This is the blog for Brett Trafford Photography based in Leek in the Staffordshire Moorlands. More information can be found on the web site, Brett

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lesson 8 part 4

The Tripod

My next item of must have kit is a tripod. Tripods are used to prevent camera movement and are necessary when using slow-speed exposures, or when telephoto lenses are used, as any camera movement while the shutter is open will produce a blurred image. In the same vein, they reduce camera shake, and thus are instrumental in achieving maximum sharpness.

The photo demonstrates the difference a tripod can make to a shot, the top shot shows how a slow shutter speed was used to blur the movement in the water, while in the bottom shot the best hand held speed was used to prevent camera shake, but this also froze the water in mid flow.

I have always had a tripod but have only really started to use one on a daily basis over the past couple of months. The reason for this is that they are a pain to carry around and such a faff when you are trying to set it up. Now I have spent a month or so getting used to using one I find that like anything new you do get used to it and the range of shots I can attempt has well made up for the inconvenience of using it.

Tripods come in all shapes and sizes, and can range from a few quid to hundreds of pounds. My advice when buying one is to try to get the use of one first if you can and then you will have a better idea of what you need for your type of photography. When the time comes to buy one try to get the best you can afford, these things don’t change that much over time so a correct purchase could last a life time. If possible go for one that has interchangeable heads, giving you more options in the future, and the heavier the better as they are more stable.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lesson 8 part 3

Polarizing filter

This item of kit is mainly for the SLR user but some types of polarizing filter can but fitted to compact cameras.

A polarizing filter can be used both in colour and black and white photography. They work by controlling the amount of light reaching the lens, or a least the direction that the light is traveling in, as by cutting out some reflected light the filter does some amazing things like; darkening the sky, removing reflections from water, and making foliage more colourful, colour saturation overall is also significantly enhanced.

The benefits of polarizing filters are largely unaffected by the move to digital photography, software post-processing can simulate many other types of filter, but most of the optical effects achieved by using a polarizing filter simply cannot be replicated in software.

In my opinion this is one of the most useful items of kit you can have, i always have one on my wide lens and have found that taking more than one shot with it adjusted differently gives me more options when I'm at home working on the shots.

The next 2 photo sets show the same scene both with and without a polarizer, no other settings were changed.

In this shot the sky has been darkened, making the clouds stand out more and the grass is more vibrant.

In this shot there is less reflection and glare on the water and wet rocks, giving the colour in the image time to shine through.