Thursday, 9 June 2016

Five challenges for 'Advanced' Photographers

One of my workshops is Digital Photography Advanced. Partcipants are usually pretty cluey, experienced types with two bags full
'I bought these boots in Paris' she said
of some full-on DSLR gear.

We play around with a lot of technical gizmo stuff inside cameras like D lighting control, customised picture styles, intervalometers and so on. The practical assignments challenge not just technical skills but rapid innovative thinking, leadership, initiative and ethics. Its all part of being a thinking photographer rather than a photographic lemming (or lemon).

During the workshop I pose five questions:

1. What is the fastest shutter speed on your camera? When did you last use it? What was your subject? Most photographers have never used their fastest shutter speed. And if your fastest speed happens to be 1/8000 second I show them how to make it faster than 1/8000. (Yes, it can be done on almost all cameras.)

Shoalwater Bay 'The Pond'
2. If I gave you a $1,000,000 and 48 hrs to spend it what subject would you choose to shoot? Its an interesting question with a myriad of even more interesting answers. But there's a twist in the question because most times you discover you don't need the $1m. What you do need is the intestinal fortitude, motivation and 'do it' attitude.

3. From your whole life in photography, no matter whether it be long or short, what is your one 'favourite' or 'best' photo. The one that says 'This represents me'; 'this is my signature style'. If you haven't got one, you'd better get cracking.  Unlike your images, you're not going to last forever!

4. What steps are you taking right now to get your investment in photography today contributing to your superannuation in your latter years? So when you're on vacation in Bali with your feet up, soaking up a long macchiato and chocolate croissant ……are your photographs busily working for you?

5. How many 'accidents' have you had in photography in the last 8 weeks?  Show me the photographer who has never made any mistakes and I'll show you the photographer who's never made anything. Take risks, manufacture mistakes, accept 'accidents' and work with them.

Friday, 3 June 2016

The Eyes have it

Where do you focus?
The face?
The forehead?
The eyes?

Try focusing on the line between the colour and the white of the eyes. And always focus on the near-side eye to optimise depth of field. If you can, make sure the near-side eye is also the dominate eye i.e. the larger one

Julia at Abbey Farm. Nikon D700 85mm Nikkor 1/320s @ f2.8 yellow filter

That's just for starters.

And don't click until you get a great 'eye-meet'. A flirty, soulful, in-your-face, genuine eye-meet. If I could put one new feature on a camera it would be a shutter that wouldn't fire unless you've got an eye-meet.

Create the intensity, the emotion, the feel. You need to be so confident with your camera that you hardly ever look at it.

Check out Dale Neill's Photography Workshops

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Hysterical about Histograms

One of the most boring types of photographer is the one who is scared of being different.

Many photographers, particularly at camera club level and in special interest groups in social media, are constantly striving to get perfect exposure, perfect sharpness, perfect colour.

'Dimi' - Under-exposed 4 stops 
Guess what? Perfection doesn't actually exist, except maybe in the minds of Donald Trump and Paris Hilton.

-6 degrees - shutter froze
Over-exposed 4 stops
If you want to be yourself and produce exciting photographs you need to know how to creatively use over-exposure and under-exposure. More importantly, after you know HOW to use + and - exposure, you have to have the guts to do it. Most photographers are just plain too scared.

Light source - 1 mobile phone
I don't mean under-exposing or over-exposing by one of two stops, I mean whacking your exposure a hefty 4, 5,6 or 7 stops.

There's two ways of doing it. The 'old-school' method is to use M exposure and simply use your aperture and speed controls. The second method is to combine exposure modification (your + and - button) in combination withe auto exposure bracketing.

For example many Nikon DSLRs give you a bracket range of a whopping nine stops! Combine that with your + and - modification and you can dial up + or - 12 stops!!

Check out Dale Neill's Photography workshops at UWA Extension.