Chapter 4: The Creative Zone

The Creative Zone
TAKING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY TO
THE NEXT LEVEL
The Creative zone is the name given by Canon to the shooting modes
that offer you the greatest amount of control over your photography.
To anyone who has been involved with photography for any period of
time, these modes are known as the backbones of photography. They
allow you to influence two of the most important factors in taking great
photographs: aperture and shutter speed. To access these modes, you
simply turn the Mode dial to the Creative mode of your choice and begin
shooting. But wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what those modes
control and how to make them do our bidding? Well, if you really want
to take that next step in controlling your photography, it is essential
that you understand not only how to control these modes, but why you
are controlling them. So let’s move that Mode dial to the first of our
Creative modes: Program mode.
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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PORING OVER THE PICTURE
Spending time near the North Island Naval Air Station gave me a great opportunity
to brush up on my action photography. There are aircraft coming and going from the
base at all hours of the day. During my stay I had seen a lot of training jets taking off
and landing, but on this particular day I was lucky enough to catch a pair of F18s as
they broke formation overhead. I didn’t have much time to think but since I had been
shooting other aircraft, I was pretty confident that this shot would turn out just as
well. I was even lucky enough to catch some nice vapor on the jet to the right.
Because I was more concerned
with motion rather than depth
of field, I used the Tv (Shutter
Priority) mode setting.
AI Servo focus helped lock the focus
and then follow my subjects, so as I
shot everything stayed sharp.
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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It was a bright, sunny day, so a
fairly low ISO of 200 still allowed
for fast shutter speeds.
The drive mode was set to
Continuous so the camera
could fire more than one shot.
ISO 200
1/1250 sec.
f/5.6
155mm lens
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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PORING OVER THE PICTURE
I know it’s not really manly but I have to tell you, I have a thing for flowers.
I’m not much into growing them or having them around the house; I prefer
to photograph them. With so many varieties and ways of lighting and
photographing them, they are always presenting me with new challenges.
One of my favorite varieties to photograph is the orchid. This bunch, grown
by a friend, was bursting with color and crying out to be shot, so I just had
to oblige.
Although I was using a fairly fast
shutter speed, I still used a tripod
to eliminate any possibility of shake
from handholding the camera.
It took several shots to get an
accurate exposure since the dark
flowers and background were
fooling the camera’s light meter.
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6/7/10 2:00 AM
I used the selective focus point to
get the camera to focus on just
the right spot without having to
move the camera.
A black background was
used to keep the emphasis
on the flowers.
ISO 100
1/125 sec.
f/13
105mm lens
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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P: PROGRAM MODE
There is a reason that Program
mode is only one click away from
the Basic modes: with respect to
apertures and shutter speeds, the camera is
doing most of the thinking for you. So, if that
is the case, why even bother with Program
Manual Callout
To see a comparison of all of the
different modes in the Basic and
Creative zones, check out the tables
on pages 210–211 of your owner’s
manual.
mode? First, let me say that it is very rare that I
will use Program mode because it just doesn’t
give as much control over the image-making
process as the other Creative modes. There are occasions, however, when it comes in
handy, like when I am shooting in widely changing lighting conditions and I don’t
have the time to think through all of my options, or I’m not very concerned with
having ultimate control of the scene. Think of a picnic outdoors in a partial shade/sun
environment. I want great-looking pictures, but I’m not looking for anything to hang
in a museum. If that’s the scenario, why choose Program over one of the Basic
modes? Because it gives me choices and control that none of the Basic modes,
including Creative Auto, can deliver.
WHEN TO USE PROGRAM (P) MODE INSTEAD OF THE
BASIC ZONE MODES
•
When shooting in a casual environment where quick adjustments are needed
•
When you want control over the ISO
•
If you want or need to shoot in the Adobe RGB color space
•
If you want to make corrections to the white balance
Let’s go back to our picnic scenario. As I said, the light is moving from deep shadow
to bright sunlight, which means that the camera is trying to balance our three photo
factors (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed) to make a good exposure. From Chapter
1, we know that Auto ISO is just not a consideration, so we have already turned that
feature off (you did turn it off, didn’t you?). Well, in Program mode, you can choose
which ISO you would like the camera to base its exposure on. The lower the ISO number, the better the quality of our photographs, but the less light sensitive the camera
becomes. It’s a balancing act with the main goal always being to keep the ISO as low
as possible—too low an ISO, and we will get camera shake in our images from a long
shutter speed; and too high an ISO means we will have an unacceptable amount of
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digital noise. For our purposes, let’s go ahead and select ISO 400 so that we provide
enough sensitivity for those shadows while allowing the camera to use shutter speeds
that are fast enough to stop motion.
STARTING POINTS FOR ISO SELECTION
There is a lot of discussion concerning ISO in this and other chapters, but it might be
helpful if you know where your starting points should be for your ISO settings. The first
thing you should always try to do is use the lowest possible ISO setting. That being said,
here are good starting points for your ISO settings:
• 100: Bright sunny day
• 200: Hazy or outdoor shade on a sunny day
• 400: Indoor lighting at night or cloudy conditions outside
• 800: Late night, low-light conditions or sporting arenas at night
These are just suggestions and your ISO selection will depend on a number of factors
that will be discussed later in the book. You might have to push your ISO even higher as
needed, but at least now you know where to start.
With the ISO selected, we can now make use of the other controls built into Program
mode. By rotating the Main dial, we now have the ability to shift the program
settings. Remember, your camera is using the internal light meter to pick what
it believes are suitable exposure values, but sometimes it doesn’t know what it’s
looking at and how you want those values applied (Figures 4.1 and 4.2). With the
program shift, you can influence what the shot will look like. Do you need faster
shutter speeds in order to stop the action? Just turn the Main dial clockwise. Do you
want a smaller aperture so that you get a narrow depth of field? Then turn the dial
counterclockwise until you get the desired aperture. The camera shifts the shutter
speed and aperture accordingly in order to get a proper exposure, and you will get
the benefit of your choice as a result.
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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FIGURE 4.1
ISO 400
1/2500 sec.
f/5.6
24mm lens
(left) This is my
first shot using
Program mode.
Because I was pointing the camera
more towards the
building in the
shade, the exposure
was longer.
FIGURE 4.2
(right) By zooming
out and including
more of the bright
sky in the photo,
there was less of
the front of the
shaded building to
influence the light
meter, resulting in a change of
exposure.
ISO 400
1/500 sec.
f/5.6
80mm lens
Let’s set up the camera for Program mode and see how we can make all of this
come together.
SETTING UP AND SHOOTING IN PROGRAM MODE
1. Turn your camera on and then turn the Mode dial to align the P with the
indicator line.
2. Select your ISO by pressing the ISO button on the top of the camera, and then
turning the Main dial to the desired setting and press the ISO button again
(the ISO selection will appear in the rear LCD panel).
3. Point the camera at your subject and then activate the camera meter by
depressing the shutter button halfway.
4. View the exposure information in the bottom of the viewfinder or by looking
at the display panel on the back of the camera.
5. While the meter is activated, use your index finger to roll the Main dial left and
right to see the changed exposure values.
6. Select the exposure that is right for you and start clicking. (Don’t worry if you
aren’t sure what the right exposure is. We will start working on making the
right choices for those great shots beginning with the next chapter.)
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TV: SHUTTER PRIORITY MODE
Tv mode is what we photographers commonly refer to as Shutter Priority
mode. If you dig deep in your manual, you will actually see that Tv stands
for “Time Value.” I’m not sure who came up with this term, but I can tell
you that it wasn’t a photographer. In all my years of shooting, I don’t ever recall
thinking, “Hey, this would be a great situation to use the Time Value mode.” However,
you don’t need to know why it is called Tv mode; the important thing is to know why
and when to use it.
Just as with Program mode, Tv mode gives us more freedom to control certain
aspects of our photography. In this case, we are talking about shutter speed. The
selected shutter speed determines just how long you expose your camera’s sensor to
light. The longer it remains open, the more time your sensor has to gather light. The
shutter speed also, to a large degree, determines how sharp your photographs are.
This is different from the image being sharply in focus. One of the major influences
on the sharpness of an image is camera shake as well as the subject’s movement.
Because a slower shutter speed means that light from your subject is hitting the sensor
for a longer period of time, any movement by you or your subject will show up in
your photos as blur.
SHUTTER SPEEDS
A slow shutter speed refers to leaving the shutter open for a long period of time—like 1/30
of a second or longer. A fast shutter speed means that the shutter is open for a very short
period of time—like 1/250 of a second or less.
WHEN TO USE SHUTTER PRIORITY (TV) MODE
•
When working with fast-moving subjects where you want to freeze the action
(Figure 4.3); much more on this is in Chapter 5
•
When you want to emphasize movement in your subject with motion blur
(Figure 4.4)
•
When you want to use a long exposure to gather light over a long period of time
(Figure 4.5); more on this is in Chapter 8
•
When you want to create that silky-looking water in a waterfall (Figure 4.6)
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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FIGURE 4.3
ISO 200
1/1250 sec.
f/5.6
155mm lens
Even the fastest
of subjects can be
frozen with the
right shutter speed.
FIGURE 4.4
ISO 500
1/2 sec.
f/22
86mm lens
Slowing down the
shutter speed
allows your photographs to convey a
sense of movement.
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FIGURE 4.5
ISO 400
25 sec.
f/22
30mm lens
A long exposure
coupled with a
small aperture
and a steady tripod
helped capture this
beach scene
at night.
ISO 100
1/4 sec.
f/32
100mm lens
Increasing the
length of the
exposure time
gives flowing water
a silky look.
FIGURE 4.6
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
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Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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As you can see, the subject of your photo usually determines whether or not you
will use Tv mode. It is important that you are able to visualize the result of using a
particular shutter speed. The great thing about shooting with digital cameras is that
you get instant feedback by checking your shot on the LCD screen. But what if your
subject won’t give you a do-over? Such is often the case when shooting sporting
events. It’s not like you can go ask the quarterback to throw that touchdown pass
again because your last shot was blurry from a slow shutter speed. This is why it’s
important to know what those speeds represent in terms of their abilities to stop the
action and deliver a blur-free shot.
First, let’s examine just how much control you have over the shutter speeds. The T2i
has a shutter speed range from 1/4000 of a second all the way down to 30 seconds.
With that much latitude, you should have enough control to capture almost any subject. The other thing to think about is that Tv mode is considered a “semiautomatic”
mode. This means that you are taking control over one aspect of the total exposure
while the camera handles the other. In this instance, you are controlling the shutter
speed and the camera is controlling the aperture. This is important because there will
be times that you want to use a particular shutter speed but your lens won’t be able
to accommodate your request.
For example, you might encounter this problem when shooting in low-light situations: if you are shooting a fast-moving subject that will blur at a shutter speed
slower than 1/125 of a second but your lens’s largest aperture is f/3.5, you might see
that your aperture display in your viewfinder and the rear LCD panel will begin to
blink. This is your warning that there won’t be enough light available for the shot—
due to the limitations of the lens—so your picture will be underexposed (too dark).
Another case where you might run into this situation is when you are shooting
moving water. To get that look of silky, flowing water, it’s usually necessary to use a
shutter speed of at least 1/15 of a second. If your waterfall is in full sunlight, you may
get that blinking aperture display once again because the lens you are using only
closes down to f/22 at its smallest opening. In this instance, your camera is warning
you that you will be overexposing your image (too light). There are workarounds
for these problems, which we will discuss later (see Chapter 7), but it is important to
know that there can be limitations when using Tv mode.
SETTING UP AND SHOOTING IN TV MODE
1. Turn your camera on and then turn the Mode dial to align the Tv with the indicator line.
2. Select your ISO by pressing the ISO button on the top of the camera, and then
turning the Main dial (the ISO selection will appear in the rear LCD panel).
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3. Point the camera at your subject and then activate the camera meter by
depressing the shutter button halfway.
4. View the exposure information in the bottom area of the viewfinder or by looking at the rear LCD panel.
5. While the meter is activated, use your index finger to roll the Main dial left and
right to see the changed exposure values. Roll the dial to the right for faster
shutter speeds and to the left for slower speeds.
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AV: APERTURE PRIORITY MODE
You wouldn’t know it from its name, but Av mode is one of the most
useful and popular modes in the Creative zone. Av stands for Aperture
Value and, like Time Value, it’s another term that you’ll never hear a
photographer toss around. The mode, however, is one of my personal favorites,
and I believe that it will quickly become one of yours, as well. Av, more commonly
referred to as Aperture Priority mode, is also deemed a semiautomatic mode because
it allows you to once again control one factor of exposure while the camera adjusts
for the other.
Why, you may ask, is this one of my favorite modes? It’s because the aperture of
your lens dictates depth of field. Depth of field, along with composition, is a major
factor in how you direct attention to what is important in your image. It is the
controlling factor of how much area in your image is in focus. If you want to isolate
a subject from the background, such as when shooting a portrait, you can use a
large aperture to keep the focus on your subject and make both the foreground and
background blurry. If you want to keep the entire scene sharply focused, such as with
a landscape scene, then using a small aperture will render the greatest amount of
depth of field possible.
WHEN TO USE APERTURE PRIORITY (AV) MODE
•
When shooting portraits or wildlife (Figure 4.7)
•
When shooting most landscape photography (Figure 4.8)
•
When shooting macro, or close-up, photography (Figure 4.9)
•
When shooting architectural photography, which often benefits from a large
depth of field (Figure 4.10)
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
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Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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FIGURE 4.7
A fairly large aperture combined with
a long focal length
created a very
blurry background,
so all the emphasis
was left on the
subject.
ISO 400
1/250 sec.
f/6.3
280mm lens
FIGURE 4.8
The smaller aperture setting brings
sharpness to near
and far objects.
ISO 400
1/125 sec.
f/13
24mm lens
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FIGURE 4.9
ISO 100
1/125 sec.
f/13
105mm lens
Small apertures
give more sharpness in macro
images.
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
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Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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FIGURE 4.10
ISO 200
1/1000 sec.
f/8
30mm lens
A wide-angle lens
combined with a
fairly small aperture makes for a lot
of depth of field.
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F-STOPS AND APERTURE
As discussed earlier, when referring to the numeric value of your lens aperture, you
will find it described as an f-stop. The f-stop is one of those old photography terms that,
technically, relates to the focal length of the lens (e.g., 200mm) divided by the effective
aperture diameter. These measurements are defined as “stops” and work incrementally
with your shutter speed to determine proper exposure. Older camera lenses used one-stop
increments to assist in exposure adjustments, such as 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, and 22.
Each stop represents about half the amount of light entering the lens iris as the larger
stop before it. Today, most lenses don’t have f-stop markings since all adjustments to this
setting are performed via the camera’s electronics. The stops are also now typically divided
into 1/3-stop increments to allow much finer adjustments to exposures, as well as to match
the incremental values of your camera’s ISO settings, which are also adjusted in 1/3-stop
increments.
We have established that Aperture Priority (Av) mode is highly useful in controlling
the depth of field in your image. But it’s also pivotal in determining the limits of
available light that you can shoot in. Different lenses have different maximum apertures. The larger the maximum aperture, the less light you need in order to achieve
a properly exposed image. You will recall that, when in Tv mode, there is a limit at
which you can handhold your camera without introducing movement or hand shake,
which causes blurriness in the final picture. If your lens has a larger aperture, you can
let in more light all at once, which means that you can use faster shutter speeds. This
is why lenses with large maximum apertures, such as f/1.4, are called “fast” lenses.
On the other hand, bright scenes require the use of a small aperture (such as f/16 or
f/22), especially if you want to use a slower shutter speed. That small opening reduces
the amount of incoming light, and this reduction of light requires that the shutter
stay open longer.
SETTING UP AND SHOOTING IN AV MODE
1. Turn your camera on and then turn the Mode dial to align the Av with the
indicator line.
2. Select your ISO by pressing the ISO button on the top of the camera, and then
turning the Main dial.
3. Point the camera at your subject and then activate the camera meter by
depressing the shutter button halfway.
4. View the exposure information in the bottom area of the viewfinder or by looking at the rear display panel.
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
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5. While the meter is activated, use your index finger to roll the Main dial left and
right to see the changed exposure values. Roll the dial to the right for a smaller
aperture (higher f-stop number) and to the left for a larger aperture (smaller
f-stop number).
■
ZOOM LENSES AND MAXIMUM APERTURES
Some zoom lenses (like the 18–55mm kit lens) have a variable maximum aperture. This
means that the largest opening will change depending on the zoom setting. In the example
of the 18–55mm zoom, the lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 at 18mm and only f/5.6
when the lens is zoomed out to 55mm.
M: MANUAL MODE
Once upon a time, long before digital cameras and program modes,
there was manual mode. In those days it wasn’t called “manual mode”
because there were no other modes. It was just photography. In fact,
many photographers, including myself, cut their teeth on completely manual cameras.
Let’s face it—if you want to learn the effects of aperture and shutter speed on your
photography, there is no better way to learn than by setting these adjustments
yourself. However, today, with the advancement of camera technology, many new
photographers never give this mode a second thought. That’s truly a shame, as not
only is it an excellent way to learn your photography basics, it’s also an essential tool
to have in your photographic bag of tricks.
When you have your camera set to Manual (M) mode, the camera meter will give
you a reading of the scene you are photographing. It’s your job, though, to set both
the f-stop (aperture) and the shutter speed to achieve a correct exposure. If you
need a faster shutter speed, you will have to make the reciprocal change to your
f-stop. Using any other mode, such as Tv or Av, would mean that you just have to
worry about one of these changes, but Manual mode means you have to do it all
yourself. This can be a little challenging at first, but after a while you will have a
complete understanding of how each change affects your exposure, which will, in
turn, improve the way that you use the other modes.
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WHEN TO USE MANUAL (M) MODE
•
When learning how each exposure element interacts with the others (Figure 4.11)
•
When your environment is fooling your light meter and you need to maintain a
certain exposure setting (Figure 4.12)
•
When shooting silhouetted subjects, which requires overriding the camera’s meter
readings (Figure 4.13)
ISO 200
10 sec.
f/22
24mm lens
FIGURE 4.11
Using manual mode allows you to use
exposure settings that your camera
would never select if placed in an
automatic mode. This image was
purposely underexposed to keep the
sky dark.
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
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FIGURE 4.12
Beaches and
snow are always
a challenge for
light meters.
FIGURE 4.13
Although the
meter was doing a
pretty good job of
exposing for the
bright sky, I used
Manual mode to
push the foreground
elements into
complete black
silhouette.
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ISO 200
1/200 sec.
f/11
38mm lens
ISO 200
1/500 sec.
f/8
70mm lens
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SETTING UP AND SHOOTING IN MANUAL MODE
1. Turn the Mode dial to align the M with the indicator line.
2. Select your ISO by pressing the ISO button on the top of the camera, and then
turning the Main dial.
3. Point the camera at your subject and then activate the camera meter by
depressing the shutter button halfway.
4. View the exposure information in the bottom area of the viewfinder or by looking at the rear display panel.
5. While the meter is activated, use your index finger to roll the Main dial left and
right to change your shutter speed value until the exposure mark is lined up
with the zero mark. The exposure information is displayed by a scale with marks
that run from –2 to +2 stops. A “proper” exposure will line up with the arrow
mark in the middle. As the indicator moves to the left, it is a sign that you will
be underexposing (there is not enough light on the sensor to provide adequate
exposure). Move the indicator to the right and you will be providing more exposure than the camera meter calls for. This is overexposure.
6. To set your exposure using the aperture, depress the shutter release button
until the meter is activated. Then, using your thumb, hold in on the Av button
on the back of the camera and then use your index finger to turn the Main dial
right for a smaller aperture (large f-stop number) or left for a larger aperture
(small f-stop number).
■
A-DEP: AUTO DEPTH OF FIELD MODE
The A-DEP, or Auto Depth of Field, setting is on the Creative zone side of
the dial, but in my opinion it should be over in the Basic zone. The mode
works this way: As you depress the shutter release button to focus on
your subject, the camera will use the other focus points to measure the distance of
the other objects in the viewfinder. Then, it will determine what the appropriate
aperture setting is to render all of the objects in focus (Figure 4.14). The only way
to adjust your exposure is to change the ISO. There will be more discussion of the
A-DEP mode and how to use it in Chapter 7.
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
000 CanonT2i book.indb 99
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FIGURE 4.14
Landscapes with
subjects that are at
differing distances
could benefit from
the A-DEP mode.
ISO 400
1/100 sec.
f/14
20mm lens
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Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
6/7/10 2:00 AM
HOW I SHOOT: A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CAMERA
SETTINGS I USE
The great thing about working with a dSLR camera is that I can always feel confident
that some things will remain unchanged from camera to camera. For me, these are
the Aperture Priority (Av) and Shutter Priority (Tv) shooting modes. Although I like to
think of myself as a generalist in terms of my photography, I do tend to lean heavily
on the landscape and urban photography genres. Working in these areas means that
I am almost always going to be concerned with my depth of field. Whether it’s isolating my subject with a large aperture or trying to maximize the overall sharpness of a
sweeping landscape, I always keep an eye on my aperture setting.
If I do have a need to control the action, I use Shutter Priority. If I am trying to create
a silky waterfall effect, I can depend on Tv to provide that long shutter speed that
it will deliver. Maybe I am shooting a motocross jumper. I definitely need the fast
shutter speeds that will freeze the fast-moving action. While the other camera modes
have their place, I think you will find that, like myself and most other working pros,
you will use the Av and Tv modes for 90 percent of your shooting.
The other concern that I have when I am setting up my camera is just how low I can
keep my ISO. I raise the ISO only as a last resort because each increase in sensitivity is
an opportunity for more digital noise to enter my image. To that end, I always have
the High ISO Noise Reduction feature turned on (see Chapter 7).
To make quick changes while I shoot, I often use the Exposure Compensation feature
(covered in Chapter 7) so that I can make small over- and underexposure changes.
This is different than changing the aperture or shutter; it is more like fooling the
camera meter into thinking the scene is brighter or darker than it actually is.
One of the reasons I change my exposure is to make corrections when I see the
“blinkies” while looking at my images on the rear LCD. Blinkies are the warning
signal that part of my image has been overexposed to the point that I no longer
have any detail in the highlights. The highlight alert will flash wherever the potential exists for overexposure. The only unfortunate thing about this feature is that it
doesn’t work with the full-screen preview mode. You have to set your camera display
for the Histogram mode and then you will see the highlight alert (Figure 4.15).
C H A P T E R 4 : T H E C R E AT I V E Z O N E
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
000 CanonT2i book.indb 101
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FIGURE 4.15
The T2i’s highlight
alert screen.
The flashing black areas
are alerting me that these
highlights are overexposed
and will lose detail.
Notice how the histogram is
pushed up against the right
side of the image.
As you work your way through the coming chapters, you will see other tips and tricks
I use in my daily photography, but the most important tip I can give is that you take
the time to understand the features of your camera so that you can leverage the
technology in a knowledgeable way. This will result in better photographs.
Chapter 4 Assignments
The information covered in this chapter will define how you work with your camera from this
point on. Granted, there may be times that you just want to grab some quick pictures and will
resort to the Basic zone, but to get serious with your photography, you should learn the modes
in the Creative zone.
Starting off with Program mode
Set your camera on Program mode and start shooting. Become familiar with the adjustments
you can make to your exposure by turning the Main dial. While shooting, make sure that you
keep an eye on your ISO.
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Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
6/7/10 2:00 AM
Learning to control time with the Tv mode
Find some moving subjects and then set your camera to Tv mode. Have someone ride their
bike back and forth or even just photograph cars as they go by. Start with a slow shutter
speed of around 1/30 of a second and then start shooting with faster and faster shutter
speeds. Keep shooting until you can freeze the action. Now find something that isn’t moving,
like a flower, and work your shutter speed from something fast like 1/500 of a second and
then work your way down to about 1/4 of a second. The point is to see how well you can
handhold your camera before you start introducing hand shake into the image.
Controlling depth of field with the Av mode
The name of the game with Av mode is depth of field. Set up three items in equal distance
from you. I would use chess pieces or something similar. Now focus on the middle item
and set your camera to the largest aperture that your lens allows (remember, large aperture
means a small number like f/3.5). Now, while still focusing on the middle subject, start
shooting with ever-smaller apertures until you are at the smallest f-stop for your lens. If
you have a zoom lens, try doing this exercise with the lens at the widest and then the most
telephoto settings. Now move up to subjects that are farther away, like telephone poles, and
shoot them in the same way. The idea is to get a feel for how each aperture setting affects
your depth of field.
Giving and taking with Manual mode
Go outside on a sunny day and, using the camera in Manual mode, set your ISO to 100,
your shutter speed to 1/125 of a second, and your aperture to f/16. Now press your shutter
release button to get a meter reading. You should be pretty close to that zero mark. If not,
make small adjustments to one of your settings until it hits that mark. Now is where the fun
begins. Start moving your shutter speed slower, to 1/60, and then set your aperture to f/22.
Now go the other way. Set your aperture on f/8 and your shutter speed to 1/500. Now review
your images. If all went well, all the exposures should look the same. This is because you balanced the light with reciprocal changes to the aperture and shutter speed. Now go back to our
original setting of 1/125 at f/16 and try just moving the shutter speed without changing the
aperture. Just make 1/3-stop changes (1/125 to 1/100 to 1/80 to 1/60), and then review your
images to see what a 1/3 stop of overexposure looks like. Then do the same thing going in
the opposite way. It’s hard to know if you want to over- or underexpose a scene until you have
actually done it and seen the results.
Share your results with the book’s Flickr group!
Join the group here: flickr.com/groups/canonrebelt2i550dfromsnapshotstogreatshots
Excerpted from Canon EOS Rebel T2i / 550D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Jeff Revell.
Copyright © 2010. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
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