As a photographer there are times when you do not want to touch the camera as you take a shot, touching the camera to activate the shutter adds a risk of shaking the camera, whilst not an issue in situations when you’re using a fast shutter speed, if you’re doing a long exposure then you want to reduce the risks by as much as possible.
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of camera shake is use a remote. I have owned the Nikon MC-30 remote for years, and it is great, you obviously pay a little extra to have Nikon stamped onto it, but I know it will do the job as advertised and should last the distance, the only challenge with the Nikon MC-30 it is wired… being attached to the camera has it’s good points and it’s bad points… I wanted something that I could activate wirelessly.
After some research and looking at the options, there are some high end units, that unless you’re working as a professional is difficult to justify the cost. I wanted something cheap that would do the job… one word came to mind… eBay!
I looked through the listings on eBay and decided on one main thing… I didn’t want it to have a telescopic antenna. There were a lot on eBay with these antennas and I am sure it wouldn’t take long for them to break. The Pixell RW-221 looked the goods! It was 2.4ghz and had no antenna protruding from it.
The Pixel remote will take a single shot, do continuous shooting, bulb and 4 second delay, so you can change how your camera shoots from the remote. If you have more than one camera (and receiver) you can set it up to activate more than one camera at a time, I only have the one Pixel remote so I haven’t tested this. The unit itself has 16 different channels, I haven’t changed it from the factory default. The transmitter and receiver, although made from plastic, feels quite well built for the price, powered by 4 x AAA batteries I am lead to believe that this will give you about 400 hours standby time.
Since getting the remote I have used it for about 400 shots, and it works flawlessly, It is great if you as the photographer want to be included in the pic… something new for you!
I recently set up my own ‘funny photo booth’ at my daughters 12th birthday party, I set up the camera on a tripod and set the focus manually, then used double sided tape to attach the remote to the wall, they had to press the button and then they had 4 seconds to get ready, it was a lot of fun for them and I got some great shots…
So no matter what you’re wanting a remote for, the Pixel RW-221 is a great solution, it gets my vote!
I enjoy riding my motorbike, I get to see things and places I wouldn’t go in my car… I stumbled across this little church on a ride last Friday, after a couple of hours I just have to get off the bike and stretch the legs and have a drink of water. The architecture in a church is nothing like anything else, the angles, the detail it all makes them have their own personality… this one had cool sculptures scattered in the garden… enjoy!
In the day of film, you would load your film, and once loaded you had to work with whatever ISO it was until it was done… these days you can increase your ISO at the touch of a button. So how does it work… basically, each time you increase your ISO you are increasing the sensitivity of your sensor, for example, if your at ISO200 and you increase it to ISO400, you have doubled the sensitivity of your sensor. Most modern DSLR camera can still produce good images up to ISO 3200, if you started at ISO200, this makes your sensor 4 times more sensitive allowing you to use your camera in lower light.
The only downside of increasing your ISO is that you will introduce ‘noise’ into your shot, I would rather noise than not get the shot at all… So next time your out shooting in low light, increase your ISO!
This is one of ‘those’ places where you can only get in my guided tour, and photography is not allowed… even to get any shots from the outside I was quizzed by security… this is the front entrance to Government House in Sydney. The detail in the door is really cool, I really wanted to go in and take some photo’s but they wouldn’t let me… It must be hard for them to enforce as everyone has a phone camera these days…
it’s official… I have organised a photowalk for Saturday the 1st of September in Sydney. We will be kicking off at Blues Point Reserve at 3pm for a meet and greet, of course it is a good vantage point to grab a shot or two of Iconic Sydney Harbour, we will then wander to McMahons Point Wharf where we will board the ferry over to Circular Quay, from here we will slowly make our way around to Mrs Macquaries Chair to watch the sun set over Sydney… anyone, with any camera is welcome! you can register your interest HERE or just turn up on the day.
Here’s another one from the Blast Furnace Ruins at Lithgow. I think it is great that they have kept this open. A lot of councils would close an area like this off, as it is dangerous. There were all sorts of shafts and hazards all over the site… it was great to be able to wander around it and take photos.
I get a lot of questions about what gear I use and I have been slowly writing about it. Today I wrote about my new Really Right Stuff TVC-33 carbon fibre tripod. you can read about it HERE.
There were so many great angles and perspectives, and I have many out of the series that I like… the most demanding part was keeping the rain off the lens… this shot suffers from one drop of rain… I wonder if you can see it? I would wipe off the lens and then by the time I hit the shutter button another rain drop would appear on the lens…
Hopefully you enjoyed my multi part series on understanding exposure, if you missed it you can read it HERE
The most common question I get from you is what camera should I buy… the second most common is usually after this, and you have brought your new piece of time capturing technology home and realise it has a stack of buttons, dials and modes… the instruction manual is thick, your patience is thin, and you just want to take great pics, you decide it can’t be that hard and you throw the manual to one side, turn that bad boy on and start shooting like a mad man in a gun fight!
To your surprise, everything looks pretty good in the preview screen… so you keep shooting away and fill up your memory card, it’s not until you download your 2867 new images to your PC you start to realise that maybe you should have studied that manual for a little longer!
It’s about now that you will ask me “Ben, what mode should I be using for….”
If you have read my Bermuda Triangle of Photography multi part series you will have learnt about Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. If you haven’t read it, go back and do it NOW… it will help you!
Here are my top 7 tips for getting the most out of your DSLR…
1. Turn OFF auto and learn how to use your camera, if you’re using auto you have wasted your money!
2. Turn off auto ISO, in fact the only thing ‘auto’ you should have switched on is auto-focus(AF) and auto-white balance (WB), set your ISO to 100 or 200 (whatever is the lowest your camera will go to) for outdoor and flash and crank it up to 400 for outdoor sports and try 800 or 1600 inside with natural light (ie. no flash), you can also set your WB for the conditions if you’re comfortable with this, but make sure you change it when the conditions change.
3. Use either Aperture Priority (AV) or Shutter Priority (TV), in Aperture priority your camera will decide the best shutter speed and in Shutter Priority it will decide the best Aperture. Use Aperture Priority for portraits, and use a lower f number, this will give you a faster shutter speed and blur the background (amount of blur depends on lots of factors, so play around). Use shutter priority for anything that is moving so you can control how you freeze or blur motion.
4. Check your histogram after each shot and get used to using it as your exposure guide, if your image isn’t exposed properly adjust your metering mode and use exposure compensation as required.
5. Stick with a single point AF mode, there are a lot of fancy AF systems out there, I think mine has 51 point 3d tracking super whizz bang auto focus… and I still use the single AF mode, why?, it gives me complete control over the exact focus point.
6. Think about each shot as you take it, look through the viewfinder and make sure you’re happy with the composition before you hit the button, sure, it’s free to shoot as many pics as you want when shooting digital but you still need to sift through them to find the ones you want, a little care and you can half the sifting job. For example, make sure there are no poles or trees growing out of peoples heads, make sure that there are no unwanted rubbish or clutter in your shot, don’t be afraid to move things/people around to suit your shot!
7. Have FUN!
I am not sure what they’re growing on this farm, but it is definitely a crop of something, I snuck onto their land to take this, and although they probably wouldn’t care, I am always on edge when I am sneaking around somewhere like this, I get these thoughts that maybe some old farmer will come chasing me with his shotgun… ha ha, stupid I know… I am just glad not to be there at night, imagine trying to find your way out at night…