RCPS Press Report 19th May 2016

The Annual Exhibition of Yorkshire Photographic Union, to which RCPS members submitted 148 images, was held in Wakefield recently. Individuals who had prints accepted for the exhibition were: John Elvin (3) for The Oily Rag, Proofreading and Raising Steam; Richard Littlefair for Ecuador 53; Frank Vallely for Tree on Brimham Rocks and Tim Nichols, (who also was awarded a Certificate) for Drayton Park. In the Digital Projected Images section acceptances were received by Geoff Blackman for Hen Party; Iain Cairns for See You Later; John Elvin for Puffin Billy Driver; Margaret Vallely (2) for Cary Monument Burford Church and Golden Light; Tom Willis, young photographer (2) for Frozen in Time (for which he also received a certificate) and Cold Heart. In the same section, Lyndsay Campbell’s PDI image Dynamic, although not accepted into the YPU exhibition was selected to represent the YPU at the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) Annual Exhibition.
For those people not so confident or experienced in photography now is the time to be thinking of how best to improve so that next year, a print or image of yours may be chosen! Whatever your camera, the first thing to do is to be confident enough to take it off the auto setting and take control yourself. The key thing to understand is the relationship between the three aspects of the exposure triangle, namely aperture, shutter speed (also called ‘time’) and ISO and how to change these on your camera. Your handbook, either printed or available on line will give you lots of information specific to your camera make and model as to how to balance these three aspects. For most photographic activity setting the aperture, often shown as A or Av on a camera, is a good starting point. Where this is set will determine how much light falls on the camera sensor and on the depth of field of the shot. Depending upon the camera, the size of the aperture can be adjusted from f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22 and f32 and on some cameras it is possible to get a half or a third increment on each of these, all of which are commonly referred to as ‘f stops.’ The smaller the number or f stop, the greater is the amount of light entering the camera and the shallower is the depth of field. Choosing an f2.8 aperture will let in a lot of light but only a small area in front of the lens will be in focus, whereas dialing in an f stop of f22 will allow less light to fall on the sensor but will result in almost all of what is in front of the lens being in focus. A good average aperture setting useful for most situations where there is adequate light is f5.6. Unless the camera is being operated on a totally manual basis, i.e., the photographer selects M for manual and then chooses each individual setting, using a camera on A or Av will result in the camera then deciding what shutter speed should be used. Shutter speed is denoted by T or Tv on a camera and can, depending upon the camera, often be set from as low as 30 seconds to as fast as 1/4000 of a second or even faster. The range of shutter settings are called ‘stops,’ and each increase in a stop halves the amount of light falling on the sensor. The higher the setting, the faster the shutter opens and closes. A setting of 1/400 of a second is probably enough to freeze the action of a runner but something closer to or beyond 1/2500 will be needed to capture a bird in flight. ISO depicts the sensitivity level of the sensor. It can be set low, around the 100 mark which is about the best level for it, giving less exposure, or high, 1600 or even much more, which will give more exposure. If you are shooting in low light conditions, you can increase the speed at which you take shots by increasing the ISO level, although there comes a point when an image will start to show signs of noise. Noise in a photographic sense is visible, not audible. It manifests itself as speckles of colour, often red or blue, that become diffused across an image. Although some noise can be reduced in the processing of an image, not all of it will be. As a rule if using a telephoto lens then shutter speed should not be less than the lens being used, i.e. a 400mm lens should not be used at less than 1/400sec otherwise camera shake will almost certainly show. If using a low shutter speed, for example 1/30 second, a shot will be improved by use of a tri or monopod or a nearby wall or structure where a camera can be steadied.
There are many good photography books around and online tutorials that will explain all of this in more detail and with pictures, an obvious advantage over this medium! There is no substitute for going out and experimenting. Generally if someone is taking landscape or street shots, aperture priority is usually favoured, as is shooting in RAW format because it allows for greater post-camera processing detail. However, if capturing action is the desired target, shutter priority may be better together with shooting in jpeg format because cameras will always process jpeg files faster than raw files. This means that you can get more jpeg pictures in the bag before the camera seizes up until it has ‘digested’ the raw files queuing up to be stored on the memory card. Feeling confident about what your camera can do and how you can control it will result in better pictures eventually – honestly!