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back LCD menu

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top LCD menu

It’s easy to set your camera to auto-bracket. The hardest part of this process is navigating a camera manufacturer’s menu. Once you find it – and do it several times – you won’t forget it.

Here’s how to do it on current Canon cameras – the steps are similar for other cameras but the buttons and menus vary.

First, set the number of frames made in each bracketed sequence. Press the Menu button. Use the main command dial (top) to cycle through the menus on the LCD screen (back) Go to the 4th tab (small camera) > 1st list and then the use the jog wheel (back) to select the 5th item. Press the set button to select it. Use the jog wheel to select the number of shots and press the set button once again. While 3 is the most commonly used, it’s not unusual to use 5 or even 7. Because 3 is the most commonly used number, it’s likely that once you set this, you’ll reset it infrequently.

Second, set the difference in exposure values between shots. Press the Menu button.

Use the main command dial (top) to cycle through the menus. Go to the 1st tab (large camera), 2nd list, 1st item. Use the set button to highlight this function and the command dial (top) to set the difference in exposure values, then press the set button again. Remember! Press the set button at the end of this – if you don’t these new settings won’t be saved.

Remember! Continue shooting in bracketed sequences as long as auto-bracketing is turned on. When you return to shooting single shots, turn auto bracketing off. If you don’t, one out of three exposures will be improperly exposed – because your camera is still bracketing exposure. The quickest way to turn auto bracketing off is to turn your camera off and on, which will turn auto-bracketing off on most cameras.

When auto bracketing is activated, on the display at the top of your camera you’ll see a series of bars indicating how many exposures will be made and at what exposure value.

What about exposure compensation? Use exposure compensation or not. Bracketing is extreme exposure compensation. All that matters is that you create multiple exposures that once combined render both excellent highlight and shadow detail.

For HDR exposures that are hand-held set your drive or burst mode to continuous; the fastest setting you have; One Shot is too slow.

For HDR exposures using a tripod, consider using a cable release and mirror lockup to further reduce camera motion.

Practice turning on and turning off auto-bracketing and it won’t seem nearly as complicated as the first time you do it and in time the habit will become so ingrained that you won’t have to think about it any more. But until turning auto-bracketing on and off becomes second nature, proceed carefully and methodically. The most common mistake is to turn it on and forget to turn it off.

Read more on HDR techniques here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

exposurevaluechart

In photography, exposure value (EV0 is a number that represents a quantity of light. Each increase or decrease in number indicates a doubling or halving in the amount of light; often referred to a stop of light.

Although multiple camera settings can yield the same EV, they often don’t produce the same image characteristics. The shutter speed (time – how long the shutter stays open) determines the amount of motion blur, the f-number (aperture – the size of the hole that lets light into a camera) determines the depth of field, and the ISO (sensitivity – a way to boost image signal) determines the amount of noise.

“The exposure triangle” is practical way of visualizing the interaction of these three variables; shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. To achieve optimum exposure one must balance all three and an adjustment in one requires an adjustment in at least one of the others.

exposuretriangle2

Read more on Exposure techniques here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

lead

The high ISO capability of today’s new camera models is a true game changer. It opens up a range of light previously unexplored in the history of photography. Fearing noise, many people unnecessarily limit themselves to the lowest ISO setting and never explore this incredible range of light with all of its unique qualities—and surprises. (Don’t fear noise. Instead, read my series of articles.) Try night photography, and you’ll quickly realize the camera eye now can show you more than the eye can see. There have been many times now when I make exposures just to see what’s out there. Practice the art of night photography, and you’ll learn to see in new ways.

What settings should you use when making exposures in low light or at night? Use a tripod and cable release, set ISO to 800 (or higher), open up to ƒ/5.6 or wider, focus at infinity, and keep exposures below 20 seconds. While this is a good starting point, that’s all it is, as you’ll need to modify settings based on the specific light(s) in a location, the equipment you’re using and the effect you want to produce. Instead, ask yourself what concerns do you need to be mindful of, and what points of control do you have when making low-light or night photographs? Develop your sensitivity to these factors, and you’ll know why and when to improvise and even what more you can explore. These tips will give you a solid foundation from which to begin your explorations in low-light and night photography.

1. Use A Tripod.

2. Use A Cable Release Or An Intervalometer.

3. Use Bulb Mode.

4. Use Mirror Lock-Up.

5. Use A Good Fast Lens.

6. Reduce Star Trails With Short Exposure Times—Or Go For Broke.

7. Find The Infinity Focus Point.

8. Use High ISO.

9. Check Histograms.

10. Consider HDR Techniques.

11. Use Camera Exposure Noise Reduction Sparingly.

12. Master Noise-Reduction Postprocessing.

13. Consider Adding An Artificial Light Source.

14. Test The Variables.

When you start practicing high-ISO photography, you’ll begin to see many more possibilities for making images. You’ll soon discover yourself savoring the many qualities of light long before and long after sunset. There’s so much waiting to be discovered in low-light and night photography, so go explore it! And use these tips to help guide your explorations.

Read the rest of this article on Digital Photo Pro.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

There are several ways to get more resolution out of your photographs. Remember these three words: upsample, stack and stitch. Which method you choose will depend on how you shoot a scene. Once you know these techniques, you can choose an exposure and processing method that’s best for a given situation.

Upsample

If you have only one exposure, your options are limited to upsampling or using software to create more pixels. While the information rendered by software is never as rich and sharp as information that’s optically captured, it nonetheless can be both pleasing and convincing. Upsampling is the best method for images containing moving objects, as other methods require multiple exposures and may produce motion artifacts.

How far can you go? I could give you an overly simple answer: up to 300%. But the true answer is, it depends. Knowing what it depends on will help you choose a method, modify a routine and evaluate results to get optimal results for individual images. How far you can upsample an original depends on many factors found in the source, the destination and the statement you’re making.

Stack

You can increase the resolution of a file and improve the detail an image renders by making multiple exposures of the same composition and combining them into a single file. To do this, try PhotoAcute—super-resolution is its specialty, and using it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

How far can you go? A little more than you can with upsampling. Just as with upsampling, how far you can go depends on many factors, including source, destination and the statement being made. The overhead is high with this technique (merging six files takes a little time), but the results are good. Using this exposure and processing method isn’t something I would do with every image, but I would strongly consider it for images where resolving fine detail is particularly important and the technique is practical.

Stitch

Another method for increasing the resolution of your image files is to break a scene into pieces with separate multiple exposures and then stitch them together using panoramic merge functions in today’s software. It’s a matter of simple addition—two files are better than one, three files are better than two, etc. With this method, detail is optically captured, though you also can choose to enhance it further with software. While you can consider dedicated panoramic software like Kolor Autopano Pro or PTgui for challenging images, it’s highly likely that Photoshop is all you’ll need.

How far can you go? The lens is the limit. Theoretically, you can stitch an infinite number of images. The true limits lie in how much your lenses will allow you to zoom into a scene. Yet, the most important factor still remains: What’s practical in a given situation? Other questions arise. What’s better? Fewer exposures made with a higher-quality lens? Or, more exposures made with a lower-quality lens? The answer lies in how much the quality of one lens exceeds another. Compare manufacturers’ MTF charts (they’re readily available online) for useful objective data that will shed light on this.

So, when you want sharper, bigger digital images from your existing cameras, you have options. Remember, upsample, stack and stitch.

Read more on Digital Photo Pro.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

No one needs to learn to “think outside the box” more than photographers. The frame, literally a box, is often our greatest ally. Learning to see photographically is, in part, learning to see within the limits of this box and use them creatively. But there are times when this limits our vision unnecessarily. Once we’ve learned to see within the box, we then also need to learn to see outside the box—and start extending the frame with multiple exposures to perfect select compositions. Extending format techniques aren’t just for panoramic image formats. They can be used to give you the extra inch that can make all the difference in the world for your compositions …

Read more on Digital Photo Pro.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

How deep would you like your depth of field? The choice is yours. Today, there are virtually no limits. You can extend depth of field beyond the physical limitations of any lens/camera system with multishot exposure practices and software that composites multiple exposures.

To do this, you first need to make a set of focus-bracketed exposures, optimizing focus in different image areas. How many exposures you’ll need will depend on how much depth of field a scene contains. At a minimum, make two exposures: one focused on the foreground and another focused on the background. Making three exposures is better, one each for foreground, middle ground and background. When dealing with extreme depth of field, like macro photography, you’ll want to make more exposures, at least three, probably six, possibly more. When in doubt, make more exposures than you think you’ll need; you don’t have to use them all when you stack the separate exposures, but they’ll be there if you need them. Unlike bracketing for HDR, it’s almost impossible to automate these types of bracketing sequences in-camera as focus needs to be adjusted for each frame. However, for tethered shooting, you can use software such as Helicon Remote to take control of your camera and automate this process and other bracketed sequences like HDR and time-lapse. Whenever possible, use a tripod to make focusing during exposure more precise and registration during postprocessing easier. While using a tripod always delivers more reliable results, don’t let this stop you from trying this technique handheld, especially with simpler sequences, like those used in landscape. You may notice that in cases involving extreme depth of field, the relative size of objects may change between individual exposures. These effects will be adjusted automatically during the merging process.

You can get highly technical with this technique, but I recommend keeping it as simple and practical as possible—so that you’ll use it more frequently. Develop this new habit, and you’ll quickly find many situations where focus stacking will help you make images of superior technical quality …

Read more on Digital Photo Pro.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.


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