Friday, 21 March 2014

What the F.....?

No I am not swearing, although I will admit to saying some pretty rude words during my extensive session the other day, I was 'fiddling' with the camera.
Its the bane of many artists, regardless of medium, unless of course you are a photographer then really you should know this stuff.
F is aperture.  So what the F is aperture?

Maximum Aperture (Minimum f-number)

The maximum diameter of the lens opening is referred to as its maximum aperture or minimum f-number. The minimum f-number is the smallest f-number that can be selected with the lens. The maximum aperture varies from lens to lens and is included in the lens model name.
I took that from here, all about Nikon which is my camera, a Nikon D3200 VR...please don't ask what the VR is, I have absolutely no idea!
Photographing glass beads to put on the internet can take more time than making the bead itself and considering my love is the flame of the torch and the melting of the glass, taking the photo to show the world in the hope someone else will love it and buy it so I can buy more glass and burn more oxygen and propane, the photograph side of this can be ALOT tedious and can end in swearing and temper tantrums...the swearing I can almost accept, the temper tantrum from a woman in her 40's jumping up and down and threatening obscenities to what is basically an inanimate object is a little childish to say the least.
This is the photo in question, well one of the many.  The bead is a dark purple but the light is wrong and the bead looks black and well...rubbish...and its a nice bead.

I use a light tent and a couple of daylight bulbs, the light tent just stops the glare of the light bulb...apparently.  Yes the lights are on.

So I start fiddling with the camera and end up searching the internet in the hope of finding help in photographing these beads. 
I type in Photographing Glass Beads for Dummies.
Surprisingly I am not the only one, pages of websites come up in various degrees of big words and complicated sentences, I want one where they treat you like a right dummy and basically tell you which button to press and when to produce a photograph a professional would be proud of.

I stumble across this website its the light tent I use. 
Now I want a light thing that goes under the bead, but I use what I have and follow the instructions.
I drag out my camera manual and figure out my camera properly.
I now know how to change the F setting...without swearing!

Wanting light or even white backgrounds is what I am after, I rather like the background on the pictuer above and you can now tell its actually purple, but its all fuzzy and I don't want a soft lens effect - get me with the terminology - I want sharp and clear with white backgrounds.
Back to the manual and the website.

The picture above is better but do you think I can remember what button I pressed?
The one below is rubbish and I know what's wrong with it, its over exposed.
I am in danger of knowing what I am talking about.
Not only do I now know how to adjust the F I can also play around with the button that alters the E V settings.
Go me.

It took over 2 hours to get these photos, and believe me I took hundreds and fiddled with more buttons and settings than ever before, and do you know what made the most difference?
Moving the damn camera tripod back a bit!  Even though the camera is set on automatic focus - I am not professional...yet - the macro setting needs to be a little further back than 'on the top of' that I had the camera at.
This picture below is rather nice and its an awkward bead to photograph, its also too far away.

Getting there.  I cropped it!

Below, on a darker background, but its too fuzzy...too close!

There are many buttons on the camera and this one is the max exposure or EV if you want to be technical...I would say this one didn't work, but it was worth knowing how the highest EV setting worked.

I don't think this bead is going to have a white background this is as good as I got it, but its better than it was and although its not as clear and sharp as I would have liked it is created with soft colours so maybe I can't make soft colours sharp?

So we come to today and more beads to photograph - I am getting ready for the big Flame Off event in April so lots of beads being made - the photos are better...I think!

Encased beads are incredibly difficult to capture nicely for me, but the sculpture ones seem much better..note to self, don't make encased beads!



Nice post Laney and stunning beads too :)

Rebecca85 said...

Very interesting Laney, your beads are looking better than ever x

Rebecca85 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Izzybeads by Laney said...

Thanks Chris, I found another button, well dial and that alters the EV more, I will learn what this camera does...I will!

Izzybeads by Laney said...

Thanks Rebecca85 x

Victoria Tierney said...

Brill post Laney, beads and jewellery are tricky to photograph :)

tomcat said...

f stop and stuff like that is complex as it is also linked to film speed, shutter speed etc, the f stop sets the depth of field - so how much in front of the focus point and behind the focus point is actually in focus. normally there is a minimum focus distance on any lens- you have to be further back from that to allow the camera to focus at all. the exposure is dependant on a number of things - the cameras will allow you to set it in a number of ways - overall across the whole picture - an average - or a smaller area or a spot in the picture so if you have it set as overall then try to photograph a small dark object on a white background the camera will 'expose' for the white background and the dark small object will be too dark, under exposed unless you fill the picture with the dark object or set the exposure for the spot in the middle and focus on that - then it will expose for that and that will be better exposed and show better more real colour but the light colours will be overexposed - but that is a very basic description, come and visit if you want to play and go over it its actually easier to show and explain and do than it sounds

Jeanne said...

VR is vibration reduction. My lenses mostly have this option on them, and it helps to turn it on so that what little tremors or vibration there is when you push the button, or try to hand hold your camera is minimized. this helps get sharper photos. As you have found out, you probably want an F stop of about 3 or 4 which allows good focus throughout the whole depth of the bead . This all seems pretty complicated at first, but once you get it, you will really "have it'. Think you did a great job with your shots!

Jeanne said...

You can also change the amount of light that you get on your shot by changing the ISO. Have you gotten to that yet?? The higher the number on the ISO, the more light you will get. The lower numbers lower the light. So much information, and so little time. LOL

Jeanne said...

One more thing. I made a "tripod " out of fabric and beans , or you can stuff it with rice. It is very good for photographing small objects, and getting pretty close. You just put in on the table in front of the object, prop your camera on it, and it really stabilized the object. Cheap and very effective for this little stuff.

tomcat said...

yep beanbag - I got a waterproof washbag from tesco for 99p filled half full with polystyrene beads and sewed up the end - great tool for macro wildlife photography, nmade one for me and one for my daughter - they sell them of course if you want to spend £20 or so :-)

Izzybeads by Laney said...

You might regret that Tomcat! but thanks :)

Izzybeads by Laney said...

Ah right, I didn't know that thanks Jeanne. I have been playing a bit more, new blog post coming up tomorrow!

Izzybeads by Laney said...

That's the bit I have been messing with today, I have found out that I can set the ISO in the programme but alter it manually with each picture. I am getting there and really enjoying learning, especially when it goes right!

Izzybeads by Laney said...

that is a good idea I might have to get me one of those, the tripod can only get so close so getting closer would be brilliant.

Izzybeads by Laney said...

After my last blog you are saying ...go shopping...gulp! I do have a daughter she can go for me...actually I have just the thing. Brilliant thanks :)