Photo Graph

Discussions in Photography


Night Photography

Using todays modern cameras images of stars in the night can be easily obtained. As long as you live or can get to a place where night time is actually dark.  My backyard just is not the place. Kind of like living in a large camera with a light leak. Still with a bit of effort you can get some interesting images.   Full Of Stars This was from my backyard shooting almost straight up.  The image was taken on a 16mm fish-eye at F2.8  for 15 seconds with an ISO of 800. If I didn’t have so much ambient light I could have either extended the open shutter time or upped the ISO to pull in the fainter stars.

Using a wide angle lens gives you a view of a larger portion of the sky it also allows for longer exposures without the starts moving in the image. A lens between 16mm and 28mm is your best bet. Use the most wide open aperture that your lens allows.  F/1.4 to F2.8 if you have a lens that opens up that wide.  You must have a really sturdy tripod. You should also use a remote shutter release or use the self timer to let the camera stabilized before the shutter opens. The last issue is to get the stars in focus which you probably will do manually unless you have a real good live view on your camera. I try to set my focus just below infinity (even stars are not an infinite distance from the lens).

Beware, night photography can become addicted and you end up doing things like getting up at 2:45am to try and see nonexistent meteor showers.   jr


Portfolio Presentation

I’ve been thinking about how to best present a portfolio of your images. Once upon a time you would make prints of your best work put it in some sort of binder and present it to potential clients with the hope of someone purchasing your time or images. Today I think we have a multitude of options on putting together a portfolio presentation.

The iPad seems to me to be one of the best ways to show off you images.  The device size and resolution give your images a chance to shine.  Of course your not going to be leaving your iPad with a potential client so your images may only be held in the clients mind for so long.

Putting your images in a PDF file or some other document that you can email is one possibility another might be to make a movie of your images.  I’ve done a little experiment with loading a number of images into iMovie to make a movie you can host on your website, host on another website or even email to a client. This seems to be an interesting way to present your portfolio.  I’ve whipped up a quick “Epcot” portfolio as a test case to see what I can determine the best way to show images in movie format.

Epcot Portfolio from Jim Roberts on Vimeo.


After playing with the settings in iMovie I’ve come to a couple of thoughts on the way to present your images.

  • I would turn off any Ken Burns effects.  While they are super hip and such you’re presenting your images as a whole. You don’t need your viewer to miss the overall balance of the image. You went to all that trouble to get the rule of thirds right so you need to show a full image.
  • Make sure the images stay on screen long enough.  While the viewer can pause the movie at any point you still want the viewer to have time to view the image.
  • Make sure the images don’t stay on screen too long. Viewers get bored easily.
  • I would not suggest a narrative other than maybe at the beginning and end of the movie. If you have to say “this is a picture of a dog” you probably aren’t doing stuff right.
  • Movies are landscape mode.  Images you shot in portrait mode are going to take up less of the screen with white/black space on either side and be smaller.
  • I’m not sure at this point if adding music to the movie is a good or not.

These are just a few ideas about presenting your work as a movie. Of course the hard part is alway which images to include. Like everything else experiment with the format and make it your own.




This image looks really good on my calibrated 27″ iMac. When you convert it to the sRGB color space though it sure looks flat. Rather than converting to sRGB I left this image in the ProPhoto RGB color space. I’m sure by the time it gets to your web browser it will have lost something in the translation.


Photography and The Inverse Square Law

I’ve noticed a number of photography instructors who dance around the inverse square law of light without really discussing it.  Basically they know that when you move the source of light ways from the subject you need a brighter light to illuminate the subject to the same brightness.  They just don’t seem to explain why.

It’s because of the inverse square law of light. The Inverse Square Law states that if the light is moved twice as far from the subject it only shines with one quarter of the brightness.

Say you have a light source 1 foot from your subject and you move it to two feet away, you will end up with only one fourth the amount of light at your subject. If you move the light four feet away you will only have one sixteenth the light falling on the subject.

Inverse Square Law

My crude attempt at drawing a diagram of the inverse square law. The light falling two feet from the source has to cover four times the area of the light one foot from the source.


Is This Thing On?

This new site and blog is an extension of one of my long time passions, photography.  Right now it is just called “Photography” which is a rather generic name for a blog but I’ve not received any response to my insistant demands for a clever title to appear out of thin air.  I’m hoping that I can use this blog to explain, enjoy, and learn about what I know about photography as well as what I don’t know.  There is a lot more in the don’t know department so I’m guessing I will have plenty to write about.


So lets get started. I’ve got some new stuff to tell you about as well as some things that have been long on my mind.