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Red Cloud Blog

Photograph Your Own Christmas Card! Our Top Tips!

Tue, 06 Nov 2012 15:43:48 +0000

There are SO many different cards on the market these days… we can even get personalised cards from sites like MoonPig and Hallmark… yet some how, we often end up with 3 of the same one!

If you want to send a truly unique and personal card this year – grab your left over sparklers from Bonfire Night and your tripod (and maybe a friend) – we’ve got some great ideas for you.

1. The Spinning Christmas Tree

This is a great effect – the room is still, yet the tree has come to life!

Rotating the tree! Great fun!

How to get this effect: 

Ok… first – remove clutter and reflective objects that are nearby – mirrors, presents etc. Whilst gifts are Christmassy, they get in the way for this! If you can, set up the tree on a large board or if it’s a real tree, make sure your pot slides easily. You need a slow, smooth rotating action for this to work.

Now, set up the camera in the room on a tripod or table, with all the lights off except for the tree. You’ll need to be able to crouch behind the tree too.

Set the camera to manual. Get the shot framed in the view finder. Set your aperture to the lowest possible setting, and set your shutter speed to around 1 min 30 secs or if you have a remote control and bulb setting, use that. Set your ISO to 100 and your WB to Auto.

Use a dark cloth and cover the lens. Check in your view finder there is no light creeping in.

(Here’s where its sometimes good to have a friend nearby!!)

Push the shutter button get between the camera and the tree. Remove the cloth and get behind the tree. Slowly start to rotate the tree. Remember – you have a minute and a half – no need to rush.

once you’ve gone round about half a rotation, stop,  grab your cloth and move quickly back behind the camera, replace the cloth and leave until the shutter speed has finished – or turn off the shutter.

You’ll end up with a tree that looks like it’s moving!

Set up near a landmark in your city and paint the tree with a sparkler.

Spin around and lower your arm from over your head to your feet to get this effect.

2. The Sparkler Tree

A great way to use those left over sparklers from November 5th and have fun with your camera!

How to get this effect: You’ll need a friend, sparklers, a reliable lighter (we prefer candles), a cloth and a dark outside space. 

Again, set your camera to manual on a tripod, with the lowest aperture and ISO possible, shutter speed to 1 minute 30 seconds, or bulb with a remote and white balance to Auto.

If you want to achieve the “star” on top of the tree, like in the picture below, this is where your friend and the cloth come into their own. As above, remove the cloth once you’re set and the sparkler is lit. Draw the star and then shout or signal you’ve drawn the star, cover the lens for about 10 seconds. Move the sparkler to the next point, remove the cloth and zig zag down.

Once you’re done drawing, cover the lens again, or release the shutter on the remote. By placing a cloth over the lens, it means you get more crisp lines and remove ghosting of the person drawing the tree.

How to write with light:

To achieve this, you’ll need a very dark room and a pen style torch.As with the other instructions, set your camera to a low ISO, a low aperture and a long shutter speed or bulb.

When using a torch, it’s more simple – once you’ve written the letter or word, just turn it off and begin the next word! that way all the letters will be clear.

If you want to learn more before setting out with your sparklers, book a Red Cloud Days Night Photography Course. 



In The Frame: Brighton!

Thu, 23 Aug 2012 14:21:25 +0000

If you’re thinking of hitting the beach and hoping for an late Summer heat wave, why not head to Brighton for a photography adventure? There are some truly unique spots to photograph – from amazing architecture, the famous pier, stunning … Read more...

London 2012 OlymPICS

Tue, 31 Jul 2012 13:15:43 +0000

The London 2012 Olympics are upon us, we thought we’d share with you some photos our photography tutor, Cristina Massei took this weekend in the sunshine. Have you got any photos from the Olympics? Send us in your pics to … Read more...

Photography Weekend Away – Welshpool, Wales

Tue, 15 May 2012 13:54:29 +0000

This weekend saw an action-packed weekend at Red Cloud, aside from our usual courses running, last weekend we held our first photography weekend away in Welshpool, Wales. Luckily the weather stayed nice for our tutor, John Evans and our photography guests … Read more...

Special offers on photography courses – Buy 1 get 1 Half price!

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 13:22:01 +0000

For a limited time only we’re offering you the chance to buy a place on a course and bring a friend for half price. Book now – while places last! This offer applies to the following courses only: Brighton: 9 … Read more...

Snaps from our latest photography courses

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:00:18 +0000

We’ve had some lovely photos from our photography courses recently – here’s a quick look at them and the courses they were taken on: 1 day photography course in London 1 day photography course in Brighton 1 day photography course … Read more...

Christmas gift ideas for photography and camera enthusiasts:

Wed, 07 Dec 2011 12:27:56 +0000

Treat the photography enthusiast in your life to something they’ll love this Christmas: Photography enthusiasts love to learn more, a photography gift voucher is perfect for any camera lover.  Choose any amount and they can redeem online for any digital photography … Read more...

Camera Buying Guide

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 13:55:48 +0000

Taking photographs isn’t just about using the automatic mode of your camera. An SLR is really the best way to get to grips with the manual controls of a camera and unleash your creativity. SLR stands for single lens reflex, … Read more...

Quick Guide – How to take great Halloween photos.

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 10:09:49 +0000

October can only mean one thing – Halloween. Halloween is a fantastic opportunity to get creative with some really outrageous subjects. Here’s our guide to capturing the best of Halloween this year: • Composition, composition, composition – using the rule of thirds … Read more...

Compose the perfect image

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 12:48:13 +0000

There are many different ways where the rules of composition can drastically change the look and feel of a photograph.  These simple rules need to be learnt if you want to improve your photography and then you begin to break … Read more...