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Archive for February, 2011

Nikon D300 24-70mm @31mm f4 1/50, ISO 500

[Click on photo to enlarge]

Just over a month ago I wrote an entry entitled Overcoming the fear of high ISO and shallow depth of field. I have come to actually love shallow depth of field in many cases. However with ISO I still like to use the lowest that I can. In the case of the above photo I choose to use F4 intentionally to separate my son from the background. The only mistake that I made, and I seem to make this mistake a lot, is forgetting that children move a lot faster than 1/50 of a second, and they do it when you least expect it, and it will be the moment you want to capture. Yet I didn’t really forget, when I was taking this photo I thought a slower shutter speed would be fine and so I didn’t even think to increase the ISO to allow me a faster shutter speed. You can see there is definite motion blur of his arms, which is actually a nice thing. His face however is a different story, his face simply looks out of focus. The reason for that is because at this exact moment he was just starting to laugh. Catching the exact moment laughter commences is magical because there is an honesty to it, and the silliness hasn’t settled in. The problem is that when children laugh, they don’t just laugh with their mouth and eyes, they laugh with their entire body, throwing their heads back, and pushing their chest forward simultaneously. I’m not sure what shutter speed I should have used, obviously 1/50 was to slow, and yet I also don’t want to completely freeze the motion of his arms, but a clear photo of his face would have been nice.

While I may be slightly upset that I didn’t capture the technically perfect photo; I still love this photo because even with the slight blur on his face, capturing this exact moment is magical. Also the light on his face is just beautiful.

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When I first started into photography there was no such thing as white balance.  At least not as I understand it now.  I had two choices of film, daylight or tungsten. If you used daylight film with tungsten lighting it was suggested to use the 80B filter, if you used tungsten film in daylight there was a different filter you were supposed to use.  I always bought daylight film as it was the standard and any color adjustments that needed to be done, I basically let the lab take care of. Things have changed.

Now we can set the white balance to match light exactly, so that white is white, 18% grey is 18% grey and black is pure black. When you search the net for “white balance” you will find hundreds of sites explaining that if you want better photos take the white balance setting off automatic and choose one of the presets: Sunny, Shade, Cloudy, tungsten or fluorescent. This advices has not helped me much at all. The only time I get great white balance is under the sunny setting, and occasionally the Shade or Cloudy setting.  The following photo is from almost 2 years ago.  When I took this photo I was upset with the results, and never did anything with it.

[Click on images to enlarge]

Nikon D100 50mm F1.8 1/1000s, ISO 200 - no adjustments

White Balance out of Camera: Shade (6987K, Tint: 10)

Nikon D100 50mm f1.8 1/1000s, ISO 200 - white balance adjusted

White Balance Adjusted: (5207K, Tint: 2)

Now almost 2 years later, after adjusting the white balance (So glad I shot everything is RAW) I like the photo. I know there are many ways in which this photo could be better, the focus is not exactly on the rabbit’s eyes, the framing isn’t the best, and the beach ball is distracting. However looking back at where I was photographically when I took this photo, it’s not a bad photo. However I still don’t understand the white balance.  The rabbit, Monty, is sitting in the shade of my son’s playtable.  Shade has a color temperature of 7000-8000K, which is approximately the white balance of the original photo.  However the more pleasing, and color accurate photo has a color temperature of about 5200K which is equal to late morning or early afternoon sun.  Which is the time of day this photo was taken, but not in direct sun.  Does anyone understand why this is?

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