Categories
Photography What's That?

What is the Golden Hour?

Short answer: Golden hour in photography is the time briefly after sunrise or before sunset when the sun is low in the sky and the light is orange/red.

Silhouette of Worthing Pier against orange yellow sun during golden hour
Worthing Pier during the golden hour just before sunset.

What Causes Golden Hour

When the sun is low in the sky it has to travel through more of the earth’s atmosphere in order to reach you, rather than beaming straight down as it does during the day. As the white light travels through the atmosphere the colours with shorter wavelengths, like blue and green are scattered leaving behind the red and orange end of the spectrum. This is why the light we see is orange/red.

Resource: Wikipedia.

Is It Exactly An Hour?

No, the term is used purely to indicate a short amount of time close to sunrise or sunset. People just use the golden hour as a way to refer to a time when the light is more orange than typical daylight and a good time for taking photos.

Take Advantage of It

The golden hour is absolutely something you should keep in mind if you like the aesthetic. In general, shadows are not as harsh and highlights will not be as bright. In general your images should have less dynamic range than a clear day and will have a warm feel.

Golden Hour Sample Galley

Check out some photos I’ve taken during golden hour. As always, these photos are free to use with an image credit.

Short Video Introduction

Here’s a short 2 minute introduction to the topic from Dean Rojas on YouTube:

Longer Video on Golden Hour

Check out this video from Channel 8 on YouTube for a more in depth dive into the topic, including what causes the golden hour and shooting tips:

Categories
Photography

Samsung Galaxy S8 Sample Images

Samsung Galaxy S8 Sample Image 17
ISO 40, 1/3200 sec. f/1.7 4.2 mm

Samples pictures from the Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. All photos are unedited and were taken handheld.

  • Camera: Samsung Galaxy S8 phone
  • 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.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Sample Image 10
ISO 40, 1/800 sec. f/1.7 4.2 mm
Samsung Galaxy S8 Sample Image 23
ISO 40, 1/6400 sec. f/1.7 4.2 mm
Samsung Galaxy S8 Sample Image 1
ISO 40, 1/8000 sec. f/1.7 4.2 mm
Samsung Galaxy S8 Sample Image 9
Samsung Galaxy S8 Sample Image 12
ISO 40, 1/2500 sec. f/1.7 4.2 mm
Categories
Photography

MEIKE MK-S-AF3B Macro Extension Tubes Sample Images

MEIKE MK S AF3B Sample Image 5
Levi Straus Button

Samples pictures using both the 16mm and 10mm MEIKE MK-S-AF3B extension tube on a Sony A6000 with the kit lens (E PZ 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS). To inspect the full size image, open the image in a new tab and remove the dimensions from the end of the URL, e.g. -1536×864.

Really impressed with how close you can get, a great affordable solution for getting started with macro photography without needing to buy a macro lens.

  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • 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.
MEIKE MK S AF3B Sample Image 9
White brick and grouting
MEIKE MK S AF3B Sample Image 2
Blue denim

Categories
Photography

Helios 44m-4 Sample Images on Sony A6000

Peak District near Edale with simple fence in the foreground

Samples pictures using a Helios 44m-4 58mm F2 lens on a Sony A6000 mirrorless camera. To inspect the full size image, open the image in a new tab and remove the dimensions from the end of the URL, e.g. -1536×864.

  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • Lens: Helios 44m-4 58mm F2
  • 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.
Peak District exposed rocks with grey clouds in the sky
Peak District exposed rock
detailed clouds
Sheep in field in front of Lose Hill, Debryshire
Snaking path in the Peak District

Categories
Photography

Sony A6000 Sample Images with Kit Lens

Sony Alpha 6000 Sample Photo 8
ISO 100, 1/125 sec, f/9, 41 mm. Full size image.

Samples pictures from the Sony Alpha 6000 with the kit lens, E PZ 16-50mm. All photos are unedited and were taken handheld. Full size versions of every image are available if you go to the image URL and remove the dimensions or “-scaled” part from the end of the URL.

  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • Lens: 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.
Sony Alpha 6000 Sample Photo 4
ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/11, 38 mm. Full size image.
Sony Alpha 6000 Sample Photo 5
ISO 100, 1/125 sec, f/10, 50 mm. Full size image.
Sony Alpha 6000 Sample Photo 11
ISO 100, 1/400 sec, f/9, 39 mm. Full size image.
Sony Alpha 6000 Sample Photo 21
ISO 100, 1/125 sec, f/9, 42 mm. Full size image.
Sony Alpha 6000 Sample Photo 14
ISO 100, 1/640 sec, f/8, 22 mm. Full size image.
Sony Alpha 6000 Sample Photo 7
ISO 100, 1/125 sec, f/11, 28 mm. Full size image.
Sony Alpha 6000 Sample Photo 13
ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/7.1, 44 mm. Full size image.

Sony’s Alpha 6000 is a mirrorless digital camera that comes with a versatile 16mm-50mm lens. The main drawback of this lens is the maximum aperture, at f3.5-5.6 this lens is not well suited to low light handheld photography or extreme background blur which you might want for portraiture. The aperture is variable from f3.5 to f5.6, at 16mm f3.5 is possible and this increases with the focal length.

The base ISO for this body is 100 which can create some impressively sharp images in good light. Overall, I’m super pleased with this camera and the results you can see here. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to get started with photography. The mirrorless body is light and easy to carry around.

With some cheap plastic extension tubes you can easily turn this setup to macro photography. See some samples here.

Categories
Photography

Introduction to ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed

Short answer: Aperture controls depth of field, set a low f-stop for background blur or a high f-stop to have most of your scene in focus. Use a fast shutter speed to freeze motion, or slow shutter speed and tripod to let more light in. Use the lowest possible ISO for crisper images, or bump this up for a brighter but grainer image.


ISO

ISO is an exposure index that indicates how amplified the signal from your digital image sensor is. Any noise or grain present in your image will be amplified at higher ISO values and be much more obvious:

ISO 100 Sample Image
ISO 100, 1/320 sec, f/9, 50 mm
ISO 1600 Sample Image
ISO 1600, 1/2500 sec, f/13, 50 mm
ISO 25600 Sample Image
ISO 25600, 1/4000 sec, f/36, 50 mm

In general you will want to keep this value as low as possible in order to achieve sharp and clear images.

This is also an important factor to bare in mind when buying your camera. Look for the lowest value that can be achieved with the camera you are looking to buy and ask yourself if this is going to be good enough for you.

Also, the more expensive the camera the better it should be at producing a good image at higher ISO values. Scrutinise the sample images available and take note of the settings used to achieve each image. For more info check out our ISO post.

Aperture

This is the size of the opening in the lens. This is measured in f-stops. The smaller the number the larger the opening and the more light that will be let in, the higher the f-stop the smaller the opening and less light will be let in.

The key effect to keep in mind with aperture is depth of field. A low f-stop has a shallow depth of field. This creates background blur that is very popular in portrait photography and is an easy way to give a photo a professional look.

f4.5 sample photo
1/160 sec. f/4.5 26 mm ISO 100
f10 sample photo
1/30 sec. f/10 26 mm ISO 100
f20 sample photo
1/8 sec. f/20 26 mm ISO 100

A higher f-stop has a deeper depth of field meaning more of your scene will be in focus. This will be more common in landscape photography if you want both foreground and background to be in focus.

Aperture is key to bare in mind when buying lenses. You will notice more expensive lenses are the ones that can shoot at low f-stop values like 1.4. This is going to be valuable if you want to shoot handheld in low light conditions and want to create background blur.

Shutter speed

This is the time your shutter is open. My Sony A6000 can shoot as quickly as 1/4000’s of a second.

A quicker shutter speed is letting less light in but more capable of freezing action. For quick action, like sport or a bird in flight, you might want to use a fast shutter speed if you want to freeze the motion in the photography.

A slower shutter speed lets more light in but movement, in the subject or from you holding the camera, is more likely to blur.

1600th of 1 second shutter speed sample image
1/1600 sec. f/3.5 16 mm ISO 100
4th of 1 second shutter speed sample image
1/4 sec. f/22 16 mm ISO 100
1 second shutter speed sample image
1 sec. f/22 16 mm ISO 100

Balancing priorities

The settings you use will depend on the image you are looking to achieve. Think about what setting you should be prioritising and let the other settings follow this led.

An easy way to do this is to use the priority settings on the camera. For example, if you want a blurred background then use aperture priority and set the f-stop to the lowest value your lens is capable of. If you want to freeze motion then use shutter priority. On my Sony A6000 I’ll often use Program Auto to set the ISO to 100, for crisp images, and let the aperture and shutter speed be set automatically.

Categories
Photography

What is Digital ISO?

Short answer: Digital ISO is an exposure index that approximates the end result you would achieve if you were using film of the same ISO. The lower the ISO the sharper and clearer the image will appear. The higher the ISO the more noise and grain you will notice in the image.


Film ISO:

ISO for film is a measure of how sensitive that film is to light. A film with an ISO of 800 is more sensitive to light than a film with an ISO of 100.

Digital ISO:

For digital cameras the ISO is a measure of signal gain. A digital image sensor, the equivalent of the film in a film camera, cannot change it’s ISO value like you can swap out one film type for another. The sensor has one value which will generally be the lowest value possible, for instance this is ISO 100 on my Sony Alpha 6000.

The ISO value on a digital camera indicates how much the signal from the image sensor is being amplified. E.g. setting the ISO to 1600 means the image is being brightened.

Why is ISO Important?

A high ISO will make noise and grain in your images much more apparent. For instance check out the below images:

ISO 100 Sample Image
ISO 100, 1/320 sec, f/9, 50 mm
ISO 1600 Sample Image
ISO 1600, 1/2500 sec, f/13, 50 mm
ISO 25600 Sample Image
ISO 25600, 1/4000 sec, f/36, 50 mm

A high ISO is not creating noise but making it more noticeable by amplifying the signal. More sophisticated, expensive, camera bodies will produce better results at higher ISO values and give you more flexibility. This is something to look out for when analysing sample images and choosing a camera body to suit your needs.

Tips for the Best Results

In general to get sharp images you want to use the lowest ISO you can. The auto setting on your camera will generally take care of this, especially if you are in bright sunny conditions. However, I’ve noticed my camera will bump up the ISO unnecessarily in some lighting, like overcast weather, and prioritise a quicker shutter speed. With this in mind, ISO is a very important metric to be aware of when you’re shooting and something you will want to override some of the time.

Times when you want to use a higher ISO value are when you want to freeze motion with a fast shutter speed and your aperture is wide open but the image would be dark unless you bump up the ISO.

Learn More

Categories
Abstract Photography Textures & Patterns

Yellow and Green Abstract Photos

Ink on water green and yellow abstract image 2

Yellow and green marbling ink floating on water to create some abstract patterns quite like rivers and coast lines in aerial photography. Use for free as abstract backgrounds and wallpapers.

  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • Lens: Sony PZ 16-50mm
  • License: All of our images are licensed under CC BY 4.0.
    This means our photos can be used for free with an image credit.
Abstract green and yellow ink 4
Abstract green and yellow ink 8
Categories
Abstract Photography Textures & Patterns

Blue and Red Abstract Photos

red and blue alien aerial shot ink on water 3

Marbling ink on water to create some blue and red abstract images. I think these look like aerial shots from other planets. Use for free as abstract backgrounds and wallpapers.

  • Camera: Sony Alpha 6000
  • Lens: Sony PZ 16-50mm
  • License: All of our images are licensed under CC BY 4.0.
    This means our photos can be used for free with an image credit.
Red swirls in blue ink 2
Red swirls in blue ink 3
Categories
Abstract Photography Textures & Patterns

Chroma Lab

Marbled and pixel sort waves created with Chroma Lab

Abstract photos created with the Chroma Lab app. I recommend playing around with this app it’s pretty fun and the effects you can get are impressive.

My favourite features are pixel sort where you get lines on the image and a marbling effect that can be seen in the image above.

  • App: Chroma Lab
  • License: All Huey Images are licensed under CC BY 4.0.
    This means our photos can be used for free with an image credit.
Abstract pixel sort mountain range
This is an example of the pixel sort feature.
Abstract blue swirls background
Green and yellow marbling ink on water augmented by Chroma Lab app

These images were generated entirely in Chroma Lab with no starting image: