03 Shoot with a bargain f/1.8 lens
Some of the best-value lenses around are f/1.8 primes in the 20mm to 80mm range.
They give you the quality results of a fixed-focal length lens, along with very wide apertures that are perfect for isolating a sharp subject against creamy-soft backgrounds.
Liam Frankland uses two of these types of lenses – a 50mm and a 20mm – wide open at f/1.8 to create his minimal, long exposure seascapes.
How does he achieve exposure times that run to two seconds or more while still using wide apertures and low ISOs?
By fitting Neutral Density (ND) filters to the lens. “Sometimes I’m shooting in lower light conditions and a ND4 or 8 will be enough to achieve the desired shutter speed of between 0.5 to 2 seconds.
“Sometimes I have to use something stronger, such as an ND400 (9 stops) or stack a ND8 or 4 on top of that.
“It’s near impossible to see the subject when using such strong ND filters. I use a Canon EOS 7D and rely heavily on Live View.
As I am shooting a narrow focal plane at f/1.8 it is easy to throw the focus off, so magnifying the area of interest helps me achieve sharp focus.”
Get started today…
* Use a tripod to keep the camera steady.
* Activate Live View’s grid overlay to make sure the horizon is level.
* Don’t over-complicate the frame if you’re taking a more minimal approach.
PAGE 1: Shoot a single colour
PAGE 2: Shoot light trails
PAGE 3: Shoot with a bargain f/1.8 lens
PAGE 4: Shoot the moon
PAGE 5: Shoot with the wrong white balance
PAGE 6: Shoot close-ups of bubbles
PAGE 7: Shoot the Venice Carnival
PAGE 8: Shoot the urban underground
PAGE 9: Shoot inspiring architecture