Photography by Michael Cummins

Make no mistake: I’m not a professional. I’ve only recently decided to invest more time and treasure into my picture-taking hobby. This page is just a touchstone that helps me explore the world of digital photography and talk about things with my friends and family.


Blog Posts



"In photography, exposure is the amount of light per unit area reaching a photographic film or electronic image sensor" Wikipedia
Think of an Exposure as a perfect triangle
"There are three main ingredients to good exposure: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO … Think of a perfect exposure as a perfect triangle - all the angles are equal, all the sides are equal. Now if you change just one part of that exposure or triangle, it is no longer perfect so you will need to change another point of the exposure or triangle an equal but opposite amount to make that triangle and therefore the exposure perfect again" Peter Tellone

Aperture and Depth of Field

"In optics, an aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels" Wikipedia
ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed
"It's similar to the pupil of your eye: the wider the aperture, the more light is allowed in and vice versa." Josh
"It is calibrated in f/stops and is generally written as numbers such as 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11 and 16. The lower f/stops give more exposure because they represent the larger apertures, while the higher f/stops give less exposure because they represent smaller apertures." Nikon
"When we look at an image, there is a part that is in perfect focus and then there are parts that begin to be out of the range of focus. You can have a small Depth of Field (DOF) where only your subject is in focus, or you can have a deep Depth of Field where practically everything is in focus - or really anywhere in between.

Depth of field is determined by three things; aperture (f stop), distance to your subject, and lens focal length (50mm, 200m etc), with Aperture having a profound effect on DOF."
Peter Tellone

Shutter Speed and Motion

A demonstration of shutter-speed using a waterfall as a subject
"…shutter speed or exposure time is the length of time when the film or digital sensor inside the camera is exposed to light, also when a camera's shutter is open when taking a photograph." Wikipedia
"Ordinarily, you only want a very small fraction of a second (for example 1/250) to prevent motion blur. However, different shutter speeds complement different situations: anything from really fast (1/4000) for sports photography to really slow (30 seconds) for night photography." Josh
"The first consideration we have to think about is: can we hand-hold the camera at this shutter speed and not have the slight movement of the camera show up in our image making it blurry or less sharp?

A common rule of thumb these days is to take your focal length of your lens and shoot at least as fast as that. If you have a 300mm telephoto lens, your minimum shutter speed should be 300 (1/300 or 1/320 as is common)"
Peter Tellone

ISO and Sensitivity, Noise

An example of different ISO settings for digital photography
"ISO is the sensitivity to light of the sensor or film. The higher the sensitivity, the less time (shutter speed) or the less amount of light (aperture) needs to hit the sensor for the correct exposure." Peter Tellone
"The part inside your camera that can change sensitivity is called "sensor". When increased, your camera sensor can capture images in low-light environments without having to use a flash. But higher sensitivity comes at an expense – it adds grain or "noise" to the pictures. A lower ISO will usually produce more colour-accurate, aesthetically pleasing images. Gadgetonics
"We use ISO to help us achieve what we want to do with the other two sides of exposure; Aperture and Shutter Speed … our objective is to use the lowest ISO possible, but balancing that to what we want to achieve." Peter Tellone
Demonstrating usage of the rule of thirds for composition

Using the Rule of Thirds in your photography

The Rule of Thirds "proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections." Wikipedia
"I will say right up front however that rules are meant to be broken and ignoring this one doesn’t mean your images are necessarily unbalanced or uninteresting. However a wise person once told me that if you intend to break a rule you should always learn it first to make sure your breaking of it is all the more effective!" Darren Rowse

More specific tips and tricks

I admit that I presently enjoy having remapped the focus button to the back of the Nikon D750, to the AE-L/AF-L button. I find it particularly handy when I take pictures of the dogs as they play, or my nephew at a lacrosse game. For these cases I I set the camera to SCENE:SPORTS, reduce the autofocus down to a single red square in the center of the view finder and then set the autofocus mode to AF-C S. I keep the focus button depressed with my thumb as I track my subjects and the camera is continually autofocusing on that one square. All that is left for me to do is take the shot. I'm sure it's not the pro way of doing things, but I'm not quite there yet. On may way, though!

"Here is an overview of my preferences for the D750, and the settings that I changed immediately upon getting the camera out of the box." Neil Niekerk
"Now that I have completed the Nikon D750 review, I thought it would be a good time to provide an article with the recommended settings for the camera." Nasim Mansurov
"How I Have My Camera Set Up to Shoot Weddings" Jason Vinson

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