Sunday, March 22, 2009

Filling the Frame

Another simple technique that you can use to achieve better photo's is to fill your frame. Look at the top photo of one of my mom's dogs, Yogi. Just an ordinary shot right ........well it doesn't have to be! Not if you get in closer and fill your frame like below

Better right!

Closer is also always better for people as when you move further away you tend to lose the expression on their faces.
Here are a few ways that you can get in closer to fill the frame:
1. Use your camera's zoom
2. Physically get closer - you should never just stand in one place shooting away but rather move around and get different viewpoints including a closer one.
3. Crop your shots. If its not possible to zoom in anymore or get closer you can always crop your photo after so that it fills the frame.

Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is one of the most well known principles of composition and one of the easiest ways to improve your photo's. All you need to do is before you take the shot think about the rule of thirds :)

The above picture shows how the rule of thirds divides the frame into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. It identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in, but it also gives you four ‘lines’ that are also useful positions for elements in your photo.
The theory is that if you place elements of your photo or even your entire subject along these lines you will achieve a more balanced and aestically pleasing photo.

In a similar way a good technique for landscape shots is to position the horizon along one of the horizontal lines.

You should make sure that when you are getting ready to take a photo you ask yourself what are the points of interest in this picture and where am I placing them?
And thats it! It's pretty easy right?
Well the last thing that I would like to add is that as with most rules they can be broken as the rule of thirds is not a MUST do but rather a CAN do.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Light Painting by Jena Scheepers

These were done with sparklers and taken by Jena Scheepers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Writing in the Air

Campus light painting

Thanks to everyone that come out and joined us for the light painting last night! I hope you had fun and learnt a few new tricks :)
Here are some of the pics that were taken.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tips and examples for Monday's light painting

While I was up at Monument on Wednesday my friends and I had some fun with light painting! As you can see there was so much light with the full moon that we even managed to capture the movement of the people with the torches.

Just remember that the light painting that we will be doing on Monday will be more like the photo above as we will not have the extra light from the full moon to light up our shots. Which is fine as it makes the light trails coming from the torch or torches more pronounced.

You can really have fun with light painting and be as creative as you want! There are so many different ways to pose or objects to light up with your torches.
We will also be bringing some sparklers along to see what effect we get when we use them as our light source instead of torches!
But for now let me try and give you a simple explaination of how light painting works.
Basically you want as much light (which you are controlling) as possible to get to the camera. You can do this by either slowing your shutter speed down as much as you can and/or by using a smaller aperture (so a smaller f-stop number which means the aperture or 'hole' will be bigger and therefore let in more light).
1. Set your camera on the tripod and take a sample shot with flash to help you check that your composition is OK.

2. Set the camera to a slow shutter speed and/or a smaller aperture. If you are outside do nothing. If you are inside - this is the time to turn off the lights.

3. Press the button to take the shot. Once the shutter is open use your flashlight to light the stuff that you want to "paint". You can use the flashlight as a brush and "smear" the light or you can use the light as a pen, and write things in the air.
Areas where you go slowly will be more lit then others. Be careful not to linger too much over the same stop - you will burn it (leave large bight spots on the photo).
4. Once the shutter closes, you are a free person again. Inspect your image and make corrections.

By the light of the moon and stars

These are my shots from last nights full moon adventure! I was really excited as it was my first time trying to take photo's with the moon as my primary light source. And I was not disappointed it was so much fun! The view from the monument was fantastic and the weather man ensured we had clear skies which was perfect. Thanks to Marci, Rice and Sarah for trekking up the hill with me and being patient with all the photo's!
Well these are my four best shots but as you can see they are not all great and do need alot of work and practice, but I hope you still enjoy taking a look at them :)

I really loved the way that the pathways reflected the light of the moon. You will also notice that the moon's light gives the grass a very different shade of green than you get during the day or if you had used flash. It is a lot more saturated.

Although the Fosters bottle didn't come out as focused as I had hoped for I still like this shot as the background is so sharp and pretty.

I was so fascinated by this shot of the monument building as it doesn't even look real, but it is!
And you can even see the stars!!!!!
We will be doing a full moon excursion as soon as we can. Unfortunatley the next full moon is the 9th April which is during the holidays but we will try for either the 9th May or the 7th June next term :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Gorgeous photo right? Well guess what it was taken at night with no flash......even more amazing is the rest of the photos like the one below are also taken with no flash. What is lighting up the photo you might then ask.....well...believe it or not its the full moon.

A few friends and I decided to head up to Monument last night to make full use of the full moon by using it as a light source. To achieve photo's like these which were taken by Raisa Meiswinkel is to have a camera that you can adjust the shutter speed, a tripod and lots of patience.
I think that after last night we have a another Photosoc excursion on the cards - next full moon we will do an outing up to the monument to show anyone who is interested how to take these shots.

But for now meet Raisa and just enjoy her work :)

Tarryn, Marci and Sarah all absorbing the light from the moon. It was so much fun but you have to remain very very still until the camera has finished taking the shot which can sometimes take a few minutes.

The night lights of Grahamstown come alive!

The beauty of morning light

Morning all! Raisa Meiswinkel one of the brave photosoc members to have climbed out of bed at 5:30 last Sunday emailed me some of her shots. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Monday, March 9, 2009

More Great Stuff from Sunday Morning

All these shots were taken by Marci Koenig

Sunday, March 8, 2009

All the Small Things @ Bot

So moving from the sunrise to the other beautiful things that there were in Bot Gardens on Sunday I have got some shots of a gorgeous flower to illustrate how you should think outside of the box and take a different view on life :)
The above shot is of the inside of the flower, taken with macro. Remember that not everything needs to be viewed as a whole. Sometimes things can look even better when you break them in parts and focus on bits like the inside of a flower instead of the whole thing. If you do this you will also fill the entire frame which makes for a shot with better impact.

But please do take a picture of the whole thing as it can make for an interesting picture as well!

The above photo is an example of a different viewpoint and illustrates the idea of back lighting. Basically that means that I put the light source (in this case the sun) behind my subject (the flower) in order to see the veins in the flower.

What is it????? Well if you take a closer look you might be able to tell that it is actually moss that was growing on the side of a tree. I used macro again for this one.

My final picture that I'm sharing with everyone is this one of a piece of palm. I used the backlit technique again to see the veins of the leaf but in this one I included the tear in order to have a focus or something that jumps out at you instead of just having the patterns of the veins of the leaf.
I will be getting some more shots from the members that were there on Sunday and posting them shortly so please feel free to come check them out!

Sunday Morning in Bot

Thank you to all the members and committee members that crawled out of bed before the crack of dawn on Sunday to join us in Bot Gardens. As you can see by the pictures the weather smiled down on us and we had a fairly clear sunrise. The above picture was taken with a tripod and a slow shutter speed to increase the amount of light reaching the digital sensor.

In the above picture I tried to keep the sun to the side of the frame in order to get an effect of the sun's rays reaching out over the landscape. Think about how you want the picture to look before you take it so that you have a clear focus. With landscape photo's of a horizon remember to make sure that the horizon is as straight as you can get it. Last time I went to Bot Gardens I forgot and came back with only one shot that had a straight horizon.

Patterns in nature make for attractive features in your photo's. I liked how the lines of the hills followed each other and how they draw your eye into the frame. The morning mist adds atmosphere to the shot.

Another shot showing how the light touches the land, but this time with a slightly different composition.

For this close up of the water droplets I used my macro function (which is usually denoted by a small flower icon on digital cameras). Getting nice and close to the flower and keeping extremely still are essential to capturing a good macro shot. As you can see macro is like a super zoom that focuses on the object and blurs the background.