Spring Time Sports

Often times, people think it is really hard to get a good photo, but it is actually really easy. Instead of just pointing the camera and shooting while you’re standing up, either sit on the ground or get up higher! People love photos that aren’t from the usual eye level perspective. Get high, get low, get somewhere where people normally don’t watch from. That’s what I did with this photo.

I got tired of standing and leaning on the fence so I sat on the grass and put my camera up to shoot in the little holes in a fence. When I cropped the picture, it makes it seem like I’m really close to the dirt.


Shutter Speed: Baseball is a fast paced sport so you need a fast shutter speed. I found that on the field at GM, a shutter speed of 1/500 was perfect.

Aperture: It took me awhile to find a good aperture but I found f/8 to work really well. It gave me the desired depth of field that I was looking for without slowing down my shutter speed too much.

ISO: I had to change my ISO during the game to compensate for the sun setting. I started off shooting at ISO 640 but had to bump it up to 800 after about 20 minutes.


Tip of the Day: Many people think that raising their ISO is a good way to compensate for low late conditions. Camera manufactures even emphensize on even higher ISO’s for night shooting. What they fail to tell you is the quality of the picture gets lower and lower the higher the ISO is. So when you’re out shooting, keep the ISO as low as you can.

Hands up, Mason!

When fans travel to a sporting event of some sort, they normally only get photos of the action down on the court or field.  In reality though, some of the best photos can be those of the crowd, even if you just take a quick photo and don’t worry about composing it perfectly.

During the boys basketball semi-final game on Friday, March 9, I turned around a few times and quickly got a few crowd shots. Some turned out really well while others didn’t look so good. This photo above is one that didn’t come out so good, but while looking it over in Lightroom, I saw all of the hands up and got an idea. I quickly cropped the photo and got a fairly decent turn out.

Photo details: When shooting at the game, I wasn’t paying much attention to my shutter speed, ISO, aperture, etc. I found a combination that seemed to work all over the court, no matter how far zoomed in or out I was, or no matter where the action was happening.

  • Shutter speed: 1/125
  • Aperture: f/3.3
  • ISO: 1000

Tip of the day: Just because a photo didn’t come out the way you wanted, don’t delete it! Take some time to analyze it and try some editing in a photo editing program of your choice. Some of the best photos are those that you took by accident or you didn’t think turned out that well. And even though I said you should try not to crop in one of my previous posts, you should feel free to crop all you want if you are trying to save a really bad photo.

Alice in Wonderland

For my week three photos, I’m going to be posting two pictures from MEHMS’s performance of “Alice in Wonderland Jr.”

When taking this photo, I was using my telephoto lens. Telephoto lenses allow you to zoom in closer than the typical camera lens. Photographers usually use these lenses at baseball or other sporting events to get in closer.

Shutter speed: For this photo, I was using a shutter speed of 1/160. I was able to pick this speed according to my ISO which was set to 1000. When I used a higher ISO and a faster shutter speed, the photo became too grainy. When I used a lower ISO and a slower shutter speed, any movement in the photo became too blurry.

Aperture: I had my aperture set to f/5.6 which means the lens was open almost all the way. This means that not only does it let the most amount of light to reach the camera sensor, but it also causes a really shallow depth of field.

Post-production: I did a lot more editing to this photo than I usually do. I started by adjusting the white balance to give the photo some more warmth. I then added some fill light to make the photo a tad bit brighter After doing this, I decided to bring the blacks down so things actually appear to be the color that they look like to our naked eye.

Tip of the day: When determining what shutter speed to use, also take into consideration the focal length. If your current focal length is 55mm, then the slowest shutter speed you should technically use is 1/55. If your focal length is 125mm, then your slowest shutter speed should be 1/125.

Photography 101

In all of my posts so far, I’ve referred to some terms that many people might not know the meaning of and might not have the time to click on the link to see what they mean. To help clarify what they mean for my future posts, I’m going to take this time to define some key terms so all you non-photographers can know what I’m talking about.

  • Shutter speed: shutter speed refers to the amount of time it takes for the camera to take the picture. A faster shutter speed means it takes the photo faster while a slower speed means it takes longer to take the photo. Here is a great example that shows the the difference in shutter speeds using a fan as the object in the picture.
  • ISO:  ISO stands for International Standards Organization. When it was created, it was an internationally accepted scale for how sensitive film was to light. The less sensitive, the less light captured. The more sensitive, the more light captured. The only disadvantage of using a high ISO is it causes grain, or noise, to appear.
  • Aperture: Also referred to as “f-stop“, aperture is how far the lens opens. It can easily be thought of as the iris of your eye; it opens more when its dark and closes when it’s bright. The most important thing to remember however is it is the ratio of the length of the lens to how much it opens. Therefore, the higher the number, the smaller the aperture. For example, f/4.3 (actually refers to 1/4.3), lets in more light than f/20 (actually refers to 1/20).x

Stuck behind bars

This photo was taken along the fence on Main Street at the Main Street Marketplace in Old Town Fairfax. This is one of my favorite area’s to take pictures because of the architecture and layout of the buildings. It is easy to get unique angles and objects that you probably won’t see anywhere else. My two top places to take pictures are Old Town Alexandria and and Bull Run. They both have unique features that are very rare to find anywhere else.

Shutter Speed: The shutter speed that used for this photo was 1/100. I also tried shooting one at 1/80 and 1/250. If I was to have used the 1/80, it would look great if I left the photo in color but it was a bit too dark for what I wanted to do after converting it to black and white. The 1/250 was too bright in color and didn’t really work for what I wanted to do with black and white.

Aperture: My aperture for this photo was f/5.6. This is almost the biggest the aperture will open. Using this big of a size will allow for a narrow depth of field. It also allows for more light to enter the lens. Note: A smaller aperture number will result in the lens opening more. A larger number result in the lens opening less.

Post work: I used Lightroom to automatically convert the image to black and white and then I messed around some with the different saturation levels to adjust the way they appear.

Tip of the day: When figuring out your focus, remember the 2:1 ratio. The area in focus behind the focal point is twice as large as the area in front of the focal point.

Going up?

This photo was taken at Main Street Marketplace in Old Town Fairfax. My goal was to try to make a boring object appear interesting. I was able to accomplish this by getting as close and turning the camera a tad bit so it was at a small angle.

Here are some of the specifics about the photo and why I used them:

  • Shutter Speed: 1/100. By using this shutter speed, I was able to kick the ISO up to 800 which started to cause a little bit of grain, but nothing too noticeable.
  • Aperture: f/6.3. When I first took this picture, I used an aperture of  f/9 but that was too bright. I decided to lower the brightness by about a third by lowering the aperture to f/6.3.
  • Post work: I cropped a little bit off of the sides to get the composition I was aiming for when I took the photo. I also added a bit of a blur to everything except for the button.
Hint of the day: When taking a photo, get in close! Zooming is actually just cropping the picture. If you are as close as you can get and you still need to get in closer, then you can start zooming. In the end, right before you push the shutter button, your goal is to compose the photo so you don’t have to do any cropping in post work.

Dancing in the Leaves

This is another picture from my photography class that I took this past fall at NOVA. The assignment was to show motion. When I took this picture, I was using a shutter speed* of 1/60. This was fast enough to freeze the action of my niece while still showing a small blur from the leaves falling. I didn’t do much in post work other than cropping a little bit from the left side.


*Notes from NVCC Photography professor  Barbra Southworth



Life in the Graveyard

My first two post are going to be photos I took during my photography class at NOVA. This first picture was taken at National Memorial Park cemetery across the street from Timber Lane Elementary School.


When taking the photo, I used a large aperture which caused the shallow depth of field. To edit the photo, I used Lightroom. Lightroom is like a professional photographer’s extension to Photoshop. While editing, I turned down the overall vibrancy and turned up the contrast on the red to make the flags and rose pop out.