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Photo plus   the canon magazine - february 2014 Photo plus the canon magazine - february 2014 Document Transcript

  • A warm welcome to... WIN! CANON EOS 5DCANON PRO MK III + DAY WITH A + 6 CANON PIXMA PRO-100 PRINTERS PAGE 28 CANON EDITION THE BEST MAG FOR CANON D-SLR PHOTOGRAPHERS H Q We’re the only magazine in the newsagent that’s 100% dedicated to Canon D-SLRs – making us 100% relevant to your needs. Q We’re 100% independent. We don’t answer to Canon and don’t rely on them for advertising – if Canon brings out a new camera or lens and it’s rubbish, we’ll say so! Q We’re all Canon D-SLR enthusiasts and between us we’ve got 200 years of photography experience. We’re excited about passing on what we’ve learned – even from our mistakes! Q We don’t assume you’re a millionaire. We focus on the Canon D-SLRs most people buy, and feature software and accessories within the average person’s budget. appy New Year everyone! And Happy New Gear (geddit?) to those of you who are now using a new Canon EOS D-SLR. Whether it’s your first D-SLR or an upgrade, we guarantee to help you become a better Canon photographer in 2014. Stick with us and we’ll take you through every step of the way; from what to do with it straight out of the box to the best ways to set it up ready to shoot, progressing to more advanced D-SLR skills for seasoned enthusiasts. See page 31. Learn how to take beautiful winter landscape photos of trees as our Apprentice spends a day with a top Canon pro in the New Forest (p8). If you’d rather stay in the warm, your free eight-page pullout is a guide to creative close-up indoor photography (p55). We also help you pick your first Canon D-SLR (p78), and we test eight budget telephoto zoom lenses, starting at £100 (p96). It’s the ideal first lens upgrade to progress your photography. Our Skills section is packed again with great tutorials, from getting started with Photoshop Elements and our new Raw in Elements series to capturing traffic light trails and creating an amazing hyperlapse (p43). Plus turn to page 28 now for a fantastic competition; the main prize is a Canon EOS 5D Mk III and a day with a great Canon pro, with six Canon PIXMA PRO-100 printers up for grabs too! Be quick, as the closing date is 31 January 2014! Peter Travers Editor Q Our Video Disc has an unrivalled collection of D-SLR technique and Photoshop videos – which can be viewed via our digital editions too! Q We are proud to feature some of the best writers and photographers in the business. Turn to page six to meet them all now! The new Photography Show promises to be the biggest and best UK event for photographers of all abilities and styles, and it’s taking place over four days at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, from 1-4 March 2014. You can get your hands on the latest cameras and photo kit from all the big-name manufacturers, including Canon, and there will be talks and workshops from some of the world’s top photographers. Find out more and book your place at PhotoPlus February 2014 | 3
  • Issue #83 February 2014 The Apprentice................ 8 Our Apprentice learns to photograph forests under the guidance of top pro Mark Bauer Your Letters ................... 18 The latest from the PhotoPlus mailbag Subs Club ........................20 Exclusive offers just for loyal subscribers! Inspirations ....................22 Another selection of awe-inspiring images from top Canon photographers Competition ...................28 Win a 5D Mk III plus PIXMA PRO-100 printers! SCENIC FOREST PHOTOGRAPHY Happy New Canon!......... 31 You’ll find everything you need to know to start taking great shots in our crash course Our Apprentice learns to photograph trees on a day trip to the New Forest PhotoPlus Skills ...............43 Improve your shooting and image-editing skills with our new tutorials and videos Page 8 Creative close-ups ...........55 Master macro with our free 8-page guide PhotoPlus Workshop.... 74 Canon’s metering modes explained Dream Team ..................78 Our experts tackle your Canon queries Your Photos ...................82 Get your favourite images critiqued and enhanced by our team and a top Canon pro Help Me Buy ..................90 We help a reader choose between five funky fisheye lenses for creative photography Super Test ......................96 Eight telephoto zooms on test from just £100 Next issue.....................105 Can’t wait for next month’s PhotoPlus? Get a sneak preview of what we’ve got lined up! FREE GUIDE! CREATIVE CLOSE-UPS Page 55 My Favourite Shot ...... 114 Winter sports photographer Grant Gunderson on his dramatic skiing shot 4 | PhotoPlus February 2014 YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED… HELP ME BUY A... FISHEYE LENS Page 90 Which D-SLR should I buy? p78
  • Are you a subscriber? See Subs Club for exclusive offers! Page 20 NEW D-SLR SKILLS! D-SLR SKILLS TIPS! HAPPY NEW CANON! We guarantee to help you become a better Canon photographer in 2014 Page 31 MASTERCLASS CAPTURE TRAFFIC TRAILS Page 68 SUPER TEST BUDGET TELEPHOTO ZOOMS FROM £100 Page 96 Should I go independent? p80 STEP-BY-STEP GUIDES! Improve your Canon D-SLR skills and images with our photo projects! Turn to page 43 now for our Skills section ONLINE VIDEO To view our videos, click on the ‘Watch the Video’ badges that appear alongside the tutorials. Click on the badge to the right to see what videos are in store this issue… What is Auto picture style? p81 WATCH THE VIDEO http:/ / How can I keep buildings straight? p81 PhotoPlus February 2014 | 5 View slide
  • Meet the team Meet the Who we are, what we do, and what we’re most looking forward to in 2014… Peter Travers Editor • EOS 5D Mk III Adam Waring Operations editor • EOS 7D “Stick with PhotoPlus in 2014 and we guarantee to make you a better Canon photographer. This year I’m really looking forward to photographing my two kids as they grow up…” “I’m going to go wild in the January sales and invest in some new camera kit. I’ve long been coveting a 70-200mm f/2.8L, and I might even get a 5D Mark III to go with it…” Claire Gillo Technique editor • EOS 5D Mk II Matt Richards Technical writer • EOS 70D “This year I plan on printing more of my images so I’m going to invest in an A3+ printer. The Canon PIXMA PRO-100 is tempting…” See how you can win a PIXMA PRO-100 printer on p28! “I can’t wait for the new motorsports season. I’ve bought an EF 70-300mm L-series lens for my 70D, which should give spectacular quality and a long 480mm ‘effective’ telephoto reach.” Hollie Latham Staff writer • EOS 60D Martin Parfitt Art editor • EOS 600D “There have been rumours that Canon will release a 7D Mark II every year – so perhaps it’ll finally see the light of day in 2014? Or was the 7D a one-off, replaced by the 70D line?” “My New Year’s resolution is to do one of those Project 365s. The twist is they’ll all be ‘selfies’. I’ll be gurning away at weddings, parties, bus stops, with my D-SLR on self-timer.” This issue’s contributors… Mark Bauer If you go down to the woods today there’s a chance you’ll bump into Mark, shooting scenic shots of trees. See how he and our Apprentice got in the New Forest (p8). Jack Fisher Videographer Jack explains how he painstakingly shot his amazing Bath in Motion hyperlapse with Canon kit – and how you can too in your hometown! (p50) EJ van Koningsveld Aerial ace EJ critiques one reader’s mountaintop shot of a Swiss Air Force Hornet fighter plane in this issue’s Your Photos (p82). Grant Gunderson Winter sports photographer Grant comes in from the cold to tell us the story behind his powder-blasting skiing action shot in Japan’s Hakkoda mountains (p114). Meet our Subscriber of the Month! Gavin Kruk Lives: Gloucester Camera: Canon EOS 500D “This shot was taken in Singapore at a spectacular show that included traditional dance and fire breathing. I had an idea of the kind of shot I wanted to get, and after several attempts I was pleased with how this turned out. The shot was taken in very low light, so I increased the ISO to 1600 to allow me to keep the shutter speed up so that I could achieve a sharp image and freeze the movement, but in doing so I had to be careful not to overexpose the flames. I used a shutter speed of 1/500 sec at f/11, having tried a few combinations. This seemed to give the best results, and I was pleased with the end result.” JOIN OUR SUBS CLUB NOW! Subscribe to PhotoPlus and you’ll also get membership to our Subs Club – packed with exclusive offers and competitions every month. See page 20 for more details. PhotoPlus, Future Publishing 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW Editorial +44 (0)1225 442244 Subscriptions and back issues 0844 848 2852 Or go to The PhotoPlus team Peter Travers Editor Adam Waring Operations editor Claire Gillo Technique editor Hollie Latham Staff writer Martin Parfitt Art editor Angela Nicholson Head of testing Matt Richards Technical writer Guy Edwardes Cover photo Our contributors George Cairns, David Caudery, Jack Fisher, Adam Gasson, Grant Gunderson, Marcus Hawkins, Richard Hood, EJ van Koningsveld, Mike McNally, Gavin Roberts Without whom… Mark Bauer, Dan Burden, Alan Carder, Pete Gray, Adam Lee, Alun Pughe, Roger Woodall Advertising Sasha McGregor Advertising sales manager – photography 01225 788186 Matt Bailey Senior sales executive 01225 732345 Clare Coleman-Straw Sales director Management Nial Ferguson Managing director – tech, film & games Matthew Pierce Head of photography group Paul Newman Senior editor Steve Gotobed Group art editor Circulation and marketing Samantha Book Marketing manager Dan Foley Trade marketing manager James Ryan Direct marketing executive Mark Constance Production manager Roberta Lealand Production controller Regina Erak Licensing & syndication director Future produces carefully targeted magazines, websites and events for people with a passion. Our portfolio includes more than 180 magazines, websites and events and we export or license our publications to 90 countries around the world. Future plc is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR). Chief executive Mark Wood Non-executive chairman Peter Allen Company secretary Graham Harding Tel +44 (0)20 7042 4000 (London) Tel +44 (0)1225 442244 (Bath) Print: 25,820 Digital: 3,246 Combined print and digital circulation for Jan-Dec 2012 is 29,066 Printed in the UK by William Gibbons and Sons Ltd, on behalf of Future. Distributed by Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT. Tel: 020 7429 4000. Printed in England. All information contained in this magazine is for informational purposes only and is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press. Future Publishing Limited cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies that occur. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers direct with regard to pricing. PhotoPlus is an independent publication and is not in any way authorised, affiliated, nor sponsored by Canon. All the opinions expressed herein are those of the magazine and not that of Canon. ‘EOS’ and all associated trademarks are the property of Canon. All submissions to PhotoPlus magazine are made on the basis of a licence to publish the submission in PhotoPlus magazine, its licensed editions worldwide and photography-related websites. Any material submitted is sent at the owner’s risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future Publishing Limited nor its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. © Future Publishing Limited 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). View slide
  • “Now I can see the woods for the trees!” Join us on a photography road trip through the New Forest National Park as Canon pro Mark Bauer shows our Apprentice many different ways to shoot trees Words: Peter Travers Location pictures: Adam Gasson 8 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Your chance to shoot with a pro THE APPRENTICE… Name: Alan Carder Camera: Canon EOS 650D Originally from Croydon, 75-year-old retiree Alan now lives in Somerset. He’s been a keen amateur photographer for the past 60 years; in the late ’70s he bought his first SLR, and six months ago joined the digital age with his first Canon D-SLR, an EOS 650D. He loves photographing landscapes and has regularly visited the New Forest, but asked for our help to get to grips with his new camera and help take some top shots. THE PRO... Name: Mark Bauer Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Mark is an award-winning professional landscape photographer and regular contributor to PhotoPlus. Mark is 48 years old and lives in Swanage, Dorset, and is a partner in Dawn 2 Dusk Photography, which offers a range of one- two- and three-day workshops in various locations throughout the southwest of England. For more details, and to see his impressive portfolio, go to PhotoPlus February 2014 | 9
  • PhotoPlus Technique assessment Is Alan ready to branch out? Pro landscape photographer Mark Bauer shares his wisdom to help Apprentice Alan set up his D-SLR RAW+JPEG image quality Aperture Priority “I always shoot in Raw image quality without fail. It offers the most control post-shoot to bring out tones, detail and colours that you simply can’t achieve with a JPEG image without degrading image quality,” reveals Mark. “As Alan was new to Raw images, we set his 650D to take both RAW+JPEG images. That way, he had his JPEG, plus the Raw image to play with in Canon’s free Digital Photo Professional software.” “Landscape photography is all about capturing the whole scene. You need a narrow aperture for a good depth of field, but not too narrow, as defraction causes loss of quality; so use f/11 or f/16, rather than f/22,” says Mark, “I told Alan to use Aperture Priority (Av) mode to set the aperture, then his D-SLR will take care of the shutter speed for a good exposure. Then simply focus at about one-third into the scene for sharp shots, from foreground to horizon!” KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #1 Tripod head and legs “It’s important that landscape photos are the best possible quality images, with good depth and sharpness throughout. To ensure camera-shake is never an issue whatever the shutter speed, use a solid tripod and the best head you can afford,” says Mark. “I use the Manfrotto 405 geared head for ultimate control that I can adjust incrementally. With Gitzo 6X GT354LS carbon legs.” 10 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Your chance to shoot with a pro MARK’S CANON KIT When on a landscape shoot, Mark carries this little lot in his backpack Canon EOS 5D Mark III body Canon EOS 5D Mk II backup body Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Set of Lee Filters: NDs, ND grads, Big Stopper ND B&W Circular Polariser Gitzo 6X GT354LS carbon tripod legs Manfrotto 405 geared 3-way head Apple iPhone 5 smartphone EXPERT INSIGHT Live View for everything! “Canon D-SLRs have large, sharp and clear LCD screens and offer excellent performance in Live View mode,” reveals Mark. “You can focus very accurately zooming in at x10, then manually focusing with your lens. You can check your histogram to ensure a full range of tones will be captured during the exposure – use exposure compensation to brighten or darken images. Alan’s 650D has a touchscreen LCD, and in Touch Shutter mode he can simply tap the screen to take a shot!” Alan’s comment “For our first shot we had an early start, and were on location before sun up. Sadly it remained cloudy with no colourful sunrise, but it was wonderfully still for this shot of trees reflecting in a small lake in the New Forest near Lyndhurst. A narrow aperture of f/11 has captured good depth of field in this five-second exposure. As there was no cloud detail or colour in the sky, Mark suggested I make a virtue out of it by using +1 stop of exposure compensation for a ‘highkey’ shot, with lighter tones and a whiter sky. This was all shot in camera, with Mark’s guidance, using a Monochrome picture style with a blue tint!” Exposure: 5 secs at f/11; ISO100 Lens: Tokina 12-28mm f/4 AF AT-X PRO DX PhotoPlus February 2014 | 11
  • The PhotoPlus Apprentice Exposure: 0.3 secs at f/16; ISO100 Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Alan’s comment “Mark knew about these fantastic old trees hanging over the road – this shot sums up the New Forest for me. Mark helped with my composition, zooming in to focus on the trees, with the road leading you into the frame. Although the leaves were still golden, Mark explained that an infrared-style black-and-white conversion would work well for an even more striking and graphic image – achieved simply using the Infrared Effect setting in Photoshop Elements’ Convert to Black and White tool.” KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #2 Cable release “I explained to Alan that touching his D-SLR to take the exposure could cause a blurred shot, even when using a tripod. To avoid this I always use a remote control to trigger the shutter release. My old Canon remote broke so I bought this PIXEL replacement for £5 on eBay!” smiles Mark. “Alternatively use the Self-timer drive mode, which triggers the shutter two or ten seconds after pressing the button.” 12 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Your chance to shoot with a pro Alan’s comment “We trekked to the top of the moors to find this big silver birch tree stood from the forest. Mark suggest a portrait-shape shot, so that we could place the tree centrally, with the horizon line on the bottom third for a balanced composition. We knelt down low, angling the camera up so the background forest didn’t ruin the horizon. My 650D’s angled LCD came in very handy when using Live View to focus and compose the shot, rather than getting a stiff neck bending down to see the back of the camera LCD low on the ground. Mark used a polarising and ND grad filter together for darker, bluer sky; the latter also helped to lighten the tree, and bracken that wasn’t in shadow. In Photoshop Elements, I slightly desaturated the image for a cooler, wintry feel, and quickly cloned out a few distracting bits of bracken cutting into horizon.” Exposure: 1/8 sec at f/16; ISO100 Lens: Tokina 12-28mm f/4 AF AT-X PRO DX ALAN’S TIP Best image quality “As we were using a tripod for every shot and so didn’t need to increase the ISO sensitivity to obtain a faster shutter speed for handheld shooting, Mark explained that we can always keep ISO to 100 for the best image quality, with minimal noise or grain in the shots – even when shooting in low light,” says Alan. KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #3 Wide-angle lens “I use my excellent Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM wide-angle lens for the majority of my landscape shots. It’s super-sharp across the frame, captures great colour and contrast, and is more than wide enough on my full-frame 5D Mk III. It’s not just for big vistas; it helps when framing up single trees in situations when you don’t have much room to step back,” says Mark. On crop-sensor bodies, like Alan’s EOS 650D, you’ll need an ultra-wide-angle lens with a focal length range of around 10-20mm for an equivalent field of view. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 13
  • The PhotoPlus Apprentice Exposure: 1/6 sec at f/11; ISO100 Lens: Tokina 12-28mm f/4 AF AT-X PRO DX Mark’s comment “I love this shot, captured with my 12-28mm wide-angle lens. The tree looks so proud and defiant! During winter the sun remains low in the sky, which Mark suggested we take advantage of for some strong side-light to highlight this tree on top of the moors. It was taken an hour before sundown. Again we shot from down low, this time to ensure the bottom branches were clear of the horizon. Mark helped me add a small ND grad filter effect to the Raw image in Photoshop Elements to darken the top sky and keep the eye focused towards the tree.” MARK’S TIP Follow the sun “Landscape photography is all about the weather – and knowing where the sun will be in relation to your locations. I use the Sun Scout app on my iPhone (£6.99; that shows you where the sun will be in your landscape throughout the day so you know where you’ll need to be for the best compositions. We’d picked a day with sunny weather, and thanks to the app I knew sunrise was at 7.39am and sunset at 4.07pm,” explains Mark. Mark’s New Forest favourites A trio of tree shots that show why it’s worth getting up at the crack of dawn… Misty morning 1 “This was all about being in the right place at the right time, and was taken only a few feet away from Bratley View carpark! The clump of trees rising out of the mist made a natural focal point, so I placed them a third of the way into the frame, and dialled in +1 stop of exposure compensation to allow for the bright mist.” 14 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Sunrise 2 “I arrived just in time, setting up the camera as the sun began to rise over the distant trees. I composed quickly, using the foreground path to lead the eye into the view towards the rising sun. I focused about a third of the way into the scene to maximise depth of field.” Lone birch tree 3 “This was taken on one very atmospheric morning, when the mist was clearing from the valley below Mogshade Hill. This lone silver birch tree is one of my favourite trees in the forest and made a strong focal point for this scene, shot at 1/5 sec and at f/16.”
  • Your chance to shoot with a pro KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #4 KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #5 Dress for the weather Set of filters “There’s nothing worse than being cold and uncomfortable when out taking landscape photos in the winter, and you’ll be stood still for as long as it takes to get the shot, so wrap up warm,” smiles Mark. “I wear layers of jumpers and fleeces with a wind/waterproof winter jacket, overtrousers and a stout pair of walking boots.” “I’d be lost without my filters,” admits Mark, “They’re a landscape photographers’ secret weapon. I use a polariser to make blue skies and trees more punchy and contrasty; graduated neutral density (ND grad) filters are essential for balancing bright skies against the darker land; while ND filters are crucial for long exposures to blur movement in clouds and to smooth out water in your landscape scenes.” MARK’s TIP Creative blur “For an abstract forest shot use a slow shutter speed to capture some creative blur,” says Mark. “Shoot in Tv mode at about 1/2 sec and your camera will set an appropriate aperture. Fill the frame with about half trees/half forest floor. As you fire the shutter, move your tripod head down smoothly in a straight line. Tall, skinny silver birch trees work well as they contrast with the foreground.” SHARP BLUR
  • The PhotoPlus Apprentice MARK’s TIP Warmer colours ÒAs the sun set clouds started to form, which helped to improve the colours in the sky Ð using a Cloudy white balance setting will help enhance their colours, too.Ó 16 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Alan’s comment ÒWe were very fortunate with the weather on the day, right up to a colourful sunset. Initially my exposure was too bright as I was exposing for the tree. I was shooting in Av mode at f/16, and Mark told me to dial in -1 stop of exposure compensation, which turned the tree into a silhouette and also darkened the sky. To enhance the sunset fur ther I boosted the Saturation in Photoshop Elements. I think it’s amazing that I captured this on my 18-55mm kit lens!Ó [2] [1] [3]
  • Your chance to shoot with a pro Exposure: 1/6 sec at f/11; ISO100 Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Be a PhotoPlus Apprentice! Want help with taking your photography to the next level? We need more budding PhotoPlus Apprentices. Let us know what you would like help with and we could pair you up with a top pro for the day. Email or fill in the form below… Name...................................................................................................... Address.................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................. ................................................................. Postcode ............................. Daytime telephone ............................................................................. Email ....................................................................................................... Your camera model ............................................................................ What you would like help with .......................................................... .................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................. Return to The PhotoPlus Apprentice, PhotoPlus, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW February 2014 Next issue… Studio portraits Mark’s verdict “Alan was a game Apprentice and captured some great shots on the day. You need to be patient with your landscape photographs, especially for sunsets, and I encouraged him to keep shooting every two-to-three minutes as the light and colours will constantly change, even after the sun has gone down. Alan took this shot as the colours and clouds peaked [1] 30 minutes after the sun had disappeared. His exposure is spot on, with the dark outline of the tree [2] perfectly silhouetted against the colourful sky. And he’s positioned the tree off-centre [3] with minimal dark landscape, so the tree and sky dominate the frame.” Q Learn how to take striking portraits, and the Photoshop techniques to transform them, as our Apprentice spends a day with a talented Canon professional photographer On sale 4 February 2014
  • PhotoPlus Mail Box YourLetters Send us your comments on the magazine, and photography in general. Drop us a line any time at Camera snobs need to shutter it! Subscriptions & digital editions PhotoPlus is the best magazine for all Canon EOS D-SLR photographers. If youÕve missed a back issue, or want to save money, why not start a subscription? All subscribers become Subs Club members! PhotoPlus is available in print with our Video Disc, and also as an enhanced digital edition, with all videos included. For iPad and iPhone users, download the Apple Newsstand app; Android and PC users can use Zinio to download digital editions; weÕre also available on AmazonÕs Kindle Fire, Nook and Google Play. For print and digital editions go to this quick link now: 18 | PhotoPlus February 2014 I fully endorse the positive comments of readers expressed in recent issues regarding the EOS 1100D, especially those of Janet Kearns in Issue 79; she’s right on the button about encouraging other photographers. My 1100D is my first foray into digital cameras after giving up photography in the mid-1990s, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Whether one is a wine, photography, car or ‘whatever’ snob, they do no credit to themselves or the activity they profess to love. We all started out with a 110 cartridge camera (or equivalent), and how many of these ‘experts’ would be embarrassed to see all their earliest photos now? You know the ones – out of focus, poor composition, etc, but still showing happy family memories or places visited nonetheless. Matthew Bulman Wanganui, New Zealand We heartily agree Matthew – and it’s always good to hear from a film veteran who’s rediscovered the joys of photography through D-SLRs! PhotoPlus: Even better second time around! I love reading your magazine. I’m located in the USA, so it takes a while for me to get my delivery, but I do enjoy getting my little ‘gift’ in the mail every month. I’ve been a subscriber for about a year now, and with my knowledge and skills growing every day I’ve started re-reading all my issues. I’m now reading articles, tutorials and reviews that I skipped the first time around because the discussion was too advanced for me – now that I know a bit more about the subjects involved, I’m reading these ‘new’ articles with a better understanding. It seems like I’m getting double pleasure out of a single subscription! Mark C Thomas Cary, North Carolina WIN NEW 16GB MEMORY CARDS AND READER! Every LETTER OF THE MONTH winner gets either a Kingston Technology 16GB Ultimate CompactFlash 600x or 16GB SDHC Ultimate Class 10 flash card, plus a Kingston MobileLite G3 card reader! Just how wild are wildlife photos? The 1100D is the ideal camera for anyone new to SLRs – or film veterans taking up digital I try to be something of a wildlife photographer, and I find the articles in PhotoPlus very helpful. However, December’s magazine highlighted an issue about which I’ve agonised for some time. The president of my local camera club told me that “a photo is a photo is a photo”, and that regardless of the challenges faced in getting a
  • Your Letters Martyn Tuckwell is justifiably proud of this shot of a puffin in flight Join us online today! PhotoPlus isn’t just a magazine – it’s also a fun and friendly online community… Join the online debate: Magazine website Facebook Camera reviews Flickr Twitter @photoplusmag Check out these 10 great websites for Canon users, courtesy of the good people at Wex Photographic: wex_canon particular shot, a picture is still judged solely on its photographic merits. So, for example, the photos by Pal Hermansen and Connor Stefanison, featured in Inspirations, which showcased images from Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2013, will be judged by the same standards as the shot taken by Chris Wallis and featured in Your Photos – a shot I believe any reasonable photographer with a half-decent camera and access to a bird of prey centre could have taken. And to have cloned out the jesses (the leather straps fastened to the legs of birds of prey), as one of the readers critiquing Chris’s photo suggested, would, in my opinion, have been less than honest, as it would have given the impression that the photo had been taken in the wild. I attach a picture I took of a puffin in flight. I understand that puffins can fly at speeds of up to 100kph, particularly when being chased for their catch by gulls as this one was. However imperfect my shot may be, it’s the high point of my photographic life – I’m sure I’ve taken ‘better’ pictures, but this is the one of which I am most proud. Martyn Tuckwell Shilbottle, Northumberland Digital editions? I was delighted to see on my Facebook feed that I could read the December issue of your magazine for free as a digital copy. What I didn’t realise was that I couldn’t open it on my Kindle Fire. What a shame! But it made me think: shouldn’t us subscribers have access to a digital copy anyway? And is there any sign of a Kindle edition? Sam Browne Manchester Unfortunately the free digital copy offer was only available through Google Play, Sam, which is why you couldn’t access it on your Kindle. You can read PhotoPlus on your Kindle via Amazon, however, and it’s also available on other digital platforms – see the facing page for more details. However, because digital editions are supplied by third-party retailers, we’re unable to offer them to print subscribers for free. CONTACT US AT PHOTOPLUS TODAY! Get in touch! We’d love to hear your views, comments and handy tips… Email: Write to us at and kindly put ‘Your Letters’ in the subject line of your email. Post: Write to Your Letters, PhotoPlus, Future Publishing, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW, UK. We reserve the right to edit letters we print for clarity and brevity. PhotoPlus Are you in the market for a new Canon EOS D-SLR or a new lens? Canon’s Winter Cashback scheme offers discounts on the 100D, 600D and 700D, as well as a few EF-S and EF lenses, and two Speedlite flashguns – all ideal gear for beginners and enthusiasts, with a helpful little discount. Available in the UK only, and the offer closes 26 Jan 2014. More details at www. – don’t forget to check the Terms&Conditions! 10 tips for taking better pictures of bridges…Bridge photography is a favourite subject for travel and landscape photographers alike, but getting quality pictures of bridges isn’t as easy as you might think. Your main subject is static, but there are a whole host of other elements to think about. Below we’ve offered 10 bridge photography tips direct from the experts to help you bag better pictures of bridges… PhotoPlus PhotoPlus @ukphotoshow Rankin, Steve McCurry, Joe McNally and Terry O’Neill lined up for the Super Stage! Get tickets at PhotoPlus PhotoPlus February 2014 | 19
  • Welcome to the… W as Santa good to you this year? Or did you treat yourself to some shiny new kit in the January sales? Either way, it pays to ensure your expensive photo equipment is properly insured, and we have a generous 15% off offer with Photoguard specialist camera insurance, exclusively for subscribers. It may save a lot of heartache should the worst happen! Peter Travers, Editor Gavin Kruk Welcome to the PhotoPlus shop! The PhotoPlus shop is the place to buy a whole host of goodies – and subscribers can save up to 20%! Check out our great range of bookazines. The Ultimate Canon SLR Handbook: Volumes 1 & 2 have everything you need to get to grips with your EOS – plus there are titles on sports, landscape, portrait and monochrome photography, Photoshop guides, and much more. Simply head to www.myfavourite and use the discount code SUBSCLUB. Lives: Gloucester Camera: Canon EOS 500D Subscriber since: Issue 68 WIN! This particular shot was taken on my honeymoon in Singapore a couple of years ago, using a Canon EOS 500D with a Sigma 18-200mm lens. We had been on a night safari through Singapore Zoo, which was followed by a spectacular show that included traditional dance and fire breathing. I had an idea of the kind of shot I wanted to get, and after several attempts I was pleased with how this turned out. The shot was taken in very low light, so I increased the ISO to 1600 to allow me to keep the shutter speed up so that I could achieve a sharp image and freeze the MOVIEPLUS X6 & PHOTOPLUS X6 movement, but in doing so I had to be careful not to overexpose the flames. I used a shutter speed of 1/500 sec at f/11 which, in hindsight, was not the best choice of settings as a wider aperture would have allowed for a lower ISO and less noise, but having tried a few combinations this seemed to give the best results at the time and I was pleased with the end result. I edited the Lens: Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/11; ISO1 600 photograph using Lightroom, performing a slight white balance and contrast adjustment along with some localised dodging and burning to give the image a bit more impact. BE OUR SUBSCRIBER OF THE MONTH! Fancy being our next Subscriber of the Month? We’ve made it quick and easy to submit your best shots with our dedicated Subs Club Flickr group at Each issue, we give away a double-pack of Serif’s PhotoPlus X6 image-editing program, plus MoviePlus X6 video software – together worth £130, and everything you need for making the most of the multimedia capabilities of Canon’s latest cameras! See for more.
  • PhotoPlus VIP area Save 15% off Photoguard camera kit is properly covered… insurance! Ensure your precious T he festive period is over for another year, and many of us will be the proud owners of new Canon kit. But photography is an expensive hobby, and it doesn’t take long before we find ourselves carting around thousands of pounds’ worth of gear in our kitbags. So it makes sense to ensure your kit is properly covered. Photoguard is offering PhotoPlus subscribers 15% off specialist camera insurance cover. Simply go to get the discount, but hurry, this offer expires 31 March 2014. Adrian Scott, head of specialist photography insurers Photoguard, shares his top tips for keeping cameras and accessories covered. ARE YOU COVERED? AMATEUR OR PRO? Many photographers don’t spend enough time researching the sort of policy that offers them the best protection. While many online policies provide immediate cover, take the time to research policies and select the one that best suits your needs, especially if you have more than one piece of kit. Whatever stage you’re at in your photography career, insurers could classify you as a professional if you earn any form of income from your photographic equipment. As many home insurance policies don’t cover professional equipment, you may need to take out additional cover. Many specialist insurance policies will not only cover your camera but also a wide-range of accessories that are essential to photographers – from your laptop and memory card to software packages – meaning your business wouldn’t be impacted should an accident occur. CHECK YOUR HOME INSURANCE POLICY It’s easy to assume your kit will be covered under a contents policy, however insurance can vary greatly and photographers need to look beyond the price and read the small print to ensure the cover is fit for purpose. Home contents insurance policies may require you to pay an additional premium if you are insuring expensive equipment, so specialist photography insurance may work out cheaper. GOING OVERSEAS? Holidays are an ideal time to test out your new gear. But while white sandy beaches may provide an attractive backdrop for your holiday album, a few grains of sand can have a potentially devastating effect on your equipment. It’s therefore essential to ensure your camera is covered when travelling abroad. Many travel insurance policies include camera cover but they are often subject to a number of clauses. Some travel insurance policies cap the maximum amount that can be claimed by a single item at as little as £200. With many cameras priced well above this bracket, it may be worth seeking out specialist cover. COVERING OTHERS While you may be confident in your ability to avoid tripping over your tripod, others may not be so careful. Therefore, a key consideration is liability insurance that will keep you covered if your equipment causes injury. It may also be worth looking into specialist cover if you’re planning to shoot in a busy public place. KEEP IT HIDDEN If you’re planning to leave your equipment unattended in a vehicle, be sure to keep it hidden. Many insurers include clauses in their contracts that will invalidate your policy if your equipment is left on show. If you’re likely to fall foul of this all-too-common error, opting for more advanced cover may be significantly cheaper in the long run. COVERING YOUR KIDS ON CAMPUS If you’ve packed your kids off to university, it pays to ensure they’re covered when away from the family nest. While many home insurance policies do offer cover for those classed as a member of your household while they’re living away on campus, additional cover may be based upon the value and nature of camera equipment or required if they choose to live off campus. Q PhotoPlus February 2014 | 21
  • PhotoPlus Inspirations Stunning imagery from the world of Canon photography 22 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Great Canon photographers in action PhotoPlus February 2014 | 23
  • PhotoPlus Inspirations PREVIOUS PAGE Buachaille Etive Mor by Brian Kerr “This location is a favourite of mine. I took this shot at the start of November, hoping for a layer of snow on the mountains, but unfortunately there was only a sprinkling. It was the last trip of the day and I was hoping for perfect weather and light. Initially I thought I was too late, but as I was composing a shot I noticed a little colour appear, and by the time I was ready to shoot the colour had intensified to the point where it looked as if the tree was on fire, or the buckle was erupting lava from its summit. I was able to fire off a few shots before the colour faded; as the light was fading fast I set a slightly longer exposure than usual, and I used a Lee hard grad 0.6 for the sky. The Raw file was processed in Lightroom; I simply brought out some of the shadow detail and applied some sharpening.” Location: Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe, Scotland Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II Lens: Zeiss Distagon T* 3.5/18 ZE Exposure: 3.2 secs at f/11; ISO200 RIGHT Arcminute Microkelvin Imager by Nigel Blake “I’ve often photographed these radio telescopes at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory outside Cambridge at dusk or after dark, but only from outside the fence. Recently the observatory contacted me to ask for prints of a couple of my images that they’d seen online, to hang in the new reception. Instead of charging for the images I asked for access to the site, so I could get some close-up shots with wide lenses. This shot was taken in Bulb mode, using an exposure of 92 seconds; I calculated the exposure settings by shooting some test frames and reading the histogram. The sky colour is a result of light pollution from Cambridge city reflecting off the clouds, and I also painted light on the dishes with a high-powered torch.” Location: Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III Lens: Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Exposure: 92 seconds at f/6.3; ISO200 LEFT Fire Up by Mike Ridley “I met up with some fellow photographers to demonstrate light painting techniques at a beach near South Shields. There was a sea cave close by which served as an excellent backdrop, and looking at the geology of the overhanging rock I thought this wire wool spinning technique would produce a strong light source to create some shadows. I used a cordless drill with a custom-made adapter to hold two whisks, which were packed with fine-grade wire wool. When the wire wool is lit and pulled through the air by the drill, the centrifugal force produces a shower of sparks; it’s important to wear eye protection. I shot in Raw, converted the image to monochrome in Lightroom and made other minor adjustments in Photoshop.” Location: South Shields, Tyne and Wear, UK Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk III Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Exposure: 49 secs at f/10; ISO200 24 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Great Canon photographers in action RIGHT Light Pillars by Mike Reva “Last winter I spent a few days at my countryside house to take some shots of the night sky. The temperature outdoors was around -27C, and I knew the sky would be clear at night. As it got dark a couple of street lamps came on, and I was lucky enough to see these gorgeous light pillars, a phenomenon created by the reflection of light from ice crystals in the air. I knew they wouldn’t be visible for long, so I had to set up quickly. I used a wide-angle lens to capture as much of the night sky as possible, including Jupiter and the star cluster Hyades in the upper-right of the frame; I also made sure the Orion constellation rising above the horizon would be visible. I chose a wide aperture to shorten the exposure and thus avoid star trails.” Location: Orehovo, Russian Federation Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Exposure: 25 secs at f/4; ISO1000 PhotoPlus February 2014 | 25
  • PhotoPlus Inspirations ABOVE A View From the Tyne by Alan Howe “There are so many good locations in the north-east of England, and for this shot I went to Newcastle to shoot some light trails on and around the Tyne Bridge. I was on the High Level Bridge looking down over the Tyne, which looked amazing with the light reflections and three bridges in view. I had my ISO set to 500, which I like to do when shooting night photography; I find you can use a fairly high ISO on the 6D without it affecting the image quality too much. For a more dramatic image I converted it to black and white in Lightroom.” Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Camera: Canon EOS 6D Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Exposure: 30 secs at f/16; ISO500 LEFT Improvement by Mike Pearce “This shot was taken in Heal’s furniture store in London. Having taken some shots earlier on in the year I knew that the store was due to carry out some work on the staircase and install a new piece of lighting, and I went back to the store to capture some shots of the refit. I was amazed to find that they had installed a floor-to-ceiling light fixture, which looked outstanding. This shot was taken from the very top of the staircase, using my Samyang 8mm fisheye lens. I was able to capture a huge amount of the staircase along with some interesting angles in the rails, and the lights down the centre added the finishing touch. I didn’t have a tripod with me, so I used the railings to steady myself. I processed the shot with the Photomatix Pro HDR program to bring out the shadow detail. I then used Photoshop CS5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro to get the monochrome effect I was after.” Location: The Heal’s Building, London Camera: Canon EOS 600D Lens: Samyang 8mm f/3.5 IF MC Fisheye Exposure: 1/8 sec at f/8, ISO400 26 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Great Canon photographers in action RIGHT World War Two Veterans by Julian Bound “I own a barbershop, and several of my customers are World War Two veterans. They’re now aged from their late eighties to their mid-nineties, and there are not many still with us, so I decided to document them by taking their portraits, after giving them their customary short back and sides. I used a blank wall between the shop’s mirrors as a backdrop, but as most of the subjects visit my shop early in the morning, lighting was a slight problem. I wanted to capture them in natural light, so I used an aperture of f/4 and switched between ISO125 and 400 to obtain a decent shutter speed. I shot in Raw, converted the images to black and white in Lightroom, and cropped them to a medium format ratio (1x1). I added some vignetting, and after doing some dodging and burning in Photoshop CS5 I used the High Pass filter to bring the images to life. I also noted each subject’s rank and age.” Location: The Barbershop 2, Oswestry, Shropshire, UK Camera: Canon EOS 7D Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Q Sergeant Major David ‘Taff’ Lewis b.1920 Lance Bombardier Eric Morrey b.1923 Exposure: 1/60 sec at f/4; ISO400 Exposure: 1/45 sec at f/4; ISO200 AB Kenneth Edwards b.1927 Sergeant Emerson Boyd Rollinson b.1919 AB Ronald D. Scott b.1927 Exposure: 1/180 sec at f/4; ISO200 Private Desmond Norsworthy b.1924 Exposure: 1/30 sec at f/4; ISO125 Exposure: 1/60 sec at f/4; ISO160 Exposure: 1/60 sec at f/4; ISO125 PhotoPlus February 2014 | 27
  • Promotion Superior Prints with Canon Take your next step with a Canon PIXMA PRO printer Y our Canon EOS DSLR is an amazing device capable of capturing truly stunning shots, so there’s nothing worse than ending up with lacklustre photos because your printer or print lab isn’t up to the job. You want to see your images looking great in print, so it makes sense you’ll need a top-quality printer. And there are no better printer partners for your EOS DSLR than Canon’s great PIXMA PRO range. Whether you’re an advanced amateur printing your family portraits to hang at home, a budding semi-pro selling your first set of landscape shots, or a seasoned professional framing and exhibiting your latest portfolio of pictures, Canon’s PIXMA PRO printers will ensure you’ll always have prints to be proud of. From the PIXMA PRO-100, to the PIXMA PRO-10 and PIXMA PRO-1, 28 | PhotoPlus February 2014 there’s an A3+ printer for every budget. With 8, 10 or 12 ink systems you’ll be in full creative control to achieve stunning prints; whether glossy or matte, colour or black and white, whatever your paper choice, you’ll be able to breathe life into your prints. On PhotoPlus we’re big fans of Canon’s A3+ printers, and in our Printers Super Test (December 2013), the Canon PIXMA PRO-100 won our Best Value award, while the Canon PIXMA PRO-1 won our Best On Test award. Just as you rely on your intuitive Canon EOS DSLR to help you take great photos, you can be assured of the same high-quality, easy-to-use and lightning-fast performance with a PIXMA PRO printer. You can finally be in full control to print big photos – from your own home or studio – that really do your images justice!
  • Promotion I WEON!KRIIOI CANON S 5D M A HAP AND A DAY WITIXMA SIX P PLUS S! PRO-100 PRINTER Exclusive Competition! To help you to discover the power and potential of Canon’s PIXMA PRO printers, we’re giving away six PIXMA PRO-100 printers in our exclusive online competition – plus we’re offering one reader the chance to win a professional Canon EOS 5D Mark III, along with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a one-to-one session with one of the UK’s top Canon professional photographers. The best image from your day’s shoot will be printed on a PIXMA PRO-1 printer. From learning how to master your Canon DSLR to getting the best out of your Canon printer, our Canon pro will help you to become a better photographer and will help to create better prints. T&Cs The most suitable Canon professional photographer and location will be announced once we know the winning subject category. Entries must be received by 31 January 2014. The winners will be selected by the PhotoPlus and Digital Camera editorial teams. The prize is as stated: no alternatives, cash or otherwise, are available. For full terms and conditions please visit To enter our competition, we want to see one or more of your best images relating to the following creative themes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Landscapes Wildlife Action Portraits Black & White Close-ups The winners of each category will win a PIXMA PRO-100 printer. The overall winner will be selected from the category winners and will receive a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR and a day’s tuition with a top Canon professional of our choosing. All winners will be announced in the April issues of PhotoPlus and Digital Camera magazines, and also online at You can enter the competition online at PhotoPlus February 2014 | 29
  • D-SLR SKILLS TIPS! HAPPY NEW A new Canon EOS D-SLR isn’t just for Christmas. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned enthusiast, we’ll help you get started on the right track with your camera in 2014 Words: Matthew Richards he best things come in (moderately) small packages, and if you’re lucky enough to have a new Canon D-SLR at Christmas, you’re in for a treat. There are no less than four superb cameras catering to beginners, in the slinky shapes of the 1100D, 100D, 600D and 700D. More up-market ‘enthusiast’ models range from the venerable 60D and 7D to the power-packed 70D and the highly advanced 6D, the latter of which brings full-frame photography to the consumer market. While Canon is something of a legend for keeping things as simple as possible, any D-SLR can be a daunting prospect for newcomers. We’re here to give you a helping hand. On the following pages we’ll cover the basics, from setting up your new camera kit, to making the most of simple shooting modes before progressing to more advanced techniques. Sure enough, there’s a lot to learn but the great thing is that you can start simple and get great results in next to no time, while also learning new tricks and techniques along the way. Ultimately, it should be a rewarding, highly enjoyable and long-lasting experience. Month by month, we’d love to be there with you, every step of the way. Let’s get cracking. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 31
  • HAPPY NEW GOT A NEW D-SLR? Essential setup advice for new cameras straight out of the box What to do first! First things first, and the best place to start is to get everything out of the box and check it’s all present and correct. It’s likely that there will only be minimal charge in the battery, so pop it on charge while you get a few other things sorted out. It’s well worth attaching the supplied neck strap to your camera, to avoid expensive accidents later on. This is also a good time to install Canon’s excellent free software onto your computer, like Digital Photo Professional for processing Raw files, and the EOS Utility program. Once the battery is fully charged, remove it from the charger and insert it into the camera’s battery compartment. The Canon 100D is an excellent first D-SLR that’s small and user friendly It’s a good idea to select ‘Low level format’, especially if the memory card has been used in another device previously On the menu Insert a memory card into your camera, attach the lens (see Tip 5), and you’re ready for the first switch-on. It’s a good idea to set the time and date, as this will be recorded in the ‘EXIF’ information of each image file. Next, press the Menu button, go to the Setup menu and select the ‘Format card’ option. Lift the camera to your eye, lightly press the shutter, and check that the viewfinder information looks sharp; rotate the dioptre adjustment, if necessary, to give the sharpest view. 32 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Beginners’ advice Setting the scene Current entry-level cameras have an on-screen features guide; enable this in the Setup menu to help you find your way around. The 100D, 600D and 700D boast a ‘Scene intelligent auto’ mode, signified by a green square with a + symbol. This automatically analyses compositions, and makes optimal adjustments to shooting parameters. Using the wide variety of scene modes, you can manually select anything from portraits to landscapes or sports. Better still, these so-called Basic+ modes come complete with ‘Ambience’ options like vivid, soft, warm and intense, available via the Q (Quick menu) button. View and review All current Canon D-SLRs boast a Live View mode, which enables you to compose shots on the rear screen. The LCD is also essential for reviewing and checking your images. Press the Play button and you can scroll through the pictures you’ve taken. Press the magnify button to enlarge images on the screen, so you can check the sharpness in critical areas. Repeated presses of the Info button will also display a histogram (graphical representation of brightness) with a flashing highlights alert, to show where very bright parts of a picture may be washed out to white. STEP BY STEP Fitting and changing lenses Press the button Keep it clean Lens types First, ensure that the camera is switched off. If a lens is already attached and you want to switch to another one, you’ll need to press the lens release button, shown above. While keeping the button pressed in, start to gently rotate the lens anticlockwise, you can then remove it from its bayonet-fit mount. Dust is the enemy of D-SLRs. Ideally, only change lenses in environmentally clean conditions that are as dust-free as possible. It helps to keep the camera’s lens opening facing downwards, to avoid dust falling into the camera. Always fit a body cap to the camera if storing it without a lens fitted. Canon makes EF-S lenses for APS-C cameras and EF lenses that fit both APS-C and full-frame cameras. They use either a white square or a red circle alignment symbol respectively, which needs to be lined up with the relevant marking on your camera, then you simply twist clockwise until the lens clicks into place. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 33
  • HAPPY NEW KEY SETTINGS Getting to grips with your camera’s main settings From basic to creative The Canon 700D will suit beginners but has enough advanced options for those looking to progress their photography The shooting mode dial of most Canon cameras is divided into Basic Zone and Creative Zone modes. The latter is for more expert use and contains P (Program), Tv (Time value), Av (Aperture value) and M (Manual) modes. Bridging the gap between the two zones is the CA (Creative Auto) mode. In this case, the Quick menu (Q button) gives access to easily adjusting the background blur by widening or narrowing the aperture. For widerranging control over all available shooting attributes, switch to Program mode. A better description is ‘Program shift’ because, while the camera aims to serve up the ideal combination of shutter speed and aperture, you can shift the settings simply by turning the main dial, next to the shutter button. Quick and easy You’ll notice that, in any of the Creative Zone shooting modes, pressing the Q button reveals many more options on the Quick menu. It’s a wonderfully easy and intuitive way to alter shooting parameters, even more so in cameras like the 100D and 700D that feature touchscreen LCDs. For example, you can switch the Auto Lighting Optimizer on or off, and adjust its strength for getting a better balance between bright highlights and dark shadows. Access to picture styles like Standard, Portrait and Landscape is also useful. Unlike using scene modes, this tailors just the image style to the composition, while giving you full reign over other settings. Read the meter Exposure metering is an all-important part of successful photography. There are four different options to choose from. Evaluative metering biases the exposure to the active focus point (or points) that achieve autofocus. It therefore works well even in tricky situations, like backlit portraits. Centreweighted metering concentrates mainly on the central region of the frame, but averages in brightness levels around the periphery. Partial metering is based solely on the central region of the frame, while Spot metering works in the same way but only uses a relatively tiny point at the frame’s centre. More on metering on page 74. 34 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Enthusiasts’ advice Beat the shakes Blurred shots from camera-shake are a common problem, especially for beginners. To avoid this in handheld photography, the rule of thumb is that you need a shutter speed that’s at least the reciprocal of the effective focal length. For example, at a zoom setting of 50mm on cameras that have an APS-C sensor, like the 700D, the 1.6x crop factor gives an effective focal length is 80mm. You’d therefore need a shutter speed of at least 1/80 sec for consistently sharp handheld shots. Lenses with image stabilisers help you get away with slower shutter speeds but, to freeze the action of moving subjects, you’ll need faster shutter speeds. Use the Auto ISO feature or manually select a higher sensitivity if necessary, to enable sufficiently fast shutter speeds under dull lighting. Be more focused If shooting close-ups, use a tripod and focus manually, zooming in on the most important part of the image STEP BY STEP Live View can be a big help when highly accurate focusing is required, common in close-up photography. In this case, the camera switches to contrast-detection autofocus. It’s not as fast as regular phase-shift autofocus but is extremely accurate. For cameras with touchscreen LCDs, you can simply point to the part of the scene you want to focus on, then lightly press the shutter button to achieve autofocus. For ultraprecise focusing, it’s better to focus manually and select a magnified preview to enlarge the most important part of the composition. Autofocus options Autofocus modes Multi-point AF Single-point AF The AI Focus option is pretty smart. It locks on to static objects with a light press and hold of the shutter button but, if the object begins to move, it switches to continuous autofocus to track the action. Alternative options are One Shot for completely static subjects and AI Servo for fast-moving subjects. This engages all AF points and the camera will generally focus on whichever area in the scene corresponds with the closest AF point, or points. In AI Servo mode, the central point is used initially but surrounding points are engaged if the object begins to stray from the centre of the frame. When you want to focus on one particular place, like the eyes of a person in portraiture, it’s better to switch to single-point AF in One Shot mode. Either use the central AF point and swivel the camera after AF has been achieved to improve compositions (eg portraits), or pick a point that best suits the object’s position. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 35
  • HAPPY NEW MODES EXPLAINED Understanding your D-SLR’s more complex shooting modes The EOS 70D has larger body with more advanced settings for experienced Canon enthusiasts Priority modes Metering is still automatic in Aperture Priority (Av) mode, but you select the aperture you want to use and the camera adjusts the shutter speed accordingly. It’s vice versa for Shutter Priority (Tv) mode, as you set the shutter speed and the camera adjusts the aperture. Beware of a blinking aperture or shutter speed display in the viewfinder, which indicates that you’ve set a value outside of the range that will enable a correct exposure in the prevailing lighting conditions. Single shooting mode is best for landscapes or portraits, while Continuous suits sports or wildlife photography Drive modes In the Single shooting drive mode, only one shot will be taken, regardless of how long you hold down the shutter button. Continuous drive mode is often better for action sports and wildlife, and some cameras have options for fast and slow frame rates. Be aware that the memory buffer may fill up quite quickly, especially if you shoot in Raw quality mode, and you’ll then have to wait for data to be written to the memory card. Other drive options include a two-second or ten-second self-timer release. A burst of shots is often also available after a self-timer delay, ideal for self-portraits. 36 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Enthusiasts advice Going steady It can be notoriously difficult to get sharp images when shooting extreme close-ups or when using a very long telephoto lens, even when the camera is mounted on a tripod. Mirror-bounce is the culprit. It’s caused by the reflex mirror flipping up immediately prior to the exposure, which can unsettle the camera and give blurred results. ‘Mirror lockup’ is a neat function that’s available on all current cameras apart from the 1100D. Enable this and, if you’re not using a remote controller, also select a two-second self-timer delay. When you press home the shutter button, the mirror will flip up but the shutter won’t open until two seconds later, giving the camera a chance to settle. Get flash The pop-up flash fitted to most Canon cameras is useful for adding a little fill-in illumination to brighten foreground shadows, but lacks any real power or versatility. A proper flashgun is much more useful. A neat trick is to configure the pop-up flash to act as a wireless controller. Set this in the shooting menu’s Flash Control section and switch compatible flashguns to their wireless slave mode. It’s an easy, wire-free method for enabling off-camera flash, which can give a more natural look to portraits and still-life shots. STEP BY STEP Exposure compensation ALO off Get compensation Bracketing exposures The Auto Lighting Optimizer can help to boost shadows and reign in highlights, but can fight against any exposure compensation you apply. Canon therefore recommends switching off ALO before applying exposure compensation. Add positive compensation to brighten images, negative compensation to make them darker. Exposure compensation is generally available in the Quick menu, as well as from controls on the back of the camera body. In the 70D shown here, quick access is enabled by the Quick Control dial. There’s a risk of applying exposure compensation accidentally, unless you engage the underlying Lock lever. You can set the starting point and incremental value of exposure compensation for a series of ‘exposure bracketed’ shots. In this case, it’s handy to also use Continuous drive mode. Hold down shutter button on the camera or remote controller and shooting will cease automatically after the sequence is complete. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 37
  • HAPPY NEW ADVANCED SKILLS Discover how to get the most out of your Canon EOS D-SLR The professional Canon 5D Mark III is a powerful 22Mp full-frame D-SLR for those who want high performance (and can afford its high price) Switch to manual For ultimate control over exposure settings, switch to the Manual shooting mode. You can still take advantage of any of the camera’s metering modes, as well as using the viewfinder’s exposure level indicator as a guide. You’ll definitely need to switch to Manual mode when using studio flash heads. Preferred settings for this are often a shutter speed of 1/125 sec, with an aperture of around f/8. You’d then simply adjust the power of the flash heads until you achieve a correct exposure. Flatter your lenses You can counteract common lens flaws in-camera under the Lens Aberration Correction menu Many current cameras have features that can flatter the performance of lenses. The Lens Aberration Correction option in the shooting menu includes in-camera corrections for peripheral illumination (vignetting) and chromatic aberration (colour fringing). However, these are only available for genuine Canon lenses, and you may need to download data for some lenses using the EOS Utility program. Bear in mind that if you shoot in Raw quality mode and don’t process the files with Canon’s own Digital Photo Professional program, corrections won’t be applied. Up-market cameras often also feature AF fine-tuning for individual lenses. For example, when using a zoom lens on the 70D, you can apply two independent fine-tuning values for either end of the zoom range. Filter options You can apply an enormous range of enhancements to images when editing but sometimes you simply can’t get the effects you want without using a filter. Popular options include circular polarising filters to reduce reflections in, say, watery surfaces and windows, as well as enhancing blue skies. Neutral density filters are great for enabling wider apertures for a reduced depth of field, or slower shutter speeds to give motion blur to waterfalls and weirs. Graduated neutral density filters help to achieve a better balance between very bright skies and darker land beneath in landscape photography. 38 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Advanced skills Depth of field Control over depth of field can often be the making or breaking of a great shot. For example, in landscape photography, you may want the foreground and background to be simultaneously sharp. In portraiture, you’ll more often want to blur a fussy background. In all cases, a shorter focusing distance will reduce the depth of field. In landscapes, it often works best to focus on a point about a third of the way into the scene. Wider apertures and longer focal lengths (eg f/5.6 at 200mm) give a reduced depth of field. Narrower apertures and short focal lengths (eg f/16 at 18mm) increase the depth of field. STEP BY STEP High dynamic range Scenes that contain very bright and dark areas may often exceed the dynamic range of any camera, but an HDR (high dynamic range) image can capture a full range of tones in one image. No longer do you need to create an HDR image by taking three bracketed shots then merging them into one image in software, as Canon D-SLRs, such the 100D and 700D, have scene modes for automatically capturing HDR images. Three bracketed shots are taken and the results are automatically merged in-camera Adjust dynamic range On the 70D or 6D, it’s best to switch to HDR mode via the shooting menu, rather than using the Basic Zone scene mode. You’ll then have full control over what camera settings are used, as well as being able to adjust parameters in the HDR capture process, including the overall dynamic range. into a single image in which low-lights are boosted and highlights are reigned in. Cameras like the 70D and 6D give you greater control over the process (see below), although only the single merged image will be saved and you can’t shoot in Raw or Raw+JPEG quality modes. To save three Raws and the merged image, you’d need to step up to a 5D Mark III. Continuous HDR In ‘1 shot only’ mode, HDR capture is limited to a single burst of three successive shutter operations, during which the bracketed exposures are captured. Normal shooting will resume thereafter. Select ‘Every shot’ if you wish to carry on capturing HDR images, until the feature is disabled in the main menu. Auto image align Enable Auto Image Align when handholding the camera and shooting a sequence for HDR processing. If the camera is mounted on a tripod, it’s better to disable the auto alignment feature. Resulting images may be a little cropped when using auto alignment as each shot is moved slightly when lined up. Q PhotoPlus February 2014 | 39
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  • Sharpen your skills with our expert guides Skills ONLINE VIDEO To view our videos, click on the ‘Watch the Video’ badges that WATCH appear THE VIDEO alongside the tutorials. Everything you need to perfect your photos Hollie Latham Staff writer Welcome... T he days are short at this time of year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t as many photo opportunities as in sunnier months – so why not use the longer nights to your advantage and try shooting light trails? With the evening rush hour coinciding with nightfall, there’s plenty of traffic on the roads to provide ample light sources for your dramatic slow-shutterspeed shots. We explain all the shooting and processing techniques you’ll need in this issue’s Masterclass (page 68). We continue our kit lens series, and show you how to use the humble 18-55mm lens that came with your camera for architectural shots (page 44). We also take a closer look at the Elements toolbar (page 64), show you how to master the Lasso and Marquee tools (page 66), and look how to perform basic edits in Adobe Camera Raw (page 48). And for something completely different, we’ll teach you the art of ‘hyperlapse’ – a time-lapse with added movement (page 50). PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS/CS/CC The latest versions of Photoshop Elements, CS and CC have significant differences from previous versions, with a redesigned interface and major changes to the way Adobe Camera Raw works. We are now producing most of our tutorials with these newer versions, and while it’s possible to follow the lessons in older versions with a little adaptation, we recommend upgrading. OUR VIDEO GUIDES FOLLOW OUR NEW TUTORIALS IN PRINT AND VIDEO NEW PROJECTS! PROJECT Shoot architecture 44 Kit lens series part 3: PROJECT Elements part Basic hyperlapse movie tools in Elements 48 Raw inedits in ACR 1: 50 Create an amazing 64 Choosing and using MASTERCLASS and Marquee tools 66 Master the Lasso traffic trails in the ‘blu 68 Capture e hour’
  • Skills Architectural photography Your guide Claire Gillo MASTER YOUR KIT LENS: PART 3 Shoot architecture with your kit lens Get great shots of buildings and industrial landscapes with a 18-55mm lens Checklist What you’ll need • Kit lens (18-55mm)• Tripod • Photoshop Elements How long it’ll take Half a day The skills you’ll learn How to use leading lines to create a strong composition How to shoot in Raw using the Monochrome picture style How to convert your image to black and white in Elements 44 | PhotoPlus February 2014 I n the third part of our series on getting great images with your 18-55mm kit lens, we’re going to show you how to shoot architecture. We’ve chosen an industrial scene for our shoot, but the techniques will work for all kinds of buildings and other structures, both old and modern. The main thing to be aware of when you’re shooting architecture is lens distortions. All lenses produce distortions to some extent, but the effects are more obvious in architectural shots because they generally contain lots of straight lines. Your kit lens won’t control distortions as well as more expensive zoom or prime lenses, so for the best results you should avoid the extremes of the focal range – wide settings will introduce barrel distortion, which causes straight lines to bow outwards, while narrow settings can create pincushion distortion, where lines bow inwards. You’ll also want to minimise perspective distortion or ‘converging verticals’. This occurs when you angle your lens upwards to shoot tall buildings from close up, and while it isn’t caused directly by your lens – you’d see a similar effect with the naked eye – lenses exaggerate the effect, particularly at wider zoom settings. We’ll show you how to process your Raw image in ACR, and then convert it to black and white in Elements to emphasise the dramatic shapes and textures.
  • WATCH THE VIDEO Claire Gillo http:/ / PhotoPlus February 2014 | 45
  • Skills Architectural photography Phrase Book Tilt-shift lenses Tilt-shift lenses are designed to equip a D-SLR with some of the adjustments facilitated by largeformat cameras. The shift adjustment can be used to correct perspective distortion, and the tilt adjustment to alter the plane of focus; aligning the plane to the length of a receding subject ensures the subject is in focus along its entire length, even at wide aperture settings. Canon currently offers four tilt and shift (T-SE) lenses: 17mm, 24mm, 45mm and 90mm; they don’t come cheap however, starting at around £1,100. Compose and focus Location and position For our shoot we chose cranes on Bristol’s historic harbourside. When you’re looking for a location you need to think carefully about where to set up your camera; if you’re shooting tall buildings, to avoid perspective distortion move further back and look for a higher vantage point, rather than shooting close up at your lens’s widest setting and with the camera angled upwards. For our shot we concentrated on the form and structure of the cranes, and used the train tracks and the railings on the platform as leading lines. Focus the shot manually, using Live View to ensure that key details are sharp. We timed our shot to coincide with the train pulling away from the platform, so we could capture the steam to add interest to the image. Raw adjustments Shooting settings Super Tip! If you’re not able to avoid capturing a shot with ‘converging verticals’ you can correct the distortion in Elements using the Correct Camera Distortion filter, by dragging the Vertical Perspective slider left to straighten the vertical lines. When you do this, however, you’ll lose information from the top and sides of the image, so you’ll need to plan ahead and leave space around a subject if you don’t want to lose the top of a church spire, for example. 46 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Set your camera up on a tripod. As we want to keep the detail in our scene sharp from front to back select Aperture Priority (Av) mode, set the aperture to f/16 for a broad depth of field and set the ISO to 100 for maximum quality; the camera will set the shutter speed automatically for a good exposure. Mono preview Choose the Raw quality setting, and select the Monochrome picture style so that you can see how the image looks in black and white; as long as you shoot Raw, the picture style won’t be applied to the file when you open it in Elements, so you’ll be able to convert it using the colour information; if you shoot JPEGs the style will be applied, and can’t be changed. Open the start file in ACR. To straighten the image, select the Straighten tool and draw a line along the horizontal line halfway up the foreground crane, then right-click inside the crop box, select the 2 to 3 ratio and adjust the crop for a tighter composition. Hit Enter to level and crop the image. Set Exposure to +0.15, Highlights to -25 to recover the highlights, and Shadows to +12 to bring out shadow detail. Set Clarity to +25 to enhance the midtone contrast. Convert to black and white Click Open Image to open the image in Elements’ Expert/Full Edit mode, and press Ctrl+J to copy the ‘Background’ layer. Go to Enhance > Convert to Black and White, select the Infrared preset to create a mono image with plenty of contrast, and click OK. Next we’ll remove most of the people from the scene. Download project files from:
  • Next issue Shoot perfect pet portraits with your kit lens Super Tip! Clone away the people Select the Clone Stamp tool, and carefully clone out the most prominent figures using suitable areas of detail, Alt-clicking to sample pixels. To clone out the top half of the man taking a photo in the bottom-left of the shot, for example, sample the grey pier and red doors from just above him. Adjustment layers Next we’ll use adjustment layers to tweak the exposure and contrast in different areas, using layer masks to hide and reveal the effects. To boost the contrast in the steam, add a Levels adjustment layer and set the Shadows slider to 20, Midtones to 0.71 and Highlights to 250. Click the layer mask, press Ctrl+I to invert it from white to black and hide the effect, then take the Brush tool and paint over the steam with a white brush at 50% opacity to reveal the adjustment. Add a tint Add a third Levels layer to boost the overall contrast, setting the Shadows slider to 14 and the Highlights slider to 231. Next add a Photo Filter adjustment layer to apply a warm tint to the image; leave the Filter option set to Warming Filter (85), and increase Density to 50%. Blend the layer Change the layer’s blending mode to Overlay to boost the contrast, and reduce the opacity of the layer to 28% to tone down the effect. Target the layer mask, and paint over the darker parts of the image with a black brush at 50% opacity to reduce the effect a bit more. Next target the top layer in the stack, and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create a merged layer. Dodge and burn Lighten the building Add another Levels adjustment layer, and this time set Shadows to 20, Midtones to 1.49 and Highlights to 251. Invert the layer mask as before, and paint over the building on the left with a white brush at 50% opacity to lighten it and boost the contrast. The sky in our image is fairly flat, so select the Clone Stamp tool, set its opacity to 50%, Alt-click to sample parts of the steam cloud and clone the steam over the sky. To finish off use the Dodge and Burn tools to lighten and darken areas to enhance the contrast and emphasise particular features. Set the Exposure for both tools to 10% so you can build up the effect gradually, and select the tonal range you want to lighten or darken from the Range menu. Q When you’re using the Clone Stamp tool you can display a preview of the sampled pixels to help you align them with surrounding detail. Click the Clone Overlay button in the Options panel, tick Show Overlay, and tick the Clipped option so the preview is only visible within the brush tip. If you don’t enable the Clipped option you’ll see a floating duplicate of the entire layer after you’ve sampled pixels – this can be useful in some situations if you reduce the opacity of the overlay, but it makes retouching smaller areas difficult. Phrase Book Picture styles For our shoot we’re simply using the Monochrome picture style on our D-SLR to preview the scene in black and white, and converting the image to mono in Elements. If you want to try out all of Canon’s picture styles post-shoot, and adjust the settings for different styles, such as contrast and colour saturation, you’ll need to process your Raw file in Canon Digital Photo Professional, which comes with your camera. ACR includes emulations of some Canon picture styles in the Camera Calibration panel, but not Monochrome. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 47
  • Skills Elements Essentials WATCH THE VIDEO RAW IN ELEMENTS: PART 1 Basic edits in ACR Process your Canon Raw files in Photoshop Elements’ built-in digital darkroom, the Camera Raw editor http:/ / Your guide George Cairns W e generally recommend you shoot Raw files on your Canon D-SLR, for maximum image quality and flexibility at the editing stage. Raw files contain much more brightness and colour information than JPEGs, and this enables you to recover detail in blown-out highlights or underexposed shadows that would be lost if you shot JPEGs. Before you can edit Raw (.CR2) files in Elements’ main editor, or print and share them, you need to process them in a program such as Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) or Canon’s Digital Photo Professional. In this new series we’ll show you how to process Raw shots in ACR, starting with a look at its key tools and features. The Camera Raw toolbar DNG file Zoom tool The Basic panel Tabs & panels Histogram White Balance Our start image has been saved as a digital negative file (DNG, which is Adobe’s standardised Raw format), so it will open in Elements’ Camera Raw editor by default. You can zoom into a shot by clicking, or clicking-and-dragging, with the Zoom tool; hold down Alt and click to zoom out. If the Hand tool is active, hold down Ctrl to toggle the Zoom tool. The Basic panel contains tonal and colour adjustment tools, and Detail contains noiseremoval and sharpening tools. Camera Calibration enables you to emulate Canon picture styles. Just like the histogram on your D-SLR, this graph shows the spread of tonal information in an image, from shadows at the left, through the midtones to highlights on the right. Use the menu to change the White Balance preset you chose in-camera. You can use the Temperature slider to warm up or cool down a shot, or Tint to remove or add magenta or green. Crop tool Straighten tool Red Eye Removal Exposure Shadows Vibrance To level a tilted shot, draw along a line that should be vertical or horizontal and hit Enter; the image will be levelled and cropped in one go. To remove red-eye caused by your camera’s flash, click once on a pupil, or click-anddrag to draw a selection around the entire eye. The Exposure slider enables you to lighten or darken a shot as if you were applying exposure compensation in camera – the scale is calibrated in f/stops. Drag Shadows right to lighten shadows without altering brighter tones; if you lose contrast in the shadows, drag Blacks left to darken the darkest tones. The Vibrance slider enables you to boost the saturation of the weaker colours in your images without oversaturating stronger colours or skin tones. Right-click on your image to choose a crop ratio, draw a crop and hit Enter to apply it. You can modify a crop at any time by selecting the Crop tool again. 48 | PhotoPlus February 2014 White balance tool You can remove a colour cast by clicking on a tone that should be white or neutral grey with this tool; the colours throughout the image will be adjusted.
  • Photoshop Elements STEP BY STEP Enhance a Raw image with ACR Phrase Book Settings menu Open in ACR Clarity for contrast Open the start file in Elements. As the file is a .dng (Digital Negative, which is Adobe’s standardised Raw format) it will open in the Camera Raw editor by default. The Basic tab is where you make your exposure, colour and contrast adjustments. All the sliders are set to 0 by default; drag a slider right to lighten tones or intensify an effect, or left to darken tones or reduce an effect. The clouds are mostly flat-lit midtones, so look rather bland. By dragging the Clarity slider right to around +40 you can increase the contrast between the midtones, to tease out texture and detail – this also brings out detail in the sand and rocks, and gives the shot more impact. When editing portraits you can use a negative Clarity value to smooth a subject’s skin. Level and crop Vibrance and Saturation The horizon in our image is tilted. To level the shot, take the Straighten tool from the toolbar, click-and-drag to draw a line along the horizon, and hit Enter to apply – the image will be levelled and cropped in one go. You can also level an image ‘by eye’, by drawing a crop box with the Crop tool and then clicking-and-dragging outside the box to rotate it. Our start image looks a little flat and drab, so drag the Saturation slider right to +10 to give the colours a boost. To give the image’s paler tones a further boost without oversaturating the stronger colours, set Vibrance to +55. Click the Preview box at the top of the interface to compare the edited image with the original. Lighten the shadows Close the file Our shot lacks detail in the darker midtones, but if we increased the Exposure value to lighten those tones we’d also blow out the brightest highlights, which at the moment are well exposed. To lighten just the shadows, without affecting either the brighter tones or the very darkest tones, move the Shadows slider right, to around +50. After processing a Raw file, you can click Done to save the image with the new ACR adjustment settings; you can then reopen the image at any time to fine-tune your adjustments. If you want to continue editing an image in Elements’ Full Edit/Expert mode, using tools such as adjustment layers and filters that aren’t available in ACR, click Open Image. Q The Settings menu, which you open by clicking the menu icon to the right of the tabs, enables you to quickly compare different sets of adjustments. Image Settings reverts you to the settings that were applied to a shot when you opened it (which will be the Camera Raw defaults if you’ve opened an image for the first time). Camera Raw Defaults returns you to the default settings after you’ve made changes. Previous Conversion applies the settings from the Raw image you last worked on in ACR, so it’s handy for a batch of similar shots. ‘Custom Settings’ reapplies the last settings you configured yourself. Download start image at: Super Tip! The Clarity slider is a great tool for adding punch to images that contain lots of texture and detail, but which don’t have much contrast. Rather than simply increasing contrast between the lightest and darkest tones like the Contrast slider, it boosts the contrast between the midtones in areas of detail. It’s perfect for bringing out the textures in the rocks in our image, and it also works well for stonework, foliage, or for ‘character’ portraits of older subjects. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 49
  • Jack Fisher Skills Create a hyperlapse! WATCH THE VIDEO http:/ / Your guide Jack Fisher PROJECT Create a hyperlapse! Master the shooting skills and editing techniques you’ll need to create a stunning time-lapse movie, using tracking shots for extra dynamism A time-lapse is essentially a sequence of photos taken at regular intervals and then compiled into a movie to create the effect of speeding up time. Typical time-lapses may show a flower blooming over the course of a couple of minutes, or an entire day compressed into a few seconds. A hyperlapse takes things a step further. It’s a form of time-lapse photography, but rather than the camera remaining stationary its position is changed between each exposure to create a tracking shot, giving the movie a dynamic sense of movement. This added dimension naturally means more work, both to capture the shots and create the movie, than for a standard time-lapse. In this tutorial I’ll show you the techniques I used to achieve the long tracking shots in my hyperlapse film Bath in Motion (see Such a movie takes many weeks to plan, shoot and edit, so to keep things simple I’ll show you how to create a short hyperlapse sequence. My post-production workflow is to batchedit the Raw files in Adobe Lightroom, and then assemble the time-lapse in a specialist application called LRTimelapse. I then use STEP BY STEP Plan, shoot and edit a hyperlapse Checklist What you’ll need Tripod • variable ND filter • remote shutter release • Google Picasa • Adobe After Effects How long it’ll take One day The skills you’ll learn How to plan a hyperlapse and shoot the component images How to combine the individual shots into a movie How to smooth out your movie in Adobe After Effects 50 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Plan the sequence Work out the path you want the hyperlapse to follow (flat ground will make it easier to stabilise your sequence). It can be helpful to mark out the path using features, such as bricks or paving slabs, to keep a consistent interval between camera movements for smooth sequences; alternatively, use chalk and a rope marked every metre or so to draw a path on the ground for the hyperlapse to follow. You can then align your tripod’s legs on the path after each camera movement. Work out the intervals Next you need to determine the distance interval between each shot. This can be as small as 10cm and as big as 10m, depending on how far away you are from the main subject, and how much time you have; it’s safer to underestimate, and use smaller intervals. If you’re no more than a couple of hundred metres from the main subject, the 50-100cm interval usually produces nice smooth results. Download project files from:
  • Adobe After Effects Super Tip! Adobe After Effects to smooth out the video, and Final Cut Pro to add the final bells and whistles – linking sequences, adding music and subtitles, and so on. All these programs are available as free trials if you want to give them a go, but the only essential is After Effects, for its Warp Stabiliser feature (see Step 9). For simplicity, I’ve based this tutorial on Google’s free Picasa editor (picasa., which has a Time Lapse feature, and I’ve processed the Raw files and converted them to JPEGs. A final word of advice: hyperlapse is a tricky art to master, and takes a lot of trial and error to get right – so be prepared to fail before you get a truly pleasing result. Choose an anchor point Camera settings Anchor points are reference points for aligning your shots as you move the camera; for example, the top of a flagpole. Use Live View mode, and line up the point with one of the cross-points on the Live View grid. If this isn’t possible, use a tiny piece of Blu Tack on the LCD as the reference point. The stabilising process can crop 10-25% into the frame, so it’s best to use wider focal lengths and stand further back – but don’t shoot below 24mm, as it’s hard to stabilise ultra-wide shots. We need full control over the exposure so the camera doesn’t alter settings; if it does, you’ll get unwanted flickering in the final movie. Select Manual mode, and set the drive mode to One Shot. Set ISO to 100 and set a narrow aperture, around f/16, for a good depth of field. A shutter speed of between 1/60 and 1/2 sec gives a nice motion blur effect; a variable ND filter is useful for consistent exposures. Disable image stabilisation, and manually focus using Live View. The time it takes to create a hyperlapse is divided between the planning, shooting and postprocessing stages; it can be done in as little as an afternoon, but can take much longer. My Bath in Motion film comprises over 30 sequences and several thousand stills, and took threeand-a-half months to complete! Scout locations beforehand; look for flat areas so that you won’t have to adjust the legs of your tripod for every exposure, and walk your intended routes to check for potential problems before you turn up with your kit. How long it takes to shoot a sequence depends on how much ground you want to physically cover, and the interval/distance you leave between each shot and camera movement, but you can reckon on between 45 minutes and four hours. Post-production will take another couple of hours (this is a processor-intensive task, and dependent on the speed of your computer), with a whole lot of waiting for your movie to render. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 51
  • Skills Create a hyperlapse! Phrase Book Warp Stabiliser Moving your tripod between shots means you’ll end up with shaky footage that’s likely to induce motion sickness in viewers! After Effects’ Warp Stabiliser analyses your footage, and smooths it out by rotating each frame so key features line up. However, as each shot is rotated this creates uneven edges; these are cropped out of the frame, which can lose 10-25%. That’s why you should shoot wider than you think you need too when framing your sequence. As in stills photography, shooting Raw offers quality advantages over JPEGs, enabling you to fine-tune the exposure until it’s spot-on. Obviously it would be enormously time-consuming to edit each Raw file in a sequence of hundreds, but Adobe Lightroom has superb batchediting features; just edit one shot, then apply the settings to all your other shots. While I prefer to work with full-resolution Raw files, these will eat up memory card space and increase the processing time, so you may want to use medium- or lowresolution JPEGs while you’re honing your skills. 52 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Import into After Effects Take a shot using a remote release, then move your tripod and camera the determined distance, lining up two of the tripod legs so they’re on the line you want to track. Align your reference crosshair or Blu Tack with your selected anchor point, and take another shot. Repeat these steps – you’ll want at least 200 frames for a sequence. To create the finished movie we play these frames back at 25 frames per second, so every 25 shots equates to one second of footage. Open After Effects and select Create A New Composition. Choose the setting to correspond to your saved video file: Frame Rate 25fps and Quality 1080 in our case; the other default settings are fine. It’s best to give this file the same name as your original file and append IS (for image stabilisation). Import your video file – it will pop up on the left of the screen – and drag it into the Composition bar in the bottom quarter. Import into Picasa Super Tip! Shooting the sequence Warp Stabiliser Import your photos to your computer, and put them in a folder. Open Picasa, and import the images via the Import button at the top-left of the screen. Once the images have loaded, locate the folder in the panel on the left-hand side of the screen and click the Create Movie Presentation button – the icon is located just above your images, next to the Share button, and looks like a piece of film. Go to Effects > Distort > Warp Stabiliser. This will take a few minutes to adjust and straighten each frame, and the results are quite incredible. If your shot is still a little jerky you can adjust the smoothness of the Warp Stabiliser; the default is 50%, and you can go higher than 100% if necessary, but note that increasing the Warp Stabiliser smoothness also increases the crop factor applied to your hyperlapse. Create the time-lapse Assemble your hyperlapse In the window that opens, select Time Lapse from the Transition Style drop-down menu, and set Slide Duration to 1/25 Sec. Now set the dimensions of your hyperlapse. I usually opt for the highest quality settings of 1920x1080 (1080p); however, in order for our sample images to be a manageable size we’ve resized them to 720x405 pixels. Click Create Movie to assemble your sequence of shots into a movie file. Your hyperlapse is now ready to be stabilised. When you have several sequences ready to combine into a movie you’ll need video software such as Final Cut Pro or Premiere Elements. The Zoom effect is useful for linking clips; the shot of the Royal Crescent in the Bath in Motion film, for example, is two separate hyperlapses; one shot from close up and the other from further back. The clip shot from further back forms the first half of the sequence, with a Zoom transition to the close-up hyperlapse of the Crescent. Q
  • EE T! FR -OU LL PU Your essential guide Baby, it’s cold outside… stay warm indoors and discover the joys of capturing amazing close-up photos with your Canon D-SLR
  • Simple indoor setups How to set up and shoot creative still life photos Welcome to your free guide to Creative Close-up Photography. Over the following pages we’ll inspire you to see great shots in the simplest or smallest of things. Close-up and macro photography is a hugely enjoyable pastime and can be hugely rewarding as you’re in complete control of your setups and subjects. For the artistic photo of this single rose, we’ve simply positioned the rose in vase on a table next to a large window for some soft, natural light. For all your close-up shots we suggest you use a tripod; it makes it easier to compose your shots, whether moving your still life subjects or your camera, plus regardless of shutter speeds, you’ll get sharp shots. We’ve used a standard zoom lens – a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – which has enabled us to focus closely, and proves that you don’t need a macro lens for close-ups! By positioning it a good metre or so from the wall in the background, we’ve ensured the flower stands out nicely from its surroundings. Setup and composition Manually focus Image colours We’ve used a vertical composition, which complements our tall flower. As aperture choice is a priority for close-up photography, we’re using Av mode for all of our setups in this guide. Here we’ve used an aperture of f/11 to make sure the majority of the rose head is sharp. As we were focusing so closely, and were shooting slightly down on the flower, this has meant that anything behind the rose and its stem has dropped out of focus nicely. Using Live View, we positioned the focusing square over the top of petals, zooming in for a 10x view and manually focusing (MF on the lens) for a sharp shot. Live View is the still-life photographers’ best friend as it means you can compose your shot, focus accurately and set the exposure – all before firing the shutter! To avoid camera shake we used the 2-sec Self-timer drive mode, which fires the shutter two seconds after pressing the shutter release. We wanted to avoid the cool wintry tones that our camera was capturing using Auto white balance, so we used the Daylight white balance setting to warm up the colours and tones. Picture styles can really boost your photos in-camera – we used the Landscape setting for greener and more saturated results. In Photoshop, we boosted the saturation of the colours and the contrast, and added a vignette to add an artistic feel to the shot.
  • Exposure: 0.3 secs at f/11; ISO100 Lens: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
  • Lighten up images How to make home-made reflectors Making your own macro home studio is a cinch as you don’t need a lot of expensive lighting; simply set up your camera on a table next to a window and use a reflector positioned on the other side of the table to bounce daylight onto the subject. You don’t need to buy a reflector for this sort of small-scale work either; a piece of creased tinfoil or a simple white envelope will do the trick. REFLECTOR Using a reflector TOR NO REFLEC It’s subtle, but it makes all the difference: using a reflector can fill in the shadows for a brighter result Knock up a reflector Diffuse the light Magnify the image While a folding fabric reflector makes sense for portraits, it’s cumbersome when working with subjects just a few centimetres in size. It’s easy to make your own – scrunch up a sheet of tinfoil, then flatten it out; the wrinkled surface scatters the light, making it easier to work with than the harsh reflection produced by a straight sheet of foil. A piece of white card bounces a surprising amount of light onto a subject, although you’ll need to hold it fairly close. Bright, overcast days provide a soft illumination that’s perfect for revealing fine detail. The sun streaming through the window can create distracting shadows, and while a reflector can brighten these areas up, it’s unlikely to remove them entirely. You can buy a diffuser – simply hold it between the light and subject in order to soften the light – although you can go the DIY route here too. Simply Blu Tack sheets of tracing paper to the glass. It’s not pretty, but it works… Focusing is critical when shooting close ups as the depth of field (the zone that appears sharp) can be measured in millimetres. For precise, consistent focus, use Live View, position the focus point on the image and tap the magnifying glass button to make that section fill the screen. Tapping once gives 5x magnification, tapping again gives 10x magnification. Now, with your lens set to manual focus (MF) turn the focus ring until the small details pop into focus.
  • Exposure: 5 secs at f/16; ISO400 Lens: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
  • Abstract macro Make small objects look big! One of the great benefits of using a dedicated macro lens is being able to capture true close-ups of small items to reveal a unique perspective. We resisted the urge to show the full shape of this wonderful sea urchin shell, instead focusing closely to show off its miniscule details and shape in a different, more abstract light. Printing your close-up shot big (such as at A3 size) so that subjects appear larger than life will amplify this effect even more. Learn how your aperture choice, when shooting closely with a macro lens, will really affect the depth of focus, and how dark backgrounds instantly change the look of your photos…
  • Exposure: 1 sec at f/11; ISO100 Lens: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Light & shade See how a black background and reflector compared to white alters the shadows and the shell’s threedimensional feel WHITE BACKDROP + REFLECTOR BLACK BACKDROP + REFLECTOR f/2.8 f/32 Improvise with props! Apertures Live on your screen For this close-up we wanted to use something black as a background, and found a childÕs pirate hat to be perfect! We could sit the shell in it, which not only meant that the hole in the shell and any background on show is black, but also ensured the Ôdark-side of the shellÕ is in shadow. As well as affecting the shadows, the black background has also turned a simple sea shell into something abstract, resembling a red planet in deep space! Again we used a simple setup of window light to our left, but used a 100mm macro lens to focus really closely. When focusing so close, your aperture will have an exaggerated effect on depth of field. Using a wide aperture of f/2.8 will capture just millimetres in focus, whereas a narrow aperture of f/32 will capture more of your tiny subject sharply. An aperture of f/11 kept enough of our shell in focus, with sharpness fading nicely into the blackness. As weÕve said, focusing is what makes the difference between a winning macro shot and a reject. Get into the habit of using a tripod and Live View, zooming in 10x, and manually focusing carefully. A minute turn of the focus ring will radically change which part remains sharp, even when shooting at around f/11 or f/16. We often find it easier to focus approximately, then moving the object very slightly closer to or further from the lens until weÕre happy.
  • Exposure: 0.3 secs at f/2.8; ISO100 Lens: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Brilliant bokeh Learn to get creative with fairy lights and depth of field ‘Bokeh’ photography is a popular style for shooting portraits. It gets its name from the Japanese word used to describe the look and feel of the out-of-focus areas in a picture, and in particular the way that bright highlights are rendered as soft, glowing discs. Used judiciously, it can give shots of people a professional sheen – but it’s also a great way to add an extra touch of class to your close-up photography, too. Use a fast lens Check the depth Change the aperture To capture the best bokeh, you’ll need a lens with a large maximum aperture, which is why a macro lens, such as Canon’s 100mm f/2.8 Macro, is ideal for this technique. To set the scene, you’ll need a string of lights, a background to support them on, and enough working space so you can position the subject a reasonable distance from the background and fairly close to the camera. The bigger the lights, the further away they’ll need to be. Focusing on the subject causes the background to be thrown out focus, causing the lights to transform into glowing orbs. But because the image is displayed at the widest available aperture, Live View may not give a true representation of what will be sharp and what will be blurred. To check this, press the depth of field preview button on the front of the camera to ‘stop down’ the lens to the aperture that will be used when the picture is taken. The widest aperture produces the biggest bokeh, and usually it’s worth sacrificing depth of field in order to achieve this effect. A narrower aperture makes more of the subject appear sharp; here, an f/8 aperture makes the car appear crisper, but the lights are smaller and have lost their smooth circular quality. Once you’re happy with the choice of aperture, switch off the room lights and use a torch, lamp or off-camera flash to light the subject. Q
  • Skills Elements Essentials GUIDE TO ELEMENTS: PART 3 WATCH THE VIDEO http:/ / NESTED TOOLS Related tools, such as the three Lasso tools and the Dodge, Burn and Sponge tools, are nested together in a single compartment; where this is the case you’ll see an arrow at the top-right of the displayed icon. If the tool you want isn’t visible, click the displayed tool and then select the tool you want in the Options panel. TOOL TIPS These labels appear when you hover your cursor over a tool or setting. They enable you to identify tools, and give you information about settings, menus and other features. COLOUR SWATCHES By default, the foreground colour is set to black and the background colour is set to white – these are the colours that will be applied by the Brush tool, Gradient tool and other painting tools. If you want to choose a different colour, click on a swatch to open the Colour Picker. Hit D to reset the colour swatches to the defaults. Choosing and using tools in Elements Find out how to select and configure the powerful image-editing tools in Photoshop Elements 64 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Your guide George Cairns P hotoshop Elements contains dozens of tools that you can use to correct and enhance your images. You can access all of these tools when you’re in the Full Edit/Expert editing mode, via the Tools panel at the left-hand side of the interface; you can also use a limited number of tools in the Quick and Guided editing modes. The tools are divided into five groups to make it easier to find the one you
  • Photoshop Elements TOOL OPTIONS This panel contains sliders, buttons and menus for changing how a tool behaves. Among other things you can change the brush size for brush-based tools, adjust the opacity of painting and retouching tools, and choose whether a selection tool adds pixels to a selection or subtracts pixels from it. ZOOM AND HAND TOOLS Rather than clicking these tools to select them, it’s easier to use keyboard shortcuts: hold down Ctrl+Spacebar to zoom in, Alt+Spacebar to zoom out, and Spacebar to scroll an image. HIDE THE PANEL Click this arrow to hide the Options panel and see more of your image; click the Tool Options icon at bottomright to show it again. Super Tip! You can quickly select the tool you want, or cycle between related tools, by pressing the corresponding shortcut key on your keyboard. To select the Move tool, for example, press V, or to select the Brush tool press B. The shortcut for the Dodge, Burn and Sponge tools is O, so if you want to select one of those tools press O until the tool you want is highlighted in the Options and Tools panels. If nothing happens when you hit a shortcut key go to Edit > Preferences > General, and disable the Use Shift Key for Tool Switch option. Understanding brush-based tools Brushes can be used for painting, retouching, and creating selections want fast: View, Select, Enhance, Draw and Modify. The Select section contains tools that you can use to select part of an image in order to apply localised adjustments – we’ll take a closer look at some of these tools in the following tutorial. The Enhance section includes retouching tools such as the Clone Stamp tool and Spot Healing Brush, which you can use to do everything from cleaning up blemishes on a portrait image to removing people or objects from shots completely, and the Dodge and Burn tools, which you can use to lighten or darken particular parts of an image to improve contrast. The Draw tools include the Brush tool, which you can use to both paint colour onto an image and to hide or reveal pixels when you’re editing a layer mask, and the Gradient tool, which is handy for quickly boosting the colours of skies, for example. The Crop and Straighten tools are found in the Modify section of the Tools panel. Once you’ve selected a tool you can modify the way that it behaves using the Tool Options panel at the bottom of the workspace. Check out our annotated guides to discover the key settings and features of both the Tools panel and the Tool Options panel. Q Many of Elements’ tools are brush-based, such as the Selection Brush tool [1] and Spot Healing Brush tool, as well as the Brush tool itself, and these tools have similar editable settings in the Tool Options bar. You can change the shape and texture of the brush tip by clicking on the Brush Preset picker [2]; scroll down through the various tips, and click on a tip preview [3] to modify the active tool. When using a brush-based selection tool, you can click these buttons [4] to make the tool add to or subtract from your initial selection. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 65
  • Skills Elements Essentials George Cairns WATCH THE VIDEO ADVANCED EDITS: PART 1 http:/ / Master the Lasso and Marquee tools Create simple selections fast so that you can apply localised adjustments M ost of Photoshop Elements’ tools and menu commands will change the colours and tones in an entire image, or enable you to copy and paste every pixel in a shot, for example. However, sometimes you’ll want to make localised adjustments to particular parts of an image, and in order to do this you’ll need to make a selection and/or create a layer mask. In this tutorial we’re going to show you how to master the Marquee and Lasso tools, which enable you to make selections by drawing a ‘marquee’. The most basic of these tools are the Elliptical and Rectangular Marquee tools, which share a compartment in the Tools panel. You can use these to make quick and simple selections, or combine them to select more complex shapes. There are three Lasso tools, which enable you to draw irregular-shaped selections. The most basic of these is the Lasso tool itself: you can draw selection marquees freehand with this tool, so it’s handy for making rough-and-ready selections. If you want to select a building or other object with straight sides you can use the Polygonal Lasso tool; to use this you click to place anchor points that are joined by straight lines. For more complex outlines you’ll need to reach for the Magnetic Lasso tool, which enables you to draw a selection that ‘snaps’ to contrasting edges. Let’s put some of these selection tools through their paces… STEP BY STEP Make and modify simple selections Checklist What you’ll need Photoshop Elements How long it’ll take 15 minutes The skills you’ll learn How to make selections using the Lasso and Marquee tools How to modify the shape and edge hardness of selections How to select complex outlines with the Magnetic Lasso tool 66 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Marquee selections Open the start image in Elements, and click the Elliptical Marquee tool’s icon in the Tools panel; if it’s not visible, click the Rectangular Marquee, then click the Elliptical Marquee icon in the Options panel. You can also toggle between the Marquee tools by pressing M on your keyboard. Click-and-drag to draw an elliptical marquee around the boat’s ID number. Transform the selection Click-and-drag inside a marquee to move it, or tap the cursor keys on your keyboard to make precise adjustments. To adjust the shape of the ellipse go to Select > Transform Selection. You can squash or stretch the marquee by dragging the box handles; this doesn’t alter the selected pixels, just the marquee’s shape. Click the tick or hit Enter to apply the change. Download start image at: Future owns Your guide
  • Photoshop Elements Super Tip! Add and subtract If you click the Add to Selection button in the Options panel, or hold down Shift, a ‘+’ symbol will appear by the cursor – you can then draw a new marquee to add to the selection. If you click the Subtract from Selection button, or hold down Alt, a ‘-’ symbol will appear, and you can then draw marquees that will be subtracted from your original selection. Change the colours Go to Enhance > Adjust Colour > Adjust Hue/ Saturation, and drag the Master Hue slider to -45 to change the colours within the selection marquee without altering the colours in the rest of the shot. The animated selection marquee can be distracting if you’re editing close to the edges, so press Ctrl+H to hide the ‘marching ants’ while keeping the selection active – this makes it easier to see how the edited pixels are blending in with their surroundings. Feather and fill By default, the Marquee tools create selections with a hard edge. Softening the edge helps you blend edited or copied pixels with adjacent pixels, and this process is called feathering. You can set a Feather value using the slider in the Options panel before you draw a marquee, or go to Select > Feather after drawing a marquee, and enter a Radius in the dialog. To hide the number, take the Colour Picker tool and click to sample the boat’s hull colour. Go to Edit > Fill Selection, choose Foreground Colour and click OK. Lasso a selection Press Ctrl+D to deselect the selection. Next take the Lasso tool (as before, if a different Lasso tool is displayed, click this and then click the Lasso tool in the Options panel). In the Options panel, set the Feather slider to 35 pixels for a soft edge. Click-anddrag to draw a rough selection marquee around the coloured flotation buoys on the side of the boat. It’s important to understand the difference between moving or transforming a selection marquee to change its shape, and moving or transforming the selected pixels; to transform a selection go to Select > Transform Selection, or right-click on the image and choose that option. To transform the selected pixels go to Image > Transform, or right-click and choose Free Transform. If you want to move a selection marquee, make sure you have a Marquee or Lasso tool selected, and if you want to move the selected pixels use the Move tool. Magnetic selections To make more precise selections, switch to the Magnetic Lasso tool. Set Width to 10 pixels – this setting dictates the distance either side of the cursor within which the Lasso tool will look for edges, so a low setting will prevent the tool from going astray. Set Contrast to 10%, so the tool will detect edges even where the contrast isn’t very strong. Click on the edge of a window and draw around it. Selective adjustment The tool places anchor points as your draw; when you’ve drawn around the window click on the first point to close the selection. Go to Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Levels, and drag the Midtones slider (the middle one below the histogram) right to darken the window. Click OK to apply the adjustment. Q Phrase Book Anchor points As you draw with the Magnetic Lasso tool, the tool places points to anchor the marquee. If the tool goes astray, you can hit the Backspace or Delete key to delete points until you get to the last point that’s placed correctly, and resume drawing from there. If the tool has trouble detecting an edge you can click to place points manually. The tool’s Frequency setting controls how often anchor points are placed – increase the value for lowcontrast edges. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 67
  • Skills Light trails photography Masterclass Your guide Hollie Latham Capture traffic trails Shoot long exposures to capture colourful and dramatic urban light trails Checklist What you’ll need • Wide-angle lens • Tripod • Shutter release How long it’ll take One day The skills you’ll learn How to set up your camera to capture low-light scenes How to shoot long exposures to capture traffic trails Hollie Latham How to combine two exposures using blending modes 68 | PhotoPlus February 2014 W inter may mean shorter days and longer nights, but that’s no reason to go into hibernation with your Canon D-SLR. The earlier sunsets give you the chance to hone your low-light photography skills in the late afternoon and early evening, and in this Masterclass we’re going to show you how to shoot a classic light trails image. For our shoot we headed to Bristol to capture the trails from traffic crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge – you’ll need to pick an urban location with plenty of traffic and an interesting backdrop, but avoid congested areas, as the traffic won’t be moving quickly enough to create long light trails. Shoot with a wide-angle lens, and get down low for added impact. You’ll need a tripod and a shutter too, as you’ll be shooting long exposures. The best time to shoot light trails is just after the sun has set, while there’s still enough light to create inky blue skies but it’s dark enough to capture exposures of at least 5-10 seconds – for elongated beams you may need shutter speeds of 20-30 seconds, depending on how quickly the traffic is moving. Look out for taller vehicles such as lorries and buses, to create some variation in the height of the trails. In the second part of this Masterclass we’ll show you how to process your Raw shots, and how to combine two exposures using blending modes for added impact.
  • Eight budget zoom lenses on test See page 96 WATCH THE VIDEO http:/ / PhotoPlus February 2014 | 69
  • Skills Light trails photography Masterclass STEP BY STEP Set up your D-SLR to capture colourful light trails with a long exposure Location Thorough planning for this type of shoot is vital, as there are lots of things to think about. In order to capture long light trails in different colours you need plenty of moving traffic. Congested areas with traffic lights will mean stop-start traffic, which won’t work as well. Scout potential locations beforehand, and take some test shots to work out the best vantage points. If you’re shooting in a public place with lots of pedestrians be aware of where you set up your tripod. Timing is everything This time of year is ideal for light trails, as it gets dark during rush hour so there’s plenty of traffic about. Arrive before the sun sets to get set up. Start shooting after sunset, during the twilight period, to capture some colour in the sky, and then on into the evening to get a variety of effects. Keep an eye on the traffic flow in both directions, as you want an even amount of light trails from headlights and taillights; you may need to combine two shots if the traffic flow is uneven. 70 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Get set up For this shoot you’ll need a tripod, a wideangle zoom lens for versatility and a shutter release – if you don’t have one you can select the 2-sec self-timer drive mode on your camera. When it comes to setting your tripod up, think safety first, so be aware of oncoming traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. Shooting long exposures can be a lengthy process, so make sure you wrap up warm and bring some gloves, as you’ll be standing still for long periods of time. Long exposure techniques Camera settings Set your camera to Manual mode for full control over the aperture and shutter. Set a narrow aperture of f/16 or f/22 to turn street lights into sparkling stars, and keep your ISO low for high-quality images. Half-press the shutter to meter the scene, then turn the dial to adjust the shutter speed until the exposure indicator is in the middle to obtain a good exposure. Take a few test shots, and tweak settings if required. A tripod is vital for long exposures, as your camera needs to be completely still to eliminate camera shake – with very long exposures, even the simple act of pressing the shutter release can be enough to disturb the camera and cause blurred shots. To combat this problem use a shutter release. If you’re not using Live View it’s also a good idea to enable the Mirror Lockup function, to prevent any vibrations caused by the reflex mirror flipping up. Compose and focus Composing shots in low light conditions can be tricky, so enable Live View mode, as you’ll be able to see the scene more clearly on the rear LCD. This will also help with focusing, as your camera’s autofocus system is likely to struggle if the scene is too dark. Switch your lens to manual focus, zoom the Live View image and scroll to an area of detail, then adjust the focus manually until the image appears perfectly sharp. Another advantage of using Live View is that the mirror is locked up, so vibrations are minimised. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 71
  • Skills Light trails photography Masterclass Phrase Book STEP BY STEP Enhance your light trails image Mirror Lockup This feature locks up the mirror a few seconds before the shutter fires, so that it’s out of the way and the vibrations from its movement have subsided before the exposure starts. When you’ve enabled Mirror Lockup you need to press the shutter release twice – once to raise the mirror and again to take the shot – and touching the camera can also cause camera shake, so Mirror Lockup should be used in conjunction with a remote shutter release. If you use the 2-sec self-timer option instead you only need to press the shutter button once, to both flip up the mirror and take the shot. Process in Raw Tidy up Open the masterclass start files in Camera Raw. Click Select All, and set the Temperature slider to 3300 and Tint to +6 to give the images a cooler cyan tone. Set Highlights to -75 and Whites to -60 to pull back the clipped highlights in the light trails, and set Contrast to +22, Clarity to +19 and Vibrance to +28 to give the shots some extra punch. Click the top layer, and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create a merged layer at the top of the stack; rename this layer ‘cloning’ for reference. Use the Clone Stamp tool to clone out blemishes and distractions such as lens flare and stray branches at the edges of the frame, Alt-clicking to sample adjacent pixels. Next create a new layer, and select the Gradient tool. Open into Elements Add a gradient Select masterclass_start_1.dng image by clicking its thumbnail and set Exposure to +0.20, then select masterclass_start_2.dng and set Exposure to +0.65 and Shadows to +40. Click Select All again, and click Open Images to open all the images in Elements Full Edit/Expert workspace. Click the Edit button in the Options panel and choose Foreground to Transparent, then click the Linear button. Click the foreground swatch in the Tools panel to open the Colour Picker, and click in the sky to sample the blue. Hold down Shift, draw a gradient from the top of the sky to the horizon and set the layer blending mode to Multiply. Add a mask, and remove the blue from the top of the bridge with a black brush. Super Tip! As the light drops during the evening you’ll need to tweak your shooting settings, so a torch will come in handy. Most Canon D-SLRs enable you to illuminate the LCD panel, but a torch is essential for locating other camera settings, finding gear and ensuring you haven’t left anything behind. A head torch is ideal, as you can keep both hands free. 72 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Combine the images Click the masterclass_start_2 tab to select that image. Take the Move tool, click in the image and drag up to the masterclass_start_1 tab to display that image, then hold down Shift to align the images, drag down onto the start_1 image and release the mouse button to add the start_2 image to the start_1 image as a new layer. With the top layer highlighted in the Layers palette, change its blending mode to Lighten. Boost the colours Add a Levels adjustment layer and set Shadows to 8, Midtones to 1.20 and Highlights to 247. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set the Master Saturation to +18, then select Greens and set Hue to +31 and Saturation to +33. Finally select Reds, and set Hue to -4 and Saturation to +33. Download project files at:
  • Get to grips with your new Canon D-SLR See page 31 Phrase Book Lighten mode Enhance the lights Add a vignette Create another merged layer at the top of the stack, then select the Burn tool and set Range to Midtones, Strength to 60% and the brush size to 600px. Brush over the starburst-shaped streetlights, and the lights running up the bridge cable support, to create contrast between the brightest highlights and the surrounding coloured glows. Increase the brush size to 1300px, and brush over the bottom-right corner of the image to darken it. To add a vignette effect go to Filter > Correct Camera Distortion and set Vignette Amount to -57 and Midpoint to +43. Click OK. To fine-tune the overall tones add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and set Brightness to 15 and Contrast to 26. 1 SECOND Using Bulb mode How to shoot super-long exposures When you set a layer to Lighten blending mode, only pixels that are lighter than the corresponding pixels on the layer below will remain visible, and darker pixels will be hidden. In this case, the darker light trails in the top layer are hidden, revealing the brighter trails from the ‘Background’ layer. Multiply mode When you set a layer to Multiply blending mode, the colour values of that layer are multiplied with those of the layer below, which always results in darker colours. 5 SECONDS T he Bulb setting on your D-SLR is vital for night photography, as the slowest shutter speed of 30 seconds may not be long enough for a good exposure. In Bulb mode you can keep the shutter open for as long as you like, enabling you to capture exposures that last for minutes and even hours. You’ll need to use a remote shutter release with Bulb mode, as any contact with the camera can cause camera shake. When you start shooting just after sunset you’ll only need a shutter speed of between 2-5 seconds, and as you move through the twilight period you can experiment with shutter speeds of between 10 and 30 seconds. When the sky turns black you’ll need a shutter speed of between 30 seconds and one minute. The length of your exposure will also depend on the amount of light in your scene from streetlights and buildings, and how fast the traffic is moving. If there’s not much traffic and/or your light trails are too short, set a longer exposure to capture longer trails. 20 SECONDS 60 SECONDS Super Tip! You should always shoot in Raw for high-quality images, and for the maximum flexibility when it comes to processing shots, and rescuing shadow or highlight detail if required. When you’re shooting outdoors in low light it’s even more important that you shoot in Raw, as you’re likely to have to recover clipped highlights in light trails and also adjust the white balance from various artificial light sources. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 73
  • Workshop Welcome to the Canon D-SLR photography service centre PROBLEM #27 Which metering mode should I use on my Canon D-SLR? Master metering to get perfectly exposed images in every situation T aking a photo is often referred to as ‘making an exposure’. This is because when you press the camera’s shutter release button the mirror that reflects the image into the viewfinder flips up out of the way, allowing the imaging sensor to be exposed to light. Another sensor inside the camera, called the metering sensor, is central to this whole operation: it measures the light that’s coming through the lens, ur using the just exposomepensation Ad Exposure C EOS camera’s scale on your trol screen Quick Con and determines how much is needed to produce a well-exposed photo. Of course, you can let your camera do everything and hope it produces the goods – and much of the time it will. However, you’ll often be able to improve things if you get involved in the process, and the first step is to choose the metering mode the camera uses to measure the light. The majority of EOS cameras have four modes: Spot, Partial, Centre-weighted Average and Evaluative, all of which work in the same way: as light is reflected from a scene or Highlight t main dial this icon and turn t differento cycle through th he metering m e odes subject through the lens, it hits the mirror in front of the imaging sensor and is reflected up to the camera’s focusing screen and metering sensor. However, each of these modes takes an exposure reading from a progressively larger part of the frame. As the name suggests, Spot metering offers the most precise metering – anywhere from 1.5%-10% of the total picture area, depending on the camera – while at the other end of the scale, Evaluative metering takes a series of readings in zones that cover the entire frame. Since the launch of the EOS 7D in 2009, Canon has used a 63-zone iFCL (intelligent Focus, Colour and Luminance) metering sensor in almost all of its EOS cameras (the exceptions being the 1-series bodies and the EOS-M). In Evaluative mode, this sensor not only measures the brightness of a scene across all 63 zones, but takes into account colours, and which parts of the scene are in focus. The camera then uses a metering algorithm to determine the combination of aperture, shutter speed and ISO required to make an exposure – and it does all of this in a fraction of a second, before you fully press the shutter release to take the shot. Thrown by the midtones There is one problem with this system. Camera meters are traditionally calibrated around the amount of light reflected by a midtone subject. Point your lens at a midtone scene or subject, such as rolling green landscape or grey stone church, and there’s no problem – the meter can be relied on to give good results. However, if you’re 74 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • “Camera meters EOS D-SLR metering modes are traditionally calibrated around Evaluative the amount of light reflected by a midtone subject” Changing the metering mode (also known as the metering pattern) enables you to control how much of a scene your camera will base its exposure reading on This meters the whole scene, but places greater emphasis on what the camera is focused on. Because the camera effectively applies its own exposure compensation in this metering mode, it can improve your chances of getting a good exposure when you need to grab a shot quickly. taking a shot of a snowy landscape, or a swan flying across a pale sky, the image is likely to come out too dark, or underexposed; this is because the meter interprets a bright subject as being a midtone subject that’s receiving too much light, and as a result it reduces the exposure – that’s why ice-white snow can be recorded as pale grey. The reverse is true of a subject that’s darker than midtone. The meter sees this as midtone subject that isn’t receiving enough light, so it increases the exposure in order to brighten things up. The result is an overexposed picture – black cats appear dark grey and night skies look washed out. All EOS metering modes work on this principle, but Evaluative is an ‘intelligent’ option that analyses a scene and determines whether the sensor needs to capture more or less light to produce a balanced exposure. That’s the theory, anyway, and while Evaluative mode copes well when there’s Centre-weighted Average This is like an old-fashioned Evaluative mode, as the meter reading is taken across the entire frame. The difference here is that it places greater emphasis on subjects in the middle of the picture, and it doesn’t use any exposure compensation – it applies the same averaging pattern to every shot. Partial All current EOS D-SLRs offer this alternative to Spot metering. Partial enables you to take a reading from a very small area in the centre of the frame – from 6.2-10% of the total area, depending on the camera. It’s a slightly larger area than that used by Spot metering, which makes it easier to use. Spot Spot metering only covers the centre AF point and the area immediately surrounding it. It offers pin-point precision when it comes to metering, although you’ll need to be able to judge tones accurately to get the most from it. All current EOS D-SLRs apart from the 1100D offer Spot metering. STEP BY STEP How to meter in Live View Evaluative is the only metering mode that’s available in Live View – here’s how to make the most of it Focus point View the histogram Tweak the exposure Take the shot Evaluative metering is biased towards the focus point, and as you move this around the screen you’ll see the image get brighter when you highlight a dark area, or darker when you highlight a bright area. Pressing INFO reveals the live histogram, enabling you to see how underexposed or overexposed a photo may be before you take the shot. Here, with the focus point on snow, the histogram shows underexposure. By rotating the Quick control dial you can make the exposure brighter (turn the dial right) or darker (turn the dial left) – the on-screen exposure indicator will move right or left as you do so. Here we’ve dialed in one and a third stops of positive compensation to make the snow white – notice that the histogram has shifted to the right. After you take the shot, remember to reset the exposure compensation. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 75
  • How to use Spot and Partial metering Spot and Partial metering enable you to take targeted exposure readings of a subject. This is useful if you’re photographing a small-in-the-frame subject against a very bright or a dark background. Simply point the lens so the centre AF point is positioned over the subject, dab the shutter release to activate the meter and then press the AE (Auto Exposure) Lock button to keep that exposure setting locked in – you’re then free to re-frame the shot for the best composition. Partial is the easiest of the two metering modes to work with, as it meters from a slightly larger area and doesn’t require such pin-point precision as Spot metering. The Spot meter is fixed on the centre AF point, so use the AE Lock button to hold the exposure setting when you recompose the shot. You can change the function of this button – whether you tap it once to lock the exposure, or whether you need to keep it pressed – in the camera menus. Problem: Taking a reading from a dark subject makes the picture too bright Better: Dial in negative compensation, or Spot-meter a midtone instead Using exposure compensation If a picture looks too bright or too dark on the camera’s screen you can use exposure compensation to correct subsequent shots. For cameras with a Quick Control dial, you can simply spin this left or right while the meter is active to make the next shot you take appear darker or brighter; for other EOS bodies, press the button marked ‘+/-’ and turn the main dial. You can also make exposure compensation adjustments in the camera’s red Shooting menu, or on the Quick Control screen. Compensation is applied in 1/3-stop increments by default, although this can be WITHOUT COMPENSATION The bright snow and white sky have reflected lots of light into the lens in this shot, and as a result the camera’s meter has reduced the exposure to bring the scene closer to an overall midtone. Clearly, this is wrong. A check of the histogram confirms that the image contains no highlights (the right-hand side of the graph is empty). 76 | PhotoPlus February 2014 changed to 1/2-stop in the Custom Function menu. When shooting subjects in good light with Evaluative metering you’re likely to find that more precise adjustments are required than when shooting in low light; also, darker subjects generally require less compensation than brighter subjects. Ultimately, it’s down to taste – you might prefer the look of an image that’s darker or brighter than the ‘perfect’ exposure – but it’s better to overexpose an image very slightly (without blowing highlights) than trying to brighten a really underexposed image in software. WITH COMPENSATION By applying a couple of stops of positive exposure compensation, the brightness is restored. The histogram has shifted to the right – the correct place for highlights to register. It’s important, though, not to ‘clip’ the histogram (when the histogram is pushed off the edge of the graph) when you apply compensation, as this means detail will be lost in those areas. Get it right in-camera If you shoot Raw files, you can tweak the exposure of a picture later in Raw conversion software such as Adobe Camera Raw or Canon Digital Photo Professional. However, it’s much better to get an exposure right when you take the shot. Trying to rescue detail in an underexposed shot can exacerbate noise in shadow areas, particularly with images shot at high ISOs. WARE IN SOFT IN CAMERA ‘Pushing’ an underexposed image at the editing stage can degrade picture quality. Get it right in-camera for cleaner, detail-rich results
  • Manual exposure Even if you choose to take control of exposure yourself in Manual mode, the camera’s meter will still guide you to what it determines is the best exposure, using the indicator in the viewfinder or top LCD screen. As you change the aperture, shutter speed or ISO you’ll see the indicator move up and down the scale… Problem: Taking a reading from a white or bright subject makes the picture appear too dark Better: Dial in positive compensation, or Spot meter a midtone instead plenty of light, it can struggle when light levels drop, when a subject is very small in the frame or when backgrounds are very bright or dark. It also uses the AF points in its exposure calculations, giving more emphasis to the point that has achieved focus as well as factoring in those that are almost in focus, and this can cause unexpected results if you lock the focus on a very bright or a very dark subject; the rest of the picture might be underexposed or overexposed as a result. To fix this you can use your camera’s exposure compensation feature – you’ll need to be in one of the Creative Zone exposure modes, such as Aperture Priority or Shutter Problem: None – the exposure appears almost ‘spot on’ Better: Dialling in 1/3 to 2/3 negative exposure compensation can preserve delicate highlight detail Priority, to access it. Exposure compensation enables you to override the metered exposure setting to make a shot brighter or darker than the camera thinks it should be, whether this is to correct an underexposed or overexposed shot, or for creative effect. You can dial in up to +/-5 stops of exposure compensation, and even combine it with Auto Exposure Bracketing to shoot a sequence of pictures at different exposure levels. There are no set rules about how much exposure compensation will be right for a given situation, so review an image after you’ve taken it, check the histogram and adjust the compensation as required. Q If the indicator is dead-centre, the metered subject will be rendered as a midtone in the image If a subject should be brighter than midtone, adjust the exposure so the indicator moves to the right, and vice versa for dark subjects 5 hints and tips for… Kit lenses 1 Go long Kit lenses usually cover a focal length range of 18-55mm. Allowing for the smaller sensors in most EOS D-SLRs, this means the effective range is roughly 28-88mm. Use the long end for flattering portraits. 2 Go wide It’s tempting to simply rack out the lens to its widest setting when photographing a landscape, to squeeze more in. But make sure you include foreground interest, otherwise everything will look too small in the picture. Every month we highlight an EOS camera or type of lens, and provide top tips to help you get more from your gear… 3 Beat the shakes Kit lenses have narrower maximum apertures, which means slower shutter speeds and a risk of camera shake. To avoid this, up the ISO to get a shutter speed faster than the focal length (e.g. 1/20 sec at 18mm). 5 Better focusing 4 Keep it central Avoid placing key parts of a subject or scene towards the edges of the frame, as sharpness tends to drop off noticeably here. For sharp shots, try to place the focal point of the picture towards the centre of the lens. If you find that your kit lens is struggling to focus in low light conditions, manually select your camera’s centre AF point. It’s the most sensitive one your camera offers, and gives faster and more accurate focusing. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 77
  • Claire Gillo Technique editor Peter Travers Editor Adam Waring Operations editor Hollie Latham Staff writer Matthew Richards Technical contributor Our experts tackle your Canon D-SLR and photographic problems CAMERA KIT Which Canon D-SLR should I buy? My new year’s resolution is to get into D-SLR photography. I’ve decided on Canon, but I can’t work out which camera I should go for. What would you suggest? Keith Hooke Norfolk Peter says It’s nice to hear of a new year’s resolution that doesn’t involve lots of sweating or giving things up – D-SLR photography is a much more attractive proposition, and of course we applaud your choice of Canon! Canon has four excellent D-SLRs that are designed for beginners, in the shape of the EOS 1100D, 600D, 100D and 700D, so there’s plenty of choice; the flip side, as you say, is that it can be hard to decide which camera will suit you best. The cheapest option is the 1100D which, like the 600D, was originally 78 | PhotoPlus February 2014 launched about three years ago. It has a lower image resolution than the other three beginner D-SLRs, at 12.2Mp (megapixels), whereas the others all have 18Mp image sensors. If you’re new to D-SLR photography it makes sense to buy a ‘kit’ comprising a body and zoom lens, and with the 1100D you get the EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens, which has been superseded by later kit lenses that have STM (stepping motor) autofocus; the advantage of the latter is that autofocus is essentially The most advanced beginners’ camera on the market, the 700D is packed with smart and user-friendly features, including a fully articulated touchscreen LCD
  • Canon queries? Email us at EOS BEGINNER D-SLRs Your first Canon camera Canon EOS 1100D kit £300 Canon EOS 600D kit £420 The 1100D is showing its age a little in terms of image resolution, with 12.2Mp for stills and 720p for video. Nevertheless it’s supremely affordable, and offers beginner-friendly features including an on-screen feature guide, and Creative Auto and Basic+ shooting modes. The 2.8-inch LCD is relatively low-res, at 230k pixels. Despite being launched at the same time as the 1100D, the 600D boasts 18Mp resolution and a higher-res 1040k-pixel, articulated LCD. The crisper screen makes for easier manual focusing in Live View, and for checking sharpness when reviewing images. The ‘Scene Intelligent’ auto mode is also featured on the 100D and 700D. Canon EOS 100D kit £500 Canon EOS 700D kit £575 Amazingly small and lightweight, the 18Mp 100D still packs a punch, with the same DIGIC 5 processor that’s fitted to the 700D. An ultra-high sensitivity of ISO12,800 is available, and the Continuous drive rate of 4fps is slightly faster than the 600D’s. The Quick menu for shooting adjustments is even more intuitive thanks to the touchscreen LCD. With enough high-end features to satisfy even experts, the 18Mp 700D still manages to be extremely beginner-friendly. There’s a wealth of scene modes and creative effects to choose from, the articulated touchscreen LCD is a gem, and handling is excellent. This is a camera that will grow with you as you learn new skills. Quick Fix Not so fast I’ve upgraded to a fast SDHC UHS-1 memory card for my 700D, but Continuous drive still slows to a standstill when I shoot a sequence of images, and the buffer takes a long time to clear. Mike Johnson Surrey Hollie says Using fast memory cards with an Ultra High Speed-1 specification, the 700D should clear its buffer quite quickly. One thing that really slows down burst shooting is the in-camera correction for chromatic aberrations, which you’ll find in the ‘Lens aberration correction’ shooting menu option. Switch this off for faster operation. Quick Fix Power saving? silent, as well as enabling very smooth transitions when shooting video. Video capture is another potentially weak point of the 1100D, as it only enables 720p HD shooting rather than Full HD 1080p. Even so, the 1100D is capable of capturing high-quality images and is inexpensive to buy, at around £300 including the kit lens. Like the 1100D, the 600D has plenty of beginnerfriendly features, including an in-camera guide to help you learn. Other similarities include Basic+ and Creative Auto shooting modes, which smooth the transition from basic to creative shooting with the minimum of fuss and bother. However, the 600D also adds a ‘Scene Intelligent Auto’ mode, which analyses compositions in real time and adjusts shooting parameters accordingly. Covering the angles Another plus point of the 600D is a higher-resolution LCD screen that’s fully articulated, making it easier to shoot from tricky angles in Live View mode, or when shooting movies (which are Full HD 1080p). Overall, it’s a much more refined camera that fully justifies the asking price of £420, including the 18-55mm IS II kit lens. Nearly two years newer in design than the 1100D and 600D, the 100D features an upgraded DIGIC 5 image processor, the benefits of which include better noise reduction at very high sensitivity settings, so low-light pictures look less grainy. The 100D has all the beginnerfriendly features of the 600D, and while the LCD isn’t articulated it is a touchscreen, which enables you to adjust shooting parameters quickly and efficiently. There’s also a new ‘hybrid CMOS’ sensor that enables continuous autofocus when shooting movies, and the kit lens is more refined, as it’s the newer 18-55mm IS STM version. A particular bonus is that, unlike in the older edition of the lens, the front element doesn’t rotate during focusing, which you’ll appreciate if you get into using filters such as circular polarisers or neutral density graduated filters. It’s also Canon’s smallest and lightest D-SLR, and the complete kit costs around £500. A little larger than the 100D, the 700D is currently top of the range of Canon’s beginner-class D-SLRs. Launched at the same time as the 100D, it also boasts a touchscreen, but the 700D’s is fully articulated, as with the 600D. For continuous or ‘burst’ shooting, the 700D offers a faster maximum drive rate of 5fps (frames per second) compared with the 100D’s 4fps. The increase in physical size also makes for more comfortable and natural handling, especially if you’re using bigger lenses. Speaking of which, the 700D is available with an 18-55mm IS STM lens for around £575, or with an 18-135mm IS STM kit lens for around £755 – see over the page for more about the latter. I’ve replaced my Canon D-SLR with a new model, but it takes different batteries. Genuine Canon batteries are expensive, so I’m wondering if cheaper, independent makes are okay to use. Steve Marshall Durham Claire says Canon does recommend that you use genuine batteries, and warns that nongenuine batteries may cause the camera to malfunction or even to catch fire. We’d avoid very cheap, obscure brands, but those from well-known makers like Hähnel should work well and still save you some money. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 79
  • PhotoPlus Dream Team CAMERA KIT What to look for… Should I go independent? Gimbal heads Zoom 135mm I’ve decided to buy an EOS 700D, but I’m torn between getting the ‘kit’ that includes the Canon 18-135mm lens, or buying the body on its own and getting a Sigma 18-250mm lens. Which would you recommend? Hollie says Get a helping hand with big lenses… 1 The design of gimbal heads enables the centre of balance to be retained when tilting large telephoto lenses on a tripod or monopod. Gary Oldrey Warwick Matthew says There are pros and cons to both options, but let’s start with prices. A 700D body costs about £485 on its own, or £755 as a kit with the Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens; this lens bought separately costs about £365, so you’re saving nearly £100 when buying the kit. The Sigma 18-250mm DC Macro OS HSM only costs £320 but there’s naturally no discounted ‘kit’ option, so the combined price of the 700D body and Sigma lens is more expensive at £805. Even so, that’s only a £50 difference, so it really comes down to the difference in features and image quality between the two lenses. The killer feature of the Sigma lens is its mighty 13.9x zoom range, equivalent to 29-400mm on an APS-C body like a 700D. By comparison, the Canon’s 7.5x zoom range is equivalent to 29-216mm. The Sigma also carries a ‘Macro’ badge, although in real terms its maximum magnification factor of 0.34x isn’t much greater than that of the Canon lens. Superzoom lenses are good for when you need to travel light, and the Sigma is amazingly small and lightweight considering its generous zoom range. Measuring 74x89mm and weighing 470g, it’s actually slightly smaller and lighter than the Canon lens, which is 77x96mm and 480g. The Sigma also has a smaller filter thread of 62mm, compared with 67mm, and unlike the Canon it comes complete with a lens hood. In the Canon’s favour, handling is better because the focus ring doesn’t rotate during autofocus, and full-time manual focus override is available in One Shot AF mode; Zoom 250mm 2 Smooth, frictionfree action for tilting and panning enables you to track subjects like birds in flight or planes at a air show. 3 You’ll need to check the maximum load capacity of both the head and the tripod or monopod, for safe use with very large lenses. The Sigma has greater telephoto reach but the Canon has more refined autofocus and handling, and enables in-camera lens corrections with the 700D the STM (Stepping Motor) autofocus system is also wonderfully smooth for video shooting. Another plus is that automatic in-camera corrections are available for peripheral illumination (vignetting) and chromatic aberration (colour fringing), which aren’t possible when using the Sigma lens. Ultimately, it depends what’s most important to you. If it’s refined handling and compatibility for in-camera corrections, get the Canon kit lens. If you’d rather have the extra telephoto reach, go for the Sigma. 4 Premium brands of gimbal head include Wimberley, Custom Brackets and Induro, with prices ranging from £350 to £500. PHOTOSHOP SKILLS Smarter tone adjustments I took some shots on a dull day at a steam railway recently, and they look a bit lifeless. Is there an easy way of making them look more vibrant? Nick Pearce Sussex Hollie says Photoshop Elements has a neat new Auto Smart Tone feature that’s ideal for this sort of quick fix… 80 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Enhance menu Open your JPEG image or convert your Raw file, then select Auto Smart Tone from the Enhance pull-down menu, as shown above. Thumbnails You’ll see a thumbnail in each corner of the window. Drag the circle towards a thumbnail to increase that particular effect, or click the thumbnail to fully apply it. More contrast In the previous step, dragging towards the top-left made the image darker. Dragging the control circle towards the bottom-right increases brightness and contrast.
  • Need advice? Email us at Compared with the Standard picture style, the Auto option has produced an image with more sharpness, saturation and contrast Standardle y picture st Auto picture style CAMERA SKILLS Pictures with style I’ve stumbled across an Auto picture style on my new Canon EOS 70D. How does this differ from the regular picture styles? Ed Ruddle Cheshire Adam says The official answer from the 70D handbook is that the colour tone will be adjusted automatically to suit the scene. However, it’s not just a case of the camera ‘intelligently’ working out if the shot is, say, a portrait or a landscape, and switching to the relevant picture style. We’ve found that in some cases, where the Standard picture style may look a bit bland, but the Landscape picture style looks a bit overly vibrant, the Auto picture style strikes an excellent balance. It’s therefore particularly useful when you’re shooting in JPEG quality mode, as it delivers great results in wide-ranging conditions. For the greatest flexibility, though, it’s best to shoot in Raw quality mode. Using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional program, you can then select the Auto picture style for cameras like the 700D and 70D, even at the editing stage, after shooting; alternatively, if you shot the image using the Auto picture style and would prefer to employ a different style, you can switch to a regular option such as Standard, Portrait or Landscape. It’s also worth noting that while Photoshop Elements doesn’t directly support picture styles, recent editions do have emulations for creating similar effects. Quick Fix Raw files in Elements I’ve upgraded from a 450D to a 70D, and really love the new camera. My only problem is that I can no longer open Raw files in my copy of Photoshop Elements 11. Do I need to download an update? Paul Hinde Cornwall Claire says One bugbear with Elements is that Adobe releases a new edition pretty much every year, and soon after it stops releasing updates for older versions. The best option is to upgrade to Elements 12 – it costs about £50 for the upgrade version. Alternatively, you can use Adobe’s free DNG Converter to convert your 70D’s Raw (CR2) files to DNG (Digital Negative), which is Adobe’s standardised Raw format. CAMERA SKILLS How can I keep buildings straight? I’m struggling to avoid distortions and leaning walls in architectural shots, but I can’t afford to splash out on a tilt and shift lens. Is there any way of getting better results with regular lenses? Helen Maddock London Claire says It’s all a matter of perspective. If you shoot big buildings from a close distance, using a wide-angle lens and pointing the camera upwards, you’ll run into two problems. Firstly, barrel distortion is likely to make walls and rooflines look like they’re bowing outwards. Secondly, because the top of the building is rather further away than the base, outer walls will appear to be leaning inwards towards the top. This is because receding parallel lines appear to converge, just like with train tracks, and wide-angle lenses exaggerate the effect. Barrel distortion is often fairly easy to correct at the editing stage, and programs such as Photoshop Elements also have tools for correcting perspective distortion, although you’ll need to have some space around the building within the image if you don’t want to lose the top and/or sides of it as you straighten the verticals. If you prefer to get things right when shooting, there are two things to try. First, move far enough back from the building so that you can use a medium focal length lens or mid-zoom setting, rather than a wide angle. Second, try to find an elevated position to shoot from, so that you can keep the camera as level as possible rather than pointing it upwards. This will keep both distortion and perspective error to a minimum. Q Keep your distance and try to find a higher vantage point to shoot from, as in the better of these example shots PhotoPlus February 2014 | 81
  • Your Photos YourPhotos Get professional feedback on your favourite photos SHOT OF THE MONTH 82 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Email your photos to Meet our panel of experts STEP BY STEP Now try this... How Rich can enhance his action shot in Elements GUEST PRO Peter Travers Claire Gillo Hollie Latham Staff writer EJ van Koningsveld Peter is our resident expert on all Canon photography, and loves heading out with his trusty 5D Mk III. Claire has been a keen photographer for the past ten years, and loves creative travel photography. Hollie enjoys shooting portraits, and she’s our resident expert on all things Photoshop. EJ is a pro aviation photographer. Visit galleries/ej2011.cfm Editor Technique editor Racing at Speed JPEGs in ACR Go to File > Open As, select your image, select Camera Raw from the menu and click OK; or in Elements 12 go to File > Open in Camera Raw. In ACR set Exposure to +0.40 and Shadows to +100, then set Contrast to +20 and Blacks to -30. By Rich Bell Canon EOS 550D Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Aperture f/14 Shutter speed 1/80 sec Rich says “I got into photography because I go to a lot of bike races, and I wanted to get some decent pictures. I took this shot of James Ellison during the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch. I wanted to capture motion blur to emphasise the speed of the bike, so I selected Shutter Priority mode, set a shutter speed of 1/80 sec and panned to follow the bike – it’s taken me a fair bit of practise to get this technique right. As I was using the Continuous drive mode I shot JPEGs, as I thought shooting Raw might slow things down. I cropped the image to place the bike towards the rear of the frame, so that it’s moving into the frame.” Hollie says “This is a classic motorsports action shot Rich – and all that panning practice has paid off, as you’ve managed to keep the rider perfectly sharp while capturing motion blur to really convey the sense of speed. You’re half right about burst shooting being limited if you shoot Raw; however the 550D’s frame rate is the same whether you shoot Raw or JPEG, at 3.7fps; the difference is that you can keep shooting for longer in JPEG mode – for 34 shots as opposed to six Raws. As you’re only likely to shoot a few frames at a time as a rider hits a bend, for example, shooting Raw would have been fine in this case, and would have allowed you to bring out more shadow detail. That said, you can edit JPEGs in Adobe Camera Raw, so I’ve used ACR to brighten the image and boost the colours. I’ve then applied a tighter crop to really enhance the sense of speed, and used the Burn tool to darken the background so the rider stands out more.” Shooting Raw would have enabled you to bring out more of the shadow detail 1 Great panning technique to keep the rider sharp while capturing motion blur 2 The image could use a tighter crop to remove empty space in front of the rider, and emphasise the feeling of speed and drama 3 Set Clarity to +40 to bring out more detail, and Saturation to +10 to boost the colours. Click Open Image to open the image in Elements’ Full Edit/Expert workspace. Press Ctrl+J to copy the ‘Background’ layer, and crop the image as shown. Burn the background Photo Critique 1 Crop for dynamism 2 3 Select the bike and rider with the Quick Selection tool, press Ctrl+ Shift+I to invert the selection, then press Ctrl+H to hide the ‘marching ants’. Take the Burn tool, set Range to Highlights and Exposure to 10%, and brush over the background to darken it, darkening the edges a bit more to create a vignette effect. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 83
  • Your Photos Vapour over Wildgarst By Ian Balch Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L II IS USM Aperture f/3.2 S/speed 1/600 sec Ian says “This shot was taken from Wildgarst mountain in Switzerland, at the Swiss Air Force live fire demonstration held on the Axalp gunnery range. To reach the 10,000ft summit for sunrise, two of us set out at 1:30am for the sixhour and 4,500ft climb. The sky was perfectly clear above the cloud 1,500ft below, and this F/A-18C Hornet rolled over the top of the ridge after a gun run at about 400mph, producing clouds of vapour. I’ve cropped it slightly to improve the composition, and toned down the blue in DPP.” EJ says “Nice to see a shot from Axalp, Ian. I’ve been there myself, and climbed to the top three times – and they cancelled twice due to the weather! This is a great shot: the focus is perfect, the lighting is great and you’ve really captured the aggression and speed of the Hornet – and at such high speeds that’s no easy job. The lens you used is superb and the 7D is a fast camera, so for aviation lovers it’s African Fish Eagle By Charlie Mortlock Canon EOS 60D Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Aperture f/5 Shutter speed 1/1000 sec a perfect combination. You say you cropped it a little, and if the nose is missing in the original I’d crop it a bit more, to make it look like an intentional close up, rather than looking as if you just missed that part. Centre the plane a bit more too, and you’ll have an even better shot than it already is.” Charlie says “I took this shot of an African fish eagle at the Hawk Conservancy near Andover. I thought photographing birds would be good practice for fastmoving objects – and shooting birds in flight certainly helps you get to grips with your camera’s Wonderfully aggressive action shot; great focus and timing The shot is well exposed, and the colours look nice and natural Cropping away more of the nose would enhance the close-up feel Centring the plane more would improve the composition capabilities. Other than cropping, I did very little to this shot; I’d have just liked to have got more depth of field to blur the backdrop.” Peter says “This is a really nice shot Charlie; it’s well exposed with great colours, and the bird is nice and sharp. I see you shot this at 150mm, and while it’s hard to throw the background out of focus when a subject is so close to its background, you’d have got a shallower depth of field had you been further back and used a longer focal length. And the composition would look better if the eagle was to the right of the frame with space for it to ‘fly into’.” An action-packed wildlife shot, with great colours and contrast Good focusing and shutter speed choice to keep the eagle sharp The eagle is flying out of the frame, rather than into it 84 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Amazing images from Canon photographers! Page 22 SEND US YOUR SHOTS! Would you like your images critiqued by the experts at PhotoPlus? Send them to us and we’ll help you improve your phototaking – and Photoshop – skills! Follow these three simple steps… Clarence Mill By Sarah Thornton Canon EOS 550D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Aperture f/4.5 Shutter speed 1/500 sec Sarah says “I was travelling along the Macclesfield Canal, near Bollington in Cheshire, on a cruising restaurant boat when I saw Clarence Mill up ahead. It’s an old cotton mill where my great grandad used to work, and the clear sky and the reflections in the rippling water made it look just beautiful. Because we were moving I really only had one chance to take the shot, and I knew it would be difficult to keep it sharp, so I used a slightly faster shutter speed 1. Big images please than normal. I converted the Raw file to JPEG in Camera Raw, but I was a little disappointed that the scene I’d enjoyed from the boat didn’t quite match the image I’d captured, so I applied a high dynamic range effect using the easyHDR software. I used the tone mapping controls to bring out the fine details, and boosted the contrast and saturation to make the colours more vibrant.” Peter Travers asks three PhotoPlus readers to tell us what they think of Sarah’s image This is a really interesting shot Sarah. I like the look of this type of old mill, and with the canal alongside it makes for a great photo; and considering that you were moving when you took the shot, you’ve managed to keep it nice and sharp. I’m not a big fan of HDR images, but I think you’ve done well here, as the saturation and other effects aren’t overdone. All I’d suggest to improve the image would be to clone out the two figures on the right hand bank, as I find them distracting, and I’d also clone out the incongruous-looking aerial on the roof of the mill, and its reflection. I think this is an excellent shot with great composition, Sarah, especially as it’s a ‘grabbed’ shot. The image has nice leading lines that take your eye towards the boat in the centre of the image, but I think the branches at the top-left of the frame could be cloned out, as they’re not visibly attached to any point of interest. I also feel the sky could do with a bit more work, as it looks quite different to the reflection; you could use an adjustment layer to darken the sky and bring it slightly closer to the reflection, and graduate the effect by drawing a gradient on the layer mask. This is a really great photo Sarah, well done! The reflections of the mill and the overhanging trees in the deep blue water look really beautiful, and they work really well within the overall composition. The shot is nicely composed, with the lines of the building and the canal bank leading the eye into the scene. The leaves at the top-right edge of the frame are a bit distracting, so I would clone those out. Also, while the key details look sharp, I would have shot with an aperture of f/8 or narrower to get everything sharp from the front to the back of the scene. Alan Lodge Michael Herrmann Julian Hart To do your Canon images justice, we need them as high-quality JPEG files that can be printed at least 15x10cm at 300dpi Ð use Elements’ Image Size window (Image > Resize > Image Size) to check. 2. Tell us more… Supply approximately 100 words on the Ôstory’ behind your shot Ð how it was taken, any equipment used, obstacles overcome, and postprocessing work carried out. Also include details on your EOS D-SLR, lens, shutter speed and aperture used, plus the location. 3. Send ’em Email your JPEGs and descriptions to with ÔYour Photos’ in the subject line (due to mailbox size limitations, please only send one image per email). Alternatively, post your images on CD or DVD-ROM to PhotoPlus, Future Publishing, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW. NOTE: By sending us your images you: (a) grant Future Publishing Ltd (‘Future’) permission to publish your images free of charge in print and electronically, in the UK and foreign editions of our photography-related magazines, and on our photography-related websites; and (b) confirm that you have the right to submit the images to Future and that Future’s use of the images as set out above will not infringe the copyright or other rights of any person. You agree to indemnify Future against any loss, damage, costs or expenses it suffers as a result of any claim in relation to Future’s use of your images. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 85
  • The End of the Road By Janet Edwards Canon EOS 60D Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Aperture f/3.5 Shutter speed 1/2000 sec Janet says “I took this shot of Tiverton Cemetery while walking the dog on a bright afternoon. I saw the sun just peeking through the leaves and wanted to capture that, and the trees created Photo Critique 1 Great subject for a mono treatment; the image has bags of atmosphere a perfect frame for the scene. I shot in colour and converted the image to black and white in Lightroom, then in Photoshop I adjusted the contrast in the sky, and the brightness in the lower part of the image. I didn’t do any dodging and burning, as I haven’t learned that yet!” Claire says “This is a wonderfully atmospheric mono image Janet, and the composition is excellent. My only issue is that you’ve overdone the sky a bit in post-processing; highlights are clipped, and there’s fringing around the leaves and visible noise. I’ve taken your original Raw file, and replicated your mono conversion, but without clipping any tones, then used Levels to boost the contrast in the sky. And as for dodging and burning – here’s your crash course! The Dodge and Burn tools are easy to use, and enable you to target shadows, highlights or midtones without altering other tones, but they are ‘destructive’ tools, so the secret is to use them on a neutral grey layer; if you make a mistake you can simply paint over that area with 50% grey to restore the original tones.” STEP BY STEP Now try this... How Janet can enhance her moody mono image in Elements Good low angle with trees framing the scene; although an aperture of f/11 would’ve captured more of the scene in focus 2 The sky is a little ‘overcooked’; highlights are clipped, noise is visible and the clouds look unnaturally sharp 3 1 3 2 86 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Convert to mono Boost the sky In ACR set Shadows to +90, Blacks to -40, Clarity to +70 and Saturation to -100. In Elements, select the main area of sky with the Quick Selection tool, then add a Levels adjustment layer. Set Shadows to 110, Highlights to 240 and Midtones to 70. Click the layer mask, and paint over the sky with a black brush at varying opacities to tone down the adjustment where it clips tones. Alt-click the New Layer button, set Mode to Overlay and tick ‘Fill with 50% grey’. Click OK. Dodge and burn Take the Burn tool, and set Range to Shadows and Exposure to 10%. Brush over shadow details to darken them, and over the edges of the frame to add a vignette. Use the Dodge tool, set to Highlights and 10%, to lighten details. Q
  • VOLUMES 1 & 2 AVAILABLE NOW 220 PAGES OF ADVICE + CANON VIDEOS at selected branches of WHSmith, Barnes & Noble and other fine newsagents worldwide Or order direct at
  • Independent advice to help you buy smarter Angela Nicholson Head of testing SUPER TEST BUDGET TELEPHOTO ZOOMS Page 96 Welcome... T he 18-55mm focal range of the kit lenses that come with most Canon D-SLRs is versatile enough for all kinds of photography. However, one thing these lenses lack is telephoto reach – you’ll find them wanting if you want to get close to the action when you’re shooting sports, for example, or want to snap candid wedding shots while keeping a discrete distance from your subjects. So the first additional lens that many D-SLR newbies will look to buy is a telephoto zoom, which typically has a maximum focal length of 250mm or 300mm – and that means up to 480mm of reach on a crop-factor APS-C camera. They’re a great addition to any kit bag, and they don’t have to cost the earth – we’ve run the rule over eight ‘budget’ contenders priced from as little as £100. Turn to page 96 now to see how they measure up. Also this issue, we help a PhotoPlus reader choose a fisheye lens to give his photography a fresh – and much wider – perspective. Fisheyes are brilliant for everything from fun portraits to quirky documentary shots and abstracts, and we’ve narrowed the field down to five top options – turn to page 90 now! 90 Help Me Buy… We help a PhotoPlus reader get to grips with five funky fisheye lenses 96 Super Test: Budget telephoto zoom lenses Eight telephoto zooms from Canon, Tamron and Sigma, prices from £100 HELP ME BUY A… FISHEYE LENS Page 90 THE PHOTOPLUS RATINGS EXPLAINED When it comes to reviewing products and services in PhotoPlus, we tell it like it is. We’re totally independent from Canon and will never give someone a good score just because they advertise. Eyes right for a guide to our specific awards… Only the best of the best receive our coveted award Buy for the best combination of quality and value Given to the kit you’ve used and rated the highest PhotoPlus February 2014 | 89
  • Gear Help Me Buy a… Fisheye lens Help me buy a... Fisheye lens Our reader wants a fresh take on familiar subjects and is considering a fisheye lens to give everyday objects a unique look. We help him pick from five options… M anufacturers of ultra-wideangle lenses take great pains to minimise distortions while squeezing as much as possible into the frame, building in perspective correction to increase the magnification of the image towards the edges so that straight lines appear straight. Fisheye lenses, on the other hand, have uncorrected perspective, causing parallel lines to curve and converge alarmingly as they approach the edges of the image. Images are severely distorted, and take on a look similar to the view through a security peephole. The upshot is that a wide-angle lens has less field of view than a fisheye of the same focal length. For example, on an APS-C-sensor Canon like a 7D, a Sigma 10-20mm lens has a field of view of around 102º at 10mm, while the same company’s 10mm fisheye gives a much wider 167º field of view (see page 94 for why it doesn’t quite manage a full 180º). Broadly speaking, there are two types of fisheye lenses: circular and rectilinear. Circular lenses have a 180º 90 | PhotoPlus February 2014 view across the entire image, which is reduced to a circle in the middle of the frame. In rectilinear lenses, the 180º view is across the diagonal of the frame only, and so the image fills the whole of the camera sensor. The focal length required to produce these effects for a full-frame camera are around 8mm for fisheye, and 15mm for rectilinear. On a crop-sensor camera, this is reduced to around 5mm and 10mm respectively. The extreme distortion produced by fisheye lenses gives subjects a characteristic bulging look, where anything in the centre of the frame looks huge, while the edges recede rapidly. Dismissed as gimmicky by some, in the hands of the creative photographer, they can breathe new life into humdrum everyday subjects. PhotoPlus reader Roger is never without his 7D, and was intrigued by the possibilities of fisheye, but is confused about the wide range of lenses available, particularly as he’s thinking of investing in a full-frame 5D Mark III in the future. We were only to happy too help… THE READER Name: Roger Woodall Camera: Canon EOS 7D Roger is a fitness and ski instructor, and also helps organise the Bournemouth Sevens Rugby and Music festival (www. bournemouth7s. com). He loves photographing anything and everything in and around his hometown of Bournemouth – and further afield. Always looking for new ways to add creative angles to his photography, he asked us for advice on fisheye lenses.
  • We help you choose new Kit THE EXPERT Name: Adam Waring Camera: Canon EOS 7D A fan of trying anything new, Adam loves photographing familiar subjects in new and interesting ways, so was just the person to give Roger a crash-course in fisheye photography – and introduce him to five very different fisheye options… PhotoPlus February 2014 | 91 PhotoPlus February 2013
  • Gear Help Me Buy a… Fisheye lens Samyang 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens AS IF MC CSII (DH) Web: Price: £265 Adam says “This is the cheapest fisheye on test by some margin, but there’s a catch. This a completely manual lens. Not only is it manual focus, but the aperture cannot be set via the on-camera controls either; instead this is determined by a ring on the lens itself. But despite this lack of frills, it’s more than a match for the other lenses on test optically; sharpness and contrast are very good and there’s very little vignetting or colour fringing, even at the extreme corners of the frame, and it’s impressively resistant to ghosting and flare.” Roger says “It might be lacking frills and low in price, but there’s nothing cheap about the build quality of this lens. It feels reassuringly solid, and the optical quality was surprisingly good considering the low asking price. My 7D was clever enough to set a decent shutter speed when shooting in Av mode, despite not ‘knowing’ what aperture the lens was set too. For many fisheye subjects, manual focus isn’t an issue; as long as the subject is a couple of feet or more away, everything will be in focus when the focus ring is at the ‘infinity’ setting.” Cheap, at half the price of most other options; very sharp optics considering the price Completely manual, in focusing and aperture; lack of lens communication limits EXIF data Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Diagonal Fisheye Web: Price: £479 Adam says “This rectilinear fisheye has a built-in petal-shaped hood moulded to the lens body that can’t be removed. The lens cap is a twostage affair, with a push-on barrel section that allows you to add filters at the expense of vignetting. It has a fast f/2.8 aperture, which makes shooting in low light levels easier. The lens is for crop-sensor Canons only, but if you want something similar for full-frame, Sigma also does a 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye lens for a similar price that exhibits similar optical qualities.” Roger says “This gives a similar rectilinear view as the Samyang lens, with the image filling the entire frame, but has fast HSM autofocusing and the aperture can be fully controlled by the 92 | PhotoPlus February 2014 camera – which makes it much simpler to use, particularly with objects close to the camera lens. It’s very fast for a fisheye – at f/2.8 – which is great for shooting when light levels are low. I did find the lens to be a little lacking in sharpness and contrast, though, and there was a little colour fringing towards the corners of the frame.” Fast f/2.8 aperture; speedy HSM focusing; f/15mm option available for full-frame users Lacks contrast and sharpness; colour fringing issues at the extremes of the frame
  • We help you choose new Kit Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX NH Fisheye Web: Price: £529 Adam says “Tokina’s zoom lens is a rectilinear fisheye, with a 167º diagonal field of view at its widest 10mm setting, zooming out to a still-prettywide 93º field of view at 17mm, giving a modest 1.7x zoom range. As you zoom in, the aperture floats from f/3.5-f/4.5. This lens works on both APS-C and full-frame cameras, although at wider focal lengths on a full-frame sensor you get an ugly semicircular crop to your images. There’s no screw-on lens hood provided – although there is a variation with a moulded-in hood exclusively for APS-C users (the Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fisheye – without the ‘NH’), which is identical in all other respects. However, this NH version has found favour particularly with watersports photographers, partly because it fits neatly into underwater housings.” Roger says “Autofocus was quite quick, though didn’t feel quite as nippy as with the Sigmas, and the manual focus ring felt a little stiff, making it difficult to achieve spot-on focusing. Sharpness, contrast and resistance to fringing, ghosting and flare were impressive, making this a great choice for those who want the fisheye effect with the added versatility of zooming – I enjoy winter sports photography, so a little bit of zoom would allow me to get close-up fisheye shots without being quite so close to the action!” Small but useful 1.7x zoom range; also available in a variation with a built-in hood Maximum aperture not constant; stiff focus ring; removable hood would offer more flexibility Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Circular Fisheye Web: Price: £575 Adam says “While the other lenses on test only give the full fisheye view diagonally, this projects a vast amount into a 180º circular image in the middle of the sensor. Like Sigma’s 10mm lens, this has a fast f/2.8 aperture, zippy HSM focusing, and a two-part lens cap enabling the use of filters – although this crops the image severely. (There’s also a full-frame 8mm circular version, albeit with a slightly slower f/3.5 max aperture.) On closer inspection, the lens outperforms the Sigma 10mm for both resolution and contrast, minimises ghosting and flare, and fringing is well contained.” Roger says “The circular images are nothing short of stunning – it’s mindbending to think that the shot of the row of beach huts was taken flat on! You do have to be really careful not to get your feet into the frame, though, and you also have to watch you don’t bump the bulbous front element when shooting up close – as objects appear much further away in the viewfinder than they really are.” The only circular fisheye lens for crop cameras; fast f/2.8 aperture; great image quality Care needs to be taken with the front element; extreme circular images may lose their novelty? PhotoPlus February 2013 | 93
  • Gear Help Me Buy a… Fisheye lens Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Web: Price: £1099 Adam says “So, do you go for circular or rectilinear? How about both! That’s the idea of Canon’s 8-15mm fisheye lens, zooming from a circular image at 8mm to filling the frame at 15mm – at least, with a full-frame camera. For APS-C-sensor cameras, there’s a zoom limiter switch, that prevents the focal length getting any wider than around 10mm, in which case the lens is transformed into a rectilinear 10-15mm fisheye zoom. It’s an L-series lens, and the optics do not disappoint in terms of sharpness, contrast and resistance to ghosting and flare, although colour fringing can be quite noticeable. It comes with weather sealing for shooting in inclement conditions, too.” Roger says “Yes, it’s twice the price of everything else, but it’s like having two lenses in one and is the hands-down winner on a full-frame camera, Things to consider Not quite 180º While most 10mm fisheyes give a 180º diagonal view on crop-sensor cameras, this is based a 1.5x crop factor; Canon’s cameras actually have a 1.6x crop factor, reducing this to a 167º field of view. No filters Fisheyes have bulbous front elements, so filters can’t be screwed to the front of the lens. However, some allow a gelatine filter to slot in behind the rear element. Infinity and beyond With such a wide angle of view, ‘infinity’ on a fisheye is typically under a metre, so unless you’re shooting extreme close-ups, everything will be in focus. Manual focus It’s tricky to focus manually through the viewfinder for close-ups; instead use the distance scale printed on the lens and guesstimate your subject distance. Watch your feet! Circular fisheyes tend to capture your feet – lean forward or hold the camera a little away from your body to avoid this! 94 | PhotoPlus February 2014 offering both circular and rectilinear fisheye options in one handy package. And while it’s not so versatile to users of APS-C models, Canon has clearly thought about them with the inclusion of the zoom limiter switch. I’m always out and about with my camera and want my kit to perform well whatever the weather, so having full environmental seals is a big plus point.” Circular and rectilinear fisheye in one (for fullframe cameras); L-series optics; weather seals Pricey; rectilinear 1.5x zoom on APS-C cameras not as extensive as the Tokina lens; ‘only’ f/4 ROGER’S VERDICT I had a great day testing these lenses – they really opened my (fish) eyes to seeing things from a different perspective! The Samyang is a brilliant low-cost entry to fisheye photography, but while setting the aperture manually wasn’t too problematic, the lack of autofocus made it tricky to get sharp shots of skittish subjects like squirrels. I really liked the two Sigmas. They focused fast and were good quality, and the fast f/2.8 aperture made them great for shooting in lower light. For me, the 4.5mm circular has the edge over the 10mm rectilinear. However, while all the lenses thus far were great for shooting at their respective focal lengths, I felt the 1.7x zoom offered by the Tokina lens would give a little more scope on my 7D, but the lack of weather seals was a concern. The top-end Canon 8-15mm does have weather seals, and the inclusion of a zoom limit switch meant it functioned well as a rectilinear fisheye on my 7D, with a little of extra reach when needed. However, it’s primarily a full-frame lens, switching from circular to rectilinear, and it’s made my mind up: I’m going to splash out on that 5D Mark III – and get this to go with it!
  • Gear Super Test Budget telephoto zooms Technical contributor With starting prices of just £100, a telephoto zoom lens will complement your EF-S 18-55mm kit lens perfectly as well as transforming your D-SLR photography. We put the most affordable options to the test… 96 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • Canon-compatible kit on test B uy any of Canon’s current range of budget-friendly D-SLR kits, complete with an 18-55mm lens, and you have everything you need for creative photography. Well, almost – the only thing that’s really lacking is telephoto reach. One of the big attractions of D-SLRs over compact cameras is that you can fit the ideal lens for the task at hand, and telephoto zooms are great for everything from sports to wildlife photography and a host of other shooting scenarios – and they don’t have to cost the earth. A bonus when you use a telephoto lens on cameras like the 100D, 700D and 70D is that their APS-C-format image sensors have a crop factor of 1.6x, and this gives a typical 70-300mm budget telephoto zoom an ‘effective’ zoom range of 112-480mm. If you want that kind of telephoto reach on a full-frame camera you’d need a big, heavyweight lens such as the Sigma 150-500mm, which weighs nearly 2kg – by contrast, many of the lenses in this test group are much more compact and are only about a quarter of the weight, making them more manageable and comfortable for handheld shooting. There are some important differences between the various lenses on offer, however, so let’s take a closer look at the top options… OUR EIGHT ON TEST 1 Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Macro £100 2 Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro £130 3 Sigma APO 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro £150 4 Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II £215 5 Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD £290 6 Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM £350 7 Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM £370 8 Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM £535 PhotoPlus February 2014 | 97
  • Gear Super Test Take a long shot How we tested… Get all the features you need without spending over the We tested all the lenses in wide-ranging lighting conditions, throughout their zoom and aperture ranges. Given the need to often keep shutter speeds fairly fast in telephoto shooting, we paid particular attention to image quality at f/5.6, the widest available aperture at the long end of the zoom range with all but the Canon 70-200mm lens. The speed and accuracy of autofocus was checked, along with the effectiveness of image stabilisation where fitted. We also tested the precision and smoothness of zoom and focus rings. Image quality was checked for contrast, sharpness, and the absence of artefacts such as distortions, chromatic aberrations and vignetting. 98 | PhotoPlus February 2014 odds. Here’s what to look for in a budget telephoto T he vast majority of budget telephoto zooms have a variable-aperture design, and the physical length of the lens extends as you zoom to longer focal lengths, while the widest available aperture is reduced. Typically the widest available aperture is f/4 at the shortest end of the zoom range, becoming f/5.6 at the long end. The exception in this group is the Canon 70-200mm f/4. This is a constant-aperture design and, while it’s physically a little longer than other lenses on test, its overall length remains fixed throughout the zoom range, with a widest aperture of f/4 always being available; the downside is that it has less outright telephoto reach than the other lenses in the group. Differences in autofocus systems are even more pronounced (see Focus Finery). Feel the quality Build quality tends to be pretty good, and all the lenses in the group feel fairly robust. The Canon 70-200mm is tougher than most but, unlike many Canon L-series (Luxury) lenses, it’s not weathersealed. This is also true of all the competing lenses on test. The two Canon 55-250mm lenses are the only ones specifically designed for cameras with APS-C image sensors and, as such, they’re not compatible with full-frame bodies such as the 6D. They’re also the only ones to have plastic rather than metal mounting plates. Given that all but one of the lenses on test has a relatively ‘slow’ aperture of f/5.6 at the long end of Telephoto lenses are essential for when you can’t get physically close enough to what you want to shoot the zoom range, image quality when you’re shooting at the widest available aperture is an important factor, as you’ll often need to keep shutter speeds fast for sharp telephoto images. Canon IS, Sigma OS and Tamron VC lenses, which feature built-in optical stabilisers, are a real help in handheld telephoto shooting, and in most cases you can expect an advantage that’s equivalent to three or four f/stops, to help you capture sharp handheld images (strangely, Sigma’s 70-300mm OS has now been discontinued, and the company is currently only marketing non-stabilised budget telephoto lenses). And no amount of stabilisation can counteract motion blur, so fast shutter speeds are also a must for action shots.
  • Master your camera’s metering options See page 74 Focus finery Super Tip! How do the different autofocus systems measure up? T here are no less than four different autofocus systems on show here. The most basic is driven by a regular electric motor, and these can often be relatively noisy and sluggish, the latter factor being important when you’re trying to track moving objects in AI Servo autofocus mode. In this group, this type of motor is fitted to the older edition of Canon’s 55-250mm lens, both Sigmas and the nonstabilised Tamron 70-300mm. The next step up is ‘micro USM’, as fitted in the Canon 70-300mm lens. This uses a quieter ultrasonic motor but still requires drive shafts and gearwheels, and while there’s not necessarily any increase in autofocus speed the system is still clearly audible. As with the electric motordriven lenses, the focus ring rotates during autofocus. Faster autofocus systems on lenses will keep up with the action when you’re tracking moving objects in AI Servo autofocus mode The Canon 70-200mm and Tamron 70-300mm VC USD both use more advanced, ring-type ultrasonic autofocus. These tend to be faster and whisper-quiet, as well as enabling full-time manual focus override in One Shot AF mode. This system is therefore generally preferred on more up-market lenses. The new generation of Canon’s 55-250mm is unique in the group in using an STM (Stepping Motor) autofocus system. It’s virtually silent in operation and, like the ring-type ultrasonic lenses, has fully internal focusing, so the front element neither rotates nor extends during focusing; it also enables full-time manual override. STM lenses are particularly good for shooting movies, thanks to their much smoother focus transitions. One potential drawback is that they have a reputation for fairly slow autofocus performance, so we’ll see how this one stacks up against the competition. For panning action shots, continuous AI Servo autofocus is often a good option, even for very fast-moving objects if they’re travelling across your field of view. This is because, despite the speed of the object, its distance from you changes relatively slowly. Fast shutter speeds of 1/500 sec or quicker are usually good for telephoto shooting but, to create a sense of speed, use a slower shutter speed of around 1/60 sec to 1/125 sec when panning, to create motion blur in everything but the moving object. For successful panning, stand with your feet fairly far apart, facing the point where you plan to take the shot. Swivel from your hips rather than your shoulders, and keep panning slightly after you release the shutter. STEP BY STEP Sharper shots with telephoto zooms Image stabilisation Tv mode Auto ISOs The Canon 55-250mm lenses on test Where stabilisation isn’t available, a speeds at 1 feature image stabilisation that has 2 shutter speed of at least 1/320 sec 3 Fast shutterbe difficultan aperture of f/5.6 can to achieve automatic panning detection, whereas a panning mode can be manually selected in the Canon 70-300mm. The Tamron VC (Vibration Compensation) system can also be used for both static and panning shots. at 200mm or 1/500 sec at 300mm should enable consistently sharp handheld shots on a camera body with an APS-C-format sensor. Select Shutter Priority (Tv) mode, and dial in the appropriate shutter speed. in low lighting conditions, and a neat trick when using Tv mode is to also use the Auto ISO feature. This will automatically boost the camera’s sensitivity by as much as is necessary to avoid underexposure. PhotoPlus February 2014 | 99
  • Gear Super Test Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II A logical companion to the 18-55mm IS II lens that’s bundled with the 1100D and 600D, this telephoto zoom has the same look and feel, and shares many of the same design features. Similarities include a plastic lens mount, basic micro-motor autofocus, and a simple layout that omits a focus distance scale. It also features the 55mm 250mm same four-stop stabilisation system as the smaller lens, complete with automatic panning detection, and this works well for handheld shooting. As with most of the lenses on test, the front element rotates during focusing and the manual focus ring rotates during autofocus. This is the most compact lens in the group, at 70x108mm, although the newer STM version is the same width and only 3mm longer. For a micro-motor system, autofocus is fast and reasonably quiet. Image quality is pretty good, with minimal fringing and decent contrast, helped by the inclusion of a UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) element. Sharpness is less impressive, especially at the longest zoom setting and towards the edges of the frame. Overall, it’s a decent buy at the price. Compact and lightweight; effective image stabilisation Sharpness could be better at the long end of the zoom range 80 % Target Price £215 Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM A generation newer than the above Canon 55-250mm on test, this is the big brother of the 18-55mm IS STM kit lens sold with the 100D, 700D and 70D, and as such it features an STM (Stepping Motor) autofocus system that’s practically silent in operation. Further refinements include full-time manual focus override, with 55mm 250mm neither the front element nor the focus ring rotating during autofocus. Indeed, the ‘fly by wire’ manual focus ring has no mechanical coupling to the focus actuator. More good news is that autofocus speed is pretty much on a par with the older lens. Despite being 3mm longer than its predecessor and having a more complex construction, based on 15 elements in 12 groups instead of 12 elements in 10 groups, the STM lens is 15g lighter at 375g; it’s the lightest lens on test, and less than half the weight of Tamron’s 70-300mm VC. Image quality and handling are improved compared with the older 55-250mm, with better sharpness throughout the whole zoom range, especially towards the corners of the frame, along with good contrast and minimal colour fringing. Refined handling; practically silent and reasonably quick autofocus Incompatible with full-frame bodies, should you upgrade 100 | PhotoPlus February 2014 85 % Target Price £350
  • Help Me Buy a… Fisheye lens See page 90 Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM It’s not often we can squeeze an L-series (Luxury) lens into a ‘budget’ Super Test. Even so, at £535 this is still the most expensive lens in the group, by quite a margin. The main attraction is the quality of the glass, which features top-grade fluorite and UD elements. Naturally, the constant-aperture design is also favoured, 70mm 200mm making this lens one f/stop faster than the rest at its maximum zoom setting. The downside is that the maximum zoom setting is considerably shorter than other full-frame-compatible lenses in the group, at 200mm instead of 300mm. Ultimately, what you gain in widest available aperture, you lose in outright telephoto reach. The ring-type USM autofocus system is very fast, and practically ‘snaps’ into focus with a light press of the shutter button; it’s whisper-quiet too. Other luxuries include a focus limiter switch and focus distance scale. The build quality is reassuringly rugged and image quality is excellent, with spectacular sharpness and contrast, and minimal distortions and fringing; however, the lack of image stabilisation can make handheld telephoto shooting a challenge. Superb image quality; great build quality; constant f/4 aperture Relatively expensive; somewhat lacking in telephoto reach 87 % Target Price £535 Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM More affordable than the EF 70-200mm f/4L, this lens also offers a greater zoom range, albeit with a variable widest aperture that’s more common in this price range. Build quality feels almost as good, and a major bonus is the inclusion of image stabilisation. However, it’s an older system that only gives a three-stop advantage, 70mm 300mm and it lacks automatic panning detection; instead, you need to switch from mode 1 to mode 2, the latter of which only corrects vertical shake, so you need to pan with the camera in landscape orientation. Canon claims the ultrasonic motor drives autofocus ‘extremely quickly, and in near silence’. In our tests, however, it was barely any quieter or quicker than in the 55-250mm IS lens, which features a basic micro-motor, and a lot louder than in the 55-250mm IS STM. Unlike in the Canon 70-200mm there’s no focus limiter switch, which can slow down autofocus if the lens is struggling to lock onto tricky targets. Image quality is good, with impressive sharpness throughout the zoom range, but fringing in the corners is more noticeable than with the other Canon lenses. Impressive build and image quality; image stabilisation Autofocus lacks the refinement of ring-type USM or STM systems 83 % Target Price £370 PhotoPlus February 2014 | 101
  • Gear Super Test Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Macro Despite its rock-bottom price tag, this lens feels well put together. The zoom and focus rings are pleasantly smooth in operation; the mounting plate is metal, rather than plastic as on the pricier Canon 55-250mm lenses; and it includes a focus distance scale, which is lacking on those lenses and also on the Canon 70-300mm. Yet another bonus is that in the 200-300mm zoom range a macro mode can be enabled, via a switch on the lens barrel. This reduces the minimum available focus distance, with an extension in the travel of the focus ring, to give up to 0.5x magnification. It’s good for close-up shooting, and a magnification scale is printed on the extending inner lens barrel. The basic electric autofocus system is reasonably quiet, and just about matches the ultrasonic motor of the Canon 70-300mm for speed. It’s not all good news, however, as autofocus precision in our review sample was very questionable, often focusing slightly in front of or behind the target. And, even when it got things right, sharpness was noticeably inferior to that of any other lens in the group. 70mm 300mm Inexpensive to buy; doubles as a 0.5x macro lens Unreliable autofocus and a distinct lack of sharpness 70 % Target Price £100 Sigma APO 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro This lens looks practically identical to the lower priced Sigma 70-300mm, except for a red stripe around the front of the barrel and the ‘APO’ badge. Naturally, the latter distinction is the important one, and where the cheaper Sigma includes a single SLD (Special Low Dispersion) element, this lens has three. The aim is to reduce chromatic 70mm 300mm aberrations throughout the entire zoom range, and it works: there’s remarkably little fringing even in the extreme corners of the frame, at any zoom setting, and it beats the more expensive Canon 70300mm lens in this respect. In other respects, including the 0.5x macro facility, handling and autofocus speed, there’s little to choose between the two Sigmas. However, based on our review samples the APO lens delivers far superior consistency and accuracy in autofocus. Overall image quality is also significantly better; there’s no comparison in terms of sharpness, and contrast is also better, not only than the cheaper Sigma lens but also compared with previous review samples of this lens that we’ve used. It’s a much more attractive proposition, and great value. Great image quality, with colour fringing very well controlled It’s a fairly old design that lacks image stabilisation 102 | PhotoPlus February 2014 78 % Target Price £150
  • Next issue Kit lens upgrades Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Design elements of this budget Tamron are similar to those of the two Sigma 70-300mm lenses. It has a standard electric micro-motor for autofocus, and a 0.5x macro facility. The extended focus travel is available between 180-300mm, instead of 200-300mm, but this makes no difference in practical terms. Again, build 70mm 300mm quality is robust for a relatively inexpensive lens. The manual focus ring is smooth and precise, although the zoom ring of our review sample felt a bit stiff towards the long end of the range. As with both the Sigmas there’s no image stabilisation, so you have to rely on steady hands and fast shutter speeds for handheld shooting. Autofocus speed is noticeably slower than in either of the two Sigmas, or the Canon 70-300mm. However, it proved to be more accurate and consistent than the cheaper of the two Sigma lenses. Image quality is fairly good overall, with greater sharpness than the non-APO Sigma, but it’s not as sharp as the Canon 70-300mm or the Sigma APO lens at any given zoom setting. Sharpness also drops off a little more at the long end of the range. Reasonably consistent autofocus; decent image quality; inexpensive Autofocus is fairly sluggish; sharpness could be better 75 Target Price £130 % Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD This ‘Super Performance’ Tamron really stands out from the budget 70-300mm crowd with its high-end feature set. It’s the only lens of this zoom range in the group with ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, and its four-stop stabiliser betters the three-stop system in the Canon 70-300mm. It’s quite chunky and weighty for this class of lens, 70mm 300mm at 765g, but it feels very well put together – and a little extra weight can actually help to enable smooth panning for action shots. Handling is refined and the focus ring, positioned towards the rear of the lens, doesn’t rotate during autofocus, a feature shared only by the Canon 55-250mm IS STM and Canon 70-200mm lenses in this group. Autofocus itself is fast, whisperquiet and pretty speedy, although not as quick as the Canon 70-200mm. The VC (Vibration Compensation) system lives up to its claims, and sharpness, contrast and other aspects of image quality are very good throughout the zoom range; there’s very little colour fringing even in the corners of images. All things considered, this lens is the clear winner in the group, and a real bargain at the price. Superb performance and image quality at a bargain price It’s relatively heavy compared with some competing lenses 90 % £290 Target Price PhotoPlus February 2014 | 103
  • Gear Super Test Budget telephoto zooms at a glance Name Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Macro Sigma APO 70300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Tamron 70300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Tamron SP 70300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD Full-frame compatible No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Aperture range f/4-5.6 to f/22-32 f/4-5.6 to f/22-32 f/4 to f/32 f/4-5.6 to f/32-45 f/4-5.6 to f/22 f/4-5.6 to f/22 f/4-5.6 to f/32 f/4-5.6 to f/32-45 Effective focal length (APS-C) 88-400mm 88-400mm 112-320mm 112-480mm 112-480mm 112-480mm 112-480mm 112-480mm Minimum focus distance 110cm 85cm 120cm 150cm 95cm 95cm 95cm 150cm Max magnification 0.31x 0.29x 0.21x 0.26x 0.5x 0.5x 0.5x 0.25x Autofocus actuator Electric motor Stepping motor UltraSonic (ring-type) UltraSonic (motor) Electric motor Electric motor Electric motor UltraSonic (ring-type) Internal focus No Yes Yes No No No No No Internal zoom No No Yes No No No No No Image stabilisation 4 stops 3.5 stops None 3 stops None None None 4 stops Filter size 58mm 58mm 67mm 58mm 58mm 58mm 62mm 62mm Supplied accessories None None Hood, pouch None Hood Hood, pouch Hood Hood Extender compatible No No Yes No No No No No Dimensions (dia x length) 70x108mm 70x111mm 76x172mm 77x143mm 77x122mm 77x122mm 77x117mm 82x143mm Weight 390g 375g 705g 630g 545g 550g 435g 765g Target price £215 £350 £535 £370 £100 £150 £130 £290 Verdict 80% 85% 87% 83% 70% 78% 75% 90% Despite being only mid-pack in terms of price, the Tamron 70-300mm VC USD boasts a better overall feature set than any other lens in its category. The ring-type ultrasonic autofocus isn’t quite as quick as in the Canon 70-200mm, but it’s not far behind, and the Tamron has similarly refined handling – and it betters the Canon by including image stabilisation and offering greater telephoto reach. For outright image quality the Canon 70-200mm is a bit sharper but, without stabilisation, it’s often difficult to make the most of the lens without using a tripod. The Sigma 70-300mm APO also lacks stabilisation, but it delivers very good all-round image quality at a low price, and if you’re on a tight budget it’s the best buy. The new Canon 55-250mm IS STM beats the Sigma for sharpness, contrast and handling. It’s a very attractive lens for cameras with APS-C image sensors, but it’s a bit on the pricey side. 104 | PhotoPlus February 2014 Five things we learned in this test Autofocus in lenses with electric micro-motor or stepping motor systems isn’t necessarily slower than in some lenses with ultrasonic autofocus. 1 Image stabilisation is an enormous help in getting consistently sharp handheld images, especially in dull lighting. 2 The heaviest lens in the group is the Tamron SP 70-300mm, at 765g, but even this is perfectly comfortable to use for long periods of handheld shooting. 3 Lens hoods aren’t supplied with either of Canon’s 55-250mm lenses or the Canon 70-300mm lens, and have to be bought separately. 4 Handling is better in lenses where the manual focus ring doesn’t rotate during autofocus, as you don’t need to worry about your fingers fouling its action. 5
  • Peter Travers Don’t miss our March issue! CANON D-SLR SKILLS! THE PHOTOGRAPHY MOVEMENT Become a master of all that moves, from fast wildlife and sports shots to slow shutter speed techniques for action portraits and landscapes James Cheadle Brett Harkness Ben Hall Adam Gasson PLUS… BEST-S MAGAZIELLING N F CANON DES OR USERS! LR How to take amazing portraits! Our Apprentice spends a day on location with a Canon pro and a model to perfect their portrait skills FREE! Night photography guide Learn to take brilliant night photography, from flash portraits to city scenes and light painting PhotoPlus Workshop! We show you how to get it right in camera by making the most of your D-SLR’s clever and creative built-in filters Kit lens upgrades Standard zooms tested from £280 D-SLR + Photoshop projects Use your kit lens to shoot animals in action, black-and-white portraits, and new Raw in Elements image-editing series! On sale Tuesday 4 February 2014 All content subject to change +FREE FREE DISC! VIDEOS! MASTER YOUR EOS D-SLR AND PHOTOSHOP WITH OUR GREAT VIDEO GUIDES
  • Shot in the Back My favourite shot Winter sports photographer Grant Gunderson reveals the story behind his ski shot in Japan’s scenic, snowy Hakkoda mountains This shot was taken in Hakkoda, a volcanic mountain range that lies to the south of Aomori city, Japan. It’s a really unique ski area with just one tram to the top of the mountain. There are no dedicated ski runs, so every run is a backcountry lap, often through pristine virgin snow. On this particular visit we had been there for a week and kept hearing about how beautiful the trees and landscape were, but it had been snowing so hard all week (over a metre per day), that we never got to see any of it until our last day there. When we were finally able to venture out we were presented with stunning views such as this one. I shot this image with my Canon EOS-1D X and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. I really enjoy shooting skiing with the 1D bodies and L-series lenses as their superior weather sealing holds up the best in the severe conditions that I tend to shoot in all winter. My home is in the Mount Baker ski area, in Washington State, USA; we set the world snowfall record for the winter of 1998-99, so my camera gear and lenses need to handle all of the moisture from shooting in blizzards at cold temperatures. I shot this at an aperture of f/6.3 for a little depth of field, and at ISO100 with the quick shutter speed of 1/1000 sec freezing the skier in action as he carved through the snow. Grant Gunderson Age 34 Location Bellingham, Washington, USA Pro for 15 years 114 | PhotoPlus February 2014
  • BackIssues Catch up on what you’ve missed with a back issue. Buy yours from Issue 82 January 2014 Master your Canon lenses – get more from your glass with our essential advice! O Apprentice: learn to shoot magical light trails O Gear ot the Year: 2013’s best cameras, lenses and photgraphy gear O Workshop: capture spectacular night-time images O Christmas wish list guide O Help me buy a… shoulder bag O Masterclass: create a wintry wonderland O Create your own calendar! Issue 81 December 2013 Master your Canon EOS D-SLR – top setup and shooting tips for EOS cameras old and new O Apprentice: take stunning still-life macro shots of plants and flowers O Super Test: A4 & A3+ photo printers for the home O Workshop: speed up your shooting O Make cash with your canon O Help me buy a… prime portrait lens O Masterclass: create a moody twilight cityscape O Turn grey skies blue! Issue 80 November 2013 Issue 79 October 2013 Issue 78 September 2013 Issue 77 August 2013 Autumn outdoor photo skills guide – get better shots of portraits, wildlife, nature and landscapes in this photogenic season O Apprentice: get top-flight footy shots O Super Test: studio and portable flash kits O Workshop: HD video O 50 amazing national parks O Help me buy… an ultra-wideangle lens O Full test: Photoshop Elements 12 O Masterclass: shoot and print a mono portrait Break the rules of photography – we show you when you can throw away the rule book! O Apprentice: get great shots of birds in flight O Super Test: telephoto zoom lenses O Workshop: long-exposure seascapes O Lens buyers’ guide – get the lowdown on every Canon-fit lens O Help me buy… Raw processing software O Full test: Canon EOS 70D O Masterclass: forest photography Master long exposures – follow our in-depth guide to capturing movement in water, skies and busy streets O Apprentice: how to take great lakeside landscapes O Super Test: flashguns O Workshop: take control of depth of field O 8-page guide to outdoor portrait photography O Help me buy a… carbon fibre tripod O Head-to-head: Canon EOS 70D vs 60D O Masterclass: cave photography Shoot sharper shots – say goodbye to soft photos with our jargon-free guide to getting pin-sharp images O Apprentice: learn to take great travel shots O Super Test: superzooms O Workshop: banish camera shake O 8-page preview guide to the Canon EOS 70D O Masterclass: capture candid ‘on the job’ shots O Help me buy a… radio flash trigger O EF 200-400mm f/4L Extender reviewed SWIPE FOR MORE BACK ISSUES
  • BackIssues Issue 76 July 2013 Issue 75 June 2013 Issue 74 May 2013 Issue 73 Spring 2013 Master your D-SLR – get better images by taking control of key shooting settings, from exposure and focusing to custom functions O Apprentice: a stag weekend to remember! O Super Test: the big Canon D-SLR test O Workshop: EXIF data explained O 8-page essential guide to flashguns O Masterclass: get close-up aerial action shots O Help me buy a… portable backdrop O Adobe Creative Cloud Black & White: from portraits and landscapes to abstracts, take your mono shooting and editing skills to the next level O Apprentice: how to take great wedding portraits O Super Test: ND filters O Workshop: make the most of Canon Picture Styles O 8-page essential guide to DPP O Canon EOS 100D & 700D reviewed and rated O Masterclass: flash-lit action photography O Help me buy a… portrait lens 100 Canon SLR top secret tips and tricks O Apprentice: Guy Edwardes takes us to Cornwall to reveal his coastal photography tips O Super Test: 10 ultra-wide lenses on test O Workshop: troubleshoot your EOS O 8-page guide to Canon EOS 100D O Canon EOS 700D hands-on preview O Masterclass: get a bug’s-eye view of the garden O Help me buy a… tripod alternative Take top portraits just like the pros – how to shoot everything from babies to boudoir! O Our Apprentice learns to take newborn shots that every parent would be proud of O Super Test: ten backpacks on test O PhotoPlus Workshop: Fix a broken camera or lens O Top 50 springtime landscape locations O Masterclass: create an HDR masterpiece O Help Me Buy a… macro lens Issue 72 April 2013 Issue 71 March 2013 Issue 70 February 2013 Issue 69 January 2013 Take control of your Canon camera and shoot spectacular landscapes today! O Apprentice: take great equestrian portraits O Super Test: 10 mid-range zooms to upgrade your kit lens O PhotoPlus Workshop: P, Av, Tv & M modes explained O 8-page guide to Canon full-frame cameras O Masterclass: shoot and combine long exposures for artistic images O Help Me Buy a… remote shutter release Master your Canon lenses – wide-angle, telephoto zoom, prime fisheye & macro O Get up close with nature – our Apprentice takes macro photos at Kew Gardens O Budget tripods tested – starting at £60! O PhotoPlus Workshop: Basic Zone modes explained O 12page guide to Adobe Camera Raw O Masterclass: shoot a stylised fantasy portrait O Help Me Buy a… flashgun Canon D-SLR photo skills: take your best-ever photos this year! O Canon EOS 6D full test: 20Mp full-frame SLR in 60D-sized body! O Apprentice: capture stunning night images O Budget telephoto zoom lenses on test O PhotoPlus Workshop: Raw and JPEG explained O Guide to every current Canon EOS O Learn to shoot amazing abstract architecture O D-SLR and Photoshop video guides Master your Canon D-SLR: learn our easy camera techniques for top winter landscapes O Gear of the Year: the best Canon cameras, lenses and kit of 2012 O Canon EOS M CSC vs EOS 650D SLR head-to-head test! O Our Apprentice learns to take great action shots O Eight macro lenses on test O PhotoPlus Workshop: focusing tips O D-SLR and Photoshop projects with video guides