Then I graduated and no longer had what I needed accessible to me (I was using an old-school D.I. antique camera and black and white film which I developed myself. I also developed the pictures myself in the darkroom at school.). I still snapped pictures every now and then, but it go frustrating because I had so little control during processing. I finally gave up.
The digital photography came out and I got excited. But all I got the guts to buy was a point-and-shoot camera....the cheapest I could find. I often found myself frustrated because I couldn't control any of the settings, not to mention the slow shutter speed drove me nuts. I always seemed to be just after the moment I was shooting! Again, I gave up.
Fast forward to my getting sick. I finally realized that I needed to do a few things I enjoyed just to keep myself sane and healthy. When we got our tax return this year, I ran out to Costco and bought myself a DSLR camera on sale. Finally a good camera with all the settings. Back in business!
The only problem was, that I was rusty. And I hadn't learned about things like ISO, white balance, etc. from my black-and-white-film photography classes. I googled and read blogs and figured quite a bit out on my own. I talked to my dad a lot (he's a great photographer). I finally took the plunge and took a lesson from a camera shop. Suddenly, I understood more and enjoyed taking pictures and experimenting more and more. I started to improve a little. But I felt like I lacked the knowledge, feedback, and motivation I needed to improve more.
Then I got a continuing education pamphlet in the mail from a local college and noticed they offered photography classes. I knew I needed to jump in. I knew it would get me in the "artsy-fartsy" frame of mind again, have deadlines to learning things, interaction and feedback from peers and a teacher, and further instruction on using a DSLR camera. I vacillated which class to do - beginning or intermediate - but finally decided on beginning because I figured that I could always learn something and even if I sat through most of the class bored, it would hopefully wake my brain up to art again. Added bonus: my mom jumped in to take the class too.
My first class was last week. It was mostly like photography kindergarten, but I did learn a couple things. I learned that I can use a manual focus on my camera. I didn't know that, and I was delighted to find out about it. I learned about sensors in my camera and the different automatic sensors in my camera. All in all, a little boring, but still a lot of fun.
Most of the class was about shutter speed. I thought I'd share a little bit since there might be someone out there reading this blog that may benefit from me sharing.
The shutter of the camera is a little curtain that moves to let light in every time you snap a picture. The speed at which the shutter opens and closes affects how much light comes into a picture, and also how clear the picture is. The faster the shutter speed, the less light is let in, and also the sharper the picture is (generally speaking). Pictures with a fast shutter speed set to freeze a fast moment is called "stop-action". The setting generally ranges from 1/100-1/8000 (that measurement being fractions of a second.) Sports, kids, moving objects that you want to freeze a clear picture of are taken at stop-action speed. Pictures like this:
|I know this picture breaks the "rule of thirds", but I laughed out loud when I saw it, so I decided I preferred it to my alternative anyway. Rules of art are more like guidelines anyway, right?|
The last type of picture you can take focusing on shutter speed is a "moving picture". In this type of picture, you set a slightly slower-than-normal shutter speed (fast enough to get a clear picture, but slow enough that your movement will affect the shot) and follow your subject after you have taken the picture. This shutter speed would generally be from 1/30-1/60 of a second, but it would also vary with the time of day. This results in a clear (or somewhat clear) photo of your subject, while making the environment around it show the movement, like this:
These photos are the ones I just emailed my teacher for my first assignment. I had this great plan to get my horse running as the last "moving picture", but I ran out of time. I think the alternative is pretty cute though, and I'm sure I'll be able to squeeze Rocky into another picture. :)
Good luck with your picture taking! I hope you were able to understand what I was trying to explain, and the you have a chance to play around a little with shutter speed. It's really fun!