Monday, March 12, 2012

Learn The Basics

Greetings people (person?) I hope today is a nice one for you - it's a little overcast here, but quite mild for the time of year.
Today's FB is about a little-regarded thing in this wonderful world where designers and inventors have made everything so easy you really don't even have to think about what you are doing. Rather like this blog actually, I just type away add a photo and click a few buttons and the whole thing is out in the wide-world, and I didn't even have to know how to write code or anything! Yes the modern world is an incredibly strange place, and nowhere more so than in photography.
At the risk of sound like an ageing old git here, a modern digital camera will teach you virtually nothing. Yes you can point it at something, and click a button and capture what you see (rather like people used to with fully-automatic film cameras too - and I was never a fan of them either) but have you any idea of what you have just done or do you even really care? Well, for the majority of people the majority of the time it is fine, and I suppose that is ok. But if you really want to pursue things further you simply have to start thinking about what you are doing.
I'm not going to start pontificating and saying you should do this and do that, but if you're reading this you're on a computer. Just Google something like 'photography basics' and it'll tell you all about the interaction between light and time and aperture. It really is almost as simple as that.

If you're brave you can even wing exposures.
Gasp - a large proportion of light-meter wielding enthusiasts find that their false teeth are now lodged in the opposite wall.
Black and White film has such an incredible ability to deal with our mistakes that you can do almost anything and the results are going to come out semi-ok (Google 'Sunny 16' if you're interested, though in my part of the world it tends to be 'Sunny 11').
The above was winged - hard to believe it was made at dusk on a Winter's afternoon, but it was - Speed was 1/30th of a second, Aperture was probably f2 or f2.8.
Film was Tri-X at EI 320. it was a bit overexposed, but you don't really notice.  It was processed in HC110 Dilution G, which is a compensating dilution.
The exposure was totally guessed by me because the meter on the Nikon F I was using wasn't working properly.
A chimp with a steady hand could have produced this picture (but he would have had to have known something about how film photography works).
Oh and the lens was a very old 35mm f2 Nikkor - how I love that lens.

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