Dru Dodd Photography: Blog https://www.drudodd.com/blog en-us (C) Dru Dodd Photography dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:36:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:36:00 GMT https://www.drudodd.com/img/s/v-12/u720197033-o950399185-50.jpg Dru Dodd Photography: Blog https://www.drudodd.com/blog 120 80 A landscape photographer's wardrobe https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2014/3/a-landscape-photographers-wardrobe Seeing as I use this my page more as a blog with the aim of helping others get out and take photographs rather than just dumping photos on here and not saying much about them I thought I'd cover something a little different. Clothes!

I frequently get asked by friends if I'd meet up with them and show them places to take photographs all over the North East. At all sorts of times and weather conditions and often when I turn up they're stood there in shoes or them daft canvas shoes that people seem to run around in these days and some sort of fancy knitwear!

If you're taking landscapes then you're an outdoor walker first, and a photographer second, unless you're not planning on leaving your car! The last thing you want is your clothing to dictate you composition or worse still the amount of time you're prepared to wait for the light. Being cold is a total nightmare, you don't think properly because you're preoccupied with being cold and the pain that goes with it, which makes you cut corners or just pack up and go home.

So here's a run down of what I wear.

A landscape photographer's wardrobe

1. Berghaus Gore-Tex waterproof jacket. A good coat is essential and Berghaus ones have a big chest pocket for maps, but a filter wallet also fits in perfectly so they're always close at hand when you're working. I've got three Berghaus coats and I've had them all for over 6 years now, they just work and last if you look after them.

2. North Face Down Gillet. I only wear this when its really cold. I wear it under my coat and I look huge but the goose feathers keep your core extremely warm. I've worn this when taking just about ever star photograph, when the nights are clear and the temperature is well below 0 degree Celsius.

3. Berghaus polar snood and 4. Buff. Sometimes a beard just isn't enough! It's remarkable how much heat these things can prevent from escaping from your body, you can pull it up to cover your face when its really windy. I wear the Buff as a base and the Berghaus over the top.

5. Berghaus Extrem Soft Shell Windstopper. Anyone who knows me probably thinks I live in this thing. It is the single best item of clothing I have ever bought. Unbelievably versatile, it keeps you warm, cuts out wind but is vented through the pockets.

6. Helly Hansen long sleeve base layer. Great tops, they keep you dry by wicking sweat away from your body.

7. Helly Hansen knitted hat. It's a myth that you lose upto half your body heat from your head, but you should still have a hat when its cold!

8. Thin glove liners. As gloves go these aren't great, but by being thin I can still handle all the controls on my camera. They're also woven with metal fibres in them so I can use my phone with them on. I never take my gloves off when I'm out.

9. Thinsulate fingerless gloves. I wear these over the top of my thin gloves, so my hands are warm and only the finger tips are exposed, but still covered by the thin gloves.

10. Socks. Just a regular pair of socks, like the ones your aunty buys you at Christmas.

11. Thermal socks. Bought by the same aunt that bought number 10 funnily enough! These are really thick and I wear them when I have my wellies on. Cold feet is a massive distraction when taking night shots. Keep them warm!

12. Haglöfs Mountain Pants. These trousers are great, they have canvas ankles, knees and backside so you can kneel down or sit in the damp/mud. This is another case of where you don't want to not want to kneel down to stop you getting a good composition.

13. Berghaus Deluge Overtrousers. If you want to do seascapes then these are an invaluable addition. Wear them over the top of your wellies and they'll allow you to go into the sea upto the tops of your wellies and still be hit by waves and not get wet feet. They're safer than waders as if you get water in a pair of waders it can be very dangerous.

14. BUCKLER Buckbootz. I've owned wellies since I could walk and these are the best I have ever had. They are similar to the popular Muckboots but they have a safety sole on them so they much better on wet rocks. Honestly, if you want to do landscape photography I can't stress enough how important a good pair of wellies are! These also are neoprene lined and topped, so the neoprene traps the air inside the wellies keeping them warm. You can replicate this with standard wellies by putting your feet inside plastic bags then inside your wellies.

15. Walking boots. If you buy a good pair of boots and look after them they'll last you a life time. I bought these one morning in 2007 after I had a terrible time slipping and sliding around on the rocks at Dunstanburgh Castle. I got in a strop and packed up and drove straight to Alnwick and bought these. I paid £110 for them so that works out at only £15 per year and they'll only get cheaper. Don't buy cheap boots, you'll end up buying an expensive pair after all and it'll have cost you even more in the long run.

16. Heat packs. These are brilliant. They're like large tea bags. You expose them to the air and they produce an exothermic reaction giving out heat for around 8 hours. I stick them in my gloves, touching the backs of my hands so I can still work with my hands but they're kept warm. Against your wrists is another good place. They're single use but I got 60 for a tenner, so they're far from expensive and you don't need to use them all the time. The ideal situation to use them is when you're thinking "it's getting too cold, I'm going home". These heat packs are also good to elastic band round your lens if the temperature is below freezing; it keeps your lens warm and stops it from fogging up.

17. Underwear. Whether you're taking photos or not everyone should wear underwear, but you don't really need to see mine!

Well I hope that this has been of some use to some of you. Remember the 6 P's: Perfect Planning Prevents Pretty Poor Performance! Landscape photography can lead you to some very remote places and weather can change quickly, as many people have heard me joke in the past 'Safety doesn't take a holiday!!' but it's true. Be safe and be warm and then you'll be able to devote all you attention to getting that next photograph!

If you've found this useful then please share it with others that you feel would find it of use.

You can follow me on facebook where I post regular updates and photographs, it's the place to be for my up to the minute stuff www.facebook.com/DruDoddPhotography

dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) clothes clothing help landscape landscape photography photographer https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2014/3/a-landscape-photographers-wardrobe Sun, 02 Mar 2014 01:23:21 GMT
A Wedding at The Alnwick Garden https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/8/a-wedding-at-the-alnwick-garden I met Chris when I was working at The Alnwick Garden when I was an undergraduate.  We worked in the car park together and had a great laugh.

Ten years later and we were both back at The Alnwick Garden, he was marrying his fiance Heather, and I was their photographer.  I've always meant to do a little blog of a wedding, showing a few of the photos that I take  and how a couple's special day progresses.


My morning strated by visiting Chris' parents house where he and his best men were getting ready.

Photos of the rings early on is important, you don't want to have to ask the Bride and Groom to take them off after they're married!


It was then on to see Heather, who was having her make-up done, ready for getting into her dress.


Then it was time for some more photos of the groomsmen at the venue.

Then Heather arrived for the ceremony.

After the ceremony we had agreed to go to the pastures in front of Alnwick Castle which is only a short drive from the Garden. I have wanted to get photos from in here and Heather was a great sport and packed her wellies to go. I love landscapes, and I really like to put brides and grooms in a setting, rather than shooting close up and candidly all day.

Just after I got this photo it started to rain! Heather and Chris made it back to the car dry, but I got SOAKED!!!

We returned to the Garden for the Wedding Breakfast.

Some absent guests were present in more than just spirit...

We then got some group photos

Then Chris, Steve and Matt played on the tractors!

Heather and Chris then took a walk around the Garden with me to get some more couple photos. Having worked at the Garden when I was a student means I know the Garden as well as anyone which meant I had lots of ideas for locations.


You can find more information about booking me as your wedding photographer at www.DruDodd.com/Weddings or by clicking HERE

dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) Alnwick Garden Alnwick Gardens Dodd Dru Northumberland Photography The Alnwick Garden Wedding Wedding Photography couple love marriage https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/8/a-wedding-at-the-alnwick-garden Tue, 20 Aug 2013 18:32:50 GMT
Puffins! A Trip to the Farne Islands https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/7/Puffins I must blog more!! Thanks to everyone who's visited before, and thanks to my distant friend who reminded me this morning to blog more!!


So I recently took a trip to the Farne Islands off the coast of north Northumberland with my cousin and his fiance to see/photograph puffins. I've been before to photograph these little birds and I'm always really taken with them. I'm by no means a wildlife photographer and I was carrying some of the smallest kit on our boat out, but the fact that I shoot with Olympus cameras means I'm afforded a 2x crop factor to my lenses. So my compact system with a 300mm f5.6 lens actually had more reach than the chap with a D800 strapped to a 400mm cannon (the gun not the camera brand) next to me. However, I never got to see any of his pictures, so I'm not saying mine were by any means better!

Anyway, here are my photos from our trip, plus some older ones from the same group of islands.

Olympus E30, f7.1, 1/400 sec, ISO 320, 70-300mm f4-5.6 @ 300mm (35mm focal length: 600mm)

Olympus E30, f7.1, 1/640 sec, ISO 320, 70-300mm f4-5.6 @ 300mm (35mm focal length: 600mm)

Olympus E30, f7.1, 1/640 sec, ISO 320, 70-300mm f4-5.6 @ 300mm (35mm focal length: 600mm)

Olympus E30, f6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 400, 50-200mm f2.8 @ 200mm (35mm focal length: 400mm)

Olympus E620, f5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 400, 70-300mm f4-5.6 @ 96mm (35mm focal length: 192mm)

Olympus E620, f5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 400, 70-300mm f4-5.6 @ 96mm (35mm focal length: 192mm)

Olympus E620, f5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 400, 70-300mm f4-5.6 @ 300mm (35mm focal length: 600mm)

Olympus E30, f3.5, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, 50-200mm f2.8 @ 200mm (35mm focal length: 400mm)

Olympus E30, f3.5, 1/2500 sec, ISO 400, 50-200mm f2.8 @ 200mm (35mm focal length: 400mm)

Olympus E30, f3.5, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, 50-200mm f2.8 @ 200mm (35mm focal length: 400mm)

Olympus E30, f5.6, 1/320 sec, ISO 400, 50-200mm f2.8 @ 200mm (35mm focal length: 400mm)

Olympus E30, f5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 320, 70-300mm f4-5.6 @ 239mm (35mm focal length: 478mm)

Olympus E30, f6.3, 1/1600 sec, ISO 400, 50-200mm f2.8 @ 200mm (35mm focal length: 400mm)

Olympus E30, f5, 1/1250 sec, ISO 400, 50-200mm f2.8 @ 117mm (35mm focal length: 234mm)

Olympus E30, f5, 1/1600 sec, ISO 400, 50-200mm f2.8 @ 117mm (35mm focal length: 234mm)

Finally, I got this photo of an Arctic Tern sat on the lens of a fellow photographer. It seems like a good advert for the relationship between photographer and subject. Sadly I didn't get a chance to speak to this man and I have no way of contacting him. If anyone recognises him, I'd love to send him a print of this!!


I promise to do some more blogs soon. I'm planning on doing a wedding one and another landscape one when I get some more spare time.


Best wishes,


dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) birds farne islands farnes islands puffins https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/7/Puffins Tue, 02 Jul 2013 20:15:38 GMT
A Long Exposure Trip to London https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/5/a-long-exposure-trip-to-london In April I travelled to London with the specific brief of photographing the city's architecture in predominately a Fine Art style.  By using high ND filters such as the LEE Big Stopper along with the LEE 105mm circular polariser one is able to generate exceptionally long exposure times which allow the clouds to streak and moving objects such as cars and people to disappear.

To do this, you obviously need a tripod and a shutter release as you need to lock your shutter button down for well over a minute. With the Big Stopper, a shot of typically 1/30th of a second becomes 60 seconds. Of course, I took some usual landscapes too while I was there!


I have decided to write this blog post to showcase the photos which I took. I'll post them up as I process them so do keep coming back to see tham all.


When I planned my trip I had 3 photographs in mind: Battersea Power Station, The Gherkin and The Shard.  Well my first day at the power station was a non starter as there was zero cloud, so the first photo I'm going to share is of The Gherkin.


A Gherkin in a Sandwich

The Gherkin


The building is actually called 30 St. Mary Axe, but due to its design it has been coined The Gherkin (I'm not sure if Americans call it The Pickle or not).  I liked this angle of The Gherkin, as if it is hiding behind the Willis Building (on the right). The building to the left is The Lloyds Building which houses all its servise pipes on the exterior of the building which you can just faintly catch. I used spot metering to calculate the exposure value of this, as I wanted to retain detail in the sky and place the closer buildings in shadow. The polariser darkened the sky and cut out a large proporton of the reflected light from the windows.


Next up was The Shard. I took this from London Bridge, using a pretty inventive tripod set up to avoid the crowds travelling across the bridge. The Shard is massive. It's the tallest building in the EU and its a very domineering and angular structure.


The Shard


The 'shards' of glass at the top of it make it look a bit like the Tower of Orthanc from The Lord Of The Rings. Its angular nature makes it a very interesting reflector of light, I got a photograph of the sun bouncing off the building straight at me just before I took the image above. I imagine that at a certain time of the day many people's offices north of the Thames will be illuminated by reflected light from The Shard on the south bank.

Other than that strip of cloud the sky was brilliantly blue, and my polariser was cooking on gas! Down below The Shard, with the sun on my back I took this image:


The White Tower


A circular polariser is such a key piece of equipment in a city environment awash with glass and reflected light and it is great for darkening skies.

Towards sunset I got this photograph of The Shard and surrounding buildings on the riverside close to City Hall.


London Sunset


I was drawn to the constrast of sweeping curves and sharp angles, but the nice soft light certainly helps with this photograph.


Steel meets Brick, Brick meets Glass


This is the hand rail of London Bridge, it seemed to offer a nice lead in to the scene of the buildings, with The Shard towering above them. It also offered a rather nice reflection to the scene. This is a 50 second exposure, with a further 50 seconds of noise reduction at f13 and ISO100. I was using the Sigma 10-20mm at 10mm. I was using the LEE Big Stopper, a LEE 0.6 Soft Grad and the LEE 105mm Polariser during this shot. Although there isn't a great deal of movement in the sky, the Big Stopper is great for ridding the bridge of people and flattening the river out.


A Shard of Light


Here is an image of The Shard that I mentioned earlier, with the late afternoon sun reflecting from it. I wonder how far away people in North London can see this beacon of light.


The Gherkin


Here is a 70 second exposure of The Gherkin. I didn't use any grads here, just the Big Stopper and my Polariser. However, I did process the RAW 3 times, once for the sky, once for the buildings in shadow and one for The Gherkin. While I was taking this photograph I got chatting to another photographer. He was asking what I was doing with all the filers and with my camera on a tripod. He said it was a nice change to all that long exposure stuff of the sea that he often sees, well I must confess I have contributed to that, but not completely!

It's always nice to chat to other photographers when I'm out, photography is such a shared passion but too many people get wrapped up in the gear wars, or feel threatened by the sight of another photographer. I gave this guy a card so hopefully he's found this blog! If you have drop me an email if you're on flickr or something like that, it would be great to see your work too!

I returned to The Gherkin a day or two later as the clouds were much better and they were still cleaning the windows, I guess it's a bit like the whole "painting the Forth Rail Bridge" senario.


Washing the Gherkin


Helter Skelter


A Minute At 30 Saint Mary Axe


I saw these clouds in the distance to the south so sat around and waited for twenty minutes for them to drift over and then they were gone after one long exposure. Such is the nature of a landscape photographer.


Pipe Dreams


This is a 30 second exposure of the view seen looking directly up when stood between The Lloyds Building and The Willis Building as the clouds flew over head and the suits flew by on the pavement.


London Architecture


This long exposure is cornered by some very different architecture. In the bottom right we have The Gherkin, with its sweeping curves and uniform structure. The top right we have an old building indicative of the usual older London architecture. Top left we have The Lloyds Building which has all its services on the exterior of the building and then bottom left we have The Cheese Grater which is currently being built. The Cheese Grater is very angular, such a contrast to The Gherkin. Some builder showered me and my camera lens with windolene which took an age to clean off! Cheers!


THAT London Photograph


I rarely do spot colour, in fact I tell people that I hate it, but what I actually hate is spot colour done badly, which amounts to 90% of the time! Spot colour works well when you select a primary colour (ie a Red bus or a Yellow taxi).


A Rolling Eye


I've often thought a long exposure of The London Eye would look quite good so I had a wander down The Embankment and got this photograph. Although most people seem to just comment on how fast it looks like it's turning!!


Somerset Steps

A fellow photographer recommended a Landscape Photography exhibition that was on at Somerset House so we went to check it out and while there we happened upon this quite fascinating staircase. So we spent a bit of time taking photos of all its sweeping curves.


Westminster Abbey


I then had a walk to Westminster Abbey where I sat down and got this photograph. For those who don't know about Westminster Abbey, its where the Royal Wedding of 2012 was held and it also houses Sir Isaac Newton's tomb. A funny thing about this photograph is that Vince Cable MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills walked through this photograph twice. So there's photons of light that have reflected off a Member of Parliament and into my camera to make this photograph!


Westminster at Night


I've been to London quite a few times now, and I've been meaning to get this photograph for a while, but never had my tripod with me. It was a definite this time and I'm pleased I got it!




Getting Inventive with a Tripod

We were going to head to Greenwich on my last day in London but as the clouds were the best they'd been all week I decided to head for Battersea Power Station again as I still wasn't happy with anything I'd got, and it was one of my main aims. When I travelled to New York I took a panorama of Manhattan from Brooklyn where I was staying.




Upon seeing this photograph, a friend commented that the power station was as domineering as Battersea Power Station is on South West London's skyline, so ever since I've been determined to get a photo of Battersea.

I found a good location on a railway bridge but the high wall meant that taking even a conventional photograph would prove difficult, never mind a long exposure! I managed to put my Manfrotto tripod to good use whilst utilising my camera's variable angle screen. Here's a photo of me taking a photo!



And here is the resulting photograph:


Battersea Power Station


I like how the white chimneys dominate the scene, I hung around for probably an hour waiting for breaks in the cloud to illuminate the chimneys. I tried a darker exposure of the same scene which emphasises the chimneys but I'm not sure if it works as I really like the railway lines which get a bit lost.



Some other long exposures of Battersea taken from the wall with my adapted tripod.




Again the brilliant weather was making my polariser really justify the daft price that a 105mm circular polariser commands and it was really making the clouds pop, which can be seen in the following 'normal exposures'.


The Clouds Over Battersea Power Station



I thought a long exposure of just the power station with just the colour of the brick work might work well and once I'd processed it, I quite like the atmosphere the monotone sky creates.



We headed over to Chelsea to get a photo from the bridge where we had been on my first day down in London. The sky was a little better this time round, but the previous photos from that wall are my favourites.


Power on The Thames



As I walked to Battersea I passed a advert by the roadside which I knew would make a good photograph if the right sort of life was injected into it. So when I returned with my camera I hung around for a bit waiting for 'something' to happen, although I didn't know what. When it appeared, I knew thats what I was after. A bloke came along and the image immediately seemed right as he swept the pavement, and swept away your past...


The Future Gets Written Today

A fresh start.


Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and look at my photographs. And thanks for you comments too, I'll respond to your questions in your comments via email.


Best wishes,


dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/5/a-long-exposure-trip-to-london Fri, 03 May 2013 01:29:24 GMT
The Tide Is High But I'm Holding On. https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/4/the-tide-is-high-but-im-holding-on How I took this photograph.

10mm...f18...3.2 seconds...ISO100

LEE 0.9 ND, LEE 0.9 Soft Grad, LEE 0.6 Hard Grad

Ok, so as someone previously thanked me for sharing my settings in an upload on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/drudoddphotography) I thought I'd share with you why I used these settings and how I took this photograph.

Film Speed: ISO100

I don’t use film but the sensitivity of a digital sensor is still referred to as film speed. I use ISO100 most of the time as this is the best quality ISO. You don’t get noise or grain caused by higher ISOs.

Focal Length: 10mm

This is a wide angle shot, I use Olympus cameras which has a 2x crop factor so if you know 35mm film focal lengths then this is shot at 20mm. I used this lens to get a lot of the scene in front of me in the photograph, but it exaggerates perspective. Things close look a lot larger and distant objects look a lot smaller. I got close to the seaweed on the sand as this is the main subject of the photograph, my idea was that you’d see the seaweed then follow the water out to sea, then look at the posts before your eye tracked to the lighthouse. When taking or making landscape photographs you should always have the viewer in mind – what do you want them to see, how to you want them to see it, how can you guide them through the photograph? It’s like writing, a good author helps the reader, and a good photographer should help the viewer.

Aperture: f18

Why did I use f18? Well depth of field (how much is in focus) is dictated by aperture. The higher the f-number, the smaller the aperture and the more in focus you will have. However if you go too small (f22) then you get light diffraction within your lens which results in soft edges so your image isn’t as sharp. So between f16 and f18 is usually my limit. This also allows less light into the camera so your shutter speed is lengthened.

Shutter Speed: 3.2 seconds

I wanted a long shutter speed for the water motion, but the filters and other settings (ISO and Aperture) dictated this anyway.

Metering: Evaluative

To meter for this shot I used Evaluative metering, which basically reads for the whole scene rather than just the centre like you would use for portraits.

Filters: LEE 0.9 ND, LEE 0.6 Soft Grad and 0.9 Soft Grad.

By using a solid 0.9 ND filter I limited the amount of light entering the camera for any given unit of time, this allowed me to blur the moving water. By using graduated filters I was able to control the exposure of the sky. The sky emits light and therefore is a much brighter object than the ground which only reflects light. For this reason there is a disparity in brightness between the two. To account for this I use graduated filters which are darker at the top and lighter at the bottom in order to reduce the light coming from the sky but keep all the light coming from the ground. Normally by the sea I would use a Hard Grad which has a hard transition between the dark section and light section but because the lighthouse protrudes so far into the sky a hard grad would cause havoc with such a non-light emitting object. For this reason I used a combination of two soft grads, adjusting them so that the exposure was as balanced as possible. I can tell this by viewing the histogram on the camera. A well exposed and balanced photograph will have a histogram that looks like a bell-curve.

Essential: Tripod

If you want to take landscapes you need a tripod. The settings you need to use such as f18 and ISO100 means that your shutter speeds will get long, and you can’t hand hold the camera for this length of time without camera shake.

Essential: Wellies

If you’re going to get water washing across your scene you’ve got to get in the sea. I was almost knee deep in water when the waves rolled in. If you’re wearing trainers you can’t get to where the drama is.

Recommended: Shutter release/remote

It’s a good idea to not be touching the camera when you’re taking landscape photographs. By pressing the button you’re introducing camera shake, which will blur distant objects. Use a cable or wireless remote to trigger your camera. If you don’t have one then set your 2 second delay on, so when you press the shutter button the camera will wait for a couple of seconds – and stop shaking – before it takes the photograph.

How I took the photograph:

As I said I was knee deep in water, so I pushed my tripod legs deep into the sand so that the ebb and flow of the tide didn’t shift my tripod mid exposure. Depth of field works for one third in front of where you focused and two thirds beyond where you focused. So don’t focus right under your nose or you’re wasting a third of your depth of field – it will be behind you – so I focused between the seaweed and the poles, knowing I’d get everything in focus. As the water washed up the beach I took the photo so that it was exposing as the water rushed back down the beach and out to sea, giving those streaks over the seaweed.

So that is how I took this photograph. Hopefully this info will help you take another one similar.


Best wishes,


dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) How I Lighthouse Mary's St help instructions photograph this took tutorial https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/4/the-tide-is-high-but-im-holding-on Sun, 28 Apr 2013 19:16:12 GMT
Depth of Field https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/4/depth-of-field Firstly I’d like to say a big thanks to all those who gave me such positive feedback on my first blog entry, sorry it's taken so long to publish another one! In my first blog I covered the relationship between Aperture and Shutter Speed, and in this second blog entry I’m going to discuss what the size of the aperture does to the focus range, or depth of field as it’s known.

So as I mentioned the bigger the aperture (smaller the f-number), the more light gets into the camera.  Have you ever noticed that sports photographs are often blurred everywhere but the subject? This is because the photographer is using a wide aperture to get a fast shutter speed, but by doing this they are also displaying a key characteristic of a wide aperture: a shallow depth of field.

A shallow depth of field is produced when you are using a wide aperture, such as f2, and a large depth of field is produced when you are using a narrow aperture such as f18.  The use of aperture and the control of depth of field is a fundamental skill in photography.  When taking a photograph, you the photographer must always be in control of what you want your subject to be and how much of its environment you want the viewer to be aware of.  The use of a wide aperture will isolate the subject from its environment, blurring the background and making the subject stand out.  Shallow depths of field are essential in portrait photography.


A large depth of field is essential for landscape photography.  As a landscape photographer you want to capture a whole scene, with front to back focus, where detail can be seen in the whole scene from the objects right in front of the camera all the way to the horizon.  For this reason landscapes are taken with narrow apertures from f14 up to f22.

The Old Man of Storr


If you stick your camera on a tripod and focus on a static object with the aperture set to wide open and take a photo look at what’s in focus and what’s blurred.  Now stop the aperture down and take the same photo and you’ll see what’s in focus has greatly increased.  Simple yes? No, it isn’t.  Depth of field is also controlled by focusing distance too.  So if you have a wide aperture and you focus really close up to something the depth of field becomes very, very narrow, millimetres in fact.  Using a wide aperture and focusing into the distance gives a greater depth of field.  Likewise a narrow aperture up close again gives a shallower depth of field than if it were focused into the distance.


So to sum up so far:

Wide aperture (f2) – Shallow depth of field

Narrow aperture (f22) – Large depth of field

Focusing close – Shallow depth of field

Focusing far away – Large depth of field


However, that’s still not it! The focal length also affects depth of field.  10mm at f4 produces a much larger depth of field than say 200mm at f4.  You can use this to your advantage, if you don’t have wide-apertured, expensive lenses then use your longest lens and set the aperture to its widest, keep your subject as close as possible and try and have the background far away and you’ll achieve the blur that you’re after.

Another thing to consider is how focusing works on your camera.  It doesn't focus right in the middle of the depth of field, it gives you about a third in front of where you've focused and 2/3 behind.  For this reason, don't focus on the horizon when you're taking a landscape, because you're wasting 2/3rds of your focusing field, which is a waste!

dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) aperture depth of field https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2013/4/depth-of-field Sun, 28 Apr 2013 00:34:54 GMT
Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2012/6/aperture-shutter-speed-and-iso So in my first proper blog entry I’m going to cover the fundamental point of all photography. How to capture light and the interplay between Aperture (the opening in the lens) and shutter speed (the length of time the sensor is exposed to light).

The best way to think of light is as a stream of water; if you collect it, it accumulates.  So a photograph is like a bucket, filled with light or in our case water.  Your camera is like your garden hose and tap, or more specifically the camera’s aperture is like the pipe of the garden hose and the shutter is like the tap.  To create a complete well exposed photograph, the bucket must always be filled.  Underfill the bucket and the photo is just black (Underexposed).  Overfill the bucket and the photo is blown out and white (Overexposed).

So if we look at my drawing, on the left we have 3 scenarios with a pipe, a tap and a bucket.  In the first instance the pipe is of average width, or aperture, say f7.1, so to fill the bucket we need to turn the tap on until its full which for arguments sake let’s say it takes 1/50 of a second (shutter speed). 

Now what happens if we narrow the pipe, to say f22 (the smallest aperture possible)? Naturally it will take a lot longer to fill the bucket, as 1/50 will only allow a tiny bit of water in.  So we must leave the tap on for longer, say 2 or 3 seconds.  So we see that narrowing the aperture, (increasing the f-number) means that the shutter speed needs to become longer in order to compensate. 

So if we widen the pipe to f2.8 (large aperture) we can fill the bucket really quickly, say 1/1000 of a second on the tap.  This is why people refer to wide aperture lenses eg. 70-200mm f2.8 as being “fast”. They allow for fast shutter speeds, freezing motion because they let a lot of light into the camera in a very short space of time.


This relationship explains why sports photographers have these massive lenses and why landscape photographers carry tripods around with them all the time.  Landscape photographs require small apertures – I’ll cover this soon – and because of this they produces long shutter speeds so the tripod stops them getting camera shake.


Finally we come to ISO.  ISO is the sensitivity of the sensor in the camera, and to fit in with our pipe and tap analogy, we can view ISO as being the size of the bucket (my drawing on the right).  A large bucket (low ISO) takes a long time to fill up, whereas a tiny shot glass (ISO 3200) will take a tiny amount of time to fill.  However, we’re thirsty for photographs so a good amount of water is always better quality! Try and shoot at as low an ISO as you can, so that your photos aren’t grainy.

Let’s use an example.  You’re taking a photo of your friend on a bike, but it’s blurred.  You need a wide aperture (the smallest f-number you can get) this will allow you to also achieve the fastest shutter speed you can.  Still blurred?  Ramp the ISO up from 100, try 400 or 800.  This will allow you to have an even faster shutter speed.

Zak Holmes When taking this photograph of Zak on his mountain bike, he was travelling fast, so I needed to have a fast shutter speed.  I set my camera to ISO 400 and my aperture to f4 to ensure my shutter speed would be fast.  It did the trick and my shutter speed was 1/2500 of a second, meaning I stopped the motion, other than the dust coming off the jump!!


When taking this photograph of the Fairy Pools on Skye in Scotland, I wanted to show the movement in the water flowing through the pools so I used a small aperture, f18, in order to create a longer shutter speed of 1/2 a second.  This allows the viewer to know isntantly that there is motion in the scene, even though it's a photograph!  I had to use a tripod for this shot so I dropped the ISO to 100 as camera shake wasn't going to be a problem.  All these settings result in me having as high a quality photograph as I could.


I hope this blog entry has helped you understand the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, and how ISO can help you out.  If it did help you, then please share it with your friends, via twitter or facebook.  If you have any questions please get in touch using the comments section or drop me an email at Blog@DruDodd.com


Best wishes,



dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) ISO Shutter speed aperture shutter speed https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2012/6/aperture-shutter-speed-and-iso Tue, 26 Jun 2012 23:42:23 GMT
Welcome to my blog... https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2012/6/welcome-to-my-blog Hi I'm Dru, and thanks for visiting my website!  I've decided to create this blog in order to keep visitors up to date with my photography and provide some lessons which I found useful when I was learning photography. I'm still learning though!  I'll also post a photograph that I've taken and talk through how I took it, what settings and equipment I used and what I was trying to capture.  Hopefully it will inspire you to get out with your camera and take something similar!

So as this is the first ever blog entry I should start with a bit of background about me.  I was born in 1985 in Northumberland, England, I grew up on a farm, with my mam, dad and sister - the latter two are both also keen photographers.  I was the last to get into photography, I graduated from Newcastle University in 2007 with a degree in Human Genetics with the intention to start a PhD as soon as possible.  This turned out to be a year later and in the mean time I had nothing to learn, after going my whole life learning something, whether I wanted to be taught or not!

So it was in 2007 that I got my first dSLR and I started to take photography seriously.  My Olympus E410 twin lens kit (which I still have!) proved to be a great starting point.  I had a 17.5-45mm and a 40-150mm lens to start off with.  I subsequently bought more lenses and cameras and now shoot with an Olympus E30 with a variety of Olympus HG glass, and LEE filters.  I'm a landscape photographer, I know that, but if I had to pick a lens that I loved the most it would be my 50mm f2 prime lens which I used to take the above photograph.  It is absolute perfection, it is so sharp and there is zero distortion to it.  I love it.

Well that's a brief insight into the start of my photography, keep calling back and hopefully I'll help you get the bug.


Best wishes,



(You can find me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/drudoddphotography)

dru@drudodd.com (Dru Dodd Photography) begining blog first me start https://www.drudodd.com/blog/2012/6/welcome-to-my-blog Mon, 25 Jun 2012 17:22:47 GMT