Friday, May 30, 2014

Useful Camera tips for artists’ reference photos I

(click on image to enlarge)
Using the BURST capability
©2009 Charlene Brown

Don’t you love it when an otherwise helpful article or blog post about photography suggests you “refer to your camera’s instruction manual”…?  Don’t they know nothing has an instruction manual anymore? What you get with a new camera is a DVD with a downloadable owner’s manual of randomly-nested menus and sub-menus of indecipherable icons and useless party tricks.  You can print out this worthless pile of pages if you want, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to if they’ve read more than about three of them and discovered how ambiguous and repetitious they are.
Anyway, you don’t want a pile of pages. You want a quick reference list of techniques to handle specific problems such as:

Dim lighting: Bad lighting often results in wonderfully evocative photographs. Blurry evocative photographs, unfortunately.  If a tripod is out of the question there are other possibilities, such as the sensitivity (ISO) setting…

Obstructed view: This too is usually a people problem, like when you’re in the back row of something, but there are also landscape photography situations when it would be nice to be about a foot higher, and you can achieve this by holding your camera as high as you can... and using the High Angle capability on your screen so you can actually see what you’re doing.

Fast-moving subject (or fast-moving photographer, as in shooting from a car when the driver can’t even slow down, much less stop – ie the reference shots for ‘Using the BURST capability,’ above)

TMI: Too much information (for those not fluent in Internet slang)… Happens when you’ve got a detailed subject in front of a detailed background. You have to reduce your depth of field (wide aperture, lowest f, low depth of field) so that only the subject is in focus.

To ensure that you can read and understand this list quickly, you have to devise your own code. At the end of my next blog post, after outlining a few more problem situations, I will list some examples in my ‘mode/number’ code, pertaining to all the situations I have described.