TRYING TO TAKE OFF AGAINST THE WIND AND TIDE!
A laptop crash has delayed the continuation of my work for a while so I have been revisiting my Canon 7D manual to read all the stuff I should have read before but never found the time! Still a lot to get my head round and I will have to return to it many times in the future without a doubt. I have also bought and watched The Great Courses set of DVDs entitled “Fundamentals of Photography” produced for National Geographic by Joel Sartore, one of their stable of photographers. Interestingly, Joel makes a lot of the fact that it is not so much the complexity of the equipment that one uses that creates a great photograph but the vision and care of the person behind the viewfinder. This is in direct agreement with the principle message that I have picked up from ‘Part 1 – The Frame’ of the OCA course which stresses the greater importance of the viewfinder and its use over the more intricate technology of the gear. Whilst I have known this to some level in my previous photographic work, as I start on the course, the truth of this is becoming more and more clear to me and I am becoming very conscious of image balance, light, detail, background, etc. where time allows before pressing the shutter. I have noticed that I have a very strong preference for using the viewfinder rather than Live View via the screen. In fact I rarely if ever use Live View as I find that it divorces me from connection with and focus on the subject leaving me too distracted and aware of peripheral activity.
Another thing that I have noticed as I set out on the course is that whilst I am used to pointing and shooting with a few random dial twiddles and getting some reasonable results from time to time, it has been rather more by luck than judgement and it is difficult to reproduce the images let alone create chosen special effects. That is starting to change as I experiment with more conscious and informed dial adjustment and more critical assessment of results so that considered adjustments can be made. I still have a long way to go before the process becomes second nature and the camera ‘feels like an extension of my body’ but I am moving in the right direction!
I have been working on the initial exercises looking at the relationships between focus, aperture, depth of field and shutter speed, an area so crucial to successful photography once one has got the image in the viewfinder as one wants it. The link between aperture, light and depth of field is probably one of the most difficult things for beginners to grasp – it is certainly true for me – as the concept of the largest f stop number having the smallest aperture but the largest depth of field and vice versa is a difficult one. Already, a wish to isolate subjects by blurring backgrounds under lower light conditions is making me start to think about spending out on f 2.8 lenses to replace
my slower ones!
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