Sunday, 15 October 2017

Camera Challenges

A local Camera Club advertised their new sessions as being particularly suitable for beginners, so I thought that I ought to give it a go. I have had my fancy DSLR camera for a few years now but I know that it (and I!) could do so much more if I only knew how, and I was hoping that the sessions might go some way towards that.

The session two weeks ago was a quick run down on the lessons that the club had gone through last year, and was a welcome refresher for me on the basics of apertures, shutter speeds and ISO's. Not that is to say that I am now an expert on any of those things, but I did recognise most of the topics being discussed even if I don't always practise them :)

A recent visit to Pollock House after that session was a chance for me to make sure that I used a high aperture setting to keep all of the detail of this fine country house on the outskirts of Glasgow.

Then I switched to a low aperture setting to give these thistles in the grounds a blurred background.

Clearly the lesson on quick shutter speeds to freeze the motion of this insect on the flower didn't quite sink in :)

This week's lesson was all about "Exposure Bracketing" which might as well have been a foreign language to me. Apparently it means that the camera can be set to take the same photo at different exposure settings, which can then be combined to produce a composite shot. Who knew such a thing existed???

Although we practised some shots during the session I decided to have a go at home to see if I could remember what we had been told, and here are the results.

The bottom photo above is under-exposed by 1 stop, the middle over-exposed by 1 stop and the top photo is taken at the original setting. I am not quite sure what all that means but you can see for yourself the differences in the photos :)

The trainer recommended free software, for those of us who don't have Photoshop, where you can upload the images and they will be combined in something called HDR (High Dynamic Range ????) and result in a photo that has the definition in the shadows of the under-exposure and the clarity in the light of the over-exposure. Sadly you will have to take my word that this occured as the website, Fotor would allow me to upload and combine the photos but I couldn't save the resulting image without signing up and paying for the advanced version.

I couldn't initially think of when I might use this facility on the camera, but then I remembered the trouble that I had taking photos of the amazing painted monasteries in Romania recently. The detail beneath the eaves was lost in all of my photos so maybe if I had known about the Exposure Bracketing I might have ended up with photos that showed all of the wonderful frescoes, then again maybe not without paying who knows what for the software :)

Still at least I have used a setting on my camera that I never even knew existed, maybe now I need to do the same with all those fancy settings on my sewing machine :)


  1. I'd love to say I understand what you're talking about, but, sadly, I don't. I can do a few things on my fancy camera, but there is SO much I don't even know exists. As far as apertures, shutter speeds and ISO - it's all double Dutch to me. Sounds like you're learning at a much faster rate than me, Fiona.

  2. It really does get easier with practice, Fiona! Believe me, I used to be mystified by it all and now it is second nature. I have to admit, I rarely use exposure bracketing, but I shoot in RAW rather than JPEG format and can therefore get away with sorting out any exposure issues in post-processing if needed. I wouldn’t be without my software to tweak my photos!

  3. Good on you for taking a course and learning more about your camera. I've read about aperature, ISO, etc, but I've never actually tried to use any of what I've read, meaning none of it means anything to me :)

  4. I think most of those pictures are great, and certainly better than mine, lol. I think I'm doing fancy photography when I use my cellphone, which has a better camera than my camera ... which I stole from one of the kids when he moved out - shhhhhh don't tell! (OK, he actually gave it to me because he was tired of me asking to borrow it, and he had bought a better one, LOL)

  5. This is very interesting. My camera isn't so fancy but it does have other settings than 'auto'...going to a class sounds like a good way of learning and practicing the different effects :)


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