PART 2: UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS ON LENSES:

HERE WE GO! UNDERSTANDING ALL THOSE NUMBERS

You have your new camera, and so far you like it. Now it’s time to look at adding more lenses to your equipment. Not sure what all those numbers mean? That is what we are here for!

WHAT DOES THE FIRST SET OF NUMBERS MEAN?

As you look at the top of your lens, or the front of your lens, the very first set of numbers, or number, tells you what the focal length of your lens is. For example the photo above show the focal length of your lens to be: 24-105mm. How does that equate to anything? Here is your reference point:

A normal lens is one who’s focal-length is equal to the diagonal of the sensor or film. This is said to give a natural perspective similar to that of a single human eye.

On a full-frame DSLR, it is usually a 50mm lens. On a cropped-sensor (APS-C) DSLR, a normal lens falls around 35mm but from 30 to 55mm, it would still be considered normal. For Four-Thirds and Micro Four-Thirds, you would use a 25mm. Usually most manufacturers make sure to have one bright prime that corresponds to the normal focal-length for the sensor-size.

Then going back to the lens above, let’s suppose your camera is a DSLR camera. The normal lens would then be about 30mm. If you were to look through the lens, it would appear that the image is the same size as what you see, without the camera. Then, if you go below the number 30mm you enter the range of wide angle lenses. Which means that the lens pushing the image back further to get more into the picture.

Definition of “WIDE ANGLE LENS”

(Photography) a lens system on a camera that can cover an angle of view of 60° or more and therefore has a fairly small focal length. Any number that is less than 30 is therefore a wide angle lens.

Definition of “telephoto” lens:

A telephoto lens is a lens that appears to magnify distant objects. To do that, they need to have a focal length longer than that of a normal lens, or a lens that approximates the optical qualities of the human eye. A normal lens has a focal length of 30mm on a full frame camera so any lens with a focal length longer than 30mm can be considered a telephoto lens. The longer the focal length, the more magnification there is.

WHAT IS THE PROPER USE OF WIDE ANGLE AND TELEPHOTO LENSES:

Generally, a normal lens (around 30mm) is used for…. normal everyday use. Photos of the family, the dog, the cat, the things around the house.

A wide angle lens is most popular for landscape or scenic photos, to get the whole picture into the frame.

And the telephoto is generally used to bring objects in closer to you. The most common use is for wildlife, sports, and things from afar.

NEXT SET OF NUMBERS:

CANON ZOOM LENS WITH ALL THE NUMBERS.

THE “APERTURE RANGE”

Every lens has an aperture in it. It controls the amount of light getting through the lens. This has another major function that photographers really use and that is the “depth of field”. That has been discussed before in a previous blog. JUST : CLICK HERE

It is usually expressed in f-stops such as f/1.4 and stated on the name of the lens. For example, the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.4, whereas the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G has a maximum aperture of f/1.8.

One lens, and several different aperture openings:

Here is where it can get interesting and you can see why the price of a lens goes up. Listed below is a list of Nikon lenses. And they are all 50mm lenses. You can see the Nikkor lens 50mm F1.8 lens lists for only $134.95. Now go to the second lone on the list: Nikkor 50mm 1.4D lens. It sells for $369.95. And go to the top one: the 50mm f1.2 lens sells for $724.95.

50mmf/1.2NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2FXM$724.95Get a quick view for the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2
50mmf/1.4AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4DFXAF$369.95Get a quick view for the AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
50mmf/1.4AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.4GFXAF-S$449.95Get a quick view for the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.4G
50mmf/1.4NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4FXM$469.95Get a quick view for the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4
50mmf/1.8AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8DFXAF$134.95

The difference between each 50 mm lens is that the f1.4 lens lets in almost twice the amount of light through it than the f1.8 lens. I don’t know how many actual lens elements are in each lens, but, say they have 14 elements in the lens. That would mean the f1.4 lens elements, all 14 of them have to be made larger than the f1.8 lens. But if you are a person who wants the lens to be able to shoot in lower light, then the f1.4 lens is a better choice. Better still, the f1.2 which doubles the amount of light transmission would even be better. But you would end up paying for all those elements in the lens housing to be bigger than the previous version.

So, in summary on this number, the lens with the smallest number, let’s a lot more light through the lens than a lens with a bigger number. And that allows you to also have a depth of field even smaller, but, the usual case for having a lens with a lower aperture number is usually to allow you to shoot in lower light.

THE LAST IMPORTANT NUMBER:

Most lenses have this important number on it. It is a 2 digit number with a circle and a line through that circle.

THE FINAL IMPORTANT NUMBER TO KNOW IS THE FILTER SIZE THE LENS TAKES.

On this photo above, all lenses (at least I think almost all lenses) have a number to tell you what size filter this lens takes or the size of the lens cap. If you are a photographer who uses filters (and I think all photographers should use filters), you will appreciate knowing what size filters you would need to enhance your photography. On this lens above, the filter size is a 72mm. That is a big filter, but certainly good to know. If you would like to learn more about using filters, CLICK HERE AND one more link: CLICK THIS ONE TOO

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“BOKEH” IN YOUR PHOTOS, AND HOW TO USE THEM

Photo by Francesco Tommasini on Unsplash

“Bokeh”! What is this new word? Take a look at the photo above, and notice all the little round lighted circles behind the subject. Those circles are “Bokeh”, and have become popular in photos lately because they make the subject stand out from the background in a very beautiful way.

Taken from a Japanese word for “blur,” bokeh has become a photography jargon used to describe how a lens renders a background that’s out of focus. As I was looking for a great photo showing Bokeh, I was surprised how many people just love Bokeh, without any foreground subject. Just like this:

yellow bokeh photo
Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

To me, a photo like this is not something I would hang up on the wall, but, might be used as a background to something else I want to create. However, if you search for Bokeh, on Google, you will get photos of pretty little circles, like shown above.

Now, if you would like to use more Bokeh in your photos, then follow these steps: They can only be created a certain way:

USE THE RIGHT LENS:

The reason why some people get frustrated with bokeh is that they’re probably using the wrong lens. The secret to getting beautiful bokeh is using a lens that has an aperture of at least f/2.8. Unfortunately, the maximum aperture of a typical kit lens (the lens often found on entry-level cameras) only goes as low as f/4.5 or f/3.5. Although it’s more or less just two f-stops away from the ideal aperture, it’s still not wide enough to provide the background blur essential for bokeh.

green grass with bokeh lights
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Take a look at your lenses and see if you have a lens that will do this. If you got a kit lens, chances are you don’t have a lens that will open to f2.8 or lower. So, check all your lenses. A standard lens, with no zoom, is relatively inexpensive, and will generally go to f1.8, which is perfect for creating this effect.

Check out your aperture blades:

Photo by Wan San Yip on Unsplash

When choosing the ideal bokeh lens, also consider looking at aperture blades. The way they shape the aperture’s opening affects how the patterns in the background look. For instance, a lens with 9 blades creates a rounder aperture, making light sources appear circular and more natural-looking. On the other hand, a lens that has fewer blades (about 5 or 7) produces polygon-shaped orbs that look less desirable.

SET YOUR APERTURE MODE TO “AV”

The important thing to remember in creating the “bokeh” effect, is that you need to use a very wide aperture setting. F2.8 or bigger (or smaller number, like 1.8) will be the only way this works. If you want to go manual mode, that is fine, but, just make sure your aperture is set to the lower number.

CHOOSE A GOOD BACKGROUND:

To achieve bokeh, choosing the right background is crucial. Although it’s easy to blur a part of the scene with your lens, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee your image will have good bokeh.

Plain backgrounds don’t make good bokeh because there’s just nothing much going on visually. If you look at beautiful bokeh shots, you’ll notice that even with a blurry background, particular elements like light orbs or soft textures and patterns appear prominently in the image.

The perfect places to get bokeh is usually from urban locations. There, you usually have some kind of soft lights in the background that just make it nice.

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

Light reflecting on bodies of water such as ponds and lakes creates captivating bokeh effects as well.

Look for lights behind a possible portrait. This is truly a wonderful effect with bokeh, if everything is in it’s place. It just seems to give a dreamy effect.

Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash

conclusion:

Look for lights in the background when taking portraits. Or anything else that has a high reflective light coming from it, and see if you can enjoy getting some good “bokeh” photos.

Thought for the day:

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.

Robert Capa

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HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS USING A “LONG EXPOSURE”

beach during golden hour
Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

Photos taken using a long exposure are probably the most well loved photos today. They seem so “dreamy” as one person said. Almost every good photographer today, has probably tried some long exposures, but, honestly, everyone who wants to be a good creative photographer should try this. In today’s blog, we will go through the steps so you will know how to do this as well.

Let’s go through this series of photos and then describe what it takes for you to accomplish the same thing.
  1. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the subject of “long Exposure” was what you can do with water to make it even more beautiful, like this photo above. I am going to guess that this photo was taken with about a 2 to 5 second exposure in daylight. There are two ways to do this: A- knowing that you are going to use a long exposure, longer than you should try to hand hold, you MUST HAVE A TRIPOD. Usually when I do a photo like this, I try to determine if I want the water to have some detail to the water, or to really go all the way, and blur it, like above. The first method with your DSLR camera is to do this in “shutter priority” mode (Tv is usually how the camera manufactures will show the setting on the dial). This stands for “Time Value”. This leaves the camera in an automatic mode, but, you get to pick the shutter speed you want. So, pick 5, or 10 seconds to get this photo above, and then the camera will automatically pick the aperture setting for you.

But wait! A 10 second exposure in the middle of the day, what will your camera set at automatically? Probably F96, or F125 might work. There is a limit to the amount of aperture settings on a lens. There is no such thing as F96 or F125 on your lenses, or aperture. So, how do you do this? WITH ND FILTERS.

A Complete Guide on How to Use Neutral Density Filters
You can get your filters in different “Opaque”. Above, you can see #3, #6, #10

These ND FILTERS do not change the color of your image, they only stop a certain amount of light through your lens to the image sensor. Thus forcing your camera to be able to use an aperture that will allow your photo idea to work. You must be able to limit the amount of light to your sensor if you want to use slow shutter speeds. If you are serious about creating this effects, you will want to get that in your camera bag. (Click the words in red, like ND FILTERS, and you will be taken to a link that tells you more about it, plus, you can purchase these filters there).

At night, on a tripod, it is very interesting to get the “automobile lights” to drag across the screen to get this effect

2- This type of photo will require these two things: A TRIPOD again, and good camera that you can regulate your shutter speed. With this type of photo, taking several shots will be advantageous, just to find out what your exposure should be. It might be good to record what each of your shots did for your picture. You might still need some ND FILTERS if you need to get it within a certain range.

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash

Doing a photo of fireworks, I think, is the easiest to do. After sitting there and watching the fireworks, determine where in the sky the fireworks will explode. Once that is established, point your camera to that area while your camera is on the TRIPOD and put your camera setting on the “B”mode. (B stands for “Bulb” and was used in the early camera years, because you literally had to squeeze a rubber “bulb” and hold the squeeze until you want it to turn off). Then click the shutter open until the explosion is done. I have often just chosen F8 or F11 for a good F number.

The words in Red have a special link to get you more information about the item, whether it be a description or if you are ready to make a purchase. Click it.

Enjoy trying this out. This is a fun exercise to try, but, usually you have time to try it again, if you didn’t get it right the first time.

Here are a few more photos taken with a long exposure:

red and black abstract painting
Photo by Alex Montes on Pexels.com
lightning strikes
Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com
grey moutain
Photo by Rocky Evans Llona on Pexels.com

51 Different photo subjects. And I have done a blog on nearly every one of these subjects. You will notice that this blog is about “A long Exposure”. that means I have only 7 more to go.

Go back and read one of those subjects that interest you. They will be on this website until August 14th.

Ideas of how to take the best “flower photos”

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

Taking pictures of flowers is always a rewarding experience. Sometimes when you are on Facebook or some other website and you see other people’s photos of flowers, do you wish you could take pictures that good? I want to take a moment and explain how you too, can take beautiful photos of flowers, even to the point of people wanting a copy (maybe I could sell my flower photos).

The beauty of a flower to me comes when I can see the flower in close-up mode, similar to the photo at the top of this page. The human eye does not usually look at a flower this close. We see them in the garden, in clumps or groups of flowers, and that all looks good, but, if we had the chance to see a flower up close, you would realize that the Creator has really blessed us with amazing beauty that looks better up close.

Here is just a few ideas of how your photos of flowers can look better:

Get down to the same level of the flower:

Photo by Gabriela Popa on Unsplash

Look at the photo above, and the photo at the top of the page. The fact that the photographer got down to the same level as the flower, brings out much more of the beauty of the flower. Oh yeah, you may end up laying down on the ground to get this photo. But, it will be worth it.

Use a tripod to hold your camera steady.

Photo by Arw Zero on Unsplash

Note the photo above shows a tripod for a cell phone. Yes, they make a tripod for cell phone. I have a tripod for my regular camera and tripod for cell phone. A good photographer that uses their cell phone a lot will want to get this. And they are not that expensive. I have a tripod for cell phone that is full size, and I think I still paid less than $30.00 Click on the link: tripod for cell phone to see what you can get. But, I have found out that it is extremely hard to hold your camera still when trying to do a close-up of a flower. I think it is a must. I also think that photographers should use their tripods more than they do.

If you can, get a macro lens or close-up filters

For those of you who have a good dslr camera, close-up filters should be a must have item, in case you don’t have a true macro lens. These come in a set of 4 usually and you can have different magnifications depending on which close-up filters you use.

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

See what you miss when you don’t have close-up filters. The detail of flowers is amazing to see. So, please, to do it right, at least try close-up filters.

A macro lens I have seen built-in to some cell phone cameras, so try that on your phone if you are so equipped. Otherwise, try a macro lens for your dslr camera. This makes it extremely easy and even better quality than the close-up filters. With macro lenses, you can focus as close as a 1:1 ratio all the way out to infinity on your lens. Just get macro lenses for your brand of camera, and check out what is available and really enjoy it.

Be aware of flower movement. Try a higher ISO setting.

Photo by Dominik Rešek on Unsplash: Took this photo on my recent trip to Triglav lakes. Beautiful destination, lots of nice things to shoot.

I have found that there always seems to be a breeze that causes flower movement. Any way you can stop the flower from moving would involve one thing: You will need a high speed shutter, to stop camera movement. And sometimes the easiest way to get a higher speed shutter is to use a higher ISO setting.

If you are going to use your cell phone that doesn’t usually have much chance of setting a shutter speed, then make sure you have a lot of light on the flower, in hopes that the automatic settings of the camera, will be in your favor.

Carefully control your depth of field if you can.

Photo by Echo Grid on Unsplash

The purpose of having depth of field control is to be able to blur out the background of the photo, and still keep the main focus of the flowers in sharp focus. That, of course is accomplished by changing your aperture to a lower number (f2 to f4), to make that happen.

Conclusion:

The best photos that you will find and create, almost always needs to have control over the settings on a camera. The shutter speed to be fast enough to stop any movement of the flower, and the aperture to control the depth of your focus. And if you can’t get it exactly set up with the settings you want, then you can change your ISO setting. If you have further questions on how to take good flower photos, submit your questions to: http://question.123photogo.com

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.” –

Buddha