It’s been a brutal winter. I haven’t been out taking photos for the past few weeks because I’ve been too afraid of falling, breaking my camera, and seriously injuring (or killing) myself.
So what’s a girl to do when it’s too slippery to go out and take photos? She sets up a photography studio in her bathroom, of course!
My Photo Taking Process
I set this Powder Puff ornament on the edge of my bathtub, hoping the off-white surround would provide a winter like atmosphere.
The lighting isn’t great around the tub, so I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to play around with the manual settings on my camera.
The first things I tried to do was to use the camera’s aperture priority setting. With this setting, I select the aperture and the camera automatically does the rest. I set the aperture to f/5.6 hoping to blur the background. It didn’t work very well. My images came out much too dark.
Next, I tried taking an HDR photo. My camera will automatically shoot and merge 3 or 4 images for me. I don’t have to merge multiple images in an editor to make an HDR image (unless I want to). The light level was better in my HDR photos, but the images weren’t as clear as I had hoped they would be.
The third thing did was play around with the shutter speed and ISO. A slow shutter speed and low ISO worked well for me. My best images from this session were captured at ISO 125, 135mm, -1.3EV, f/36, 6.0. Or so it seemed…
Oops. I Have A Problem
When I uploaded my photos to my iMac I discovered a problem. SPOTS! At first I thought it was dirt on the monitor. It wasn’t. I then checked the camera lens. I couldn’t see anything obvious. Could it be sensor dust? I haven’t taken off the lens since I got the camera in October. Can you get sensor dust without ever having taken the lens off?
The photo I chose for this post is one of my spotty shots. I decided to really have fun with it in PicMonkey since it was messed up anyway.
- I used the clone tool to conceal the annoying spots.
- My image was too yellow, so I cooled it down and desaturated it slightly.
- I added the frost effect, and erased it from areas I didn’t want to see it.
- I cropped the image slightly, to get rid of some of the harsh outer edges of the frost effect.
- I added fake snow from the winterland theme, and erased the snow over my subject.
EDIT: Next day update
When I woke up the morning after publishing this post, there was a comment waiting for me from Rhys Jones . You can see his comment below, but to sum it up, he tipped me off to the fact that f/36 was likely what was making the spots appear. I tried what he suggested—I opened the lens as far as it would go (f/5.6) and I set the ISO to 6400 (in the aperture priority setting). That image was really dark and grainy, but I didn’t give up. I then switched from aperture priority to the fully manual setting. I kept the camera at f/5.6 and played around with the ISO and shutter speed. My two best images were shot at f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/40 sec and at f/5.6, ISO 640, 1/25 sec. In fact, I can’t see any difference between those two shots at all. Here’s my new and improved (and unedited) image. No spots! Well, there are a few spots, but they are are spots that are on the ornament itself. There’s one on the little girl’s cheek and a couple on the base.
I haven’t submitted anything to Lucile’s Photo 101 Rehab in a while, so I’m going to submit this post over there. Perhaps someone from the clinic can give me some insight into what might be causing the spots. I think it’s only showing up on my long exposures, but I’m not sure because my other photos were dark. I’m going to give the lens a good cleaning and snap some more photos tomorrow. I’ll report back on this another day.