time lapse photography of vehicle tail lights
Photo by Nikolett Emmert on
Another article on: “Something you can’t do with a cell phone”

If you want to be a serious photographer, this is another series of why you should have a “real camera” instead of doing all your photography with your cell phone.

Controlling your shutter speed on your camera is there for you to seriously give you the control to create something beautiful and exciting. The photo above, for example, is just one great photo that was done by having control of your shutter speed. Simply done by putting your camera on a tripod, and then having your shutter speed set so that the lights on the road become a blur or a long string of color. Judging from how long the lights are streaking there, I would say that shutter speed was around 6 to 10 seconds long. Can your camera do that?


Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash

One of everyone’s favorite things to do when setting the shutter speed slow is to take a photo of a waterfall. When it is slow it just blurs the water and gives it a dream effect. If someone is in the photo, yes, they will be a blur as well. But, that kind of acts as an effect most people will like with this photo.

The “B” setting on your camera stands for “Bulb”. And back many years ago, the photographer would have his camera set on the tripod, and then use a “bulb-type” plunger that you would screw into the camera’s button. This is where the “B” came from. You can still use a remote trigger on your camera, but, it may not be a “bulb”, but, a “cable release” or even use your self timer, so you don’t touch the camera during a long exposure.


Photo by Michael Constantin P. on Unsplash

Is there something wrong with this helicopter? No, this photographer used a very fast shutter speed, like 1/1000 or 1/2000 of a second to be able to stop the helicopter blades from showing any motion. Totally freezes anything that moves when you use a fast shutter speed.

Here is another photo showing fast shutter speeds:

Photo by Max Frajer on Unsplash

Of course, changing your shutter speeds, may involve you changing your ISO setting as we mentioned in the previous blog. And your aperture setting may change as well. All 3 of these settings have to work together. You will just need to know what type of effect you are after in order to use the right settings, or making the decision what setting is most important with the type of photo you want to take.

On the next blog, we will go over the results of changing your aperture setting on your camera. What will you create using different aperture settings? See ya then!


photo of candles inside cages
Photo by Craig Adderley on

Too often in today’s world, it seems that people are thinking that cell phone photography is getting close to everything a regular SLR or DSLR, or even a mirrorless camera can do.

This article will dispel that myth so you can see that cell phone photography is still far away from doing what a good camera can do.


ISO refers to your camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive your camera sensor becomes, and the brighter your photos appear.

ISO is measured in numbers. Here are a few standard ISO values: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200.

That said, pretty much every camera offers intermediate ISO values (for instance, ISO 125 and ISO 160 between ISO 100 and ISO 200). And most cameras these days include additional ISOs on the high end of the range, such as ISO 6400, ISO 12800, ISO 25600, and beyond.


ISO is the acronym used by the “International Standards Organization”. This is where the ISO came up with it’s standard across the world.

For the purposes of photography, the name isn’t important. Just think of ISO as your camera’s sensitivity to light, and you’ll do just fine!


By increasing the ISO in your camera, you are making the light meter more sensitive to light. It would allow you to shoot in different types of light, even when light is not good.

person standing beside waterfalls
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on

The first number that you would use in your ISO setting is usually 100, and is the basis for shooting in good light, such as sun, and bright light. You would then be setting your shutter speed and aperture according to what your desired effect is.


Now if we go from 100 ISO to say 800 ISO, you will now have some control over what is normally not scene in the darker shadows of your photo. Like this:

an underexposed image of a room
A Picture shot at 100 ISO.
a well-exposed image of a room
Maybe shooting the same photo at 800ISO will give you a great exposure inside where it once was dark.

Both the above pictures have something to be aware of. If shooting at 100 ISO, the photo is usually perfect if shooting outside. Look at the exposure of the outside through the window, with the first picture.

Now, looking at the second exposure, for sure it seems like it’s a better picture. But, now the outside is so washed out, the picture really seems kind of useless, because it is now over exposed. Although it looks perfect inside, where the lighting isn’t so good. So, which one do you like? Either one will work, it just depends on what you want in your photo.


To get the perfect exposure, it is all a combination of ISO, the proper shutter speed, and the best aperture setting. All 3 of these are important. Let’s look at why you would change your ISO setting when you have the perfect light.


I know this is a lesson on ISO settings, but, let’s look at the other settings it has to work with: The first being the shutter speed.

If you set your camera at ISO 100, the perfect exposure outside will probably be: 1/125 second, and the aperture or F Stop will be F16. Perfect exposure. If you will recall, the faster the shutter speed, you can now stop action:

timelapse photography of green and white racing vehicle on lane
Photo by Chris Peeters on

If you want to stop action, then your shutter speed will need to be close to 1/1000 second. To get the proper picture then, the easiest thing to do is to raise your ISO from 100 to 800 ISO to get the proper exposure. (That is as long as the aperture stays the same).

You see that changing your shutter speed, you will need to change your ISO to keep things in proper exposure.


pink rose
Photo by Jonas Kakaroto on

Now let’s see what can happen if you want to change your aperture setting to get a shallow depth of field, like the above photo.

If you change your setting on your aperture to F2.8, there may be the need to change your ISO, but it can’t go lower than 100, right? (Most newer cameras will only go as low as ISO 100). So, the only thing you can do here again, is to change your shutter speed, to match the ISO of 100. Changing it to F2.8 would mean you would need to change your shutter speed to 1/2000 second. That will allow you to get the exposure you need.


  • You’re shooting at an indoor sports event, especially if your subject is moving fast
  • You’re shooting a landscape without a tripod and you need a deep depth of field
  • You’re shooting a landscape at night (or doing astrophotography) and you need a reasonable shutter speed to freeze the stars
  • You’re photographing portraits in a dark room or in the evening/night
  • You’re shooting an event indoors with limited window light (such as a party)
  • You’re photographing a dark concert
  • You’re photographing an art gallery, a church, or a building interior (you might also consider using a tripod, but this is against the rules in a lot of spaces)
  • You’re photographing wildlife in the early morning or evening (especially if you need a fast shutter speed)
  • You’re photographing fast-moving subjects and you need an ultra-fast shutter speed
  • You’re shooting motionless landscapes and your camera is mounted on a tripod
  • You’re photographing portraits in good light
  • You’re photographing an event, and you have plenty of window light or you’re using flash
  • You’re photographing products with a powerful artificial lighting setup
portrait of a handsome man with muscular body
Photo by emre keshavarz on


ISO and shutter speeds and aperture settings all work together. It just depends on what you want to achieve in your photo, that will be what you need to set for ISO, Shutter speed, and F Stops. We will go into why you would change your shutter speeds and the effects you can get with changing it. And then we will get into why you would change your aperture setting as well. Keep with me…….


beach during golden hour
Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on

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
lightning strikes
Photo by Frank Cone on
grey moutain
Photo by Rocky Evans Llona on

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.


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:

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


DAY 5 OF 10: “MOTION” How to capture motion:

dog with ball in mouth jumping over a fallen tree trunk
Photo by chepté cormani on

This is Day 5 of 10, on the subject of “Seeing a Photo”. And today’s subject, specifically, is all about seeing motion, and how to capture it.

Day Five: “Moment” — Capture Motion

Our lives are made up of big events and tiny moments. Life is fleeting, and oftentimes it’s the small moments, this motion, that we love to document.

Consider one such moment brought to life by a Sufi dancer, in the courtyard of a former traveler’s inn in Cairo:

The colors, the music, the chanting, the whirling… Sufi dancers are mesmerizing: they spin themselves into meditative states. Here, a moment becomes an eternity.

Think about the fleeting moments you experience each day — from a moment with your child to a commute through the subway among strangers. What moment will you share with us?

Today’s Tip: Movement is a great way to convey time and fleetingness. Play with motion and achieve varied results by turning your flash off. Or using a tripod to keep your camera steady. Or panning your camera across your scene while following a moving subject.

Day Five: “Moment” — Capture Motion

Photo of a train at Berlin Alexanderplatz Station by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.
Photo of a train at Berlin Alexanderplatz Station by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.

Tips for photographing motion, for all cameras and cameraphones:

  • Turn your auto-flash off, even in low-light conditions. Today’s image of the Sufi dancer was snapped in the dark, with no flash. It’s grainy and not the best quality, yet the fuzziness evokes being transfixed in that moment.
  • While photographing moving subjects, use a tripod or lay your device on a surface to keep it still. Use a table, an empty seat, or another flat, solid surface to rest your camera.
  • Experiment with panning. Pan your camera across your scene while following your moving subject. It takes practice, but if done right you can produce images with clear subjects against blurred backgrounds.

Tips for intermediate and advanced-level photographers using cameras with manual settings:

Slow down your shutter speed (meaning, keep the shutter open longer). When the shutter is open longer, your subject has more time to move across the frame, creating a blur effect. This can lead to overexposure, especially during the day, as you’re letting in more light to take a picture. To compensate, close your aperture (the size of the opening) more and use a higher f-stop number, or adjust to a lower ISO.

Alternatively, set your camera to “shutter priority mode” so you can set your shutter speed, but let the camera auto-select other settings — like the aperture — to ensure proper exposure.

One more thing you can do to really improve your shutter speed technology, is to get a basic book on shutter speed (click on this). I was amazed how many good books there are on basic techniques with cameras.

See you next Monday through Friday for the completion of this series.

LAST LOOK: Another amazing photo of showing motion: