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Old 4th November 2005, 11:52   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,299
Default Digital Photography

Digital Photography

Taking model photos with a digital camera is quite a bit different from the old 35mm or larger format cameras inasmuch as most digital cameras have an auto feature for focusing in on the subject. There are some digital cameras, which do allow focusing of the subject manually, and mine is just one of them. (Canon 350D Rebel SLR) although I vary rarely use this option as I find the auto focus if used correctly is adequate for most of my needs.
Lets say for arguments sake we want to take a photograph of a particular area but would like to keep it all, or most in focus. How do we do it? - With the 35mm camera it was relatively easy by just setting the cameras lens to f16/f22 and focusing on the middle of the subject. What this did was make the centre of the image clear as a bell and both the front and rear of the picture in good detail. (Good depth of field) The better digital camera has the facility to be able to adjust the cameras settings to aperture priority with an auto shutter speed or the reverse. Or complete manual override, being able to adjust the aperture and shutter speed oneself and also to focus on the subject manually.
For the digital camera most times (I find) you have to fool the camera into thinking it is focusing on the centre when in actual fact, it isn’t. What do I mean by this, okay, here’s what I do. Looking at a particular subject I want in total focus, I look around the centre of it to find what I can actually get the auto focus to look at with the cross hairs. (Here is where the digital camera comes into its own) Lets say it’s a tree just off the centre area. I will set the camera on a tripod and look through the lens at the tree. I set the camera to a 10 second delay and half press the shutter. What this does is to set the focus on that tree for instance. Next I press AE-L the exposure remains locked whilst this button is pressed. I then move the camera to the position way from the tree where I want the picture and press the shutter all the way down. The photograph is taken with the proper exposure and as with the 35mm, the middle is sharp and front and rear in good detail. (Good depth of field once again)
Also with most digital cameras the ability to bracket a shot automatically is a bonus. If the camera is set to auto bracketing, it will take three photos, 1 perfect, 1 slightly under exposed and 1 slightly over exposed. The camera must again be on a tripod for this action. You can, or should be able to change the settings of the Exposure range in the bracketing options on the camera. What I call my light meter inside the camera (Average – Spot & Multi) I leave on MULTI mode as the camera uses automatic scene recognition and will also analyse the subject giving perfect results hopefully so long as good lighting is used.
Lighting the scene is a subject all on its own, the placement of lights etc. So I will leave that as I covered it in a previous article on model railroad photography. For my particular room I have placed on my ceiling Daylight fluorescent tubes these are Philips TL-D 58watt and are a perfect colour match for daylight type photography. There are others on the market called ”Cool Whites” these are not true daylights. All tubes are spaced at 18” intervals on my ceiling and when all are switched on, (Sun glasses are needed) well at least its great to take photos in. Most photos I take are at f22 with an exposure time of around 1-3 seconds so all shots are taken on a tripod.
White Balance can be changed in most digital cameras to customise the lighting to the camera. Say you have all incandescent lighting in your room, this will show up as yellow on the photograph, and a lot of charging around the computer in some photo adjustment program will be needed to correct it. So, change the white balance inside the camera to incandescent lighting. It usually shows as an upside down light bulb. Whatever your kind of light, the human eye reacts and adapts to it instantly so that a white object still looks white, a digital camera on the other hand see a white subject as white by first adjusting the colour balance to suit the colour of the ambient light around the subject, this is called matching the white balance. Read your instruction manual for changing the white balance.
Well, I have rambled on enough, if I have missed something out or you need to know something, ask away.
Have fun

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