My photography class met at Fairmount Park Tuesday morning.
I hope I don’t speak for myself. It was great to get out of the modular classroom. In fact when the weather cools off more, I’m planning on more field trips. Photography is best taught hands-on.
Lectures and powerpoint presentations, no matter how well done, get old.
I had 2 concepts which I wanted to teach.
- Depth-of-field control
- Panning the camera to convey motion
- Find a suitable subject with camera on tripod, focus on one subject in the foreground with widest aperture.
- Then without re-focusing the lens, take the same picture by setting the smallest aperture of the lens compensating by lowering the shutter speed to get the equivalent exposure.
Here’s are 2 sets of pictures from my students. These 1st set is from Ellie.
Exposure iso 100, 1/500 sec f1.4. Conversely, f 1.4 is the widest aperture on the lens and it yields the shallowest depth-of-field.
Next 2 pictures are from Tony. He placed his cellphone on a handrail, focused the lens on it and set the camera on the tripod.
Camera handling: panning with action
Even one of Riverside’s finest cruised by.
Here’s the gist of what we did.
Ellie, who had my camera, panned the cruiser as it passed.
We set up on this pathway under the trees.
There were 2 possible angles to take the picture.
Pretty quickly everyone figured out that facing south was better than north because of the background.
I walked with Edwin on the scooter.
The lake in the background was so much brighter, it took away from “us” the subject of the picture.
Compare that to the pictures of me taken by Jessica and Ellie.
Jessica framed me as a vertical.
Ellie gave me room on the right to “move into.”
I’ll let you decide which composition you prefer.
Notice how just by changing the “position we shoot from,” the picture is made better.
The subject just pops out because of the darker background.
The weather didn’t cooperate that day. Next field trip we take, I’ll see if we can tackle stopping action.
The Razor scooter doesn’t go fast enough plus freezing someone going by on a scooter doesn’t produce great pictures unless they’re flying off ramps and making dangerous X-Games style jumps.
How to Pan
Why pan instead of freezing the motion?
Most common reason: a creative way to convey motion.
Here’s another reason–one that is practical. You’re in a dark place, like a gym, and you’ve set your camera to its maximum ISO 1600? Your shutter speeds to get a good exposure is so low, you have no choice but to shoot at 1/30 sec with your widest aperture.
Manually focus, compose your picture so that your subject is off-center. If he is moving left to right, place him on the left. Give him room to move into. As you look into the viewfinder, follow the motion of your subject, in this case left to right. How fast or quickly you move with the motion depends on the speed of your subject.
You want to keep the same rate so that your subject remains in the same spot in the viewfinder. Release the shutter when you see your subject about a third into the viewfinder and continue to follow through. Your “following through” motion is important because that gives you the blurring of the background.