Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A week off class....

Our instructor had to cancel class on May 31st to attend a concert.....rough life.  Good news is it gave me an extra week to work on my assignment.  Which I needed.  I'm still missing one picture for tomorrows assignment.  So for now I'll post a picture of a couple of my roommates in the Belmar beach house.  I'm sure you can tell how thrilled they are they I carry my camera all over the place now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Class #5

Shutter Speed, Time and Motion
Our first couple of classes, our instructor kept telling us "the most important thing to remember about photography is we are representing the 3D world in a 2D medium".  This week we learned the second most important thing about photography "We are creating a flat, motionless and silent representation of a very dynamic world".  We are trying to let the viewer know the things we are photographing are alive, dynamic and moving.  So how do we do this.....

1. Sequence
I'm sure you've all see the below picture.  Eadweard Muybridge's "The Horse in Motion".  As a little history lesson......These pictures were taken to help a friend of Eadweard's with a bet.  The bet had to do with whether a horse in full stride has all four hooves off the ground or not.  Multiple pictures were set up with wires that tripped as the horse ran by.  These multiple pictures describe the passage of time and motion, while also capturing a view the eye was not able to see.  To really capture and measure the movement, add something static in the picture.

2. Stop Action
A fast exposure can stop an action that otherwise would be imperceptible allowing the viewer to study the intricacies of the motion.  The shorter the shutter speed, the faster the action can be stopped. 
How about a little more history.....In the 1940's Dr. Harold Edgerton designed a flash with a duration of less than 1/10,000th of a second that could stop a bullet.
Stop action photos allow the viewer to study an event they can't with the naked eye.  You freeze the moment by increasing your shutter speed.

3. Blur
- Static Camera Blur
First you need to set your camera up on a tripod to hold it steady.  Then allow the action to streak onto your film.  By adjusting your shutter speed you can adjust the amount of blur.  The slower the shutter speed, the more blur.

- Panning Camera Blur
For this method, you're trying to hold a moving object constant in your frame as you pan along the moving objects path.  Again - you can adjust the amount of blur by adjusting the shutter speed.  The trick with Panning is to begin moving the camera with the subject before the exposure then release the shutter when you have smoothly matched the speed. 

When Bad Blur Ruins Good Pictures
A couple of tips
- Do not handhold a camera at less than 1/60th of a second
- For lenses longer than 50mm, select a shutter speed equal to or higher than the focal length of the lens.
- Tripods or cable release can help eliminate blur.  Removing your hands from the camera can greatly improve the sharpness of a picture. 
- The mirror lock up feature allows you to release the mirror and stop the lens down prior to the actual exposure eliminating the vibration.  (I have to do a little research to see if my camera has this feature and how it works)
- Learn the proper way to hold your camera.  It should be cradled in your left hand with the left elbow against the body.  Your right hand holds the camera firmly with the entire palm.
- When taking a picture, don't push the button.....squeeze until it fires

Assignment #4

For this weeks assignment we experimented with our f-stop and ISO of our cameras.  This required taking a series of pictures, holding the same frame, and adjusting our f-stop or ISO with each picture.  For the f-stop test, we were trying to determine when our camera put everything into focus.  For ISO, we needed to find at what number the "noise" was too loud.  I'll only post a few of my pictures.....since they are all pretty much the same scene.

1. Series of pictures with a variety of apertures - with Camera mode set to Aperture-Priority and lens at 35mm.
     a. At 3' from camera
Here my f-stop is set at 5.6.  I went all the way up to 32.  I found that at f-stop 11, everything was pretty much in focus and I probably don't need to go all the way to 32 to have complete focus.

     b. At 15' from camera
Again - I'm at f-stop 5.6.  You'll notice that since I stepped away from my main object in the picture, everything is pretty much in focus.

     c. Picture w/ Min Depth of Field

     d. Picture with Max Depth of field

2.  Series of pictures with a variety of ISO settings - with Camera mode set to Programmed Auto.
- Its hard to see in these pictures, but in class the pictures were blown up.  As my ISO increased - you could see "noise" in my pictures.  They were more grainy and edges lost their sharpness.  When we zoomed in, I started to experience a lot of "noise" around ISO 800.  He suggested we make a few prints and see how the pictures develop to determine when the "noise" causes issues with the picture.  Apparently the application Light Room is able to eliminate a lot of the "noise".  Still not sure if I want to buy the application.....we'll see.

     a. First we took pictures outside.....

     b. Then we took pictures inside.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Purchase!

For this weeks assignment I needed a tripod.  So I headed to the store and made a new purchase.  Promaster 7150.  Figured it would be an easy decision - after all its just a platform with three legs.  Boy I had no idea how many options there were.

I've also started receiving National Geographic.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Class #4

Lenses.....Part Two!- For this class we covered Depth of Field with the lens.  Depth of Field is the amount of an image that is in focus in front of and behind the main subject.  This is important in creating image composition.....the viewer's eyes will only want to stay in areas that are sharply focused.  We can alter depth of field three ways.....

1. F-stop - The larger the f-stop (smaller the number) the shallower the depth of field, while the smaller f-stop (bigger the number) creates a greater depth of field.  So with a smaller f-stop, objects behind the main subject will appear more out of focus.

2. Lens Focal Length - The longer the lens the shallower the depth of field, the wider the lens the greater the depth of field. 

3. Camera to Subject Distance - The closer you are to the subject the shallower the depth of field, the further away you are the greater the depth of field. 

We covered ISO briefly in our last class.  The ISO is a measure of light sensitivity to your chip.  One down fall of adjusting your ISO is noise.  The higher the ISO, or increase in electricity running through your chip, the increase in noise.  Noise is the chip adding randomly colored pixels in areas that should be black or very dark.  Noise is caused by the low level electrical charge of the chip actually creating ghost information.  Better cameras have less noise, but all cameras will show some noise at certain setting.  Part of this weeks assignment is to determine at what ISO setting we start to experience too much noise with our camera.

Assignment #3

Thanks to Diane, Owen, Isaac, Grandma and Sally for helping me with this weeks assignment. 

Part 1
1. Make a series of pictures from the same vantage point.










2. Make a series of pictures of a person and object with the same framing.











Part 2
1. Wide-Angle Pictures

2. Long Lens Pictures

Part 3
5 Pictures in Manual Mode

Monday, May 9, 2011

Class #3

Today we learned about lenses and how to operate our camera in Manual mode (adjusting f-stop, ISO and shutter speed).  We scratched the surface with both.....so more to come.

Focal Length and Angle of View
- Your lens is the single most important tool of as photographer.  The camera is just a dark box, while the lens manipulates the light and projects the image to the chip.
- When adjusting your focal length - you are expanding and contrasting the field of view and manipulating the spacial relationship.
- Lenses are measured by their focal length.  This is the theoretical measurement from the center of the lens (nodal Point) to chip when focused at infinity.  The smaller the focal length,  the wider the angle of view.  Longer lenses have smaller angles of view, resulting in a greater image magnification.
   * 20mm lens is a wide-angle lens with an angle of view about 90 degrees
   * 50mm lens is considered a normal lens because the angle of view is roughly that of our vision - 45 degrees
   * 300mm lens has an 8 degree angle of view

- Wide Angle - Show more of a scene than a normal lens.  They exaggerate and expand perspective by making foreground objects large and distant objects small.  Wide lenses can distort lines close to the edges further adding to the illusion of perspective.

- Normal Lens - You are pretty much showing the viewer what they would see through their eyes.  A Normal focal length is around 35mm.

- Long lenses (telephoto) - Pull subjects closer to the camera.  Long lenses tend to compress the scene making objects appear closer to one another than they are.  They have have less ability to maintain focus in front of and behind the main subject.  This sharpness fall-off can help to restore the illusion of depth.

Manual Exposure Fundamentals
To find the correct exposure for your picture, you need to find a balance in the amount of light in your scene to the amount of light your chips needs to capture the tones and colors accurately.

- f-Stop or Aperture - This is the diaphragm of your lens just before you release the shutter button.  The "f" in f-stop stands for factor, as the number is the result of dividing the focal length of the lens by the actual size of the opening.  All you really need to know is - the bigger the number, the smaller the hole.

- Shutter Speed - This is the amount of time the shutter stays open.  It is expressed as fractions of a second.  So 125 is 1/125th of a second.  The important thing is - a slower shutter speed can cause blur.

 - ISO - This is the numerical expression of your chip's light requirement....or adjusts the sensitivity of your chip.  This is the amount of light that the chip needs to accurately represent tones and colors.  The higher the ISO - the more electricity and more robust charge.  This can also create noise in your picture (more next week).  For low light scenes you'll want a higher ISO, starting around 1600.  For sunny days, start with an ISO around 200.

- Meter - To make sure you're reaching the correct balance of light - you need to read your light meter.  The light meter reads the amount of light in your scene and guides your selection of the shutter speed and f-stop selection - after you've set your ISO.

Assignment #2

For this assignment we were giving 7 different compostion scenes to capture.  This was a little harder than the lighting to find.  As you'll notice, I ended up searching for a few things around the house to use.
1. Viewpoint
Ground Level

Waist Level

Eye Level

Over Head

2. Rule of Thirds

Bottom Right

Top Right

Bottom Left

Top Left



3. Strong Lines
Diagonal Line

Curved Line

4. Pattern

5. Depth and Perspective


Diminishing Scale

6. Scale

7. Frame

Unfortunatly I wasn't able to incorporate Mom and Dad into my Assignment - so I'm finishing my post off with a picture I took in the middle of Macy's after our Mother's Day dinner.