Wednesday, November 5, 2008

High and low key lighting

In photography, the term key refers to the overall tone of a photograph. There are two types of keys or tones, low and high. Low key images have very little light, their contrast is high and the lighting hard. High key images on the other hand have a predominance of white or very light tones and tend to look light and airy, the contrast in these images is low and the lighting soft. CONTRAST Contrast is one of the most important concepts in photography; simply put contrast is the difference between the lightest and the darkest areas in a photo.

The greater the difference between the lightest and the darkest areas in a photo, the higher the contrast will be. For example, an image made up of mostly black and white tones is contrasty whereas an image composed mostly of middle gray tones is flat. When we talk about contrast in photography, we refer to both tonal contrast as well as colour contrast.
Tonal contrast is seen in black and white images, and colour contrast is found in colour images. In black and white photography, contrast is created by the difference in subject tones. Subjects portray a number of different tones and when captured in black and white these tones move from white to grey to black. In colour photography tone does not create contrast, but rather contrast is created by colour.

Contrast can be low, high, or normal. A high contrast photograph is made up of white and black areas with little or no grey. High contrast images convey a sense of hardness, power, and strength. A low contrast image is flat, as there is little difference in the density of the tones in the highlight and the shadow areas, all colours and tones in the scene are very similar in appearance. Low contrast images portray softness and gentleness.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I have created an account with Pix magazine.
Go and have a look :


Great website with nice photos :

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008


"Only after the last tree has been cut down.Only after the last river has been poisoned.Only after the last fish has been caught.Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."- Cree Indian Prophecy

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Photo Tip: Macro Photography Tools

What is Macro Photography?
"Macro photography" is simply another name for "close-up photography." The closer you can focus on your subject the larger it will appear in the frame, which is the point to macro photography -- to magnify small objects. Some purists insist that the term macro be reserved for images that are at least life-sized in the film -- an object 1" long must record an image 1" long or longer in the film to count as macro to these folks.
I prefer to speak more loosely of macro photography as being anything that uses some sort of technique that yields an image more magnified than would be possible with just an ordinary lens on the camera. For me, macro photography can have relatively small magnification factors -- just as long as there is more magnification than with a conventional lens by itself.
By the way, some people use the term "micro photography" instead of macro photography, but it's the same thing.

What is it good for?
Macro photography lets you fill the frame with small subjects. A picture of a caterpillar taken with a 50 mm lens from 10 feet away is likely to be uninteresting because the subject is a tiny speck in the photo. Make that same caterpillar fill the frame of film, however, and you've got an exciting photograph.
But you can do more than simply enlarge small subjects to fill the frame. You can use enough magnification to overfill the frame with the subject, abstracting out one part of the subject to stand for the whole. With enough magnification, you can make the photo an interesting abstraction where the viewer can't even tell what the original subject was. The possibilities of macro photography are limited only by your imagination.

Read further:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Action on the water

Just before the stone hits the water...........

Taken in a shady area - but give the water a nice dark coulor

Photos: G. Beetge

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Peruvian Andes/Machu Picchu

In 1912 Yale University professor and explorer Hiram Bingham was searching in the Peruvian Andes for the ancient Inca capital of Vilcabamba when he and his guide stumbled onto one of the greatest archaeological finds in history. Thanks to his photographs of the lost city of Machu Picchu, Bingham and National Geographic helped bring archaeology out of the field and into people’s homes.
Photograph by Hiram Bingham

North pole?

In April 1909, Admiral Robert Peary and his team (pictured here), including Inuits Ooqeah, Ooatah, Egingwah, and Seeglo and fellow American Matthew Henson, became the first explorers to reach what they believed to be the North Pole. Later studies found that Peary was actually 30 to 60 miles (50 to 100 kilometers) short of the Pole.
Photograph by Admiral Robert E. Peary

Flashlight photograph

This flashlight photograph of a white-tailed doe with her fawns was among the world’s first nighttime photographs of animals, shot by photographer and wildlife enthusiast George Shiras. A pioneer in flashlight and trip-wire photography, Shiras captured this shot in Whitefish River, Michigan, around 1906 using a remote-control flashlight camera triggered when an animal stepped on the trip wire.

Aerial photography

Some of the world’s first aerial photographs were taken not by humans but by birds. In 1903, German engineer Julius Neubronner combined an analog camera and timer, which he attached to a pigeon’s neck. The German military took notice of Neubronner’s innovative approach to aerial photography, and by World War II pigeons were collecting secret aerial photography for both Allied and Axis forces.


The settling of a debate—whether, during its trot, all four of a horse’s hooves are off the ground at the same time—led English photographer Eadweard Muybridge to develop the first photographs to capture the sequence of movement. In 1878, Muybridge arranged 24 trip-wire cameras along a racetrack. The resulting photos, The Horse in Motion, proved all four hooves leave the ground during a trot and set the stage for the first motion pictures.

The world’s first photograph

Centuries of advances in chemistry and optics, including the invention of the camera obscura, set the stage for the world’s first photograph. In 1826, French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, took that photograph, titled View from the Window at Le Gras at his family’s country home. Niépce produced his photo—a view of a courtyard and outbuildings seen from the house’s upstairs window—by exposing a bitumen-coated plate in a camera obscura for several hours on his windowsill.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Circle around the moon

Due to ice crystals in the upper atmosphere, light is scattered at about 22 degrees and a circle can be seen around the moon due to the reflected light.

Photo: G. Beetge


Monday, May 5, 2008

Kruger National Park-South Africa

Photo: G. Beetge

Tha Marabu

Photo: G. Beetge

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Photo: G. Beetge

Kruger National Park


Insect on a wire

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Using a Softbox - studio lighting beginners' guide

Using a Softbox - studio lighting beginners' guide -
A softbox is a useful studio light accessory that provides a wonderful soft light as Chris Burfoot AMPA ASWPP explains.
Softboxes are available in a range of sizes from around 40cms square up to the amazing Elinchrom Octa which is almost two metres across!The most useful sizes for portrait work are the 70cm or 100cm square, although products like the Portalite 65x65cm are great value for money and work very well. Remember, the bigger the light the softer it is. To get the softest light from your softbox - get close! If used just out of view of the camera, it will give you a lovely, soft, diffused light.
The bigger it is the more “wrap-around” it will be - an Elinchrom Rotalux 100x100cm was used in these examples.

Softboxes give a lovely soft light.

Again, by adding a reflector panel we can fill the shadows on the opposite side. If I am using a matt light source like a softbox, I normally use a matt white reflector to match.

With a white reflector as a fill

As you can see from the diagram, this is the same set-up but with the addition of a background light which “lifts” the subject from the background.

A splash of light on the background really “lifts” the picture!

Fill-in flash explained

We explain how to use fill-in flash
Most cameras that you buy today have a flash gun built-in and most of us tend to use the flash when the light drops or when we move indoors, but flash has another use.

In bright daylight when the sun is casting harsh shadows it's easy for part of your subject to be bathed in sunlight and the other part in deep shadow. Digital cameras and film camera meters cannot cope with such extreme contrast ranges. If you took a meter reading the difference between the exposure in the bright area and the shadow area could easily be three stops. This would mean you either have a burnt out highlight or a dark shadow (as seen on this example)

depending which you decided to expose for.
If your camera is automatic it will average out the whole picture which may result in the shadows being a little too dark and the highlights slightly burnt out.
The latest Fuji F700 digital camera has a new type of CCD that can help to some extent by calculating the difference and adjusting the pixel brightness, but with all cameras you can switch to fill flash mode to force the flash to fire in daylight.
If the camera is fully automatic it may trigger the flash automatically. If not you can set the flash to the on mode and hope for the best. Some camera will blast out a full flash which makes the photo look slightly unnatural. Others can see the difference between the background and the subject and fire a reduced flash output to give a more pleasing result. Some, if you're lucky, have a flash compensation setting. Here you can reduce the output of the flash by 1 or 2, sometimes 3, stops. The amount you set depends on the contrast. As a guide -1 is better for shots, like our example, where the sun is creating really harsh shadows, while overcast days would suit -2 so the flash is less powerful.
Then you have cameras with full control and it's these that give you the most options. In our example, I took a spot reading from the left hand side of the face (as we look at it) and based that reading for the exposure. I then set the flash to fire at -1 so that it filled in the shadow area, but still maintained a small level of shadow to make the shot look more natural. Okay you now have the tell tale catchlights in the eyes, but it's lifted the picture.

So for those who have manual cameras with a hot shoe mounted flash, here's how you set fill in flash. Take a reading of the highlight area. Having a camera with a spot meter helps here, but if you don't move in close so the camera lens is filling the frame with the bright area. Let's say the reading suggested is 1/500sec at f/11. You must then reduce the shutter speed so that it's at the flash sync speed. We'll assume your camera has a 1/125sec sync speed, that means the aperture would need to be f/22 on the camera's lens. Now for the flash. Look on the dial on the back and set it to an auto setting two stops less in overcast light (f/11 in our example) or one stop less in bright sunlight (f/16 in our example). Many readers will instantly think..."hang on that's going to make the picture brighter because you are using a wider aperture" but think for a moment - if the flash fires enough light for f/11, but your lens is set to f/16 it won't give enough light (one stop less to be precise!)
If you do not have appropriate auto settings on the flash take a look at the scale right that explains how to adjust the camera.The three sets of numbers are film speed (25-400), distance (1.8 to 20m) and the aperture (f/2 to f22)Look at the diagonal line running from the ISO400 film speed. This indicates that the flash will provide enough output to illuminate a subject 1.8m away when the camera is set at f/22, or 7m when the lens is set at f/5.6.
In our example, with the camera set at f/22, you'd look at the f/16 setting for one stops less fill-in flash, because it's a bright day. Follow across to the ISO400 line from f/16 and read up to the aperture scale to see that the flash should be 2.5m from the subject. If you move the flash to this distance it would give enough exposure for f/16. We've got f/22 set on the lens so the flash would be one stop under...a good amount for fill-in. And that's all there is to it...easy when you know how!
Words and Pictures Peter Bargh of ePHOTOzine

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Photo: G Beetge

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A very tiny frog

Photo: G. Beetge

The tree in our garden

Photo: G. Beetge

Tiny mushrooms

Photo: G. Beetge

Itsy bitsy spider

Photo: G Beetge