Playing with Exposures

We received our newest toy, the Canon 70D last week, and we’ve been playing around with it at home and outside, trying to learn how to best control the camera.

It’s definitely a mix of both art and science. Happily I found this e-book Stunning Digital Photography that has been most instructive in advising one how to work the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. Now, it’s a matter of putting the theory into practice, and lots of it!

Some lessons learned from the first week:
1. Shallow depth of field does not always work

trio small

I took this night shot of Aileen, Amanda and Jeff last week. I’d thought that with an aperture of f/1.4, the camera would let in a ton of light so I didn’t have to worry about a slower shutter speed. Which was true, except that my shallow depth of field completely threw Jeff and Amanda out of focus.

2. Shooting in RAW allows waaaay better white balance correction later on

Beef unedited small
The unedited photo of our delicious appetizer (ISO 800, 50mm, f/1.4, 1/50s, AWB)

Beef edited small
Edited… white balance looks way better (I’m starting to see how people get such gorgeous pictures of their food – take in RAW and then edit the heck out of it!), but I should use a much smaller aperture to get a longer depth of field.

3. The Canon 70D is super fun to play around with (and it is WIFI enabled, which means that we can do remote shooting on bulb mode using our smart phones). That said, that said, the Sony RX 100 is really no slouch either. We took both cameras out to the farmer’s market and the Lincoln Park Conservatory this past weekend, and we’re fairly pleased with the results from both.

From 2013 September Exploring Lincoln Park

Using Sony RX 100

From 2013 September Exploring Lincoln Park

The Canon 70D… the 50mm f/1.4 lens is super fun to play with

From 2013 September Exploring Lincoln Park

It’s tricky photographing white flowers. I had to essentially turn down my highlights all the way so that the petal detail would properly show up.

From 2013 September Exploring Lincoln Park

I know the focus in this photo is the leaf in the center frame, and that the picture completely ignores all the usual composition rules. I’m still not sure how I could have composed it differently so that attention is not drawn to that boring leaf… but I do like the depth that the hanging orchid fronds convey.


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