Photography: Exposure & Storage

February 24, 2007

In the short time I’ve been taking photos, a lot of trial and error has been involved. Sometimes things work but more often than not, it’s just not quite right or how I wanted it. With an upcoming trip to Lesotho getting ever closer I was eager to get some formal education in the technicalities of photography and Eileen O’Leary kindly allowed me to join her photograhy group in Macroom last weekend. Eileen is a photo-journalist who travels extensively and her photos really added some vibrancy to my charity site about the trip to Lesotho.

Last weekend, exposure was being discussed and I did already know that exposure is made up of a combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. But, many combinations of these can give you a properly exposed shot so a few things that I learnt from this session:

  • In landscape shots, use a high aperture setting (i.e. high ‘f’ number which gives you a small aperture). This lets a small amount of light in and means that you’ll get the whole landscape in focus, not just the focal points. For example, my shot of the path leading away from Dun Aonghus in the Aran Islands was taken with a low aperture (f/5). A much higher aperture was needed here so that the whole picture, from foreground to background, would have been in focus. I had the camera on auto setting for this I’d imagine so it would have been pot-luck if I had got a higher aperture. Eileen printed this out and her crop taking out the little bit of sky at the top right, as well as bumping up the contrast, really adds to the picture.
  • In portrait shots use an aperture of at least f/8, if not higher. This will give you sharper edges, and all of the person’s face will be in focus. I rarely take portrait shot, other than at gigs where I use the f/1.8 50mm lens but I intend taking a lot of portrait shots in Lesotho so this is another thing to watch out for.

So, if you always use that bulky DSLR on Auto, get more out of it and switch it to Aperature Priority. The camera will work out the shutter speed for your shots. Obvioulsy the ideal setting for the ISO is as low as your camera will go but if your shutter speed is too long, you can bump this up a bit but not too high or you’ll get grainy pictures.

One thing I have been considering about the Lesotho trip is how to store the photos I take. I have started taking my photographs using RAW which gives me massive files but I think I’ll be using JPEG over there. I have three 1GB cards but I’ll soon fill these. I don’t have a laptop and would be slow to get one at this point. Eileen mentioned that Epson have a device, the Epson P4000, with 80GB of space, a screen to view the photos, and an in-built card-reader so you could dump your photos onto this and use it show photos at the same time. Ideal for what I want to use it for but it’s a bit costly at $699. I could probably get a low-end laptop with more storage space for the same cost. Pity, because it looks great.

Here are some of the shots I took around Macroom that day:



Happy snapping!

4 Responses to “Photography: Exposure & Storage”

  1. Very interesting. Also, great water in that picture, nice colour in the other one.

    I think you’ll have to convince all of your friends to lend you their memory cards for your trip… just a thought!

  2. .. Says:

    […] has a good post about exposure. Donal, you should read Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with […]

  3. ryan Says:

    I got a PD70X some time ago and stuck a 60GB hard drive into it. Cheap as chips and it was the fastest PSD on the market at the time. I think it still is actually.

    It’s been replaced by another unit that looks even better. Google PD70X and you’ll find the US distributor if youre interested in a far lower cost option than buying the Epson.

  4. donal Says:

    Looks good Ryan, where did you get yours? Can’t seem to find it online. There’s a review here: but can’t seem to find a seller. Is this the upgrade?

Comments are closed.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: