30 April 2022

Small Flower Photography with Macro Lens

Small Flower Photography with Macro Lens
Flower Macro Photography: Cape Town


In preparation for a Macro / Close-Up Photography Training in Milnerton and Kirstenbosch Garden, Cape Town, I've captured a few small flowers with the Canon EOS 70D / 100mm Macro lens and Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash. 

The last image was done with Canon EOS 6D / 100mm Macro lens and Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT flash.

Note: Photos are on tripod in Av mode with a Canon Speedlite 430EX I / 430EX III-RT flash with diffuser.  Slight processing Photoshop Lightroom 6 / 7.

Shooting Location
Arnhem Milnerton, Cape Town


Canon DSLR / Flash / Tripod
  • Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera body
  • Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera body
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT flash
  • Manfrotto Tripod

Av Mode - Aperture Priority Settings
  • Aperture f/8 - f/22
  • ISO 400 - 800
  • Manual Focus / Lens Autofocus off
  • Shutter speed: various (auto in Av mode)

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 800 f/11

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 400 f/11

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 800 f/11

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 800 f/8


Canon EOS 6D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 400 f/11
Canon EOS 6D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 400 f/11

Canon Extension Tube vs Macro Lens Decision
Canon Extension Tube vs Macro Lens Decision

18 April 2022

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Website Update

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Website Update

Update: Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Website (April 2022)

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Milnerton, Cape Town - Website Update

The website is now up-to-date with the following information:

International / Regional Advertising Disclaimer
The website is an approved Google AdSense Advertising Partner. Various global / local brands may intermittently (via contextualisation) be advertising / visible on most of the website pages.

One website advertising objective is to provide online visitors with reputable and useful products and services that should be available (on and / or offline) via various international / regional options.

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training is (personally) not promoting any specific brand, product and / or service.

My advertising relationship is exclusively with Google AdSense. There are no product / service preferences (in which adverts may be displayed at any given visit) and I'm not employed (or under contract) with any individual advertiser. 

One of the objectives of the Google AdSense Advertising Programme is to provide (as far as possible) high-quality advertisements that should be useful (and of interest) to a specific reader audience.

Milnerton / Woodbridge Island Long Exposure Photography

Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island after Sunset : With Canon EOS 6D Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island after Sunset : With Canon EOS 6D (Long Exposure Photography

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

01 April 2022

Canon Autofocus Settings For Birds in Flight Photography

Canon Autofocus (AF) Settings for Mastering Birds in Flight Photography
Canon Autofocus (AF) Settings for Birds in Flight Photography

Mastering Birds in Flight Photography 

Canon EOS / EOS R AF System Application

Over the past 10 years I have used more or less the same AF Settings for photographing birds in flight at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town.

Here is an overview of the Canon AF Settings (and other considerations) that I have applied with various Canon EOS APS-C and Full Frame bodies during this period.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF System / Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System
My main camera during the 10 year was the Canon EOS 7D Mark II paired with the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. I am very impressed with the EOS 7D Mark II's Dual Pixel CMOS AF System and the only other / best AF System I personally used apart from the EOS 7F Mark II was the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II System deployed in the EOS R6.

Birds in Flight Photography Image Gallery

Setup and Tips for Birds in flight Photography

Mastering Birds in Flight Photography   Canon EOS / EOS R AF System Application
EOS Bodies used for Birds in Flight Photography (some with different Canon lenses):


Human Behaviour for Birds in Flight Photography 
I am a firm belief that the camera, lens and AF settings in my hands is the 'default' configuration and that my own behaviour (mainly concentration / patience / handlings skills) and environmental factors are of much higher importance than the kit in hand (in the 'moment' of shooting). This is something I am mindful of each and every time I make the decision to photograph a bird in flight.

Canon EOS 70D Autofocus Settings For Birds in Flight Photography
My norm for birds in flight photography became 'all the other criteria' not part of the camera / lens pairing. The more experienced I became the more I settled with the same camera, lens and AF settings. I always attempt to shoot in the same light conditions. Not always possible, but I aim for the same environmental conditions on most shoots. 

Lately, the most important (and only) variable in my application and concentration is the particular bird in front of the lens (after making the decision to capture that specific in-flight subject).

This approach eliminates the thoughts that 'beter kit' will provide a 'beter image'. The (personal) focus now is almost exclusively on the self for enjoying the moment (with a secure undercurrent of trust in the technology and environmental factors).

This should also be the moment not only embedded in the mind of the photographer, but a moment shared with others for representing the sheer beauty of the natural world around us.

Considerations for improved Birds in Flight Photography

Canon Equipment 
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera Body
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

AF / Manual Exposure Mode Settings
  • Shutter speed: 1/2500 - 1/4000s 
  • Aperture: f/5.6 - f/6.3
  • Focal length 400mm
  • Auto-White Balance (AWB)
  • Auto ISO (400 - 3200)
  • AF Mode: Zone / Wide Zone
  • AF Case: Case 1 (Default)
  • AI Servo / 10fps multi-shot
  • RAW processing (shooting to RAW only)
  • Handheld
 
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens Setting
  • Autofocus On
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Focal Length 400mm
Canon EOS R6 Autofocus Settings For Birds in Flight Photography

Other Canon Lenses Used

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens
  • Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM lens
  • Canon EF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens

Birds in Flight Photography Post-Processing

Adobe Lightroom (Classic) from Version 5.7

Page Image Information : Canon Birds in Flight Photography (Woodbridge Island / Cape Town)

Image 1: Pied Kingfisher in Flight with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Image 2: Reed Cormorant in Flight with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Image 3: Juvenile Kelp Gull in Flight with Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Image 4: Cape Shoveler Duck in Flight with Canon EOS R6 / RF 800mm f/11 STM Lens

Image 5: Grey Heron in Flight with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Grey Heron in Flight with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Canon Autofocus (AF) Setting For Birds in Flight : Grey Heron over the Diep River / Woodbridge Island

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Map | Directions

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town Google Map & Directions

   

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Address
Rhodes Drive
Newlands
Cape Town
7735

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town | Sout Africa
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. (Source: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Website)

Bird Life at Kirstenbosch   :  Southern Double-Collared Sunbird © Vernon Chalmers Photography
Bird Life at Kirstenbosch   :  Southern Double-Collared Sunbird © Vernon Chalmers Photography

Bird / Flower Photography Training Kirstenbosch  View

Vernon Chalmers 'Kirstenbosch Bird Species Index' View


Tremendous Thursday at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden View

From Darkness into Light... Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Butterflies and Sunbird at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

Show Focus Points: Lightroom Plugin for Canon DSLRs

Show Focus Points - Adobe Lightroom Plugin - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Show Focus Points for Adobe Lightroom Version 1.01

This free plug-in is an easy and quick installation via the Lightroom Plug-In Manager and then provides access to your camera's focus points via the Library Module.

By default Adobe Lightroom 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 /9 / CC does not offer any way to view your camera's focus points, but the Show Focus Point Adobe Lightroom plugin shows which focus points were selected by your camera when the photo was taken.

The Show Focus Points: Adobe Lightroom Plugin Works in Lightroom 5 and above. Currently works with Lightroom 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and CC

Download >>  Lightroom Show Focus Points Plugin

All the relevant EXIF data and additional focus information will be available for each image viewed via the Show Focus Points plugin. 

I find the Show Focus Points plugin in Lightroom 5 / 6 / 7 an essential part of my own workflow for fine-tuning my Birds in Flight / Action photography. 

My own software operating environment: Windows / Lightroom  Classic CC Ver 7.5 (desktop). Show Focus Points - Adobe Lightroom Plugin works (in my post-processing environment) on Lightroom 5,7 / Lightroom 6 / Lightroom 7 Classic CC. 

During my my Adobe Lightroom private training in Milnerton, Cape Town I briefly demonstrate the Show Focus Points plugin (and installation) if required.

Download >> Lightroom Show Focus Points Plugin

AF Points Lock On
For the below Canon EOS 7D Mark II example I used Large Zone AF and the Show Focus Points plugin clearly show the four AP points that locked on - spot on in terms of the area that I focused on. The legend in the plugin will provide more detail ito specific AF-system used and which individual AF points locked on when focus was achieved (in-camera).

Canon EOS 7D Mark II AF Focus Lightroom Points Plugin Example
For the below image I used my Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm capturing an Egyptian goose at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town 

EXIF / Focus information provided by the Lightroom Show Focus Points plugin:
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Lens: EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
  • Focal Length: 400mm
  • Exposure: 1 / 5000s / f/6.3 / ISO 1000
  • Focus Mode: AI Servo AF
  • AF area mode: Large Zone AF
  • Focus / subject distance: between 15.17 m and 140.58 m
  • Depth of Field: 9.08 m (73.60 - 82.68 m)
  • Hyperfocal Distance: 1332.82 m
  • Total number of AF Points:  65 AF Points
  • Number of AF Points selected: 25 AF Points

Autofocus / Active Focus Point(s) Legend / AF Grid
Specific AF information will be provided by the plugin's Legend - Actual AF information will vary by camera and in-camera AF-selection options.

Image (From Canon EOS 7D Mark II / from the Library Module in Lightroom 6)
    
Image 1: Original file in Adobe Lightroom 6 (RAW to JPEG conversion)

Image 2: Uncropped RAW Image with Focus Point information from Show Focus Points

Image 3: Cropped RAW Image with Focus Point information from Show Focus Points 

(Click to Enlarge)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Image in Lightroom 6
Image 1 : Original RAW File (Adobe Lightroom 6)


Show Focus Points - Adobe Lightroom Plugin
Image 2 : Uncropped Image - Focus Point Information (Adobe Lightroom 6)

Show Focus Points - Adobe Lightroom Plugin
Image 3 : Cropped Image - Focus Point Information (Adobe Lightroom 6) 

Camera models supported by the Lightroom Show Focus Points Plugin

Lightroom Focus Points plugin currently works for all past-2002 Canon EOS DSLRs

Canon EOS 1D X / 1D C, 1D Mark 4, 1Ds Mark3, 1D Mark3, 1Ds Mark2, 1D Mark2 N, 1D Mark2 - 5D Mark 3, 5D Mark 2, 5D Mark2, 5D, 6D, 7D - 70D, 60D, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, 10D - 700D, 100D, 650D (Rebel T4i), 600D (Rebel T3i), 550D (Rebel T2i), 500D (Rebel T1i), 450D (Rebel XSi), 400D (Rebel XTi), 350D (Rebel XT), 300D (Rebel), M, EOS 1100D, EOS 1000D. Most Canon Powershot models should work as well.

Compatibility Source: Lightroom Focus Points Plugin PDF User Guide

Cape Town Photography: Milnerton Beach Sunsets

Cape Town Photography: Milnerton Beach Sunsets
Sunsets Milnerton Beach - Canon Long Exposure Photography

Sunset from Milnerton Beach over Table (Milnerton Golf Course) / Woodbridge Island.

All Milnerton Beach, Woodbridge Island - Long Exposure Photography with:
  • Canon EOS 6D / EF 16-35mm f/L IS USM lens
  • Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Lens
  • Manfrotto Tripod

Vernon Chalmers Copyright: Milnerton Beach, Cape Town
Please do not use / re-publish any Vernon Chalmers Milnerton Beach, Cape Town Photography images without permission. View the Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright Policy for more more information.

Cape Town Photography: Table Mountain Images / Milnerton Lighthouse

(Click to Enlarge)
Sunsets Milnerton Beach - Long Exposure Photography
Sunset Milnerton Beach / Woodbridge Island Cape Town


Sunset Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course
Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course, Cape Town

Sunset Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course
Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island Milnerton / Golf Course


Sunset Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course
Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course, Cape Town


Sunset Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course
Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course, Cape Town


Sunset Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course
Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course, Cape Town


Sunset Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course
Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course, Cape Town


Sunset Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course
Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course, Cape Town

Sunset Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island
Milnerton Beach in front Woodbridge Island, Cape Town


Long Exposure / Night Photography Settings & Tips
Long Exposure / Night Photography Settings & Tips

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography
Many photographers, when they first getting interested in Birds in Flight / Action Photography, are of opinion that they require professional grade gear, or at least the latest and / or greatest DSLR / Lens combination that they can afford.

With more than 10 years of personal experience in the capturing of Birds in Flight and the training and development of new photographers in the capturing of Birds in Flight I have seen quite a number of substantial improvements via the photographer's ability without any significant change in body and / or lens combinations.

The more advanced Canon APS-C or Full Frame bodies (paired with i.e. a 300mm or 400mm prime lens) will provide for an excellent basis to start from, but from personal experience I have seen / consulted many new photographers with professional grade equipment coming to my Birds in Flight Photography Private Training / Workshops with the total honesty (and frustration) of not being successful in this exciting action genre. 

Also read: Setup and Tips for Birds in Flight Photography

What I tell many Cape Town photographers staring out with Birds in Flight Photography is that they may just have a possible body / lens combination in their bags without spending any money on new gear.

'Gear Acquisition Syndrome'
Birds in Flight Photography gear acquisition (as referred to tongue-in-cheek globally as GAS - 'Gear Acquisition Syndrome') can very quickly spiral out of control for new photographers putting gear first and not considering a more complete range of requirements / skills development for getting started. I generally recommend Birds in Flight photography delegates / beginners not to make any changes to current gear for at least three to six months (to focus on skills development first).

Birds in Flight Photography Learning and Training Opportunities Cape Town
For Birds in Flight Photography training and shooting opportunities please Contact me

Capturing Birds in Flight is a combination of the following requirements:

DSLR Bodies: FPS / AF / Shutter Speed
Any DSLR capable of shooting between 4 and 14 frames per second (fps) in continuous shooting mode are suitable for Birds in Flight. I.e the Canon EOS 600D / 700D's at 5 fps will get the job done. Even entry-level DSLR bodies with a limited 9-Point Autofocus (AF) system is responsive enough for tracking fast flying birds. 


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography
Shutter Speed: 1/3200s - 400mm prime Lens
Understanding and application of shutter speed is a critical requirement in my view. About all DSLR's will offer shutter speeds of a maximum of 1/4000s up to 1/8000s (in some higher-end bodies) of which all is suitable for freezing the wings of most birds.

I generally use 1/3200s to 1/4000s shutter speeds for the majority of my Birds in Flight photography.

Popular Lenses for Birds in Flight Photography
After training many new Birds in Flight photographers at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town the following Canon, Sigma and Tamron lenses are the most popular for Canon APS-C and Full Frame bodies:
  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM prime lens
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM prime lens
  • Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM prime lens
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS (II) USM lenses
  • Sigma 150-500 / 600mm lenses
  • Tamron 150-600mm lenses

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town
With Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM prime Lens
Lenses: Minimum Focal Length and Apertures
Telephoto zoom kit lenses in the minimum focal length range of +- 250mm are just about suitable as an entry lens choice for starting out at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town - as some areas will allow for very close access to low flying birds.

The 55-250mm or the 70-300mm variable-aperture f/4-5.6 tele-zoom lenses can't really be compared with the optical quality of a prime lens of 300mm or 400mm lens (with apertures of f/4 or f5/6), but under sufficient light you will be surprised of what is achievable - even at f/8 (the 'sweet spot' for image quality / sharpness of many 70-300mm lenses). 

Image one:  King Gull captured using an entry-level DSLR (EOS 700D) and the kit variable aperture zoom lens (Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.5.6 IS II Lens)

Image two:  Grey Heron captured using an entry-level Canon DSLR (EOS 700D) and a consumer variable aperture lens (Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens).

Image three:  Reed Cormorant captured using a mid-range enthusiast Canon DSLR (EOS 70D) and the very cost-effective 400mm telephoto lens (Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens)

Image four:  Swift Tern captured using a semi-professional Canon DSLR (EOS 7D Mark II) and the very cost-effective 400mm telephoto lens (Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens)

Image five:  Pied Kingfisher captured using a semi-professional Canon DSLR (EOS 6D) and sharp and fast Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens)

Image six:  Swift Tern captured using a semi-professional Canon DSLR (EOS 6D) and professional-grade prime super-telephoto Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens)

The biggest success criteria of the three images below are not the gear, but the most applicable exposure settings, quality of the light and the fact that I was quite close to the bird with an anticipation / understanding of the subjects's behaviour / flying pattern(s).

Birds in Flight Photography: Skills / Techniques
With learning any new photography genre there is a learning curve. Only many hours in the field will ensure the understanding and mastering of the most suitable camera body / AF / lens settings and the best exposure modes for action photography (ito best results for depth of filed, subject sharpness and overall satisfaction rate of the photographer).

It can take anything from six months or longer for getting a thorough understanding of the camera / lens settings, exposure settings and to learn the different bird birds ito their flying and general behaviour patterns. The objective should not be to master this as quick as possible, but to take time to learn, have fun and spend time with like-minded photographers.

Personal Dedication: Commitment / Motivation
I've seen many of my Birds in Flight Photography delegates increasing their Birds in Flight capturing skills over time well past the original workshop and practical shoots. Some then go on to purchase new and more advanced bodies and lenses, but most just keep on working their skills lens (by shooting as often as they can, asking as many questions as possible and not be afraid to experiment with camera / lens and exposure setting.

Two Cost-Effective Canon Birds in Flight Lens Options - Go Here>>

Capturing / Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography
Capturing / Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography King Gull: Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens
King Gull: Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II zoom Lens

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography - Grey Heron: Canon EOS 700D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens
Grey Heron: Canon EOS 700D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM zoom Lens


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography - Reed Cormorant: Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Reed Cormorant: Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM prime Lens


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography - Swift Tern: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Swift Tern: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM prime Lens

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography - Pied Kingfisher: Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Pied Kingfisher: Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM prime Lens


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Swift Tern: Canon EOS 6D / EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens
Swift Tern: Canon EOS 6D / EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM prime Lens

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

All 9 Birds in Flight images were captured around the Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town in mostly early morning and sunny conditions.

Canon Photography Training Milnerton Woodbridge Island | Kirstenbosch Cape Town

Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur

Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur
Blur can really mean different things in digital photography, but should not to be confused with unwanted graininess or digital noise across a digitally created image. Unwanted noise generally occurs when:
  • shooting in low light, when a digital camera's ISO setting is too high
  • shooting within the digital zoom range of a compact camera 
  • over-cropping an image

Unwanted blur
Out-of-focus blurred area(s) in an image that came about via unintentional camera movement, unwanted subject movement and / or wrong shutter speed settings when photographing movement - something you don't really want.


Deliberate blur
This will appear in areas of the image when the photographer attempts to blur certain areas of a composition / image. With foreground in focus, but the background deliberately blurred depending on the Depth Of Field (DOF) - distance between nearest and farthest object(s) of the composition / framing requirements ie. when isolating a flower from its immediate surroundings.

Deep vs Shallow Depth-Of-Field (DOF)
With a deep DOF more of the entire image will be in focus and its more likely to be used in Landscape Photography with smaller apertures of i.e. f/11 - f16. With shallow DOF specific area(s) of an image is deliberately out of focus and can be applied in a variety of genres (Wildlife / Sport / Macro / Portraits) where the photographer deliberately wants to separate the main subject from the background - for this effect, larger apertures will be applied i,e. f/1.8 - 5.6.

DOF Aperture Test: Canon EOS 6D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens - view>>

DOF flower series demonstration with Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250 IS II lens - view>>

Depth of Field for Beginners: The Essential Guide >>

The visual quality of [deliberate] blur is also referred to as Bokeh
Bokeh: visual quality of the blur...The visual quality of [deliberate] blur is also referred to as Bokeh - Japanese for the out-of-focus aesthetic quality of the deliberate out-of-focus (blurred) area. a Wide aperture of i.e. f/1.8 - f/5.6 or so will be used (depending on the lens / optical distance from subject) to create the required out-of-focus effect.

See attached images below: white rose bud, the yellow rose and red rose bud with sharp / in-focus foreground sharp and background deliberately blurred (using wide apertures of f/5.8 and f/5.6). 

Lens apertures
In DSLR photography different lenses are used to create / select different levels of DOF depending on the lens aperture range, optical length of the lens and distance from subject. Different lenses / aperture settings will be applied  for different type of photography genres requiring blur effects at various focal lengths ie. for close-up / macro, portraiture or wildlife photography.  a  DSLR camera system is not necessarily required for creating deliberate image blur, a compact camera with a wide aperture lens with some optical zoom will also work. 

The images below were captured with apertures of f5.6 Yellow Rose (Non-DSLR Canon PowerShot SX40 HS with its f/2.7 - 5.8 35x telephoto zoom lens) and  f/5.6 Red Rose Bud (EOS 700D / EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS STM lens / EF-S 55-250mm f/4 - 5.6 IS II lens).


Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens / Extension Tue
Which Canon lenses?
Desired Bokeh-effects for close-up or macro flower photography can be achieved with a variety of lenses with wide apertures i.e. with fix aperture lenses such as Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM or the EF 100mm f2.9 Macro USM prime lenses.

Any Canon DSLR camera body with either an EF or EF-S lens (or other compatible lenses) attached will generate deliberate background / selected blur, but the Bokeh quality will depend on the following factors:

  • Aperture settings (wider is better) 
  • Type of EF / EF-S lens (design and optical length) 
  • Depth of field of objects in the frame 
  • Distance to subject / lighting conditions 
  • Accessories used (extension tubes / close-up filters) 

Different lighting conditions
In all the images the objective was to keep the 'unwanted digital noise' across the frame as low as possible. For the "Yellow Rose' image, shot with Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, I used ISO 100 (in crisp early morning sun light) and the 'Red Rose Bud', shot with the Canon EOS 700D, I used ISO 400 with a Speedlite 430 EX II flash (in early morning overcast / raining conditions).

Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens
Photographers use blur for various shallow depth-of-field / artistic effects (image on the right - 'blue flower' and first image below - 'red mailbox' with Canon EOS 6D both at an aperture of f/2.8 with Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. 

Last image 'bee on flower' was captured with Canon EOS 700D /  55-250mm IS II lens and Canon 500D close-up lens filter), Bee in focus, most of the flower blurred / out of focus, in a deliberate, aperture-controlled and planned way.

Optimal exposure settings
Just to come back to noise - you may have noticed that many of my own photos are not always shot in good lighting conditions. Most of my low light / long exposure DSLR photography shoots are done in Av mode, ISO 100 and apertures between f/16 - f/22 generating automatic shutter speeds of between 1 and 30 seconds.


I often use the camera's Manual shooting mode with similar aperture settings and Bulb Mode - the ability to have manual time control over shutter speeds during every single shot. A time to use this mode is when shooting fireworks. These exposure combinations together with the use of a tripod and RC-6 remote shutter release, almost entirely limits all unwanted  noise / graininess and unwanted blur. © Vernon Chalmers

(click to enlarge)
Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur
Canon EOS 6D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens flash


Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur
Canon EOS 700D   ISO 100  f/5.6  No Flash


Difference between 'digital noise' and subject / background blur
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS   ISO 100  f/5.8 


Canon EOS 700D ISO 400  f/5.6  Flash  Photo: © Vernon Chalmers
Canon EOS 700D   ISO 400  f/5.6  Flash 


Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur
Canon EOS 700D   ISO 100  f/5.6  No Flash 


More Depth Of Field (DOF) Examples: DSLR / Non-DSLR / More Bee On Flower with Close-Up Filter

Blue Hour Landscape Photography Training Cape Town

Blue Hour Long Exposure Photography Training
Blue Hour Long Exposure Photography : Sea Point, Cape Town
Blue Hour Long Exposure Photography Training Milnerton, Cape Town

This offer is available for individual photographers or small group bookings (up to four delegates). With scalable training rates from two to four delegates.

Flexible Training Dates
Sessions to be scheduled with individual delegates / groups in terms of everybody's availability and could be during the week / weekends.

Training Objective: Blue Hour Photography
To assist the developing Canon EOS photographer with mastering landscape and long exposure photography with the main focus on blue hour long exposures working with changing natural light (before sunrise and then sunset and beyond).

Required Equipment
Any Canon DSLR camera with any lens in the 10mm - 70mm focal length range. (i.e. the Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens is more than suitable). A sturdy tripod is a mandatory requirement for long exposure photography.

Blue Hour Long Exposure Photography Training
Woodbridge Island, Cape Town - Blue Hour Long Exposure Photography
Training Duration
Three sessions: one theory / settings session (up to five hours) in my studio training apartment and two practical sessions (one before-sunrise session and one sunset into the night light).

Training Location
All theory / settings / exposure training is facilitated in my training studio apartment in Milnerton (opposite Woodbridge Island). Practical applications will be around Woodbridge Island / Milnerton beach.

Costing 
  • Cost per Delegate: R1 850 for the three sessions

Blue Hour Long Exposure Photography Training is also available as a Photography Training Gift Voucher

Learning Areas (theory / setting sessions)
  • Camera / Lens Settings
  • Exposure / Focus Settings
  • Long Exposure Techniques
  • Composition Guidelines
  • Introduction to post-processing (if required)

Delegates will be briefed wrt the two practical sessions in terms of time / weather and other logistics.

Self Catering Accommodation Milnerton
Vernon Chalmers photography training is facilitated from a self-catering apartment in Arnhem, Milnerton (opposite Woodbridge Island) with an option for local and international photographers to overnight during the various training sessions. Optional accommodation will be calculated at reduced rates into the Photography Training Proposal / Invoicing. More Information

Contact Vernon Chalmers for more information (or discussing other requirements).

Canon Photography Private Training Courses Milnerton, Cape Town
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  • Birds in Flight Photography Workshop More
  • Canon Speedlite / Ring Lite Flash Photography Workshop More
  • Macro / Close-Up Photography Workshop Cape Town More
  • Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Workshop More
  • Digital Workflow / Lightroom Post-Processing Workshop More

Blue Hour Long Exposure Photography Training
Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island - Blue Hour Long Exposure Photography

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