How Do I Get Clear Images (Part 2)



In the last post, we looked at lens flare and how to control it to get less hazy photos.  We also looked at how to use it for creative effect.  In this post, we’ll look at fuzzy images caused by CAMERA SHAKE, the other most common culprit.


You may notice that your images look blurry on close inspection.  This is distinct from haze, which we mentioned above.  Blur is caused either by the lens being out of focus, or by the shutter being open for an extended period of time without adequate stability.


In other words, if you are hand-holding the camera, and your shutter speed is too slow, you will get a blurry image.


A simple rule of thumb is to keep your shutter speed at least at 1/60 sec.  This will say 60 if you’re looking through the viewfinder.  This is a good baseline to avoid camera shake while handholding your camera.


An alternate method is to match your shutter speed to your focal length.


If your lens is set at 100mm, use a shutter of 1/100th sec.  If your lens is set at 200mm, use a shutter of 1/200th sec., etc.  This will ensure you avoid shaking the camera and blurring the image that way.


You can experiment with the effects of camera shake by putting your camera in Shutter Priority mode and starting with a shutter speed of 1/2 sec.  Take a picture and notice the blur.  Then move your shutter speed up incrementally and continue taking photos until the photo becomes sharp.  This is your threshold shutter speed for sharp photos.


Now if there is something moving that you are taking a picture of, IT might blur if it is going faster than your shutter can capture.  Birds, bees, dogs, kids running, etc. might blur even if you don’t have camera shake.


Just remember, the faster your shutter speed, the more any action is frozen and will appear sharp.


That’s it!  Have fun and if you have a favorite photo, upload  to the SILVER HILL Facebook page to share!  You just might see it in the next newsletter edition!

1/2 sec. @ f36


1/60th sec. @ f9





How Do I Get Clear Images? (Part 1)

How Do I Get Clear Images?

Usually this question is referring either to haze caused by lens flare or camera shake.  Let’s focus on lens flare since as y’all get out and shoot, you’ll encounter this with the sun.

Lens flare happens when the sun (or other light source) comes directly into the lens and causes reflections from the glass elements inside the lens to fall on the sensor.

Controlling lens flare is easy, and once you know how, you can actually use it to your creative advantage.   To get rid of lens flare, simply use a lens hood to shade the front of the lens from the light source, or turn the lens away from the light source until the flare disappears.

You can also use your hand, a piece of paper, cardboard, or any other material (and even your subject!) to control the light hitting the front of your lens.  This is called flagging the light.  But don’t forget that lens flare can be and often is used for creative effect to create some beautiful shots.

Here are some examples:


Notice that in both of these cases, you can actually see the light source, as well as a couple of reflections in the images from the lens elements.

Type the words “Creative Lens Flare” into your google search bar to see more images with beautiful lens flare, and then go have fun experimenting!



Telling The Christmas Story (and Beyond)

Tell the Story This Christmas!

_MG_63341. FOCUS ON THE DETAILS – Christmas is a visual feast, and to capture it’s “Spirit” shoot all the little details, like the ornaments, the stockings, the lights, decorations, clothes, food, etc. These will make your photo narrative rich! And remember, fill the frame!


_MG_6824 _MG_68282. FOCUS ON THE INTERACTION – Christmas is a time when family and friends are together along with a wide range of emotions! Take five minutes to try and capture the interactions between people. Christmas is about relationships. Capture those moments!


_MG_6323 _MG_63413. FOCUS ON THE LIGHT – There are some great light sources during the season; candles, fires, Christmas lights. Watch for unique reflections, shadows, and colors that add interest to the image, especially reflected on people’s faces and in backgrounds. A shot with Christmas lights in the background is more interesting than one with plain wall…just sayin’. Find the angles that best capture that beautiful light.  And turn off the flash…


_MG_6599adjIMG_32834. FOCUS ON EXPOSURE – During this time of year there is a lot of white and gray (think clouds and snow). Usually you’ll have to brighten the exposure to make the image work. However, if you’re shooting with a fire in the shot, to make it “look right”, usually you’ll be subtracting light from the exposure. At any rate, the ultimate goal is to treasure the moments – even if it means putting the camera down and just being…

As always, I look forward to seeing some of your favorite photos from the season on the SiLVER HILL Facebook page, Happy shooting!