Getting prepared for my next Photographic Tour of Melbourne City

I’m off on another Photography Tour of Melbourne tomorrow. This one is a little more advanced than the one I did in July, so I need to brush up on the basics and also make sure I know what the buttons on my EOS 550D are all about.

Canon has a brilliant website for EOS owners, and I use it a fair amount too. So, this is where I will start today.

My blog today is more about getting things noted for my own future reference as I have a memory like a sieve these days. If you find it of any use, then that would be a nice bonus for me.

The basics of photography


Aperture is measured in f/stops

It is the size of the opening in the lens

  • It controls how much light enters the camera
  • A high f/stop is a small hole and lets in less light
  • A low f/stop is a big hole and lets in lots of light
  • Aperture controls the depth of field


  • ISO controls how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light
  • ISO 100 is the least sensitive and is used in very bright lit situations
  • ISO 3200 is incredibly sensitive and is ideal for dark dull situations
  • The lower the ISO the greater the detail that is captured by the sensor
  • The higher the ISO the more noise and loss of sharpness

Shutter speed

  • Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second
  • The larger the number the faster the shutter speed
  • Fast shutter speeds of say 1/2000 sec are great for action shots where you want to freeze that action without any blurring
  • Slow shutter speeds of say 1/30 sec are good for low light situations
  • The lower the shutter speed the more colours will be richer and the detail greater
  • Most daylight shots require about 1/25 sec
  • When using anything slower than 1/60 sec it is time to use a tripod to prevent camera shake
  • Without a tripod, try not to shoot with a shutter speed less than one on the focal length of the lens, e.g. 250mm lens use 1/250 sec or faster

The exposure triangle

The exposure triangle is visual way to understand how ISO, shutter speed and aperture are linked, and that by changing one of the three will change the required setting of one or both of the others. The creative outcome desired will dictate which corners of the triangle you adjust.

I found a great article from Fletch’s photo blog that explain the Exposure Triangle brilliantly.

Depth of field

  • Depth of field is what is in focus both behind and in front of the subject
  • Shallow depth of field throws the background out of focus, reducing distraction from the main subject
  • Deep depth of field keeps everything in focus
  • Depth of field is controlled by the Aperture setting
  • The smaller the Aperture, e.g. f/2 the bigger the opening and the shallower the depth of field
  • The larger the Aperture, e.g. f/22 the smaller the opening and the deeper the depth of field
  • A shallow depth of field is great for portraits and subject focused shots
  • A deep depth of field is ideal for landscapes

Putting the theory into practice

Reading the theory of photography is one thing, but getting out and trying it for myself  is the way I manage to get to grips with it all.

Thank goodness for digital cameras, it really does make it possible to be as experimental as you desire. My only goal of my little trip to Emerald Lake Park was to see for myself how the exposure triangle really works, and to familiarise myself with the buttons on my camera when shooting in full manual mode.

The Nobelius Packing Shed on a cloudy, rainy day was my subject for my experimental shots.

Shot 1. ISO 200 f/22 1/125 sec - This was my start point and as you can see it is under exposed.

Shot 2. ISO 200 f/22 1/60 sec - I keep the aperture and ISO the same as shot 1, but reduced the shutter speed to 1/60 sec, it is still under exposed.

Shot 3. ISO 200 f/11 1/125 sec - I changed the aperture to f/11 to let in more light and set the shutter to 1/125 sec, it's looking better, but a little over exposed perhaps

Shot 4. ISO 100 f/11 1/80 sec - I thought I would see what the result would be if I reduced the ISO to 100 and increased the exposure to 1/80 sec. It doesn't look too bad.

Shot 5. With the ISO back on ISO 200 I set the aperture to f/14 and the shutter to 1/125 sec. I like the richness in the colour of the packing shed and the fact that the moody rain filled sky is visible. It was taken during a break in what has been a dull miserable day.

I now know how to change the settings on my camera when working in full manual, which is one of the pre-requisites of being able to do the course tomorrow.

It is very clear I have a lot to learn, and I am still not great at knowing if the exposure is good or not, I only know what looks good to me.

Tomorrow should be a good experience in itself, I got to see bits of Melbourne I didn’t know about last time, so I am hoping for the same again. And, if the course is as good as it sounds, I may well come away a better photographer.

All I need now is some good weather for the tour tomorrow. But it’s Melbourne, so I will go prepared for “four seasons in one day”!

This entry was posted in Courses & Tours, Learning, My Photographs, Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Getting prepared for my next Photographic Tour of Melbourne City

  1. Pingback: A snap happy day in Melbourne | The Emerald Garden Blog

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