Long Exposure Workshop w/Craig Roberts of e6 YouTube

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

This is my second time with Craig for a “1:1 teaching moment”.  This time the subject is “Long Exposures” under various conditions from full sun to full rain and everything in between, i.e. this is Britan.
Raining kittens and dogs were the cards we were dealt for the day so one must have an umbrella to cover the filters as you can’t use your air bulb blower fast enough to remove the raindrops.  Take Note: Need a tripod attachment to hold an umbrella as Craig wouldn’t be there next time in the rain.
The focus of this workshop was the use of  Neutral Density (ND) Filters, i.e. Polarizer 2 Stops, Little Stopper – 6 Stops, Big Stopper – 10 Stops and Super Stopper – 15 Stops in conjunction with 0.6 / 0.9 Graduated Filters to balance the light from the sky and the ground.
Note: Interesting to see how long exposure photography brought to the surface various camera functions unseen before.  Need to study up.

Long Exposure Location – The City of Manchester (Recognize the Manchester United Stadium above?)

Given the architectural shapes, textures, leading lines… combined with the water and clouds, The Lowery area at Salford Quays was an ideal location.

Craig has great insight to understand what you should consider, no matter what your skill level.

Previous Post on Cityscapes in Birmingham          

Website: Craig Roberts Photography – e6

YouTube Channel: e6 Vlogs

Lee Filters Phone App

Experience

In short, we learn thru doing and regretfully experiencing errors, i.e. Things Gone Wrong.  We then turnaround with proper actions to mitigate errors in the future.  I look forward to my future w/o errors.

My Long Exposure Check List – Work in Progress  (Critical in Bold)

Tripod

  • Ensure the tripod is level
  • Mount your camera for the horizontal or vertical shot

Camera

  • Change to Manual focus.
  • Stay in AF in Aperture Priority for now
  • Turn off the Long Exposure Noise Reduction as it doubles your exposure time.  Can address noise later if an issue or get a better body/sensor.

Composition

  • Determine composition using a 1×1 Square format (RAW still at 3:2 and JPEG at 1:1)
  • Lock down the panning knob on tripod

Focus/Initial Exposure

  • Set lowest ISO allowed
  • Set Aperture Sweet Spot:  For me f/8, maybe f/11
  • Manually focus with Focus Peaking while zoomed in.
  • Focus 1/3 into the composition in the single point focusing mode
  • Take your base shot noting the SS, shutter speed
  • Check histogram for use of ND Grads
  • Write down the SS as you will forget once you add the ND Filter (6S-10S-15S)

ND Grads

  • Base Guideline:
    • Sun is behind you, 1 stop (polarizer is 2 stops)
    • Sun is to your left or right, 2 stops (0.6 Grad)
    • Sun is in front of you, 3 stops (0.9 Grad)
    • (Can always check exposure for SS on foreground to background (sky) to compare stops of difference)
  • Soft or Hard:  Plain unobstructed horizon = Hard, obstructed with vertical objects = Soft

Placing ND Grads in Filter Holder

  • With the filter holder off the camera, place the ND Grad on the front slot pushing 1//4 of the way down.
  • Go to the front of the camera to place the holder on the adapter.  Why to ensure proper placement and full engagement of both the fixed side and spring-loaded wedge.Will position using the live view in the camera.
  • Slide the Grad up/down watching the clouds and histogram change.  Tilt left or right for the proper horizon line
  • Carefully set aside

ND Filters (2-Stop, 6-Stop, 10-Stop and 15-Stop)

  • Base Guideline:
    • Little Stopper to blur people and movement at 1-3s
    • Big Stopper to blur water and/or clouds for 30s to 1min
    • Super Stopper to blur clouds w/o water for 2-4min
  • Use Lee Filters Little-Big-Super Stopper App setting the SS that you wrote down to determine what the long exposure time is against the 3 options.
  • Given what exposure time you desire, select the proper Stopper, i.e. 6S, 10S, or 15S.

Placing the ND & Stopper in the Filter Holder

  • First, check your composition and SS for the base exposure.  Still the same.
  • If not, will need to use the app for the long exposure time.
  • Slide the Stopper of choice in the front slot (usually a hard push) until the foam in centered for sealing against light

Placing the Holder with Filters on the Camera’s Adapter Ring

  • First, switch to the full-manual mode to avoid the Auto-Focus hunting.
  • Go to the front of the camera to place the holder on the adapter. with Grad & ND.  Why to ensure proper placement and full engagement of both the fixed side and spring-loaded wedge.

When the filter holder is partially engaged with the adapter as placed from the rear of the camera, you have a false sense of security.  When you tip the camera with the holder on, off it goes to the ground.  Not pretty.

Camera

  • Recall the base exposure SS.  Did you write it down?
  • The Lee Filters App provide the long exposure time vs. which Stopper.  What is the long exposure time?  (Note: Can be off +- 2/3 of a Stop)
  • Install your remote control cable or mechanical shutter release
  • Change to “Bulb – B” mode for your shutter speed
  • Did you switch to full manual to avoid AF hunting?
  • Press and hold (or slide up) the remote watching the time count up in seconds… to your chosen long exposure time.
  • Release when the long exposure targeted time is reached.
  • Look at the JPEG preview’s “Histogram,
    • Any right-hand clipping of the Highlights?  If yes, a shorter time is required.
    • Is histogram pushed to the edge of the Highlights (RD Side)?  If not, a longer time is required.
    • Experiment with various times as the Lee Filters App is directional in nature and you must flavor to taste.

Removing the ND & Stopper in the Filter Holder

  • Again, go to the front of the camera and remove filter holder / filter set.
  • Pull out the filters and replace in your holder one by one.
  • Fingerprints and/or rain drops – Need to address later with a proper cleaning.

END

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My First Long Exposure Gallery

Wales: Pen-Y-Fan Mountain Day 2

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Pen-Y-Fan Mountain

Day 1 Link HERE.

I went from Circle 1 up to the top Circle 3 in ~1.5 hours

A 3km ascent of 435 meters to the top.  You can see my start/stop frequency.  Used “Walk Meter” App to capture the trek.  Turned it off at the top, low battery.

2017-05-14 Sunday Day 2

The trek up was cold, wet, sunny, dry… everything yet my two coats (one for warmth, the other keeping out the wind/rain) made it bearable.  I had no idea how long the trek would last nor the degree of slope for the ascent.  I kept telling myself “never again to carry a 30 lb large format gear backpack with 4 lb Gitzo tripod/ball head”.  The Fuji X-Pro2 with one lens was fine.  Yet, as I arrived at the top; took a rest my thoughts of went elsewhere across and down the beautiful vistas.  Going down was actually harder on my knees.  Breathing, no issue.  Legs are tired – I’ll sleep well tonight.

I kept telling myself “never again to carry a 30 lb large format gear backpack with 4 lb Gitzo tripod/ball head”.  The Fuji X-Pro2 with one lens was fine.  Yet, as I arrived at the top; took a rest and my thoughts went elsewhere, i.e. across/down the beautiful vistas.  Going down was actually harder on my knees.  Breathing, no issue.  Legs are tired – I’ll sleep well tonight.

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Hipstamatic App Gallery – Sunday 5/14

Pen-Y-Fan Gallery – Sunday 5/14

Wales: Pen-Y-Fan Mountain Day 1

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Pen-Y-Fan Mountain

in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Here’s a slight diversion: Brecon Steam Engine Railway Ride

Wales: My Ancestry – Mother’s Side

Dead Center via Apple Maps – Easy Drive w/90% Divided Highway.  Birmingham is off to the Northeast

Visualize Your Walk Around the RED LINE

A moderate trek covering 4 miles in 2.5 hours, red line.

Hipstamatic iPhone App Images

Shenhao 617: Getting Set Up with Lens, Composition, Focus, and Image Exposure

Shenhao 617: Image Taken Looking Up the Path to the Top Covered in Clouds

2017-05-13 Saturday Day 1

I arrived at Pen-Y-Fan ~8a after leaving Birmingham at 6a, do the math.  The forecast was for rain at Pen-Y-Fan yet knowing the weather is an hour-by-hour thing here in the UK, I went for it.  It did rain but a slow drizzle which let up for awhile for me to get a few images.  The top of the mountain was blanketed in clouds so I came home to return Sunday.

2017-05-14 Sunday Day 2

Next Post – Wales: Pen-Y-Fan Mountain Day 2

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Pen-Y-Fan Gallery – Saturday 5/13

Pen-Y-Fan Gallery – Sunday 5/14

Next Post: Wales: Pen-Y-Fan Mountain Day 1

Cityscapes Workshop – 1:1 With Craig Roberts in Birmingham

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

My photography checklist of things to do had a “1:1 teaching moment with a Professional Photographer”.  The list is now checked, i.e. Craig Roberts.
The focus of this workshop for me was the use of graduated / polarizer filters given the constant on and off again gray cloudy skies to sunny skies. Grads help pull out the details and balance the light to avoid blowing out the highlights.  Next, Neutral Density (ND) filters for long exposures with some Polarizing effects thrown in for fun …

Craig has great insight to understand what you should consider, no matter what your skill level.

Website: Craig Roberts Photography – e6

YouTube Channel: e6 Vlogs

My Personal Take-Aways  (Top Three in Bold)

– Get it right in-camera first, minimize the processing.

Shoot 1:1 Square aspect ratio for improved composition.  PS No need to turn the camera for those vertical compositions – right?

– One camera, one lens – get it right.

– Landscapes: Use the Fuji GF670 for 6×7 (almost 4×5 AR) to master manual exposure with metering the scene ahead of bringing out the big guns, i.e. Shenhao 6×17 view camera.

– Velvia 50:  Meter the highlights (VII) and let the shadows fall for high contrast range.

Cityscapes: As with Landscapes look for the foreground, mid-ground and background, i.e. not just a landscape thing.

– Look for the abstract with minimalist application

– Look up and back

Lee Filters Seven5 SystemGrads (Hard or Soft) : Back -1 Stop, Sides – 2 Stops and Front – 3 Stops, i.e. 0.9, 0.6. and 0.3

– Avoid G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and don’t get hooked on Olympus’ 5-axis stabilization…

– Tripods: Spikes needed for landscape, Carbon Fiber too light for the UK winds – agree…

– Zoom-In to fill the frame for 100-300mm focal lengths shooting in color and B&W

– Rules of the Road: Photography on a Public Footprint is Okay, Private Footprint is Not Okay.  Got asked at the Grand Central not to shoot on 2nd floor as considered private.  That’s okay as today I went by and got a written okay to photography on the 2nd floor.  No questions asked and nobody bothered me given me little pass.

– Watch the histogram even though it’s tiny in the Fuji during in-camera composition.  Use for placing the Grad to see the highlights drop in balancing the light.

– Sell on eBay my fun lenses: Lensbaby, Fisheye

– A G.A.S. Thought: 18-55mm Fuji lens vs changing primes

– Get my ONA sling bag from China to the UK

– Craig likes two cubes of sugar or 12 tiny sleeves of sugar in his white coffee.  No tea allowed.

– The Selfridges structure has endless compositions, that’s okay – go for it.

– Later, I dropped into the City of Birmingham’s Library.  Decided to join the Library (largest in EU so they say) and asked about what’s up with the construction area in front.  The Library Desk Man said it will be trees, fountains, lights….  An elderly lady (probably my age) let us know her take was a conspiracy theory, i.e.the City Council is reducing the large areas to avoid future protests…  hmmm.

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e6 Photowalk Gallery

(Place cursor over the image to get its Title and/or double click to view images.)

Peak District – Part I

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Peak District National Park

x

After my first visit to the PeakDistrict, it became blatantly obvious that this is not a one-time visit.  In fact, like YouTuber Ben Horne who does 90% of travels to only Zion National Park for his Large Format Photography, I need to do the same with the Lake District – stick to it and deep dive it with my full arsenal of skills and gear.  Besides, the walks are great exercise.
Helpful Terms  in the Peak (and Lake) District to Know: “Fell” (hill, mountain, or high common land), “Mere” (lake), “holme” (island), “Beck” (stream), “Force” (waterfall) and “Tarn” (small mountain lake)… the list goes on from Celtic, Norse and Saxon times.
Terms: Excerpt From Jules Brown & David Leffman. “The Rough Guide to the Lake District.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-rough-guide-to-the-lake-district/id1196557080?mt=11
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Peak District Walkabout Gallery

Titles added, don’t ask me the name or location as I’m definitely in a steep learning curve here.

Happy Pinhole Photography Day 2017-04-30

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

2017 Pinhole Photography Day

Today is that one day of the year for all Pinhole Photographers to get out and shoot their lensless camera.  Since I did yet could not get instant images given this is still an Analog World, let me post at least some images from my 6×17 RealitySoSubtle camera using Fuji 400H Pro medium format film taken in Xi’an, China.
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Xi’an City Wall: South-side looking East.

B&W: I knew these people may be stationary or in a fluid state given my Pinhole Assist App had the exposure targeted for 2 seconds.  This is the Drum Tower north of the Bell Tower (Center of Town) and the start to the left to the Muslim Quarter.

Color: The Same image which I like better for the people movement and those stationary for 2 seconds in their life.

Fuji GF670 Film Camera: 6×17 Fujifilm 400H Pro

Xi’an City Wall:  Facing North to the Bell Tower (Green Roof).  FYI: Got an immediate Like from my better-half on this image.  I’ve arrived as she provides my balance in photography.

Mylapore, Chennai:  A quick diversion to a local Car (Cart/Chariot) Festival.  Got that look again.

Xi’an City Wall:  Didn’t plan this but after two separate shoots 180 degrees apart showing the massive, protective nature of teh City Wall – I placed them in one image.

Xi’an City Wall:  Yes that Red Lantern is really red. That’s Fuji saturation.  I decided to leave it as it was.

 

Baggie City Center (Centre) in B&W

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Birmingham City Center

The best way to get acquainted with your new surroundings is to walk it.  So I have around Birmingham’s City Center and enjoy the variation of architectural styles across the years. So with this post, I’m practicing my B&W image processing using the recipe below.  Like any recipe one salt and peppers to taste.
Recipe (Photographer’s Stuff)
  1. Lightroom: Import and cataloging
  2. (Iridient Developer: Used for the Fuji RAW files for Exposure, Color (Fuji Soft), Details)
  3. Lightroom: Basics for Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, Transform-Auto, Crop…
  4. ON1 Photo RAW 2017: Add Dynamic Contrast (30%), B&W w/Color Sliders adjusted to taste, Big Softy Vignette
  5. Photoshop: Framing and Distraction Removal.
  6. Lightroom: Watermark and Export
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B&W Gallery

Selfridges: “Touching the Sky”

Victoria Square: “Stand at Attention”

Birmingham Library: “See Me”

Bullring Mall: “Bull – It”

Grand Central Station: “Train Time”

Apple Store: “Apples Three”

Arrived in Brum

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Hello Birmingham

After a 12 hour Shanghai to Paris flight followed by a 2.5-hour wait then a 1+ puddle jumper (English Channel actually) over to Birmingham, Dashan Sheying has shifted locations from India.  Stay tuned for future UK posts.  For now I’ve included some initial images from my walks around downtown Brum and my first countryside walkabout.
Photographers Only: Given the English weather (hourly forecasts from sunny to cloudy and everything in between) it keeps the scene down to 4 Stops of light for the contrast range.  So Velvia film will work fine here.  Yes, I’m sure the contrast range bumps up to 5 or even 6 every so often.
Listening to Joe Walsh’s Analog Man (stuck in a digital world) thinking of James Gang and Eagles concerts of days gone by yet looking towards this digital future we have ahead of us.
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Birmingham Gallery

“The Bull” at the Bullring shopping mall entrance.  Iconic Birmingham.  Waited until all the kids got off the bull then took my shot.  VSSR processed.

Selfridges near The Bull.  Another iconic shot yet at night the colored lights explode

The canal along the Digs.

Tardebigge Canal Circular Walk w/St Bartholomew’s Church

My favorite image with its soft lighting of the subject at sunrise and the natural vignette.

Canal Boat at rest

Canal reflections around the bend in a soft glow at sunrise.

Latest Additional to the Arsenal of Gear

The Beast.  Shenhao 6×17 view camera intended for landscapes with a 210mm f/5.6 lens attached.  This will be fun as I learn the old ways of taking images using medium format 120 film (4 images per roll at 6×17).  Stay connected as I venture out in the beautiful UK countryside for those special images.  End result, a huge fine art print, i.e. 19″ by 25″ to start.

Last Dance

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

Good-bye Chennai

I thought it appropriate to have my Last Dance (Photowalk) here in Chennai around Mylapore knowing that it’s a bustling city at sunrise.  We were surprised as we turned down Chitrakulam West Street to see the Sri Audikesava Perumal Peylar Temple (RED X) holding its local Car Festival, pulling the Temple Car (Chariot / Cart).
The Temple Car was being decorated for a 7:15am Pooja followed by a 7:30am towing around the block.  We waited through the hour of preparation capturing the daily lives of the locals, the way Street Photography should be.
 
The more prestigious Car Festival in Mylapore is this April 8th at the Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Temple with 10s of 1000s of people in attendance.  I headed for the roof last year to witness the event from up high.
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Car Festival Gallery – VSSR Applied

“Three Idols on Parade”.  Here is one of the rare times during the year Idols are taken from their enclave and paraded around for all to see and worship.

“Up We Go”. The task now to load up the Idols upon the “Car”, i.e. Cart / Chariot…

“First a Pooja”.  Fire, Bells, Incense, Melons, Colors… the Priests Pray (Pooja) to their Hindu Idols.

“Loaded Up and Ready to Go”.  Everything is set, now waiting for the Auspicious Time to arrive.  Time for one last call.

“The Band Played On”.  Loud yet foot stomping music to the heart.

“Lone Trumpeter”.  South Indian Tamil Nadu people always have a smile in their hearts.  My job is to bring to the surface and document it.

Cannonball Tree – Update

Welcome to Big Mountain Photography

(Dashan Sheying –大山摄影)

My earlier post revealed one of the most beautiful, intricate flowers I’ve seen here in India from the Cannonball Tree, i.e. Couroupita guianensis.  I first ran across the beauty of the tree’s flower on a photowalk two years ago at a Shiva Temple. I’ve had my eyes out ever since without success.  Well after finding one last Sunday, today I found a great specimen only 100 m from my office on campus.  How did I miss this one under my nose?
I’ve shared images of the flower yet let me share images of the tree and it’s “Cannonballs“.
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Update from Last Post

Lefthand Image: RAW Image Without Processing

Upper-Right Image: VSSR Processed Image

Lower-Right Image: Fotopassion Cyprus (FB) Best Photographer Award

Cannonball Tree Gallery – VSSR Applied

The Cannonball Tree in all its glory

Cannonballs, lots of Cannonballs

Lingam Flower

Cannonballs

Lingam Flower