Sunday, October 18, 2009

Photography - Learning as I go...

I had a chance to have another play with my Nikon D60 DSLR this weekend. We went to the AMEF Strictly Culture event at the Pemberton Centre in Rushden, followed by the New Music Nite Weekender at the same venue. I started off playing with the automatic settings again, but filming and photography guru (and all-round nice guy) Andy Eathorne was there, and he gave me a few tips for getting started with the fully manual camera setting. Andy showed me just how easy the camera is to use in manual mode- the hardest bit is remembering what all the different settings do!

Anyway, here are edited highlights of my efforts with a few comments:

These are photos of the TARDIS video comment booth at Strictly Culture. I was playing around with shutter speeds here; the picture on the left was taken with a faster shutter speed than the one on the right, resulting in a darker, yet sharper image. On my camera's screen I preferred the second photo, but now I've seen them both in all their glory, I think the first one is probably the more effective image.

A belly dancer. I was playing around with ISO settings in indoor situations (the darker the situation, the higher the ISO number, in general. Yes, I know that's very basic, but when I say I'm new to photography I mean it). This is about the best picture I managed to take. Wish I could have got a sharper pic before she'd finished (because that would have taught me more about aperture/ ISO/ shutter speed combinations than failing to do so did, of course. Why, what were you thinking?)

Mucking around with shutter times again, under Andy's tutelage. I set the shutter speed to 'bulb', which means that you hold the shutter button down for as long as you want to expose the image, and then let go to close the shutter again. After pressing the shutter button I held the camera as steadily as I could on Emma for around 20 seconds, then turned around and waved the camera around in front of the ceiling light for a second or two. I think this is a pretty cool effect.

Taking advantage of the groovy colours from the lighting at the NMN Weekender in conjunction with the hotness of Emma.

This is approximately half of This Band Called, who headlined the NMN Weekender. They're a pretty good band, even if half of them weren't there. I was trying to work out how to take a decent photo in low/ unusual light conditions. I opened the aperture as far as it'll go (to let in as much light as possible) and then tried to find a shutter speed that gave a decent compromise between image sharpness and exposure.

Playing with focal depth this time, again under Andy's expert eye. The first picture was taken with a wide open aperture (low f-number), and then manually focussing on Emma before adjusting the shutter speed and taking the snap. The second picture was taken with a smaller aperture (high f-number), still manually focussing on Emma. The higher f-number (smaller aperture) increases the focal depth, meaning that the slide-y doors behind Emma are more focussed in the second picture than the first. Much of the fuzziness in the second image is caused by the slower shutter speed required for the smaller aperture.
A quick note because I didn't realise this at first: Such effects with focal depth must be done as 'zoomed in' as possible, as a wide-angled shot naturally increases the focal depth of the lens.

A close- up shot taken using the ambient light in the area in which we were standing.