24th March 2011
I’ve had a few people ask me about general techniques when it comes to taking a picture.
Take photos every day. Don’t ever stop taking photos.
When you do this, you’ll teach yourself what interests you, what works for you and what doesn’t. And when you figure out those things you’ll start to take great photos.
(This isn’t a specific answer. If you have a specific question, feel free to ask)
Could you tell me how to create the bokeh effect when taking a photograph, like with the picture of the white lights that you took today?
Asked by mediaum
10th March 2011
dbtv asked: Your “Grating” photo what lens were you using to give that streaking light affect? I just got a Canon EOS 60D and I’ve been playing around with it debating on what lens I should purchase next.
The streaking light effect you are talking about in that particular shot actually has nothing to do with the lens I used, in fact, you can do it with just about any lens you have for your camera. I’d even go so far to say you can do it with just about any camera out there.
So why does the light streak happen? Well, it’s actually pretty simple: I took a long exposure. This means I kept my camera steady (in this case I put it down on the ground) and left the shutter open for a relatively long time (in this case, 2 seconds).
When you leave your shutter open for a while any light that passes by forms a light trail. You can use long exposures for all sorts of purposes - they’re best when you take them at night, or at sunset (especially with water), because leaving the shutter open for a long time lets a lot of light hit your sensor (or your film), and means you can get very blown out (or, more technically ‘white’) shots. If you want to try doing long exposures during the day, you probably want to get an ND filter (that’s an affiliate link) for your lens, but that’s more complicated.
Anyway, why would you want to take shots like this? Well, for one they look awesome (that’s the truth), but more realistically, you would want to take properly exposed photos when it’s dark out. Now, I’m not going to totally explain what exposure is, mostly because there’s an amazing, amazing book out there called Understanding Exposure (another affiliate link) that explains it way better than I ever could. What you should know, is that with a camera that allows you to control shutter speed, you can set the shutter speed down to a few seconds, set up your tripod or put your camera somewhere flat, safe and stable, click the shutter and then wait for a shot (Why should you use a tripod? Or put your camera down? Because the longer you leave your shutter open, the more likely you are to get a blurry photo). Then you’re on your way to taking awesome night photos.
Oh also, why do I know you can take these photos on any camera? Because I took this one on my iPhone. On cameras with less control, you can’t explicitly set the shutter speed, they just slow themselves down automatically. So if you are taking pictures when its dark, keep your camera steady!