Spinzilla! Knitting Butterflies Podcast

Thank you so much for watching! Today I have a recap of the Spinzilla event with Team Fancy Tiger.

Ways to connect with me:

Events:
Come see me at Rhinebeck, Needles Up!, Indie Untangled and Knit Knosh!

Projects:

Spinzilla!

Photography:

  • I purchased a new toy for my phone called the Poser Snap Mobile Studio. It includes a macro lens, a wide angle lens, a fisheye lens, and an external light source. I’ll update you on how well these tools work over the next couple of weeks.

Giveaway:

Thank you so much to Susie White for donating a copy of her Endless Maze pattern! 

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Episode 48 – Focus on Photography

In this episode, I talk about the concept of focusing on “the moment” in life with a camera.

https://www.podbean.com/media/player/3kbmd-5ecd5e?from=yiiadmin
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Exposure Triangle – Shutter Speed

In this tutorial and three others, we are going to explore the Exposure Triangle. The exposure triangle is the combination of three ways to help light enter your camera: Shutter speed, Aperture, and ISO. These three aspects of photography will help your camera get the correct exposure, while giving you complete control on how you want each final image to look. We will start with each piece of the triangle, then look at how those three pieces work together.

Shutter Speed

A basic camera is made of a hole for light to enter, and film or a digital sensor to capture the light coming in through the lens. SLR and Digital SLR cameras have a curtain that opens and closes in front of that sensor. Shutter speed is the amount of time that door is open for the light to hit the sensor inside. It is written in numbers that are fractions of a second. For example, 1/2 is 1/2 of a second, while 1/2000 is 1/2,000th of a second. Shutter speeds on DSLRs typically vary from 30 seconds to 1/4,000th of a second and above.

As long as the door is open, light is entering the camera and landing on the sensor. This means that, the longer the curtain is open, the more light will enter the camera and the brighter the image will be. The sensor will capture the image of anything in front of it for as long as the curtain is open. This means that if the subject in front of the camera is moving more quickly than the curtain can open and close, it will become blurry. Subjects that are still can have a slower shutter speed and still remain sharp, while subjects that are moving will need faster shutter speeds to remain sharp. Compare these images below:

These images were taken with a low shutter speed (1/25 sec), medium shutter speed (1/160 sec), and high shutter speed (1/400 sec). 

These images were taken with a low shutter speed (1/25 sec), medium shutter speed (1/160 sec), and high shutter speed (1/400 sec). 

 

How to Use Adjust Shutter Speed

There are two ways to practice using shutter speed on your camera. The first is to use S mode (Nikon) or Tv mode (Canon) on the dial on top of the camera. This mode allows to you speed up and slow the shutter speed down, while making the other adjustments for you to correctly expose your image. To adjust the shutter speed, twist the adjustment dial left and right and see what happens.  These are all images I have taken using S mode on my Nikon, explaining why I chose the shutter speed I used in each image.

When photographing something that moves quickly, I use S mode on my camera and set my shutter to a high speed, such as 1/400 or higher. This is especially useful if I don't mind if the background is in focus or not, and the camera will automatically accommodate the aperture and ISO to correctly expose the image. This makes it so I can keep up with my kiddos and not have them be blurry in the photo.

When photographing something that moves quickly, I use S mode on my camera and set my shutter to a high speed, such as 1/400 or higher. This is especially useful if I don’t mind if the background is in focus or not, and the camera will automatically accommodate the aperture and ISO to correctly expose the image. This makes it so I can keep up with my kiddos and not have them be blurry in the photo.

This image was taken using a slow shutter speed for how bright the image was, 1/160 sec. This made the camera raise the aperture very high, F13, so the whole image was in focus, including the harpist and the clouds. A lower shutter speed also made the sunlight “bleed”, creating the starburst effect. I can also use a slow shutter speed because the subject is sitting still, so I’m not worried about her becoming blurry.

The next way to change shutter speed is to use Manual Mode (M on Nikon and Canon). This mode gives you complete control over the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO all at the same time. We will go over how to do this is the tutorial that shows you how to use all three of these together. For now, try putting your camera in Manual mode. Twist the adjustment dial and see what happens to the shutter speed and exposure level. Take a few shots to see how the image changes when using different shutter speeds.

What Shutter Speed Do I Use?

When considering where to set your shutter speed, think about how fast your subject is moving. If you are photographing something moving very quickly, like a moving car or child, you will need a fast shutter speed. You can download the exposure guide I have made for you to see at-a-glance how fast your shutter speed should be for different subjects. 

When you are proficient at understanding how shutter speed works, you can use are a few extra tips when deciding how fast to set your shutter speed:

Use high shutter speeds to capture or “freeze” your subject. 

  • Slower shutter speeds will allow more ambient light to bleed into the image. This can be helpful when photographing lights such as Christmas lights or street lights. 
  • Your shutter should always be as high as the number of milimeters your lens is set to. For example, if you are using a kit lens of 18-55mm and it is zoomed in completely, at least 1/55 of a second is needed to make sure the image is not blurry. If you have a 200mm lens zoomed in, you need to have a shutter speed of at least 1/200th of a second to keep the image sharp.
In this image, I used a slow shutter speed of 1/15 sec. This would normally make us blurry in the photo (can you see the woman to our left who is blurry?) but using an on-camera flash made my family be properly exposed and frozen. (I will go over this in another tutorial). The slow shutter was essential to letting enough light bleed into the image from the surrounding carnival lights.

In this image, I used a slow shutter speed of 1/15 sec. This would normally make us blurry in the photo (can you see the woman to our left who is blurry?) but using an on-camera flash made my family be properly exposed and frozen. (I will go over this in another tutorial). The slow shutter was essential to letting enough light bleed into the image from the surrounding carnival lights.

Helpful Links

If you are interested in learning more about shutter speed and how it works, visit some of my favorite sites to read their take on it:

Have you experimented with shutter speed? Do you have any questions? Leave a comment below and feel free to leave your site so I can check out your work!

Exposure Triangle – ISO

**Special thank you to Oh Loops Yarn for sponsoring the yarn for these tutorials! These will be a supplement to a larger tutorial coming soon!**

In this tutorial and three others, we are going to explore the Exposure Triangle. The exposure triangle is the combination of three ways to help light enter your camera: Shutter speed, Aperture, and ISO. These three aspects of photography will help your camera get the correct exposure, while giving you complete control on how you want each final image to look. We will start with each piece of the triangle, then look at how those three pieces work together.

ISO – How Does It Work?

In the previous exposure triangle tutorials, we talked about how light enters a camera through a lens and lands on a sensor. This sensor is what captures the image to create a photograph. In this tutorial, we will talk about ISO. ISO is the rate the sensor will absorb light. ISO measurements are written in increments of 100, such as ISO 200, ISO 800, and ISO 2,000. Higher ISO numbers mean light is being absorbed onto the sensor at a faster rate, making the image brighter. Here is the same photograph shot with different ISO rates:

The same image shot with ISO 100, 400, and 1250. No other adjustments were made to compensate for exposure.

The same image shot with ISO 100, 400, and 1250. No other adjustments were made to compensate for exposure.

SO is an excellent tool to use when you need to increase the amount of light in an image without changing the aperture or shutter speed. However, raising ISO does come with a cost. Higher ISO will result in more noise in an image, which is the graininess and color distortions shown below. 

In these images, (the same images as above at 100, 400, and 1200 ISO) you can see the difference in the coloring and noise levels when zoomed in. On the right you can see the high levels of pixelation and blur between the colors, making for a less than desirable image.

In these images, (the same images as above at 100, 400, and 1200 ISO) you can see the difference in the coloring and noise levels when zoomed in. On the right you can see the high levels of pixelation and blur between the colors, making for a less than desirable image.

 

While the DSLRs currently on the market advertise handling extremely high ISOs, keep in mind that these levels will result in a very high amount of noise in the image. Fortunately, today’s sensors on an entry level DSLR can handle ISO levels up to 1,000 and above without too much noise. 

How Do I Adjust ISO?

ISO adjustment can only happen in the Manual (M), Aperture Priority (A or Av), Shutter Priority (S or Tv), or Program (P) modes on your camera. All of the other modes will automatically adjust the ISO level for you based on the level of light entering the camera. 

There are a few ways to adjust ISO. The first is to manually set it in the menu system. While you should always consult your manual to see your exact model of camera, here is how I can manually set the ISO on my Nikon D5200.

I have found this way of setting ISO to be extremely tedious, especially when I am on a photoshoot that will have light changes. Instead, I have mapped the Function (Fn) button the side of my camera to adjust the ISO when I spin the adjustment dial. Here is how I do that:

You can also set the ISO to automatically be as low as possible while still exposing the image correctly. Here is how I do that on my camera:

**Thanks to the youtube channel Camera Guides for all of the helpful videos!

What ISO Do I Use?

The level of ISO you set will depend on the amount of light coming in to the camera. In bright sunlight, use lower ISOs to create the least amount of noise. In dark situations such as photographing street lights or night photography, use high ISOs to allow the light to be absorbed as quickly as possible. Be sure to download the exposure guide I have created for you to have an at-a-glance guide on how ISO levels will adjust the light and noise levels. Here are some images I have taken with explanations for each of the ISO levels:

Night photography often requires a high ISO, however, when photographing the moon I like to use a lower ISO to make the craters and shadows properly exposed.

Night photography often requires a high ISO, however, when photographing the moon I like to use a lower ISO to make the craters and shadows properly exposed.

This image was taken using an extremely high ISO of 2000. I only used this high of ISO because it was getting dark when we shot this image, but it created a dreamlike grain I really enjoy.

This image was taken using an extremely high ISO of 2000. I only used this high of ISO because it was getting dark when we shot this image, but it created a dreamlike grain I really enjoy.

I try to use the lowest possible ISO when I do product photography. Grain can make a client unsure of what the actual product will look like.

I try to use the lowest possible ISO when I do product photography. Grain can make a client unsure of what the actual product will look like.

When photographing a subject in front of a window I like to use a high ISO. This makes the window appear “blown out” so the viewer can’t see what is beyond, and the subject is properly exposed.

When you have had an opportunity to play with your ISO levels, here are some extra tips I have for you in using ISO:

  • I set my aperture where I would like it, then set my ISO to the lowest number possible while maintaining a shutter speed of at least 1/200. When doing portrait or product photography, this creates the least amount of noise while still having a high enough shutter speed to expose the image correctly.
  • I use higher ISOs occasionally to overexpose my image if I want to photograph a subject in front of a bright window. I often already have the lowest aperture and shutter available in these types of images, so raising the ISO is a quick way to make the window appear completely bright and correctly expose the subject in front of it.

Helpful Links:

If you are interested in learning more about ISO and how it works, visit some of my favorite sites and read their take on it:

Do you have any questions about ISO? Have you used this tutorial to help you take photographs? Post in the comments below, and feel free to link to your site!

Project Everyday – January Part 1

I have started a project I am naming “Project Everyday” as a challenge for myself. There are lots of challenges out there to take images every single day on our nice cameras, but I know there is no way I would be able to keep up with it. Instead, I’m just photographing the everyday activities that make up my life and documenting them. Sometimes I don’t have my nice camera with me and I have to settle for my phone, but I am trying to focus on using my nice camera as much as possible. So, here is the update for the first half of January:

Of course I have been knitting and spinning. I finished my first yarn that was given to me by my sister, and I have started a new braid. I also got my order of yarn from Craftsy, so I am dreaming of a Lopi sweater called Skokkur in a beautiful purple and teal combination.

(Left) My dad snuggling with three of my kiddos while watching a movie. (right) Miss C and her best friend played in the snow for hours building a snowman. I love that they have had each other since they were babies.

(Left) My dad snuggling with three of my kiddos while watching a movie. (right) Miss C and her best friend played in the snow for hours building a snowman. I love that they have had each other since they were babies.

I took a class from Fancy Tiger Crafts with my friend, Kate, about cleaning and maintaining sewing machines. We took them completely apart, oiled them, filed down the rough areas, and put them back together. I learned so much!

I took a class from Fancy Tiger Crafts with my friend, Kate, about cleaning and maintaining sewing machines. We took them completely apart, oiled them, filed down the rough areas, and put them back together. I learned so much!

This little man always says “hot” before he puts a bit in his mouth. Usually he won’t eat anything until I have blown on it sufficiently.

Have you challenged yourself in photography this year? Tell me all about it! Be sure to leave a link to your blog or site!

Unusual Angles

As I have honed my craft, I have come to appreciate interesting angles to shoot from. I always try to start with the “safe” shots, the images that are the same creatively for every family, where everyone is looking at the camera, the image is straight, and the subjects fill the frame in the relative center or a specified third of the frame. These are important images to capture, they are what most clients are looking for when booking a photographer for their Christmas cards or wall portrait.

Image copyright Emily Straw Photography LLC. All rights reserved.

Image copyright Emily Straw Photography LLC. All rights reserved.

As the session goes on though, my clients and I become more relaxed. Sometimes I will have them stay in the same location, but I will move around just a bit. I’ll see if I can get higher or lower. I will use my 18-200mm lens to its full capacity and zoom all the way in, as well as out. I will try to capture the landscape while the clients talk and smile at each other.

Image copyright Emily Straw Photography LLC

Image copyright Emily Straw Photography LLC

Recently I have been really valuing the concept of getting down low. Good photographers are willing to crouch, great photographers are willing to get incredibly dirty. I have always been taught to “shoot from above,” or to make sure my camera is slightly above my subjects. While this often creates a flattering angle, I have been getting down low, pretty much laying on the ground, to get some of my favorite images. I have been using weeds and grass as a foreground element, while still keeping my subjects in focus. I have photographed through trees and bushes, around buildings, and through window and door frames. The 200mm lens zoomed in so closely makes it so I really have to be creative in where I position myself, but it has made for some really exciting images. 

Finding unusual angles in photography. Image copyright Emily Straw Photography LLC. All Rights Reserved

Finding unusual angles in photography. Image copyright Emily Straw Photography LLC. All Rights Reserved

This week, try some unusual positions and angles to shoot from in your photography. All of the images above were shot with the clients in the exact same location, yet you can see how I was able to create a different feel with each image. Be sure to share a link to your work on the comments below!