Friday, April 18, 2008

ISO's and F stops ?? what the hell does it mean anyway?

Had a few emails lately asking about ISO and F-stops and what they mean. So heres a very basic answer to get you on your way.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is very important to know about on your camera. It refers to the sensitivity of the sensor on a digital camera or sensitivity of film.

Basically a low ISO like 100 is less sensitive than say 400 or 1000. So with ISO 100 you will get less grain or digital noise than with ISO 1000 at the expense of having to use a slower shutter speed or faster aperture to gather enough light.

ISO 400 and above is generally used for freezing action or low light situations as it allows you to use faster shutter speeds with less light at the expense of having more grain or digital noise in your image.

Most point and shoot cameras have a very limited ISO range and in my experience anything over 400 is too noisy and unusable. Digital SLR's fair a lot better and these days with cameras like the Nikon D3 and other high end cameras you can shoot with very sensitive ISO ratings like 1600 and above with little noise and very usable images.

f2.8, f4, f16 what does it all mean???

When you see a little f and a number on your lens or hear people talking about f-stops they are talking about the aperture of a lens.

So basically the lens aperture is a set of blades that form a circle to let a certain amount of light onto the film or sensor. The number or f-stop refers to the size of the circle or opening and thus the amount of light coming in.

F-stops can be very confusing for the beginner because when we talk about a bigger F number it is actually a lower number, and a smaller f number would be a higher number. i.e f1.4=BIG ~ f32=small

So f2.8 is a much bigger hole than say f16 so we say f2.8 is faster because more light can come in. Generally only fixed focal length (prime) or more expensive zoom lenses have a f2.8 aperture or bigger.

The aperture not only controls the amount of light coming in but also controls the amount of the image in focus (depth of field).

Basically f1.2 will produce a very small amount of the image being in focus with the foreground and background being blurry (bokeh), where as using say f16 will produce a large depth of field and almost everything from front to back will be in sharp focus.

Other factors also come into play such as the focal length of the lens and distance to subject etc. but thats it for the basics.

Hope this helps!

If you would like to learn more or ask questions about photography, come on over to Pete Leong photography facebook group and join up

Happy shooting!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shooting the sakura at Hanamiyama

Just did a half day at work today so I could ride over to Hanamiyama to shoot some pics of my own for a change and also to scout some locations for a model shoot I will be doing there on Friday for work. Hanamiyama is a very famous place here in Fukushima.
1000's of Japanese tourists come in tour buses from all over the place to see the sakura (cherry blossoms) and other flowers in their full glory. I don't know any of the flowers actual names, I just shoot the ones that look pretty. And not all of them had bloomed yet, just a few more days maybe.

I had planned to meet up with a couple of friends I've only spoken to on Flickr and Facebook, but one who was going to model for me couldn't make it because of work and another photographer was just leaving as I got there. Anyway heres a small sample from today.

Ohh sweet bokeh!

How funny is this guy! love his shooting stance!

As usual come see more at my home page or my page at

Friday, April 11, 2008

Flickr & Facebook marathons, Light trails & Travel

Hey peoples out there in cyber land. super boring day at work today as there are no photos to be taken. So I've been having myself a Flickr and Facebook marathon as I have nothing better to do. I did take 30mins out to go shoot some light trail shots in the chapel on the 6th floor just for fun though. Heres a couple of the resulting images. Not my best work but it was fun enough.

Thanks to Kaori for being modeling for me!

In other news Haruna & Jet are going back to Australia next week for a month to catch up with my family and have a break from Japan etc. I cant get away from work for that long but I just booked myself a trip back to THAILAND whoohoooo! Will be heading back there in July only for a week but better than nothing. Whats with the fuel surcharge price they charge these days??? The return ticket on Singapore airlines only cost me about $300 bucks but the petrol fee is like $250 bucks! crazy mofo's!

Anyway if you have any photos you want to share with friends and family and havent joined up Flickr yet, do yourself a favor a join up today. Its free and there are tons of great images to be seen there.

Shenanigans in Japan. Get yours at

Finally Im super happy this month to have been published in 3 seperate magazines here in Japan with my shots used here and there and sizes up to full page spreads. More being published in coming months.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ibaraki aquamarine

Went for a 3hr drive to Ibaraki prefecture on my day off to take Jet to the aquamarine and for me to shoot something besides wedding photos for a change. The aquamarine is right on the beach and I saw my first surfers for about 6 and a half years. Met a surfing photographer there named Jun ( in the photo with me above) who was shooting with his Canon 40D and 300mm f2.8 L with a 1.4x converter, Very nice!. Also had fun trying to shoot the fish and other sea life through the tank windows. Heres a couple of my results.

Come see more recent shots at Petes Photography on Flickr