense looking kitty, Cat

On the first day, during the day time, the pets got exhausted quickly with all the running and frolicking around in the high sun. On day two, things changed quite a bit. What I learnt was that there are a lot of dogs and breeds of whom I had no idea at all existed or were family members right here in India. It was quite amazing to be able to hug and cuddle them 🙂

Part 2 shall be up real soon.

Cheers!!

AtoZ Challenge: The Glossary

The AtoZ Challenge has already come to an end for the second time, and as a result, now a glossary of the terms can be made. I believe this shall come handy for future references!

A – Aperture, Artificial Horizon

B – Bulb Mode, Bokeh

C – Colour Temperature, Composition

D – Double Exposure , Depth of Field

E – EXIF Data, Exposure Bracketing

F – Forced Perspective, Focus Stacking

G – Ghosting, Grain

H – Hot Shoe, Hyperfocal Distance

I – Infinity Focus, ISO

J – Juxtapose, JPEG vs RAW

K – Keylight, Kelvin

L – Latitude, Lens Distortion

M – Manual Mode, Macro

N – Normal Lens, Noise Reduction

O – Optical Zoom, Overexposure

P – Panning, Post Processing

Q – Quality, Quiet Release

R – Red Eye Reduction, Rear Curtain

S – Spot Metering, Shutter Speed

T – Tonal Range, TTL Metering

U – Urban Landscape, Underexposure

V – Vignetting, Vibration Reduction

W – Watermark, White Balance

X – X Speed, X Process

Y – Your Rapport, You

Z – Zoom (Digital), Zoom Burst

Have a look at these terms and let me know if I ought to add some to the list.

Cheers!!

AtoZ Challenge: Z – Zoom (Digital)

Zoom (Digital)

We all know what zoom is and that there are two types, optical zoom and digital zoom. Optical zoom changes the focal length of the lens and closes in on the subject, while the digital zoom uses algorithms and software to do the same. The effects, however are not similar.
Optical zoom shall not degrade a picture quality, where as digital zoom will. To demonstrate, this post.

Below is a photo of a cute shih-tzu puppy named Bitsy.

Shih tzu puppy

And then I was curious to see what has reflected off her eyes, so, I zoom in digitally.

shih tzu puppy, zoomed

What I get is a blur. A pixellated image with horrible quality.

On the contrary, in a previous occasion, I had optically zoomed in to the eyes of a squirrel and the result is shown below.

squirrel

I hope the comparisons shall make it evidently clear that no matter what the camera companies publish in their camera brochures about the digital zoom capability, one must always base their opinions on the optical zoom provided.

In the previous series, Z was for Zoom Burst.

This post finishes up the A to Z series, for the second time. I ll summarize all the phrases in a separate post, and then, you, my dear reader shall have glossary of 52 terms, related to photography with suitable images and explaination for your ready reference.

See you all in the upcoming posts soon.

Cheers!!

 

AtoZ Challenge: Y – Your Rapport

You and Your Rapport

This is not a photographic term, as one may call the others, but rather is an important supporting virtue to have if you intend on taking portraits. In my opinion, it is best to establish a rapport with your subject before you proceed to take a photo.

It puts them at ease and the expressions that you get and genuine.

And, it also helps you to know, who can help you produce the shot that you want.

The above photo needed to have someone with a super expressive eyes, and knowing Gowri, I knew she was the perfect choice.

Even if you are shooting someone new, for the first time, take a moment, talk to the person, and then take the shot, makes things easy.

In the last series, Y was for You.

Cheers!!

A to Z Challenge: X – X Speed

X- Speed

Also known as the shutter sync speed, is the maximum speed at which you can take a photo so that the frame is exposed correctly. You can shoot at speeds slower than the sync speed, but what happens if you shoot faster, I ll show you here.

The following photo is the auto exposed photo, no flash.

Scene exposed. No flash.

The one below is at 1/200 shutter speed. The max sync speed is 1/320.

Scene exposed by flash, Sync speed 1/320, shutter speed 1/200

The one below is at 1/320. Notice that there is a subtle difference in the light level, though not very noticeable.

Scene exposed by flash, Sync speed 1/320, shutter speed 1/320

The one below is at 1/400th of a second. Do you see a very thin line of black fringe beginning to show up in the photo?

Scene exposed by flash, Sync speed 1/320, shutter speed 1/400

Next, we go 1/500. The band is more visible now.

Scene exposed by flash, Sync speed 1/320, shutter speed 1/500

Here we go with 1/640. The band takes up about 1/3rd of the frame.

Scene exposed by flash, Sync speed 1/320, shutter speed 1/640

At 1/800th of a second, half of the frame is gone. The flash fires at the first curtain. So, by the time the flash is able to fire and light up the scene, the second curtain has already covered half the sensor.

Scene exposed by flash, Sync speed 1/320, shutter speed 1/800

At 1/1000th of a second, there is no effect of the flash and it as if the shot has been taken at 1/1000 speed without the flash on.

Scene exposed by flash, Sync speed 1/320, shutter speed 1/1000

Now, if you are using only the onboard flash, chances are that the camera will not let you go past your sync speed as long as the flash is active. Same with the use of proprietary flashes from Nikon, Canon etc. But sync speed is an issue that must be tackled if using third party non sync flashes (the cheaper variety ones). To ensure that your photos don’t have the two-face kind of a situation, pay due heed to the flash sync speed of your camera.

Last time, X was for X Process.

As the last post of the year, I take this opportunity to thank all my readers and followers who have come here maybe to clear some doubts, learn something new or just enjoy the photos, thank you, thank you all. I wish for all of you to have a wonderful time, be closer to achieving your dreams and making them real, and to having a superb year ahead! Happy New Year!

Cheers!!

AtoZ Challenge: W – Watermark

Watermark

How important is a watermark? In my opinion, very! Times are such that it is important to take credit for your job, to ensure that no one else cashes in on it. A watermark is the simplest way to attempt this. You let a sign, a name, a phrase, that identifies uniquely to you be in the photo and proclaim that copying it unauthorized is a copyright violation. If, someday, someone steals your photos and you want to pursue them, having an inconspicuous watermark tucked in is useful.

Sometimes though, this philosophy is taken to the extreme and the watermark is made in a way that it is not worth taking the pains to edit it out, serves the purpose though.

Tell me about your thoughts on watermarking of photos.

Last time, W was for White Balance.

Cheers!!

AtoZ Challenge: V – Vignetting

Vignetting

In the olden days, when the lens and the film quality were not as amazing as today, the edges of the photos would become dark. With advent of better technology and processes, now a days, one has to to critical search to find vignetting occurring natively in the photos. Where we see more of its use is as filters.

This photo above, has been edited using a vignetting filter, for my camera in this case, a Lenovo K6 Power, doesn’t have vignetting issues.

Tell me about your views on vignetting in the comments section.

Previously, V was for Vibration Reduction.

Cheers!!

AtoZ Challenge: U – Urban Landscape

Urban Landscape

Today, in every major city, the common thread that links all of them is that there is development in the real estate sector. The  landscape of the city, the skyline, is constantly changing and evolving. From a beautiful vantage point, to shoot the urban landscape, is quite a joy.
Below are some of my examples of Mumbai’s concrete(land)scape.

Mumbai Cityscape at night, Sea Link

High Rise buildings at Mumbai

Clouds form on the Sewri Mudflats

Tell us about your favourite spots for shooting urban landscapes.

In the previous series, U was for Underexposure.

Cheers!!

AtoZ Challenge: T – Tonal Range

Tonal Range

This can be defined as the range of tones, both coloured and black and white which span from the lightest to the darkest areas in the photo.
A photo with a wide tonal range shall have areas which exhibit dark areas and white areas while the ones with a narrow range shall have more of gray shades.

The photo above has a a majority of black areas while the tonal range extends to the other end of the spectrum too.

While, in the photo below, the range is more concentrated in the mid ranges and is hence overall grayish in colour.

The wider the tonal range, better shall be contrast in the photo. While striving to achieve a wide tonal range, one must also keep in mind not to overdo the exposure and exceed into the clipping regions.

Tell me about your ideas on this topic in the comments.

In the earlier series, T was for TTL Metering.

Cheers!!

AtoZ Challenge: S – Spot Metering

Spot Metering

Metering is the camera’s means to evaluate the light and shadow in a particular scene and adjust accordingly. In general, there are three main metering modes:

  1. Evaluative/ Matrix metering: This is where the entire frame is taken up for evaluation and the exposure is adjusted accordingly. Good for all round photography.
  2. Centre Weighted: Here a patch of the frame is used to evaluate the optimum exposure. It can generally be selected by the user for fine tuning.
  3. Spot Metering: This brings the area under consideration to a spot in the frame, which can be selected as per need. Very useful if the photograph is of the moon or something bright in a sea of darkness sort. Then the spot can be fixed on the bright bit and the metering can be adjusted accordingly.

It pays well to be adept at the metering modes and experimenting with them so that one can know what to use when.

The featured image of the post has been shot using spot metering, where the metering reference was the sun.

Last time, S was for Shutter Speed.

Cheers!!