Categories
Photography

Royalty Free Photo Collection

Sun shining through Brighton Beach Bandstand

All of the photos in this post are royalty free, in the public domain. Use them for backgrounds, slides, websites, whatever you fancy!

Sunsets

Silhouette of Worthing Pier against yellow sunset

Modern Buildings

Stanley Street Car Park modern facade

Architecture

Sony A6000 Sample Photo 105

Landscapes

View across Peak District from Kinder Scout

Flowers

Cherry blossom pink

Clouds

fluffy white clouds

Animals

Two sheep in the Peak District

Categories
Clouds

Grey Clouds

dark grey cloud above white and grey clouds with blue sky inbetween

All of our photos of grey clouds.

  • License: All our photos are licensed under CC BY 4.0.
    This means these photos can be used for free for any purpose with an image credit.
detail shot of white and grey clouds
dramatic clouds in various shades of grey and white
Clouds edge illuminated but sunset
Categories
Landscapes Peak District

Walk from Edale Round Kinder Scout

Peak District near Edale with simple fence in the foreground

View of Peaks from walk around Kinder Scout.

  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • Lens: Helios 44M-4 58mm
  • Location: Peak District near Edale
  • License: These photos are licensed under CC BY 4.0.
    This means these photos can be used for free for any purpose with an image credit.

Sun and shadow on Peak District rock formations
  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • Lens: Sony PZ 16-50mm
Exposed rocks on Peak District
Jet stream above peak district rock

Categories
Manchester

Pictures Around Manchester, Spring 2021

Glass buildings in Spinningfields Manchester including 20 Stories Restaurant

Pictures taken around Manchester City Centre including Spinningfields, Northern Quarter, and Deansgate.

  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • Lens: Sony PZ 16-50mm
  • License: These photos are licensed under CC BY 4.0.
    This means they can be used for free for any purpose with an image credit.
Predominantly orange photo of buildings in Manchester
burgundy modern office building on Deansgate
Categories
Worthing

Worthing Pier Pics

Silhouette of Worthing Pier against yellow sunset

My best photos of Worthing Pier.

  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • Lens: Sony PZ 16-50mm
  • License: All our photos are licensed under CC BY 4.0.
    This means these photos can be used for free for any purpose with an image credit.
Dramatic shadows at the end of Worthing Pier
Pink and purple sky reflected in water pools with the moon in the sky and Worthing pier in the distance
Worthing Pier supports silhouetted against the sun behind clouds

Our favourites from around the web

Some of our favourites from Pixabay and Unsplash.

end of Worthing pier in the sun
Credit: Pixabay

Categories
Peak District

Walk from Glossop to Higher Shelf Stones Photos

Sheep standing against Peak District landscape

Pictures from a Peak District walk starting at Glossop and going to Higher Shelf Stones and the Bleaklow plane crash.

  • Camera: Sony A6000
  • Lens: Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
  • License: All our photos are licensed under Creative Commons, CC BY 4.0.
    This means they can be used for free for any purpose with an image credit.
Bleaklow plane crash site 3
Two sheep standing next to broken dry stone wall

Bleaklow Plane Crash

View more photos of the plane crash memorial site here.

Categories
Photography

How to Tell if Your Image Sensor is Dirty

Short answer: Switch to aperture priority mode, set your aperture to f/11 or smaller, and take a picture of a light coloured wall or clear sky.

If you see dirt or dust in the final image then this could be from the lens or the image sensor. If you have another lens to swap out then you’ll be able to narrow it down to the sensor or lens, or both.

Small aperture showing dirty lens
This image was taken at f/22 and in this case the sensor needed a clean!

Why Does This Work?

This trick works particularly well because the dirt or dust will look like dark specks against the light consistent background of a wall or the clear sky.

The reason it helps to use a small aperture, large f-stop, is because of how this impacts the angle of the light rays coming into the lens. When the aperture is narrow the light rays coming in are at a narrower angle and so the dust gets directly in the way and casts a shadow on the sensor.

When using a large aperture, e.g. f/1.4, the light rays are coming in from a much wider angle and getting behind the dust to an extent. This means it will not cast as harsh a shadow. At an aperture like f/1.4 you are unlikely to see any dust.

When is Dust A Problem?

Dust is particularly a problem when you are using narrower apertures so is more likely to be an issue for landscape photography. In general, any situation where you are using a smaller aperture because you want a large depth of field, or because the light is bright, then you are much more likely to have dust show up in your pictures.

Also, the same point applies about a light consistent background as we mentioned above. In landscapes, the dust is particularly noticeable in the sky or flat overcast clouds.

Picture of sheep with dust marks from sensor in sky
This picture was taken at f/11. Notice the dust can be seen in the sky but not in the more detailed parts of the image.

Fortunately this is easy to fix because it mostly shows up in plain areas without detail. I’ve used the Spot fix feature in the standard Windows photo app to remove most of these spots:

Sheep picture in Peak District near Glossop

Here’s another example, I was taking a picture of the sunset. Even at f/11 this seems fine without noticeable dust:

Yellow sunset at f11

Then I upped the f-stop to the max on my A6000 setup at f/36 to try and get sunbeams, a sunstar effect, and suddenly there’s loads of dust:

Dusty picture of yellow sunset at f36

So How Do You Clean Your Sensor?

First try removing the dust with an air blower, then use a single use swab to really get it clean. Check out this great video from hikyletaggart for a visual guide:

You are not meant to use compressed air, as this has moisture in it, and you are not meant to use a microfibre cloth in case you drag dirt across the sensor and scratch it. But at least with scratching it, you don’t need to be too worried as your sensor should be scratch resistant and tough. Check out this video from Arthur R where he has to try hard to scratch a sensor:

Categories
Photography What's That?

What is Hyperfocal Distance in Photography?

Short answer: The hyperfocal distance is the shortest camera to subject distance where the depth of field is infinity.

Short Video Introduction

Check out this video from Matt Granger for a great quick introduction to hyperfocal distance:

Maximising Depth of Field

Hyperfocal distance is about maximising your depth of field. It’s about maximising the area that is acceptably sharp in the image we are capturing. When you set focus to the hyperfocal distance the depth of field starts half way from the camera to the hyperfocal distance and continues to infinity.

For a deep dive into depth of field check out this post.

Hyperfocal Distance Tables

PhotoPills have a great online tool for finding the hyperfocal distance for a wide range of cameras.

Below is a section from a hyperfocal distance table for the Sony A6000:

Focal Length (mm)f/5.6f/8f/11
16mm2.28m1.62m1.15m
28mm6.96m4.93m3.49m
35mm10.86m7.69m5.45m

From this we can see that if the aperture is set to f/8 and the focal length is 28mm then our hyperfocal distance is 4.93m. This means as long as our subject is at least half way towards this distance, e.g. 2.47 metres away or further, then they will be within the depth of field and ‘acceptably sharp’.

Why is This Useful?

Having a very large depth of field, from near in front of the camera to infinity, is particularly useful for landscape photography. In the below image the dry stone wall in the foreground is in focus and so are the distant hills.

Dry stone wall in the foreground in the Lake District. View to mountains in the distance.
ISO 100, 1/125 sec, f/11, 28 mm.

When setting focus manually, for instance on an older camera, then setting focus at the hyperfocal distance means you can shoot freely. As long as your subject is beyond half way to the hyperfocal distance then it should be acceptably sharp, as well as everything in the background.

Hyperfocal distance is also useful because when we know this distance we know that if our subject is further away than the hyperfocal distance and we focus on them, then everything behind them will be acceptably sharp because the depth of field will be infinity.

Categories
Photography What's That?

What is Depth of Field?

Short answer: Depth of field is the distance between the nearest ‘in focus’ object to the furthest within your frame.

Shallow Depth of Field

For example, check out the below image. This image has a very shallow, small or narrow depth of field. Only part of the button is in acceptable focus so this depth of field is just a few millimetres.

MEIKE MK S AF3B Sample Image 6
Macro photo displaying very shallow depth of field

Also notice that it’s a very small part of the button that is super sharp. Just the “O” in the centre and then above and below this is a small area of acceptable sharpness which counts as our depth of field and then focus drops off gradually. This is why we talk about acceptable sharpness, depth of field isn’t an exact portion of perfect focus it’s a section of acceptably ‘in focus’.

What Counts As In Focus?

In order to talk about what counts as in focus first we need to understand what a circle of confusion is. A circle of confusion is caused by light rays not perfectly converging on the camera sensor or film.

If you took a picture of a point of light and it was in perfect focus then the light rays would converge to form a point on the camera sensor. Anything outside of perfect focus would form a spot on the camera sensor and this spot is a circle of confusion.

What counts as in focus is an acceptable size for the circle of confusion. Essentially this is the size at which the circle of confusion still looks like a point to us; practically looks like a point and so is an acceptable size and acceptably sharp.

Resource: Wikipedia

Depth of Field Tables

So how do you know what the distances are that are acceptably sharp? That’s where you can use a depth of field table if you are interested. PhotoPills have a cool calculator where you can put your camera details in.

Here’s a snippet of one for the Sony A6000 with a focal length of 16mm:

Subject distance (m)f/4f/5.6f/8f/11
0.5m0.15m0.22m0.33m0.51m
1m0.68m1.06m1.94m6.48m
1.5m1.76m3.39m17.58m
2m3.98m14.39m
2.5m9.57m

So how do you read this? If I set my camera to f/8 and the distance to my subject is 1m then the depth of field is 1.94m. The subject is the sharpest part of the image and the 1.94m DOF is spread in front of and behind the subject.

What about a depth of field of infinity? In this case everything behind your subject will appear in focus and part of the distance to the subject is included in the depth of field.

Aperture and distance to subject are included in the table because they have such a large impact on the depth of field. Which we’ll explore below.

Aperture and Depth of Field

The size of the aperture has obvious impact on depth of field. In the table above you can see that the larger depth of field, f/4, has smaller depths of fields than the smaller apertures.

This is something to keep in mind when you are shooting especially if you want to take photos with background blur and bokeh. It’s also easy to play around with, switch your camera to aperture priority and set the f-stop to the lowest value you can and see what the effect is.

Why does aperture have such a large impact on depth of field? Aperture impacts depth of field because it impacts how shallow or wide the angle of light rays coming into the lens are. Rays coming in at a narrower angle stay within the acceptable circle of confusion from a greater distance in our scene.

Resource: Wikipedia

That’s a little tricky to get your head around and visualise so I recommend watching this video from Dylan Bennett on YouTube. He shows how the angle of the light rays coming in impacts the DoF.

The key point to bare in mind is, a lower aperture creates a shallower depth of field and so background blur is more likely, or more intense. If you want to take a portrait with background blur then you should switch to aperture priority and use your lenses’ largest aperture, lowest f-number.

If you are taking a photo and want more of the field in focus, for instance when taking a landscape, then set the f-stop higher, e.g. 11.

Distance to Subject

The distance to your subject also effects depth of field in a significant way. The closer you are to your subject the shallower the depth of, and the farther you are from the subject you wish to focus on the greater the depth of field.

You can see this in the depth of field table above. Even at 2.5m from your subject, with a 16mm lens, the depth of field is infinity for all apertures of f/5.6 or smaller.

Why is this? This is for the small reason as aperture impacting DOF. When you are closer to your subject, it fills more of your frame and the light entering the lens is coming from a greater area. As a result the light is coming in at a wider angle so the depth of field is shallower.

This is also demonstrated well in the above video from Dylan Bennett.

Focal Length and DOF

Focal length also has a significant impact on DOF. The longer the focal the length the shallower the depth of field, and the shorter the focal length, the greater the depth of field.

This is consistent with the points we spoke about for aperture and distance to subject. When the focal length is longer, then you are more zoomed in to your subject. The subject will take up more of the frame and so the light is coming in from a wider angle.

When the focal length is smaller, e.g. a wide angle lens like 16mm, then the subject takes up less of the frame and the light is coming in at a narrower angle causing the depth of field to be longer.

Here’s that depth of table again for Sony A6000 and a 16mm focal length:

Subject distance (m)f/4f/5.6f/8f/11
0.5m0.15m0.22m0.33m0.51m
1m0.68m1.06m1.94m6.48m
1.5m1.76m3.39m17.58m
2m3.98m14.39m
2.5m9.57m

Here it is again but with a 35mm focal length:

Subject distance (m)f/4f/5.6f/8f/11
0.5m0.03m0.04m0.06m0.09m
1m0.11m0.18m0.25m0.37m
1.5m0.26m0.41m0.59m0.87m
2m0.46m0.75m1.09m1.66m
2.5m0.73m1.2m1.79m2.84m

The depth of fields are greatly reduced with none of the apertures getting to infinity for the small section I’ve presented here.

Short Video Introduction

Check out this video from Kellan Reck for a quick introduction to depth of field and how you can effect it:

Categories
Photography

What’s Happening When You Focus a Camera?

When you focus your camera, whether manually or with auto-focus, what you are doing is moving the glass elements in the lens and getting the light coming into the lens to converge on the sensor or film.

If the light coming into the lens converges, comes to a point, behind or in front of the camera’s sensor then the image will appear out of focus.

A similar example is if you use a magnifying glass to burn a hole in a leaf. In order for the light to be focused enough for the hole to be burnt, the light generally has to come to a point. In order to position the point of light on the leaf you either adjust the position of the magnifying glass, or you adjust the position of the leaf.

This is similar to what is happening inside your camera lens, the glass elements within the lens are being moved so that the light is brought together on the camera sensor. If you manually turn the focus ring, or use auto-focus, it’s the elements inside the lens that are moving in order to create an in-focus image.