Archives for posts with tag: f-stop


Fall is the perfect time to take gorgeous senior portraits. Nature provides a stunning backdrop and natural lighting is more subdued due to the lowered angle of the sun. Another advantage is the abundance of props, such as leaves to add personality to the shot.



I set my F stop low for a nice blurry backdrop of color and set my white balance on cloudy when I initially took the shots. However, in post production, I changed the white balance to shade to add a little more gold to the pictures.



This senior not only wanted outdoor shots, but some of her in volleyball uniform as well. These were a bit tougher because they were taken in a dark gym. With the help of a tripod and remote shutter release, we were able to shine a flashlight on her during a long exposure to get good coverage of light.

I really love the way these shots turned out. The subject was very photogenic and had the most beautiful complexion. I did no post production work on her skin at all.

I have begun pinning ideas for winter portraits, because the leaves are all off the trees now and snow is in the forecast for next week. I plan on shooting those in a completely different group of settings. Can’t wait. 😊


Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F/5.6, 1/200 sec.


Sometimes the action in the photo is more powerful left unfocused. For example, in the photo above, it is obvious that there is a baseball game going on. However, the fence is what is in focus. There are a couple of reasons why a photographer may want to take the photo this way. The most important for me as a part-time graphic artist, is that I can use this photo as a text background, perhaps as part of a Powerpoint presentation or a introductory image in a baseball league slideshow. A common problem photographers have is that when an image is needed, there are not releases to publish the faces of the people in the picture. This method solves that dilemma by making the people in the photo unrecognizable.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/50 sec.

We have had a lot of rain this summer in Kentucky. In this image, I wanted to show the raindrops on the door with the overworked rain gauge barely recognizable in the background.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/5, 1/30 sec.

Same for this picture taken from the windshield of my car. You can see the roadway in the background, but the focus of the photo is the raindrops. I can envision this picture being used as an ad for windshield wipers or a public service ad about slowing down on wet roads.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/4000 sec.

This image and the one below make me want to escape the confinements of the fence and gate to the wide open spaces beyond.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/4000 sec.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/1000 sec.

Lastly, I took this photo of our lonely fire pit in the background with the fence dripping water in focus. It has been too wet to even enjoy a fire this summer.

Remember, you will probably have to manually focus you camera for these shots, as the auto focus will pick up on the larger objects in the frame. You want to make sure what you are focusing on is very sharp. Hopefully, these have inspired you to look for ways to use your camera to capture images from an unusual perspective.

Have fun 🙂

As always, if you have questions about any of my photos, please contact me either via WordPress messenger or use the contact form below:


Canon Rebel, F 1.8, ISO 200, 1/400 sec.

I have been taking some more pictures with my new 50 mm F 1.8 lens.


Canon Rebel, F 1.8, ISO 200, 1/125 sec.


Canon Rebel, F 1.8, ISO 200, 1/500 sec.

I am very pleased with how the lens blurs the background and highlights the subjects. However, I started wondering as a was editing how some of these images would look run through my HDR processor.


Canon Rebel, F 1.8, ISO 200, 1/100 sec.

So… below is the same photo modified in Photomatix. Normally, you would take three images for HDR, but you can use only one and still get some pretty cool effects.



Canon Rebel, ISO 200, F 1.8, 1/250 sec.

Here is another. . .


IMG_8198_tonemappedHmmm. Next I will try the new lens with three bracketed shots for some true HDR images. I will report back on that later.

Keep shooting 🙂


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/200 sec.

I posted last time about my new Canon 50 mm F/1.8 lens and how it captures only the subject in focus. I couldn’t wait to try it out for some portraits. My cats were more that happy to pose.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/40 sec.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/125 sec.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/125 sec.

As with any portrait, clear focus must be on the eyes. That meant that I had to manually focus every one of these shots to make sure the eyes were clear.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/250 sec.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/500 sec.

Since the eyes were not visible on this shot, I chose to focus on his beautiful eyebrows and whiskers.

Soon, I plan to try some shaped Bokeh with this lens 🙂


Why is it that every time you see an HDR photo, it’s always a landscape? For a Christmas exhibit I participated in this month, I decided to try HDR photography on close-up stills.


It worked great! I simply set up the stills, mounted my camera on a tripod, screwed on my Promaster close-up filter set and plugged in my remote shutter release.


I set my Canon on auto exposure bracketing (AEB) in order to get the three shots I needed for HDR processing. Since I had the ISO set at 100 for maximum quality and the camera set on AV at 5.6, the shutter speed was pretty slow.


I used a light box for most of the shots with filtered light illuminating the entire box. For the shot above, though, I laid the lights on a reflective surface and had no other light. The shutter was very slow for this one. Turned out good though.


The three shots were then processed in my trusty Photomatix program and cropped in Photoshop Elements 12.

HDR photography does make great landscapes, but that’s only the surface. My next project, HDR portraits.

One of the lessons I teach in my photography classes is on how to properly photograph a landscape. When I ask my students “What is a landscape?”, they usually describe an image similar to the one below, containing a subject element, some ground and some sky.
That is not incorrect. It is simply inconclusive.


The image below is another example of landscape photography. There is no sky, no large element, but flowers are part of the landscape, after all, and make a nice respite from sweeping images of a large scene. I like to make diptych or triptych groupings of a specific area showing closeups as well as large scale photos.


One thing to pay close attention to in landscape photography is your depth of field. If you set your camera to the landscape setting (the one that looks like mountains), you will be allowing your camera to set a high F stop, which will give you unlimited depth of field, fine if that is what you want, like the photo below. However, as I talked about in this post earlier, sometimes limiting your DOF makes a better image.


If you opt for a more creative landscape, you can set your camera on aperture priority (AV), and lower your F stop number. Then turn off the auto focus, so you can control what is in focus in the shot.
If you are shooting in relative brightness, the shutter speed set by the camera should be fast enough that you won’t need a tripod.


Knowing what’s going to happen before it happens is always a plus for a photographer. While covering the commencement ceremony at the high school in town, I was aware that at a certain time during the ceremony, the graduates would be throwing their mortar board caps in the air.

Preparing for this, I set my camera on shutter priority, 1/200, to stop action and set my ISO to 1600, because it was getting dark and I knew exposure would be an issue. I took my chances with the camera assigning the F-stop. I had already set the focus on the last row of graduates and locked it in. When the hats went into the air, I was able to fire two shots. This one was the best.

Thankfully, there was enough light from the stadium lights to silhouette the hats. I could have used my on-camera flash, but having shot in dusk conditions before, I knew all that I would have captured would have have been two or three hats that were close to me on a blackened background.

This shot only had a slight bit on editing. I had to straighten it and enhance sharpness slightly.

IMG_0205 watermarked

Kentucky has some of the most beautiful churches in the US. This is an example of one of my signature “drive-by shootings”.  As a passenger in a vehicle, I have the freedom to take pictures as we go down the road. The important thing to remember is to set your camera on TV setting, which is shutter priority. With this setting, you can basically lock your camera into the shutter speed needed to get a sharp picture while moving. In this case, I set the TV on 1/400, which captures images pretty well at around 55 m.p.h. In TV mode, the F-stop is going to adjust automatically according to the amount of light available.

Try this friendly method of drive-by shooting. You may have to do some experimenting, but once you’ve mastered this method, you will find it less time-consuming than pulling over the getting out at every photo-op.


Canon Rebel, F4.5, AV setting, ISO 200

Canon Rebel, F4.5, AV setting, ISO 200

Spring seems to finally be here 🙂

Canon Rebel, tripod mounted, AV setting, ISO 100, F5.6

Canon Rebel, tripod mounted, AV setting, ISO 100, F5.6

This is another one of my “window shots”. I taped a leaf that I found to a piece of white paper and taped the paper to my south-facing window illuminated by the sun. I like the way the veins of the leaf show up in the shot.

Keep experimenting 🙂

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