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23/07/2011 - 11:24 AM

Port of Ness, Isle of Lewis

Port of Ness, Isle of LewisNice shot, Louise, but a little more tweaking would straighten the horizon a touch and the brightness could be increased just slightly to put detail into the harbour wall at the right. If you can do that without desaturating the beautiful blue colours in the sky, you will get the best out of this shot. If you have Photoshop, or similar, you could use the Lasso tool to isolate the dark side of the harbour wall and then subtly increase the brightness in that area only, using Levels.

15/07/2011 - 5:41 PM

Cliff Beach

Cliff BeachThere's nothing wrong with Program mode, Louise, as long as it achieves the result that you want. There are those on EPZ who decry reliance on automation, but more fool them. Your camera is festooned with all manner of modes, and you are free to use as many or as few as you like. In time you will learn when you need more control over the aperture or the shutter speed. You have already worked out how to make good use of a polariser. Judging by the tones in the sky, it looks like the sun was off the the left and either well after or well before its zenith - in which case, textbook use. You have also kept the sea horizon level, instead of judging by the lay of the land.. Well done.

03/04/2011 - 3:53 PM

War Memorial

War MemorialAha! A landscape! And not a bad effort either. You asked for suggestions, so here goes. It's a little bit dark, looking about half a stop underexposed. That can be cured very easily in processing, just by moving the Brightness slider a touch (increasing the contrast slightly might also help). Also the foreground is a bit too cropped because it makes the trees and the monument look as if they are on different land masses, which - presumably - they are not. If it can be reframed, I would drop the bottom of the picture just a little. Other than that, though, no problems. The sky is excellent.

I wouldn't worry too much about a tripod. The days when cameras were made of brass and weighed a ton are long past. As a general rule of thumb, as long as you keep the shutter speed numerically greater than the focal length (which would be 1/250sec on a 200mm lens) you should not suffer from camera shake. If your lens is an 'IS' (Image Stabilization) type, you can safely drop that speed to about 1/60sec. I believe that yours is. If you are still in doubt, I suggest investing in a monopod. This is, essentially, a tripod with two of its legs missing. The idea is that between it and your own two legs, you effectively make a tripod. Actually a monopod is much more suited to an autofocus camera than a tripod is. You will know how you half-depress the shutter release, to establish focus, and then hurriedly recompose before tripping the shutter. That is easy with a monopod, just a quick adjustment of your body. With a tripod, it's a much more complex operation. You can pick up a perfectly good monopod for about thirty quid, although you may need to add a tripod head to that before you can bolt your camera to it. Worth checking out.