I am fond of documenting history through photographs. Until recently I used an automatic camera for this purpose. I did not really put any thought into taking pictures. I took out my camera and snapped away. Successful at times and many times experiencing frustration at not being able to capture what I see with my eyes. My good friend Penny is a photographer. I started asking her questions here and there seeking tips, advice, and knowledge. Penny took me under her wing and starting sharing with me via personal one-on-one conversation, travel out in nature, hands on instruction utilizing functions on my camera, and though her blog on this web site. Penny has been working with me for many months. I am like a sponge drinking water . . . swelling with anticipation . . .then squeezed to release emotion. Penny mentored me critiquing my progress along the way yet holding my hand when I stumbled.
I was thumbing through the Five Rivers Metro Parks' Spring Guide and noticed a photography class. (You can find all of their scheduled events listed on their web site: http://www.metroparks.org/.) For the last three weeks I have attended the free classes. I must say the classes have been well attended by at least 40 people or so in each class. Now I feel like I am in a foreign language class. A whole new set of words and instructions to master. Once again Penny made herself available to hold my hand. After each class I have been going out to practice techniques discussed in class. Last Sunday Penny called and offered to go out to the Fen, another fine park brought to you by Five Rivers Metro Parks. Here are a few examples of what I have learned:
This is an example of "good blur" utilizing the Aperture, or F-Spot, settings on your camera.
This is another example of "good blur". I want to practice this technique more in the future. It is my favorite.
Light metering to determine how much light is available when taking a photo. A camera performs light metering by identifying all of the light and dark areas visible in the scene. It assigns dark areas a low number and it assigns bright areas a high number. A simple solution is exposure compensation which allows you to overrule your camera's light metering system.
This example also demonstrates contrast. If your subject is dark, photograph it with a light background and vice versa.
Don't be afraid to experiment with new angles. For this shot, I laid down on the ground.
Depth of Field is another type of blur. Certain parts of the picture are in focus and other parts are not. Limiting focus so that only parts of a scene is clear is a subtle way to tell the viewer what the most important part of the picture is.
Use the lowest Apeture settings such as 2.8.
This is another example of Depth of Field with higher Aperture settings allowing more things to be in focus yet the tree trunk is clearly the main point.
Compose a shot. According to the Rule of Thirds, a photo can be divided up into three equal sections horizontally and three equal sections vertically. A picture has more impact if the subject is located at one of the four intersecting points on the grid. However, like any rule, the rule of thirds can be broken.
When photographing outdoors there only one thing worse than a rainy day, and that's a sunny day. The best time to do outdoor photography is on an overcast day because direct sunlight creates harsh shadows on your subject and the scene. You may sometimes want to use distinct shadows to help show texture on surfaces. In most cases avoid using flash since it will rarely add beauty to your photo. Instead, the flash can produce undesirable shadows, and create a "flat" appearance to your subject.
Fill the Frame with the subject. Isolate the subject so the viewer's eye goes to and recognizes it immediately. There are two possible ways to fill the frame: move the camera closer or use the zoom lens. It is better to zoom in, especially when photographing a person. The front of your camera lens is spherical, which produces some optical distortion. In most cases it's not noticeable, but when you move your spherical lens close to an object, that object starts to look spherical too.
I look forward to exploring the world of photography further one step at a time. Share your photography journey, tips, and photos. Let's mentor each other and plan outings in the future.