1. A Way of Seeing

The photographer’s intention…is crucial. Much of the time, we operate in the middle ground; wishing to show the subject accurately, but simultaneously conveying some of our feelings or our attitude towards it.

Ang (2010)

Aim: To help you equip yourself for the course and to get to know your camera.

I’ve had my camera for a couple of years and I’ve used help guides to get used to some of it’s settings. The Open University’s T189 course helped me to learn some of the basic camera settings, but how I use them to create visually pleasing images is why I’ve signed up for this course. As I progress through this course I hope to develop my understanding of how my camera works as well as taking better photos. The My Camera section of this Learning Log will enable me to collate information about what happens inside my camera. I suppose it’s like a rally car driver needing to understand the mechanics of his car in order to become a better rally driver.

Getting to know my camera

Project 1: focal length and angle of view

Project 2: focus with a set aperture

Project 3: focus with different apertures

Photographing movement

Project 4: shutter speeds

Project 5: panning with different shutter speeds

Section Reflection

At first I was quite frustrated about these projects due to the technical nature of them. I had already covered aperture setting and shutter speed in a previous course (The OU’s T189). However I’m writing this reflection after being over half way through TAOP and I can now fully understand the value of these exercises. Understanding how to manipulate my images is enabling me to be much more creative and take interesting photographs. In fact I had carried out Project 3: focus with different apertures wrong, and it was only by looking back over my notes that I realised my mistake. This was partly because of the subject matter I used. My first attempt had been to use a dinosaur sculpture photographed at an angle. However the effect of the depth of field was difficult to see due to the distance away from the camera. Subsequently I changed it to a row of food tins, these were much brighter in colour and there were no other distracting elements in the scene.

Mistakenly I had always thought that in order to have a sharp image with the whole scene in focus I needed to have the lens set to it’s widest aperture. This is because I thought that the wider the lens the more light can enter the lens, so therefore more detail across the image. However I’ve now learnt from this section that the aperture determines the depth of field. That the widest aperture creates a shallow depth of field, resulting in the immediate foreground being in focus and and the background blurred. This aperture change also has an effect on the shutter speed in order to make an exposure. Now I can use this to my advantage instead of trial and error. A wide aperture will need a fast shutter speed to make a correct exposure whereas a tiny aperture will need a longer exposure. I’ve discussed this in my blog post Exposure Exposed and Understanding Aperture.

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