Thursday, May 13, 2010

Little daisies

We've been under heavily overcast skies these past few days and it's been dark. Too dark, almost, for taking pictures. In this kind of light, my outdoor photos tend to turn out dark and blurry. But I try anyway, and on Wednesday I thought that I might have better luck if I used the camera in manual mode, setting my own aperture and shutter speed.

These little daisies are only about 15mm across, so I had to get very close in low light.

In low-light conditions, the camera's automatic settings prefer to decrease shutter speed rather than open up the aperture. That results in a longer exposure and a blurry photo, unless the camera is on a tripod. I'm not sure I want to take the tripod out with me on walks with the dog. With the manual settings, I can open up the aperture all the way and increase the shutter speed to reduce the blurring. A wide open aperture reduces the depth-of-field in the image, but that's not really a problem with these close ups; a little background blur is desirable as long as the main subject's in focus.

I love how the petals are tinged with a magenta color.

These photos were done that way. If I increase the shutter speed too much, the image comes out too dark. Sometimes dark photos can be lightened up with Photoshop, but it depends on the picture. So it's just a matter of finding the right balance. The camera helps with a little on-screen scale that shows what happens when you change the f-stop and the shutter speed. And the LCD screen helps, too, but that's hard to see well outdoors.

Of course, if you're a photographer, you know all this already.


  1. Very nice closeups of flowers. You've probably never taken a bad photo.

  2. I don't have that option on my Canon.

  3. As the owner of an idiot-proof point-and-shoot digital camera, I have nothing but admiration for people who seem to know what they're doing !! You certainly made a great job with these photos, the colours are stunning and I like the blurry background.

  4. carolyn, tons. But I don't publish those... ;)

    starman, mine's what they call a bridge camera, between a pocket model and bigger full-feature camera, so it has a few more features than a pocket camera.

    jean, "seeming" to know is the trick. :)


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