The BEST beach for PHOTOGRAPHY? | Auto Focus Settings for Max Performance | Videography in Low Light

The BEST beach for PHOTOGRAPHY? | Auto Focus Settings for Max Performance | Videography in Low Light

Show Video

Coming up in the next 30 minutes. We reveal  one of the best beach locations in the UK.   We tell you all you need to know about  autofocus settings in your camera.   And we do some low light video shooting. Welcome to another episode of Photography  Online coming to you from where Skye   meets the mainland as we head down  south to our next filming location.   More on that later on. This month we've  got a milestone birthday in the team   so as a special gift we're allowing Harry to  present the entire show. More on that later but  

first of all here is a quick photography question  for you. Which famous photographer once said,   “It's an illusion that photos are made  with a camera. They're made with the eye,   heart and head”. Was it A: Henri Cartier-Bresson  B: Ansel Adams C: Steve McCurry or D:   David Bailey. I'll be revealing that answer later  on in the show. So we have just finished running   several week-long photo trips on the Isles of  Harris and Lewis and Harry thought he'd share   one of the locations that we always take our  customers to to guarantee dramatic beach photos… Who doesn't like a bit of beach photography?   When it comes to shooting beaches I'm often first  in line and I'm fortunate to have some of the   best beaches in the UK right on my doorstep. Well  almost. As you know I'm based on the Isle of Skye  

which doesn't have much in the way of beaches  but I only have to hop onto a ferry and head to   the Outer Hebrides to get my beach fix. If you  ask people to name a stunning beach in the UK   then the chances are that most of them would  be on the Isles of Lewis or Harris or on the   west coast of Scotland somewhere. My favourite  beach, certainly when it comes to photography,   is somewhere far less obvious. It's so unobvious  that you could easily drive right past it. You see that's the strange thing about this  beach. To the naked eye it doesn't look like  

much at all but look through a viewfinder and  suddenly there are possibilities everywhere.   This beach only has a gaelic name so here's  Ruth to pronounce it properly. Traigh Bheag.   That was easy. The literal translation is Small  Beach, which admittedly is far easier to pronounce   and remember so let's go with that. But what  makes this place so good for photography? It's a   number of factors. Firstly, it's got these black  rocks dotted everywhere which make the perfect  

foreground feature. These change almost on a daily  basis as the tide comes in and out, moving the   sand around, revealing and hiding different rock  formations. Secondly, this beach has a steep rake.   This means the movement of the waves is fast. As  the waves crash onto the beach they form white   bubbles which recede at a really nice pace. This  makes it really easy to get pleasing foregrounds. Thirdly, we have a pleasing background. So often  when you're photographing on a beach we have a  

flat lifeless horizon but here we've got some  pleasing hills which give the eye somewhere to go.   It also doesn't really matter what the  light is doing as this place works well in   almost any lighting condition. The tides are  also largely irrelevant as there's just as   much potential at low tide as there is at  high tide. The main factor is the movement   in the water. You want this to be significant.  There are lots of other reasons why this beach   is great for photography but one of them is  it's right next to the road meaning we've   got a convenient parking location. And just  a few steps and we're into position to shoot.   The waves here are often quite dramatic so it's  usually no problem to get enough movement in the   water to achieve some great results. For the same  reason though this beach should be treated with  

respect. Rogue waves are not uncommon, which can  take you by surprise, knocking you off balance and   engulfing your camera bag. Try to keep your bag  well away from the water and I do mean well away. To get the most from this location you want to  shoot on a reasonably wide lens, something in   the region of 24 to 35 mm on a full frame camera.  If you go any wider than this then you're going to   make the hills in the background almost irrelevant  so avoid the temptation. Because I'm using a wide   angle lens I need to get close to the action for  it to work in my composition. This is where the   risk comes in. I find the best thing to do is to  leave my bag well up the beach, fix everything I  

need to onto the tripod and then venture down  to the edge of the water. I need to keep in   mind at all times that I may have to retreat  very suddenly up the beach so I always have   an exit route planned. I want the water around  the legs of the tripod but if I see a big wave   coming then I'm ready to pick up the tripod and  run up the beach to safety at a moment's notice. Due to the fast speed of the water  here you will only need an exposure   time of around a third to one second to  get sufficient movement in the waves.   A polariser helps to make white water stand  out which is key to creating the lines in the   foreground so you definitely want to be using  one of these.

Just be careful not to get uneven polarisation across your sky. A polariser is  most effective when the sun is off to 90 degrees.   Any more or less than this and the polariser  is going to have slightly less of an effect.  

Here the sun's most likely to be off to the side  but if you're shooting with a wide angle lens,   watch out for a dark polarised band in the middle  of your shot. It can very easily ruin the best   compositions. A polariser also doubles up as a  two-stop neutral density filter so this will help   you achieve the slow exposure times you will need.  If shooting in bright conditions then you may also   need a three-stop ND but this place tends to work  best at the end of the day when the light levels   are low anyway so a polariser by itself is usually  enough. Remember to constantly check the front of   your lens or filter for any splashes of water or  sea spray as this will certainly ruin your shot.  

Another technical issue you might encounter  is simply the stability of your tripod.   When you first set up, make sure to push  it as far down into the sand as you can go.   Then let a few waves crash over the legs.  This will help to settle everything down.   Then you're ready to start taking shots. You  will also want to extend the lower leg sections   of your tripod to keep the joints out of the salt  water. You're going to want your tripod quite low  

so whatever you do don't shoot from eye level as  this will reduce the depth and drama of the image.   If you want to get lower, having extended the  bottom leg sections, then simply spread the legs   a little wider. Towards the end of the day during  the summer, you may be shooting into the light,   so a graduated ND may be useful too. So you're  all set up. You've got your exit route planned.   You can finally start shooting. The key really  here is experimentation. Each wave is unique   so even if you do the same thing twice  you're gonna get a different result.   The main thing though is to make sure you vary  your exposure time. Anywhere between about a third  

of a second and one second is going to work pretty  well. There's no right or wrong though, whatever   looks attractive to you. For me personally, I  find about half a second works really well. The   next thing to influence your image is timing. You  will get a totally different effect when recording   an incoming wave to an outgoing wave. Incoming  waves tend to be too bright as they contain too   much white water. Outgoing waves, at least here,  tend to have a much better balance of white water  

which then washes around black rocks, creating  attractive lines, texture and contrast. You can also try some slightly longer exposures  when the wave is stalling at its highest point.   The water will be moving slower so a longer  exposure time may be beneficial. When the   wave is stalling it is often moving sideways which  can open up a whole new world of creative options. Timing is key here so it's not somewhere where  you want to use the camera's self-timer. The best   option is to use a remote release, preferably one  that's tethered, that's plugged into the camera.  

If you use a wireless remote it's just  something else to drop in the water,   quite likely if you've got to suddenly  pick up your gear and run for safety.   Once you've got your shots it's a good idea to  wash the saltwater from your tripod which can   be done in the convenient stream which flows down  the beach. It's then just a case of getting out of   your wet boots, happy in the knowledge that it was  all worth it for the amazing photos you now have. The Outer Hebrides are a real hot spot for  photography at the moment and it's easy to   see why. Our trips for 2023 are already full  but we are looking to see if we can squeeze   another trip into the diary so get in touch  if you're interested as more places may become   available very soon. Thank you to everyone that  joined us for our PO LIVE show last week where,   among many other things, we showed everyone how  to make prints like this without the need for any   ink or a darkroom. It's all done with UV light  and you end up with something which is a unique  

work of art. We showed the whole process live,  as well as discussing lots of other topics and   answered questions from the audience as they came  in. PO LIVE is available to all supporters on our   PO LIVE or above levels and can be watched at  any time. It's brought to you in partnership   with Kase Filters UK and on next month's show  we've got a £100 Kase voucher to give away   so if you want to join us, simply press the  Join button or go to the relevant link below.   Now last time on this show Marcus and  Ben went through some of the basic   yet most important menu functions  you're likely to find in your camera.  

One particularly comprehensive area of  most menu systems is the autofocus chapter.   This can be quite confusing if you don't know  what all the options relate to. Here's Harry to   point you in the right direction if you want  your camera to focus to its full potential. If you'd like to photograph  moving subjects, be that wildlife,   motorsports or even your dogs then getting  your cameras and lenses set up correctly   can make a massive difference to your success  rate. The autofocus menus though, are an array   of complicated words and settings so hopefully  I'm going to simplify the whole thing for you.  

Being primarily a Canon user, I will be basing  this off of the autofocus menus found on a Canon.   But whilst the menus differ from camera to camera,  the main themes and functions of the settings are   the same, albeit with slightly different names.  I want to make this as general as possible. Most telephoto lenses will have some form of image  stabilisation or vibration reduction. This is   normally in the region of 2 to 4 stops and it can  help massively if you're handholding the camera   at slower exposure times. You might also have a  number of modes which you can switch between on  

the body of the lens itself such as Mode 1, Mode  2 and Mode 3. While these may differ slightly from   lens to lens a rough guide is that Mode 1 will  correct for movement in all directions, Mode 2   is for panning so it will correct shake if panning  from left to right or up and down, whilst Mode 3   only engages the stabilisation as you take the  image. i.e fully depress the shutter button.   For a lot of wildlife which can be erratically  moving, then leaving it in Mode 1 will do just   fine. Some lenses will also give you options  on the distances you can focus at. For example,   3 metres to infinity or Full, the full range  all the way through to infinity. What you set   this to depends on the sort of subject you're  photographing. If you know your subject it's  

always going to be very far away then set it to 3  metres to infinity. But if your subject is going   to be moving around a lot and possibly quite close  to the camera, then set it to the full range. All cameras will give you the option of a  single shot or one shot autofocus mode. This   function allows the camera to lock the focus at a  specific distance once you have the focus button   engaged. That's useful for static subjects and it  lets you quickly recompose the shot if you need to  

as long as you keep the focus button engaged. Alternatively you can opt for a continual focus  mode. What this is called depends on the camera.   It could be AFC, it could be AI Servo. This is  obviously useful if you want to continually track   a moving subject, as is the case with pretty  much all wildlife and sports photography.   On Canon cameras for example, you may also have  a mode which is called AI Focus which is meant   to be an intelligent auto mode which will switch  you between single shot and continual focusing.  

I found this to be relatively unreliable so  I typically just avoid it and choose either   single shot focus or continual  shot focusing. Which one you use   obviously depends on the sort of subject  you're going to be shooting most often. Selecting the right number of autofocus points  is one of the most vital choices you can take   when setting up your camera to focus correctly.  On DSLRs at the focus points in the centre are   usually the quickest and most accurate. So  when getting focused just right is vital,   using a single point in the centre is the  best option. On mirrorless cameras, however,   this doesn't apply, as all pixels on the sensor  can be used as a focus point at equal performance.  

A single autofocus point may give the best  accuracy but if you have a moving subject   it can be really quite challenging to keep that  single point right over your subject and maintain   focus. That's where some of the other options with  focus areas come into play. If you have a subject   that is moving but predominantly remaining in the  same sort of area, you may be better off with an   expanded selection of four auto focus points. This  gives you the flexibility if the subject moves,   while still retaining an element  of accuracy in your selection.

With fast moving subjects you have a few different  options on autofocus area modes depending on your   skill and confidence level. As a general rule,  try and use the smallest grouping you can possibly   get away with. In an ideal world I'd always use  one single auto focus point because then I have   total control over where the camera is focusing.  However if a puffin is whizzing past at 50 mph   then I'm usually going to opt for a slightly  larger grouping of nine, maybe more, auto focus   points to give myself the best chance possible.  Newer mirrorless cameras also come with an array   of detection autofocus modes and smart modes.  This can range from eye detection to vehicles,  

pets, birds, you name it. However the reliability  and accuracy of these modes is going to massively   vary from brand to brand, camera to camera. I've  personally been using the Canon R5 and have found   them to be really quite accurate and dependable  and I've also recently tested the new OM1 and   found them to be excellent too. So these can be  a great option if you're in a tricky auto focus  

situation or you don't quite have the confidence  to try just a single auto focus point yourself. Most cameras now have a lot of options when it  comes to button configuration. This can include   setting up things like back button autofocus  which, while it's not something I use personally,   there are a few shortcuts I find to be very,  very useful. Firstly is having just one button   to quickly switch between single  shot and continual auto focus. That,  

along with a button to quickly select how many  auto focus points and groupings you have enabled,   is one of the best ways you can work. If your  camera has a joystick on the back, make sure   this is set to choose the active autofocus point  or area. It isn't set as default on many cameras.   Finally, if you have an eye  detection mode on your camera,   then a shortcut button to turn this quickly  on and off could be a real life saver too. Tracking sensitivity determines how quickly  the camera will focus on a new subject. If   set towards Locked On, the focus will stay on a  moving subject even if it is moving quickly. If   you bias this towards responsive then the camera  will readily acquire new subjects as they appear.  

In other words, it controls how long the camera  will wait before refocusing. If you are tracking   an animal moving quickly for example, and it  disappears behind some bushes, if your tracking   sensitivity is set to very responsive then the  camera will quickly switch focus from the animal   to the bush. If you have the sensitivity  set towards locked then it will wait longer,   usually allowing you to maintain focus until  the animal reappears on the other side.  

Tracking sensitivity is probably the most  important option you can configure correctly   based on the sort of subjects that you shoot. As  a rough guide, if you're expecting quick moving   or quickly approaching subjects, then having  your tracking sensitivity set to responsive   can be a big help. If you tend to shoot on quite  long focal lengths like 500 mm and upwards,   then I would personally set the tracking  sensitivity to less responsive in order to help   the camera maintain and keep focus. This setting  allows you to optimise the autofocus to capture   fast moving subjects that may suddenly  stop or move in random or erratic ways.   As default, many cameras are set up to  capture subjects moving at a constant speed,   so this can be adjusted to have faster  acceleration or deceleration if you shoot   subjects like most wild animals, that will stop  and start suddenly and sometimes without warning.

One last option you may see when flicking  through focus menus relates to the focus   or shutter priority. The camera can take  an image without having fully locked on   or will wait to take a shot until obtaining  focus. If you want the full frames per second   your camera offers then you have  to enable priority to the shutter.

In the space of just a few years we've  seen relatively mediocre autofocus systems   transition all the way through to high speed, high  accuracy AI systems. Despite all of this however,   it's important to have your own input and control  how the focus is operating on your camera.   Hopefully now you'll have the  confidence to go and set up your camera   based on the subjects you like to shoot. So I hope that was useful. Combined with all the  information from our last show too, you should  

now have the knowledge to set up your camera to  its full potential so that it works at its best   for you. Obviously such settings only apply to  digital cameras. When it comes to film cameras,   these are much simpler but there is the added  decision of which film to use. We'll be looking at   why some photographers still shoot film in 2022 on  our next show which will be coming from a rather   special place and more details on that in a  moment. So I mentioned that this month sees a  

milestone birthday for Harry. He is off for a week  or two celebrating so we thought we'd make him   work a bit before he skives off which is why he's  hogging all the features today. Happy Birthday to   Harry. If you've been watching some of our recent  shows we have been sharing some of our tips on how   to shoot video using the tools most of us have at  our disposal. Thank you to everyone who's letting  

us know how much you're enjoying this series. One  such area that is particularly challenging when   it comes to videoing is in low light situations.  Guess who's back to tell us all we need to know… So far in our Video Academy series we've  looked at how to make the most of movement,   be that with our subject, with the camera or of  course, with both. Today we're going to be looking   at another challenge when it comes to videography.  Shooting in low light conditions. When we take   stills, shooting low light scenes is not often  a problem as we can just select longer exposure   time to achieve the desired result. But when it  comes to video, our exposure time is pretty much  

fixed. As I explained before, this is ideally  twice your frame rate. So assuming you're shooting   at 25 frames per second then your ideal exposure  time is 1/50th of a second. However, for low light   we can extend our exposure time but only so far as  is physically allowed. This is never less than the   frame rate, so if shooting at 25 frames per second  we are limited to a 1/25th or 1/30th of a second   as it's obviously not possible to be taking 25  captures per second if each one is longer than   a 25th of a second. To increase our exposure  we can only use the other two sides of the   exposure triangle, ISO and aperture. This  is where fast primes come into their own,   allowing us to go as wide as f/1.2 to let in loads  of light to the camera. But this comes at the  

price of a super shallow depth of field, something  we may or may not want. When we reach the limit of   the lens aperture all we have left is to increase  the sensitivity of the sensor by ramping the ISO.   Doing this will increase the noise in our  content as well as reduce the dynamic range   so we tend to only increase the ISO when our  hands are tied with the other two factors.   As we have discussed before, a great tool  for shooting video is a phone. The latest   models work great in low light conditions  and if using one of the more recent iPhones,   then it will be pre-loaded with Dolby Vision  HDR which makes shooting in low light a breeze.   You won't need to worry about all the  settings I've just covered. Simply point  

and shoot. This allows you to concentrate on the  all-important creative process of your videography   and capturing those important moments. Dolby  Vision renders sharper contrasts and rich details,   both key when recording in low-light situations.  It's like extending your colour palette of whites,   greys and blacks. When we think of low light,  we either imagine an outdoor scene at twilight   or at night or possibly an indoor scene. If  outdoors at twilight then we need to remember  

that this is a transient stage of the day and  it will not last very long or be consistent.   At dawn it won't be long before  low light becomes bright light,   whereas at the end of the day low light becomes  no light. For this reason it's essential to be   well planned in what you want to shoot so you  can maximise the limited time to good effect.  

Arrive on location early, plan out and  rehearse everything before the light   is at its best potential. If close to the equator  this window of opportunity may only last a couple   of minutes, whereas here in Scotland, which is at  57 degrees above the equator, this window can be   up to an hour long. Basically, the further from  the equator you are, the more time you'll have.   Here at Photography Online we always plan and  rehearse and have everything completely under   control. Honest. If shooting outdoors in  an environment which is artificially lit,   then time of day is less relevant as it may  be possible to shoot well into the night   but there will be a sweet spot where the  artificial and the natural light levels   balance out to give a more pleasing result.  One thing to be aware of when recording video   in low light environments is how bright the screen  on your camera or your phone is going to appear.   It's going to appear much brighter than if you're  shooting in bright conditions and that's because   your eyes get more sensitive. The same as  increasing the ISO in camera or opening up the  

aperture in your lens. If using a digital camera  this can make it easy to underexpose your footage   so always ensure you check the histogram  to make sure you are correctly exposed.   If using the iPhone and Dolby Vision then  it will take care of all of this for you   but you may still want to manually adjust  the brightness of the screen so that it   looks correct to your eye. Shooting video in low  light is great fun and opens up a whole array   of amazing creative opportunities. This is simple  to achieve if using Dolby Vision on an iPhone  

but if you're shooting on a digital  camera, just remember that the options   for post processing are going to be limited  so try to get it right at the capture stage. So that'll be the last time that you see  Harry as a young lad. Next time you see   him that boyish innocence will be nothing more  than a fading shadow and he’ll probably have   started shaving and his voice may have broken!  You never know, he might even have grown out of   his "student hair” stage. Okay, well I have been  dropping hints that the next show is coming from   somewhere a little bit different. As you can  see this is the Skye bridge, the only permanent   connection between our island and the mainland.  The crew and I now have an eight-hour drive to   Ilford HQ, where we are going to see the process  of how film is made and see what's driving the   resurgence of film photography. We'll be getting  access to all areas of the production process  

and chatting to some of the people who make the  film that gets shipped all around the world. I   am really looking forward to it so I hope that you  can join me for that. I need to get on the road.   Until I see you at the other end of my journey,  take good care but most of all take good photos.

Welcome to another episode of Photography Online,  coming to you from where Skye meets the mainland   as woo hoo! Sorry. Welcome to another episode  of Photography Online, coming to you from where   Skye meets the mainland. Dammit! All we can do  is increase the sensitivity of the…bloody hell!   This can be quite confusing if you don't know  what all the options relate to. Here's Harry to   point you in the right direction if you want  to camera your focus to its full potential… It's essential to be well planned  in what you want to shoot so you can   maximise the limitedited…limitibidy…  Which famous photographer once said,   “It's an illusion that phototo photographers… …the sand and formations around these change almost   on a daily basis as the tide comes in and out,  covering and and… you know doing stuff. ...if I just wave my arms about enough…   So what you thought we forgot and that's because…  yeah we forgot to give you the answer to today's   question so I am doing it on route to the  Ilford factory. Which famous photographer   once said that it's an illusion that photos  are made with a camera they're made with the   eye heart and head was it A: Henri Cartier-Bresson  B Ansel Adams C Steve McCurry or D David Bailey.  

The correct answer was A. It was Henri  Cartier-Bresson. Well done if you got that right.   Okay, well, only seven hours to go but fortunately  I've got a great magazine to read. Bye.

2022-03-29 16:24

Show Video

Other news