Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dept of Field – The Truth in Focus

When I first got serious about photography many years ago I read every thing I could
find on the subject. Back around 1990 I bought a book called “The Ins and Outs of Focus”
which challenged many of the conceived ideas about dept of field and sharpness and inspired
me to dig deeply into many of the concepts of photography.

These days you don’t even have to buy this book, the author, Harold M. Merklinger,
has made it available on line free of charge. If you like the book, a payment of $5
is requested.

This book later ran as a subsequent series of articles in Shutterbug Magazine back in
the 1990's!

Harold’s book“The INs and OUTs of FOCUS” as well as his book “FOCUSING the VIEW CAMERA”
can be downloaded by clicking Here

All the Best
Brian Carey
Brian Carey Photography

Friday, June 18, 2010

“Taking a Dip with the Duckies” (or don’t try this with your Speedlight!)

We went to a local park last evening to do a photoshoot for a local couple. It was at
Bowring Park, a lovely park, the largest in the city. I decided it would be nice to get
a few shots down by the river.

We were setting up and as I was telling the couple where I wanted them I heard something
fall behind me. I won’t go into the details but as I turned around I almost wet myself
as my new Canon 580EXII Speedlite bounced on the river bank and then, “PLUNK”! It was
in the Waterford River with the ducks, sinking out of sight!

I lay down my camera and crawled down the river bank on my knees, the flash rose to the
surface and I pulled it from the water. I figured it was bye bye Speedlite. I could see
water in the flash head and the LCD display was half filled with water. I immediately
removed the batteries. There was no water in the battery compartment!

Modus Operandi

I immediately wiped down the flash removing all the water from the outside. Upon arriving
home I took a small precision philips screwdriver removed the base and two screws on the
head as well as two screws on the body, under the head.

I did not take the flash apart. I tried to repair a broken Vivitar flash before and I
found those ratcheting heads can be almost impossible to reassemble. I opened up gaps in
the unit and attempted to shake what water I could out of it! I would insert the the
catchlight and wide angle panels, shake the flash and extend both panels and wipe the
water from the panels. I would then reinsert the panels and complete the process until
water no longer showed up on the panels. I also shook the flash with the panels extended
to remove water. Water was still evident in the display and in the flash head and I left
the unit upright all night hoping more water would drain from it! In the morning most of
the water was gone, a few small spots remained in the display and head.

Later on that morning at the suggestion of a friend, with the screws still removed I
placed the flash in an airtight bag with some desiccant hoping the desiccant would remove
the remaining moisture. An inspection four hours later showed three small spots of
condensation in the display. The flash looked much better than I ever though it would and
I decided to fire it up and I’m happy to say it is working perfectly!

I think one thing that might have helped was the homemade diffuser I use.
This helped seal the head a little more and also helped to absorb the shock of the fall.

Does a Canon 580EXII Speedlite bounce? Yep!
Does a Canon 580EXII Speedlite float? Thankfully!

Now while I got one damaged umbrella my flash seems to be working perfectly!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

“What is the best ISO”?

I came across a question on several forums on the internet and I thought I’d have my say! The question, “What is the best ISO”?

I think the question can be best put in context by using the phrase “The Exposure Triangle”. The first time I heard this phrase was on a podcast featuring Syl Arena from . The relationship between shutter speed, aperture and iso has been an issue serious photographers have been dealing with as long as there have been cameras. Personally I never had a name for it until now.

Like so many aspects of photography I think it’s all relative. Relative to what effect or look you want to achieve. When I shot weddings with film years ago I carried two 35mm cameras, one loaded with iso100 and the other with 400. I also had with me a Mamiya with two backs one with iso100 and the other with 400. I’d shoot iso100 if I could but if I needed a faster shutter speed or a little more dept of field then I went to the 400.

I do agree that the best iso is the lowest but you have to go with the iso that gets you the shot! Take for example,

Harbour Twilight

I had to increase the iso on my 5D2 until I got the shutter speed I needed to still the boats. Had to go to iso2000 and got it with a 0.5 sec ss. I did bracket and tried lower iso’s but this combination of iso and ss worked best. I’ve been down this road before and don’t want to be making the same mistakes of using the lowest iso available. I used to be like that but thankfully I’ve changed.

Here’s another example of setting the iso to give me the shutter speed I need!

the Singer

This was at an indoor show where the lighting was constantly changing and using flash out of the question! I had to go to iso3200 and shoot wide in order to get the shot. I needed a shutter speed to ensure the image was sharp and not blurred. I went with 1/125 second.

In my opinion the best iso is the (lowest) one you can use and get the shot!

All the Best
Brian Carey
Brian Carey Photography