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With a theme like “Ablaze” I thought we would see a lot of fire pictures, surprisingly there weren’t that many – just as many pictures of illuminated retail outlets as fire, shows how much we know!

This striking picture was taken by Toby at the 2012 Olympics – he has cunningly increased his ISO to enable a deeper depth of field so that the figures in the background don’t become a blur.

Nikon D3 with 70-200mm 2.8 lens (we wish!) at f5.6, 1/800 and 720ISO. Using matrix metering has made the camera more forgiving (in fairness the metering on D3 is awesome anyway in any mode) and Toby has used shutter priority here to enable him to fine-tune the way the flame looks, something we always recommend. You have to remember that what we see and what the camera sees are very different with flames, so it takes a bit of work to make it look natural. White balance can be an issue too – adjust it to get the colours to look the way you want – don’t rely on auto for this, it’s too weird for your camera!

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Photography Made Simple

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A slightly muted response this month with the usual great range of subjects, and locations from the Malvern Hills to the Vercours.

This picture warrants a little exploration – this was taken by Maureen, and I have included the mentoring I sent:

Red Lego Man (1 of 1)
Settings were Canon 650D, 74mm equiv, 1/8th, f4.5, 3200 ISO
Here’s what I said to Maureen on this picture:

What a groovy object! You need to bear in mind that the camera does all its metering and measuring in black-and-white, and tends to see red as darker than we do. As a result, it often over exposes red things because it thinks they are dark. I would have immediately thought here that this was going to be tricky – and been under exposing slightly, and possibly even centre or spot metering on the red man. I think it’s critical that he is sharp and exposed properly, and the background is much less important.
In these dark conditions, the camera has given you a shutter speed that is almost 10 times longer than the average person can hold still. If you had used a bit more negative exposure compensation this would have given you a dark picture which you could reclaim later, and you could even use more ISO as well and hope that your noise reduction in light room could deal with any artefacts. As it is, it’s just a little blurry which is a real shame.
If you had a 50 mm f1.8 it would have been very similar in zoom, but the aperture would have been literally 10 times as big and you would have been able to hold it still really easily. Looking back at your previous pictures I can’t see any evidence of one of these – they’re brilliant lenses and only about £73 on Amazon – well worth getting if you do lots of low light shots and all these are!!

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All Quiet (1 of 1)

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King and Queen (1 of 1)

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Frosty Morning 02

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Quiet (1 of 3)

Quiet 1

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Photography Made Simple

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Some of the best stuff we’ve ever had on the mentoring service this month – obviously this theme struck a bit of a chord.  Some great ideas and technical skills on show here. As always, a real mix of experience and cameras, from compacts to a mighty Nikon D3, and people with years of experience [...]

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This month we have an even wider range of subjects and concepts than usual. I’ve picked out 20 of the best pictures – there are also a fair few on our Facebook page. I really am constantly amazed by the ingenuity and creativity that people show in taking these pictures. Don’t forget that most of [...]

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This month we had the widest geographic range of pictures –  from California to Kamchatka, with a few closer to home – the abandoned village of Tyneham in Dorset, boats at Hayling Island and doorways in Valencia. People have commented that they find these pictures intimidating – these are taken by ordinary people on ordinary [...]

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A small selection of the pictures from this month’s Photography Mentoring Service – perhaps the widest range of subjects and techniques we’ve seen. It is gratifying to see the pictures improving each month, both creatively and technically. Photography Made Simple


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