I’m not a huge fan of having all my video and photos on one SD card because often I’m using two different programs for editing: one for video and one for photos. It’s just easier for importing to have one card dedicated to photos and the other to video. Plus, it allows me to dedicate my fastest SD card to video.
To dedicate a video card
To assign your video recording to a specific SD card slot, press the Menu button. Use the Multi-selector to highlight Movie Settings, under the Shooting Menu and click OK (A).
Use your Multi-selector to highlight Destination and click OK (B).
Select your desired SD card slot, and press OK (C).
Click the Menu button twice or simply rotate the Live View switch to turn on Live View/ Movie Mode.
Video recording is a feature of the Live View capabilities of the camera, so you’ll have to put it into active Live View mode to begin capturing video. This is done by rotating the Live View switch to the right, which will activate Live View on the rear display (Figure 10.1).
Next, you need to focus the camera by placing the red focus box on the subject and holding down the shutter button halfway until the focusing box turns green, indicating your subject is in focus. New to your D7000 is its ability to continue focusing on your subject when you simply keep the shutter button pressed down halfway. (Pressing the shutter button down all the way will take a photo as usual, so make sure to press the shutter only halfway when making movies.)
Once your subject is in focus, you can push the red button located on the Live View switch to begin recording. As the camera begins to record, you will notice a few new icons on the LCD. At the top left is a blinking red Record icon to let you know that the camera is in active recording mode. At the upper right, a timer counts down your remaining recording time. The recording time is directly related to the quality of video you have selected as well as the capacity of your memory card. Lower quality video and larger memory cards equal more recording time. To stop recording, simply press the red button on the Live View switch a second time, which takes you back to Live View mode. To turn off Live View, rotate the Live View switch to the right, the same way you turned it on, or simply turn off the camera.
Hold it steady
I know a lot of people are just going to start shooting video right out of the box without adjusting the settings, so before I move on I have one word of advice: Use a tripod. Have you ever felt like you just finished riding the Cyclone at Coney Island after watching a home video? Handheld video is rough to watch unless the person behind the camera knew what he or she was doing. Buy a tripod or a tripod head that is constructed for video. Typically these tripods will have what’s called fluid, smooth, or shake-free panning and tilt features. Trust me, a good investment in a nice tripod for your video will make the difference between professional-looking video and The Blair Witch Project.
The outer edge of your photograph acts as a frame to hold all of the visual elements of the photograph. One way to add emphasis to your subject is through the use of internal frames (Figure 9.14). Depending on how the frame is used, it can create the illusion of a third dimension to your image, giving it a feeling of depth.
One way to pull a viewer into your image is to incorporate leading lines. These are elements that come from the edge of the frame and then lead into the image toward the main subject (Figure 9.11). This can be the result of vanishing perspective lines, an element such as a river, or some other feature used to move from the outer edge in to the heart of the image.
Splitting the Frame
Generally speaking, splitting the frame right down the middle is not necessarily your best option. While it may seem more balanced, it can actually be pretty boring. Consider using the rule of thirds when deciding how to divide your frame (Figure 9.12).
With horizons, a low horizon will give a sense of stability to the image. Typically, this is done when the sky is more appealing than the landscape below. When the emphasis is to be placed on the landscape, the horizon line should be moved upward in the frame, leaving the bottom two-thirds to the subject below (Figure 9.13).
We just saw that you can use color as a strong compositional tool. One of the most effective uses of color is to combine two complementary colors that make the eye move back and forth across the image (Figure 9.9). There is no exact combination that will work best, but consider using dark and light colors, or red and green or blue and yellow, to provide the strongest visual. Studying a color wheel or color theory can help you to strengthen your color images.
You can also introduce contrast through different geometric shapes that battle (in a good way) for the attention of the viewer. You can combine circles and triangles, ovals and rectangles, curvy and straight, hard and soft, dark and light, and so many more (Figure 9.10). You aren’t limited to just one contrasting element either. Combining more than one element of contrast will add even more interest. Look for these contrasting combinations whenever you are out shooting, and then use them to shake up your compositions.
Rhythm and balance can be added to your images by finding the patterns in everyday life and concentrating on the elements that rely on geometric influences. Try to find the balance and patterns that often go unnoticed (Figure 9.6).
Color works well as a tool for composition when you’re dealing with very saturated colors. Some of the best colors are those within the primary palette. Reds, greens, and blues, along with their complementary colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow), can all be used to create visual tension (Figure 9.7). This tension between bright colors will add visual excitement, drama, and complexity to your images when combined with other compositional elements.
Color can make an image more compelling. I photographed these two Volkswagen bugs in Peru (Figure 9.8) partly because the image struck me as comical, but the contrast of the red- and blue-colored cars is really what made the image. Color can add balance, which is pleasing to the eye, or act as a contrast to a subject, adding visual interest.
Having strong angular lines in your image can add to the composition, especially when they are juxtaposed (Figure 9.4). This can create a tension that is different from the standard horizontal and vertical lines that we are so accustomed to seeing in photos.
Point of view
Sometimes the easiest way to influence your photograph is to simply change your perspective. Instead of always shooting from a standing position, try moving your camera to a totally different point of view. Try getting down on your knees or even lying on the ground. This low angle can completely change how you view your subject and create a new interest in common subjects (Figure 9.5).
I shoot a majority of my photography using Aperture Priority, and my number one concern beyond how to frame the shot is what depth of field to use. Depth of field can be critical in telling a story. If I want to create a portrait with a blurry background, I use a large or open aperture, such as f/1.2–2.8, to create what we call a shallow depth of field, meaning an in-focus foreground with a blurry background (Figure 9.1). If I’m shooting a landscape and the whole scene needs to be sharp, then I’ll use a smaller or less open aperture, such as f/16, to ensure sharpness.
Occasionally a greater depth of field is required to maintain a sharp focus across a farther distance. This might be due to the sheer depth of your subject, where you have objects that are near the camera but sharpness is desired at a greater distance as well (Figure 9.2).
Or perhaps you are photographing a reflection. With a shallow depth of field, I could only get the reflected mountains and the mirror in focus. By making the aperture smaller, you will be able to maintain acceptable sharpness in both the subject and the reflection (Figure 9.3).
A mirror is a two-dimensional surface, so why do I have to focus at a different distance for the image in the mirror? The answer is pretty simple, and it has to do with light. When you focus your lens, you are focusing the light being reflected off a surface onto your camera sensor. So if you wanted to focus on the mirror itself, it would be at one distance, but if you wanted to focus on the subject being reflected, you would have to take into account the distance that the object is from the mirror and then to you. Remember that the light from the subject has to travel all the way to the mirror and then to your lens. This is why a smaller aperture can be required when shooting reflected subjects. Sit in your car and take a few shots of objects in the side view mirrors to see what I mean.
If you find yourself in a situation where you want to use your flash to shoot through a window or display case, try placing your lens right against the glass so that the reflection of the flash won’t be visible in your image. This is extremely useful in museums and aquariums.
A Few Words About External Flash
We have discussed several ways to get control over the built-in pop-up flash on the D7000. The reality is that, as flashes go, it will only render average results. For people photography, it is probably one of the most unflattering light sources that you could ever use. This isn’t because the flash isn’t good—it’s actually very sophisticated for its size. The problem is that light should come from any direction besides the camera to best flatter a human subject. When the light emanates from directly above the lens, it gives the effect of becoming a photocopier. Imagine putting your face down on a scanner: The result would be a flatly lit, featureless photo.
To really make your flash photography come alive with possibilities, you should consider buying an external flash such as the Nikon SB700 AF Speedlight. The SB700 has a swiveling flash head, more power, and communicates with the camera and the TTL system to deliver balanced flash exposures.
We’ve all seen the result of using on-camera flashes when shooting people: the dreaded red-eye! This demonic effect is the result of the light from the flash entering the pupil and then reflecting back as an eerie red glow. The closer the flash is to the lens, the greater the chance that you will get red-eye. This is especially true when it is dark and the subject’s pupils are fully dilated. There are two ways to combat this problem. The first is to get the flash away from the lens. That’s not really an option, though, if you are using the pop-up flash. Therefore, you will need to turn to the Red-eye Reduction feature.
This is a simple feature that shines a light from the camera at the subject, causing his or her pupils to shrink, thus eliminating or reducing the effects of red-eye (Figure 8.13).
This small adjustment can make a big difference in time spent post-processing. You don’t want to have to go back and remove red-eye from both eyes of every subject!
The feature is set to Off by default and needs to be turned on by using the information screen or by using a combination of the flash button and the Command dial.
Turn on the lights!
When shooting indoors, another way to reduce red-eye, or just shorten the length of time that the reduction lamp needs to be shining into your subject’s eyes, is to turn on a lot of lights. The brighter the ambient light levels, the smaller the subject’s pupils will be. This will reduce the time necessary for the red-eye reduction lamp to shine. It will also allow you to take more candid pictures because your subjects won’t be required to stare at the red-eye lamp while waiting for their pupils to reduce.
Turning on the Red-eye Reduction feature
Press and hold the flash button while viewing the control panel.
While holding the flash button, rotate the Command dial until the small eye appears in the box. This means Red-eye Reduction is on. Release the flash button.
With Red-eye Reduction activated, compose your photo and then press the shutter release button to take the picture.
When Red-eye Reduction is activated, the camera will not fire the instant that you press the shutter release button. Instead, the red-eye reduction lamp will illuminate for a second or two and then fire the flash for the exposure. This is important to remember as people have a tendency to move around, so you will need to instruct them to hold still for a moment while the lamp works its magic.
Truth be told, I rarely shoot with Red-eye Reduction turned on because of the time it takes before being able to take a picture. If I am after candid shots and have to use the flash, I will take my chances on red-eye and try to fix the problem in my image processing software or even in the camera’s retouching menu. The Nikon Picture Project software that comes with your D7000 has a feature to reduce red-eye that works really well, although only on JPEG images.