When I was a younger – despite anything else I might have to say about being there – I was privileged to attend a high school that funded a pretty well rounded multimedia program. My photography courses for example took me through everything from making a simple pinhole camera, to developing and manipulating my own work in the dark room, and really gave me an appreciation for it.
I also learned about photography’s history, and the many innovations that have occurred in its lifetime. Of course this was all back in the day when your standard SLR took film, and everything had to be processed. So a chance to go and brush up on the current tech is a perfect gift for someone like me, and thanks to a very thoughtful Nic I’ve been given just that opportunity.
While something a lot more advanced should be in my future for our upcoming November cruise, I currently have to work with a stand point-and-shoot. This has posed some limitations as it’s meant little control over things like my ISO, White Balance, or Shutter Speed, but despite these complications and the fact that it’s made my first assignment a little more difficult, this Nikon Coolpix 2500 is still a great little camera – especially given it’s in the neighborhood of being ten years old and still produces such great color quality.
Taught by the award-winning photographer Len van Bruggen IV at the Lens Factory, I’m currently enrolled in a month-long digital photography course that’s doing a great job of getting me back to basics and really learning how my current camera works while reconnecting me with my interest in it.
And you’d be surprised at the little things that can really make a difference in your pictures. For example, most aren’t aware but the majority of digital cameras allow you to half suppress the shutter-release button so your camera can take a light reading of the area and better select the White Balance for the picture. Ideally however you’d want to set your balance to “Raw,” and turn off the flash to coax optimal pictures out of your shooting environment.
For this assignment we were directed to do just that, and then go out into the world and try to capture motion. As a general rule of thumb this means manipulating your shutter speed. Joggers might not need all that much, but higher and higher settings are required for capturing faster and faster vehicles. Coupled with this is the technique for turning your body with the motion of the object while taking your shot. You’ll still release on your desired shot, but your body should continue moving in tandem with the object to ensure that it is captured in focus. Stopping right after snapping the picture will almost inevitably mean the subject coming out blurry.
But as seems the current trend amongst the photographers I talk with, remember that the majority of the work is always done in an editing program. While proper framing and technique allows you to shoot some really good photos, this ultimately will only account for 25% of your work. The rest is in the cropping and adjusting various levels of your picture until you’ve produced the best picture it has to offer.
So we were also given some license to play around with our images and see what we could come up with.