Photo Basics – Apertures

Wide apertures like f1.4 limit the focus to only the eyes – Banda Neira, M(240). 50mm Summilux.

The aperture is a crucial component of photographic lenses. It’s an adjustable iris mechanism that can be a narrow hole or as wide as the inside of the lens allows. Why is it important? Well, if shutter speeds determine the length of time light shines on a camera’s sensor then the aperture controls the intensity or brightness of that light. Think of it like a pipe. A narrow pipe can only let so much water through in a given amount of time whilst a wider pipe can let through more.

Your eye has an iris, and it will be small on a bright day and wide when the light levels are low. This is exactly how a camera’s aperture works – the aperture controls the intensity of light entering the camera. This is very important for two reasons: Exposure and Depth-of-Field.

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Photo Basics – Shutter Speeds

Kimberley. Leica M. 1/1000 sec at f4

At the opening of the new Leica Store in Sydney I ran a mini-workshop called Photo Fundamentals in which I ran through some of  the basics. This was well received by guests so I thought I’d reiterate some of the things I talked about.

Shutter Speed

Digital imaging has meant that it’s now quite easy to do things with an image that a few years ago would have seemed almost impossible. Despite all of this newfound creative freedom, the old adage rings true – ‘you only get out what you put in’. Regardless of how clever modern cameras are, having a genuinely solid understanding of the very basics of photography will ultimately help you to produce better quality images.

What is ‘shutter speed’?

In order to record a photograph, the sensor in a camera needs a measured amount of light. This will vary depending on the brightness of the scene and so, to achieve a ‘correct’ overall exposure, the camera needs a way to control the amount of light projected by the lens onto the sensor.

The shutter does this by mechanically controlling the length of time that light will be able to reach the sensor. In its resting position the shutter sits in the path of light entering the camera, right in front of the sensor. When a picture is taken it, the shutter moves out of the way – allowing light to pass through to the sensor before returning once again to it’s resting position. The time that the shutter is out of the way is measured in seconds or fractions of a second and is referred to as the shutter speed. To cover as many lighting situations as possible, modern cameras have a huge shutter speed range that can stretch from 30 seconds to an incredibly brief 1/8000th of a second.

Mongolia. Leica M. 1/15 sec at f1.4

 

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Iceland 2016

October 27, 2016

Iceland 2016

Some of the many images we shot on the recent Akademie trip to Iceland. All images by Principal Instructor Nick Rains using the Leica SL with 24-90mm, 90-280mm and 18mm Elmar lenses.

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Six things you might not know about photography

Shutter speeds, apertures, focal lengths, camera brands, post processing tricks – these are all essential things to know about and understand, but, beyond the obvious, there are also plenty of aspects of modern photography that are not so well understood – call them photography myths if you like.

I’d like to offer you a series of photography ‘thoughts’, in no particular order, which are a little left-of-field, stuff that you might not have considered, or even things that no-one ever told you when you first bought that nice shiny camera and pressed the shutter button for the first time.

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Atmosphere

August 4, 2016

Atmosphere

 

Atmosphere in Photographs by Nick Rains

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Black and White Photography Workshop

Black and White Photography Workshop

Black and White photography is considered by many to the the ultimate challenge for creative photographers. Since photography was invented, we have become familiar with B+W imagery and even though ‘in colour’ is now the way we see and think, B+W still has that certain compelling feel that is hard to master. It’s abstract at the same time as being very familiar.

Akademie Instructor Nick Rains will conduct a full day workshop involving thinking and seeing in B+W through a practical session with either leica cameras or your own. Then he will take you through the subtleties of conversion from colour to B+W as well as how to make good B+W prints.

  • What is B+W Photography
  • Thinking in B+W
  • Textures and Shapes
  • B+W Conversions
  • B+W Printing
  • B+W In camera

Full Details Here

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Polished Lighting for Street Portraits

Out on the street there is a strong tendency to work in flat shade light, particularly when you know from experience how harsh actual sunlight can be. In the dark inner-city canyons avoiding direct sun is a tried and true method.

There is, however, another way to work. One that gives you direction and shape, without the harshness of direct light. It’s also quick, easy and very portable.

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Uluru Workshop  – Behind the Scenes Video

A short behind the scenes video from our recent workshop in the Red Centre of Australia where Akademie Instructor Nick Rains hosted a group of twelve keen photographers for a 4 day workshop based at the Sails in the Desert resort.

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Images from the Holi Festivals trip, March 2016

Photos and a video from our recent Akademie trip to India to see the Holi Festivals – images courtesy of guests David Mierowski, Barbara Spencer, Tom McCarthy and Greg Jacobs.

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Leica SL filming at 120fps.

Shooting recently with the new Leica SL, Akademie Instructor Nick Rains was tempted to try out its ability to shoot 120 frames per second in 1080p Full HD video. Here’s a quick show reel of some of the results:

 

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march, 2017

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