Сanon outdoor photo project

Improve your Canon D-SLR skills today with our photo projects and Photoshop fixes to suit every skill level Becoming a Canon photography expert doesnhappen overnight. However, we want to help you improve your camera skills as quickly as possible, so wedevised 12 quick and fun projects that will help you become more familiar with your D-SLR and become a better photographer; and wehelp you brush up your Photoshop skills too! In each project wecover one essential aspect of photography. Welook at the basics, from setting your aperture and shutter speed to get perfect exposures and the desired depth of field, to utilising your lens s IS setting. We explain how to get great shots of animals, whether theybehind glass, in a steamy hot house or under artificial lighting with. Сanon outdoor photo project Main image Adam Burton, all other images Peter Travers and Adam Waring a combination of camera and Photoshop techniques. You ll learn how to process a single Raw image to get perfectly balanced exposures, with striking skies and stand-out landscapes, and howto create arty HDR images. Weshow you how to use manual focus to capture shots of wildlife, and how to control your shutter speed to turn moving water into a misty blur. You ll discover how to push your Canon D-SLR s ISO performance to shoot night-time cityscapes, and how to quickly clean up images in Photoshop. Plus thereoptional homework for any keen bean students. But donworry, we wonbe marking your work itjust for your own benefit. So turn the page to make a start on our 12 great photo projects... EXPOSURE & APERTURE Project 1 How to set your exposure for light subjects Learning to set your Canon D-SLR to capture the best exposure for a subject or scene takes a lot of practice and experience. And things get more tricky if your subject is light or dark against a contrasting background, as your camera is likely to under-or overexpose to try and compensate for the mixed lighting. So, should you leave it up to your camera, or take control and manually adjust your exposure? In this project we suggest a combination of both! OPTIONAL HOMEWORK Experiment with AEB, taking sequences of three shots of your subject or scene to see which captures the best exposure. STEP BY STEP Set your D-SLR s Auto Exposure Bracketing Use AEB Use your camera s AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) setting in the Menu to take a sequence of three shots standard (correct) exposure, underexposed and overexposed. As youusing Av mode, the aperture will stay fixed for the three exposures; only the shutter speed will change for each shot. Start off with +/-1 stop and review your results (see Step 4). Drive mode ESet your D-SLRDrive mode to High-Speed Continuous; this way, the three exposures will be captured in quick succession when you press the shutter button rather than you having to press the shutter button three times, which could result in slightly different compositions, or exposures being affected by changing lighting conditions if younot quick. Review your shots Check each of the three shots on your cameraLCD, and press the Info/Disp. button to display the histograms to see which has the best exposure. You want to avoid data being cut off at either end of the graph, which indicates that highlights or shadows are ’, with no detail in those areas. Aim for a  full spread  of pixel data across the graph. Project 2 Sharper shots! Most Canon-compatible lenses feature Image Stabilization (IS) aka Vibration Compensation (VC) on Tamron lenses and Optical Stabilizer (OS) on Sigma lenses. For this simple project, take shots of everything and anything but take two shots, one with IS and one without. The longer your focal length (eg over 100mm or 200mm), the more camera shake will be noticeable, and the more yousee the benefit of IS. OPTIONAL HOMEWORK With your longest telephoto lens, practice shooting with and without IS, and compare the results. Project 3 Master aperture for macro shots! Knowing which aperture is best for the type of shot youtrying to capture isnalways easy. As weexplained in Step 1 of Project #1, wide apertures (eg f/2.8) blur backgrounds and narrow apertures (eg f/22) ensure the whole scene is in focus; when you bring macro into the mix, however, these rules change slightly. In this special project wehelp you to master the best aperture/depth of field for your own close-up subjects. Tripod down low Fit a macro lens to your D-SLR, choose a flower to focus on and position your tripod low to the ground for a close-up shot. As well as keeping the camera steady for sharp images, a tripod enables you to keep the same composition for each of your sequence of shots taken at different apertures. Shake-free shots To make doubly sure you get sharp shots, use the self-timer or a remote shutter release so you donhave to touch the camera to take the shot the slightest movement at the start of the exposure can mean blurred shots. To combat wind, shelter your flower with a sheet of cardboard, or peg the stem to a stick. Best aperture? Although it s good to use a shallow depth of field to focus attention on the subject, for macro shots wide apertures will capture too little in focus. Take a series of shots at different apertures, from the widest to narrowest available (eg f/2.8 to f/32), and compare the depth of field in each one. We think our shot taken at f/8 reveals the right amount of detail in the flower and the background. Compose and focus Use your Canon D-SLRLive View mode to compose your shot, using the rule of thirds to position the focal point for best effect. To focus, press the  +’zoom (magnifying glass) button to zoom in x5 or x10 view, then switch the lens from AF (Autofocus) to MF (Manual focus) and adjust the focusing ring until your chosen area is in focus. Press the zoom button to zoom back out. COLOUR & CONTRAST Project 4 Photographing animals behind glass Nothingmore annoying than taking what you think is a great shot of wildlife at your local zoo, only to find the protective glass is also highly reflective and has ruined your photo! In this project we ll show you how to use a polarising filter and Photoshop editing to get killer results. OPTIONAL HOMEWORK Head to your local zoo or wildlife park, screw on a polarising filter and follow Steps 1-3 on the right. Fit a polariser Fit a polarising filter to your lens to reduce reflection, and rotate the filter to adjust the strength of the effect. The filter will reduce the amount of light reaching your sensor, so increase your ISO if necessary to enable fast enough shutter speeds for sharp shots. Position your lens square on to the glass when composing your shots to further reduce reflections. Colour correction When youusing a polariser and shooting through glass, you may need to adjust the white balance of your images. Shoot Raw images (as always!) so that you can easily adjust the white balance post-shoot in Adobe Camera Raw. We cooled our shot by setting the Temperature slider to 4250, and added magenta by dragging the Tint slider to +30. Boost the contrast Although using a polarising filter will help to boost the contrast of a scene, you can further enhance the contrast for a really dramatic image. In ACR we increased the Exposure value to brighten up our shot, then dragged Blacks up to 15 to darken the shadows, and increased Contrast to +50 to boost the overall contrast and bring out the detail in the lion s fur. Project 5 Hot and steamy shots! If you ve ever tried to take a quick shot in a butterfly or insect house, youknow that itfrustrating work, as your lens is likely to steam up and produce hazy results. Rather than waiting for half an hour or more for your kit to adjust to the ambient temperature and the condensation to disperse (while you get bored and sweaty!) in this project weshow you how to rescue steamed-up shots... OPTIONAL HOMEWORK See if you can captu re a haze-free insect shot in a hot house without using Photoshop! Reduce the haze Open your Raw image in Adobe Camera Raw, increase the Blacks and increase Contrast to between 40-50, depending on the amount of haze in your shot. Use Brightness to lighten your image if necessary, and boost Clarity to help lift the edge contrast further. Click Open Image. Burn the butterfly! With your image open in the main Photoshop workspace (CS or Elements), select the Burn tool, and in the Options bar set Range to Midtones and Exposure to 20%. Choose a suitable brush size for the subject in your shot, and brush smoothly over the insect to darken any areas that appear too light. Sharpen and save the image. Project 6 White balance under artificial lights Canon D-SLRs generally produce accurate colours when set to auto white balance (AWB), but there are certain lighting conditions that will trick your camera into capturing an incorrect white balance (or colour temperature) — usually when youshooting under artificial lighting, whether it s indoors, or outside at night. Here weshow you how to take control of white balance. OPTIONAL HOMEWORK Shoot in Raw, and adjust the white balance by playing with the White Balance presets, and the Temperature and Tint sliders, in Adobe Camera Raw. Try the WB presets First off, your camera has white balance presets designed to produce accurate colours in different lighting conditions, including White Fluorescent and Tungsten for taking pictures under artificial lighting. Try these, and see if the colours in your shots look accurate on the LCD. You want to avoid unnatural-looking colours with an excessively cool (blue) or warm (orange) cast or tint. Set a custom WB For greater accuracy, you can set a custom white balance. Take a picture of something white (a sheet of paper will do) under the prevailing lighting, zooming in to fill the frame; donuse exposure compensation, as you want to capture a standard ’exposure. In the Menu, go to Custom WB, select the  white  image and press OK to save it, then select this Custom setting from the WB menu. SHUTTER SPEED & RAW POWER Project 7 Slower shutter speeds In this project, weshow you how to set up your Canon D-SLR to capture the popular ’effect in scenes of rivers, sea shores and waterfalls. Having movement in your landscapes can help bring them to life, but if your shutter speed is too fast youfreeze any movement; use a slow shutter speed and flowing water will be blurred, capturing that sense of motion. Try and shoot these scenes early or late in the day when light levels are lower, and so shutter speeds will naturally be slower to work in your favour. STEP BY STEP Get set for blurry waters Stable camera You ll need your camera to be rock-steady, as yoube taking long exposures — much too long to shoot handheld without camera shake becoming an issue. Attach the camera to a sturdy tripod, and use the built-in Self-Timer or a remote control/cable release to fire the exposure without you having to touch the camera. Av for shutter speeds lf you use Tv (Shutter Priority) mode, you ll have to set the shutter speed to the slowest possible without the aperture figure flashing on the LCD. It s easier to set the narrowest aperture on your lens in Av (Aperture Priority) mode; you then know that the resulting shutter speed is the slowest you can obtain. Try f/22 or f/32; this also ensures front-to-back sharpness. Raw and ISO Select the lowest available ISO to further slow the shutter speed: for most EOS cameras this is IS0100, but on pro cameras like the 5D Mk III you can choose IS050. Turn off Auto ISO if necessary and manually set the ISO. Milky waters tend to turn white, so shoot in Raw so you can recover slightly overexposed areas in ACR. How to use Live View Iteasiest to use Live View when shooting landscapes using a tripod. Frame your shot, adjusting the tripod and zooming in or out for a clean composition. Next zoom in to x5 or x10 view, and manually focus to ensure your scene is sharp; you can also use the digital spirit level to keep your framing level. Now you re all set to capture wonderful misty water! Project 8 Combine Raw exposures Photographing landscapes can be frustrating, as itoften impossible to take a single exposure that will capture colour and detail in a bright sky, as well as all the detail in the darker landscape itself. In this brilliantly simple project weshow you an easy solution to this common problem; and the great thing is, you donneed expensive camera filters, as you can do it with just one Raw file! Weshow you two alternative methods: one using the Graduated Filter tool in Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CS4 and newer, and the other in Photoshop Elements, which involves processing one Raw image twice, then combining the two versions using a layer mask. STEP BY STEP Darken the skies! Photoshop CS Darken the sky Your landscape start shot needs to be exposed so there are no blown highlights in the sky; the land will look dark, but we ll fix that! Open the Raw image in ACR, and select the Graduated Filter tool from the toolbar. To enhance the sky, set Exposure to around-1.00, Brightness to around-20 and Saturation to around +15. Hold down Shift, and click and drag to draw a straight line from the top of image to the horizon/treeline to create the gradient. Photoshop CS Brighten the land Click New, and to lighten the landscape set the Exposure slider to around +1.00, and Brightness and Saturation to around +15. Draw a new gradient from the bottom of the image up to start of the sky. The great thing about this technique is that you can adjust the settings for either gradient, to make either the sky or the landscape darker or lighter. Click Open Image when youdone! Project 9 Pre-focus for pro results! For this nice and quick project weshow you how to master manual focus to capture shots of fast-moving wildlife. This project is ideal for photographing animals and birds when you know which branches or rocks or feeding spots theybe sitting on. With your longest telephoto lens, and with a wide aperture and suitably fast shutter speed (eg f/5.6 at 1/500 sec), zoom in on the spot where you expect your subject to appear. Frame the shot so the background behind your subject will help it stand out. Now use autofocus to focus on a branch or other feature in the target area, then switch the lens to manual focus to lock the focus; dontouch your lens barrel to avoid zooming in or out or nudging the focusing ring. Wait for your subject to appear, and then fire the shutter; as youpre-focused you donhave to wait for the AF to lock on, so you can bag more shots to maximise your chances of capturing a winning image! Elements Double Raw Open your Raw image in ACR, set Exposure to around +1.20 to lighten the land and click Open Image. Re-open the Raw image, and set Exposure to around-1 to darken the sky. Click Open Image again (you may need to save the first edit with a new name first). You ll now have two images open in Elements. Target the sky image, press Ctrl+A to Select All, and Ctrl+C to Copy. Click the land image and press Ctrl+V to Paste the sky image in as a new layer. HDR, HIGH ISO & CLEANING UP Project 10 Create cool HDR images! High dynamic range effects are hugely popular, and creating an ’HDR image is easy. These images can look like paintings, as they display intricate detail across the tonal range, from the brightest highlights to the dark shadows, for an ’look you cancapture in a single photo. In this project weshow you how to create an HDR image by taking three (or more) exposures to capture a scenetonal range, and combining them. You can buy dedicated HDR software (get a free trial of Photomatix Pro from www.hdrsoft.com), but here we ve used the Merge To HDR Pro option in Photoshop CS4 and above. Therealso Photomerge Exposure in Elements, but this is better for photorealistic effects than the ’look. Choose a scene with detail in both the highlights and shadows — architecture works well — and ideally with some cloud detail in the sky. Bracketed exposures First of all you ll need to take a bracketed sequence of shots, using your camera s AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) feature. Select Av mode, set the aperture to around f/11, and set the AEB to take three exposures:  standard ,-2 stops and +2 stops. Use a tripod for maximum sharpness, and also so that your HDR software can align the images easier. Shoot Raw for the best results. Three shots become one Bln Photoshop CS, go to File > Automate > Merge to HDR Pro, select your bracketed exposure and click OK to merge the shots. In the Merge to HDR dialog you can select a preset effect we chose Surrealist High Contrast and then fine-tune the effect using sliders; in addition to regular tonal adjustments you can use the Edge Glow, Radius and Strength sliders to control the HDR effect. Final tweaks Click OK, and wait for a minute or so for Photoshop to process the HDR image; this will appear in the main Photoshop workspace, named Untilted_HDR image. HDRs can look a bit  flat  at this stage, so to boost the contrast we created a subtle S-curve in Curves (use Levels in Elements after using Photomerge Exposure or Photomatix Pro.) Sharpen the image to finish. Project 11 Quick clean up! It can be really aggravating to find out that the great shot you thought you had actually has a few conspicuous distractions spoiling it. But cleaning up your images is easy you simply need to become proficient with PhotoshopClone Stamp and Spot Healing Brush tools. The key is to zoom in to 100%, use a small brush and be clever about which areas you sample to clone out the distractions. We find itgood to use a combination of the Spot Healing tool to remove small blemishes, then tidy up trickier areas with the Clone Stamp tool. Make selections over larger unwanted objects, so you can clone them out without also cloning out detail that you want to keep. OPTIONAL HOMEWORK Practice cleaning up your own images with the above Photoshop tools. Project 12 Low-light evening shots without a tripod! The latest EOS cameras offer excellent high ISO performance. Increasing your sensorsensitivity enables you to achieve fast enough shutter speeds to shoot handheld in very low light conditions and even at night! Better still, even at these high ISO settings, you can capture detailed, colourful images with very little noise pollution. So, for this project, weencouraging you to really push your cameraISO capabilities! OPTIONAL HOMEWORK Get out with your EOS D-SLR early evening and shoot your local city lights at night, trying out your highest ISO settings. Set your ISO high First you need to set your camerasensitivity. Press the ISO button on top of the camera and choose the maximum setting, such as IS03200 or IS06400. You can expand the ISO further eg to H1 (12800) on the 7D, or H (51200) or H1(102400) on the 5D Mk III but we d suggest you stick to the maximum unexpanded ISO setting for the optimum combination of sensitivity and quality. Noise reduction Your camera will be working hard to try and keep the noise levels down, but when youshooting at your highest ISO settings you ll need to give it a helping hand. In the Menu, set the High ISO Speed NR (Noise Reduction) option to High. Take some shots with and without this setting enabled, then zoom into the images at 100% to compare noise in the shadow areas. Exposure settings lf youshooting a night scene with a wide-angle lens, you only need an aperture of around f/5.6 to capture enough depth of field for the scene to be sharp enough from front to back. And your shutter speed (with a little help from the Image Stabilisation) only needs to be fast enough for your focal length: 1/50 sec at 55mm for instance, will be fine for night shots without a tripod.

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