Di­als and set­tings for ci­ties

Digital Photo (UK) - - HOW TO SHOOT -

The shoot­ing mode most suited to cap­tur­ing city scenes and ar­chi­tec­ture is Aper­ture pri­or­ity (A or Av on the mode dial), as this lets you eas­ily af­fect the depth of field in a scene. Within Aper­ture pri­or­ity, you take con­trol of the open­ing in the lens, in­di­cated by the f/num­ber, and also the ISO, which dic­tates the sen­si­tiv­ity of your sen­sor. The shut­ter speed is au­to­mat­i­cally set by your cam­era to cre­ate a bal­anced ex­po­sure. To set up your cam­era to cre­ate a large depth of field which of­fers front to back sharp­ness, you need to se­lect a nar­row aper­ture – des­ig­nated by a high f/num­ber – like f/16. While this gives a deep zone of sharp­ness to cap­ture de­tail, the nar­row aper­ture lets less light through. The so­lu­tion is to ei­ther in­crease your ISO to ob­tain a shut­ter speed fast enough to hand hold with­out en­coun­ter­ing cam­era shake, but ac­cept you’ll be in­tro­duc­ing Noise to the shot and low­er­ing the sharp­ness. Or, keep the ISO low to max­imise im­age qual­ity, and use a tri­pod to keep your cam­era steady dur­ing slower ex­po­sures. For the most pleas­ing im­ages, it’s bet­ter to use a tri­pod rather than a higher ISO, but some­times it’s not al­ways pos­si­ble, and so a com­pro­mise must be made.

Although a tri­pod’s pri­mary aim is to keep the cam­era sta­ble and avoid the blur of cam­era shake, it also has a num­ber of other sec­ondary ben­e­fits. By set­ting up in this way it al­lows you to fine-tune the com­po­si­tion, pay­ing more at­ten­tion to hor­i­zon­tal lines and clut­ter around the edges of the frame. Us­ing a tri­pod also slows your en­tire shoot­ing process down, and when you’re work­ing at a gen­tler pace you’re more likely to no­tice other el­e­ments to tie into the shot as you build the com­po­si­tion.

When set­ting up a shot on a tri­pod, it’s also of­ten best to use Man­ual fo­cus. Not only is it more ac­cu­rate – es­pe­cially in low light sit­u­a­tions like night shoot­ing – it stays locked once set. Aut­o­fo­cus needs to be set ev­ery time a new shot is taken, and as the dis­tance be­tween your cam­era and sub­ject isn’t al­ter­ing this task is un­ece­sarry. AF sys­tems can also be fooled if an­other ob­ject en­ters the frame, and the fo­cus can be set in­ac­cu­rately. So switch your fo­cus­ing to it’s M/MF set­ting, and ac­ti­vate your cam­era’s Live View. Use the mag­nify tools to zoom into an area of de­tail in the im­age, and ro­tate the fo­cus­ing ring to set your de­sired fo­cus – easy!

Set­ting your cam­era to Aper­ture pri­or­ity is the best way to take con­trol when shoot­ing ci­ties.

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