When you take pictures, there are basically three things you control:
- Composition: What's in the frame
- Focus: What you're focused on
- Lighting: How much light reaches your camera
Today's cameras do 90% of the focusing and lighting work for you, which means you can focus on composition.
Focusing on story.
10% of the time, your camera does the wrong thing. This is where the quality of your camera comes into play, specifically:
- Quality of your camera's lens
- Quality of your camera's sensor
- Ability to control manual settings easily
"The Big Picture About Exposure" from the The Bastards Book of Photography offers a great, simple explanation for how to control the amount of light your camera receives using manual settings. You start with your camera's exposure setting, which essentially manipulates:
You can also manipulate these four settings manually.
Kelby Training a possible source for online courses.
- Focal length and aperture
- Don’t Zoom, Move: Treating Your Zoom Lens as a Series of Primes
- Introduction to White Balance. Use an 18% gray card for better color balance.
- Light values
- Digital Camera “White Balance”
- Making the Best of Bright Light in Fall-Color Photography
- Spot On: Camera Metering Basics
- Hoya Variable Density ND and the OM-D
- Live Time / Live Bulb Lessons Learned
- Heading Out To Photograph The Fall Foliage? Don’t Forget The Polarizer Filter
- A Few Polarization-Filter Examples
A nice explanation of apertures and focal lengths, and why you can't get good depth-of-field in point-and-shoot cameras (like mine).
In general, to [get shallow depth-of field], especially w/ point-and-shoot cameras:
- Lower F-stop numbers (larger apertures)
- Longer focal lengths (zoom in)
- Get closer to the subject
I have a Manfrotto 293A3-A0RC2 tripod with a ball head and QR plate. More on tripods here. I also have a Joby GorillaPod.
I have a Yongnuo 560 III and RF-602 wireless trigger. I may want to get some gels.
Digital cameras have limitations on video length.
I use Adobe Lightroom for editing and photo management. There have been some suggestions that Olympus Viewer will render the RAW files more effectively than Lightroom, and that you should process RAW in Olympus Viewer, generate 16-bit TIFFs, then import those into Lightroom for processing and management. I've compared the two, and I haven't seen any differences in the rendering. Others have questioned this as well and have pointed out other tradeoffs.
I'm experimenting with exiflow for managing my digital photography workflow (renaming files, metadata, etc.). F-Spot has an extension that supports an exiflow workflow.
I'm constantly disgruntled by F-Spot, but I keep returning to it, because it keeps getting better. I'm not crazy about F-Spot for importing images off of my digital camera, so I'm thinking about switching the default to gThumb.
And now I've moved to Shotwell, because that's now the default in Ubuntu. I'm thinking about Lyn on my Mac.
Other tools of interest:
Services for scanning old photos:
Tags + types. Tags can have types. If I want to get really funky, types can have relationships -- an ontology! For example, the "Eugene Eric Kim" tag could be of type "People." This would allow me to do faceted classification.
Collections (or albums) cannot be tags, because you want to be able to do special things, like define cardinality and other metadata within a collection. However, you ought to be able to assign a photo to multiple collections.
Developing and Printing
I use Dickerman Prints in SOMA. They're really great, but probably better for specialty printing.
I've been using Photoworks San Francisco to develop and scan film.
I've experimented with Kodak TMax 400 (black and white), Kodak TriX (black and white), Fujifilm Pro 400H (color), and Kodak Portra 400 (color).
For color film, both Koda Portra and Fujifilm Pro 400H are slightly desaturated. Portra is slightly warmer than Pro 400H, but not exceedingly so. I probably prefer the warmth. However, Pro 400H seems to have better dynamic range and an interesting graininess. I'll test more, but right now, I prefer the Pro 400H.
Black and white:
- Black and white film types for film photography
- What black and white film should you start out with? Five popular stocks compared
- Kodak Tri-X: The best black-and-white film ever made?
- The basics of shooting with black and white film
Notes on using expired film. Quick summary:
- The freshness of the film depends on how it was stored (e.g. cool, dry temperatures are optimal)
- Some people advocate for stopping down the film one-stop per ten years, especially higher ISO (400+). Others suggest simply using the box ISO. Experiment to see!
Favorites from Eugene Chan
- under the golden gate
- pig pastries
- underwater calder
- Bay Bridge
- rays of light
The best tool for doing these on Linux seems to be metapixel:
- Generating Awesome Photomosaics on Linux with Metapixel
- Create Photo Mosaics with Metapixel
- Three photo mosaic apps compared
- Solar eclipse
- The Bastards Book of Photography: An open-source guide to working with light
- The Ideal Digital Photographer's Workflow, Part 1, Part 2
- Top Ten Digital Photography Tips
- Legal Misconceptions
- DIY Photo Booth (on Mac)
- How to make a time-lapse video from stills (using iPhoto and QuickTime)
Mentions from my photography class (April-May 2013):