Tag Archives: Photography

Landscape Photos

A Guide to Landscape Photos:

Landscape photography is a peaceful and relaxing way to spend time with nature and the great outdoors. This can be a great reason way to get out of the house during social isolation.

To take great landscape photos, first try scouting out an area you believe would make for a good composition. This can be done in person, or alternatively online through Google Street View. For gear, make sure to pack a wide angle lens and tripod, as well as anything you would bring on a hike. Make sure to plan out your shoot before heading out, as this can help save time later and usually leads to a better end product.

Landscape photos are most often done with a high depth-of-field to keep everything in focus, both near and far. This is achieved by using a high aperture setting. Most lenses can either go up to f/22 or f/16; combine these high apertures with the tripod to ensure a steady shot, as the camera will most likely need to be set for a longer exposure time. Once you are ready to shoot, make a couple test images and review them on-camera to troubleshoot unexpected issues. If you find that your images are blurry despite using a tripod, try turning on the self-timer to alleviate camera shake from pressing the shutter button. 

As always, make sure to be safe if going out alone. Bring plenty of water and pack a snack and first aid. Happy shooting!

Written By: The Spark Team

An Intro to Photography

Photography is a unique form of art, as it is both instantaneous and relatively new compared to mediums such as drawing or painting. These days almost everyone has a high quality camera on them at all times, and it’s as easy as ever to start honing in your image making skills!

To understand how an image is made, let’s first look at how a camera operates. There are three elements of an exposure or image: shutter speed, aperture, and sensitivity (or “ISO”). A perfect exposure or image balances these elements to make a photo that is neither too bright nor too dark. Shutter speed controls how long the “eye” or sensor of the camera is open to the scene it’s capturing, measured in fractions of a second. This effects motion blur on a moving subject. Aperture refers to the size of the hole through which light enters the camera.

On most smartphones this is a fixed size, but on professional DSLR cameras the size of the hole can be adjusted to allow more or less light through and changing the “depth-of-field” effect on the final image. This is a powerful effect that allows the photographer to isolate the background from the subject by shifting it out of focus, blurring it. Sensitivity or ISO effects how sensitive the sensor is to light and effects the grain or noise on the final image. These are the three elements of every photograph, and learning how to adjust them to your liking is a good first step to making amazing images.

Smartphone cameras and other types of digital cameras are most commonly used on an “auto” mode, where the camera decides how best to balance the elements of your photograph. While this is the fastest and certainly most convenient method, auto mode takes away most of the control the photographer has on their final image. Try testing out the three elements by switching your camera to manual (M) mode, where the photographer has control of every aspect of the camera. Smartphone users can find a “pro” or manual mode on many popular apps (such as VSCO), but note that aperture will most likely be fixed and unchangeable. Start by changing the ISO, bring it up to ‘6400’ or as high as it will go and change the other two elements to balance the exposure. Notice how suddenly noisy the image appears. Next set the ISO as low as it goes and change the shutter speed to 1/15. Take a photo of something moving and pay attention to how motion blur comes into effect. Those with a DSLR can change the aperture and see how it effects the background of the image when taking a photo of something up close. With these techniques in mind, it becomes much easier to troubleshoot an image if it isn’t coming out how you’d like.

Photography, like most everything else, relies on practice, practice, practice. Challenge yourself by taking your camera off auto and start making images. You might be surprised by how differently you take your photographs!

Written By: M. Heins