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A very varied selection of pictures from this month’s theme. Lots of traffic including this rather good first shot from Dave, which follows all the rules for getting a good headlight/traffic shot:

 

Firstly and most importantly it’s a long shutter speed – here, it’s 15 seconds. You will not be able to hold it still for this, but you may not need a tripod – you may get by resting on a handrail or a dog poo bin. Use the timer so you don’t poke the camera and wobble it.

Secondly, you’ll need to find an aperture and ISO to suit the shutter speed (so, usually a higher f stop and lower ISO – here it’s f22 and 100ISO.

Thirdly, you need a good bit of road. Sleek and understandable, with traffic diverting smoothly. (Bumps in the road look awful).  It’s crucial that the still stuff is really sharp – so a stationary car looks good too.  Somehow if everything is moving we can’t pick out the movement of the subject from the wobbling of the lens, so it doesn’t work.  We need to be holding the camera really still for these – use every trick in the book and you’ll be glad you did.

We did have a young chap on a course in Henley who was unbelievably good at holding the camera still – up to a second or more an perfect clarity – weird.  Turned out in his day job he is a Royal Marine sniper – fair enough!  For most of us the old rule of being able to hold the camera for the length of the zoom applies (so a 200mm lens can be held for 1/200th on a full frame camera, or 1/300th on a Nikon/Sony or 1/3200 on a Canon crop sensor camera.  Much longer than this and you have to take precautions – and don’t believe the hype about image stabilisation either!!

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Photography Made Simple

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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: Settings were Canon 650D, 74mm equiv, 1/8th, f4.5, 3200 ISO Here’s what I [...]

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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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