|Photo Guide by Kent Mason|
First explore the area. Find the best subject or view. Take the camera off the tripod and hand hold it. Walk around to find the best camera angle. This is a great opportunity to experiment and explore even more. Evaluate the best lens choice and perspective for the subject. Evaluate high or low camera position and vertical as well as horizontal formats. Also evaluate the light. If it is not the best, can you come back at a better time?
The type of shooting is based on available light. For example, overcast days are good for macro work and people shots. Use a warming filter and a gold reflector or fill flash. Keep bald skies out of the photo.
Master the composition methods of Freeman Patterson.
The elements of composition are line, shape, texture and perspective. Look for them and use one or more of these elements in your photo.
Arrange the elements using dominance, balance, proportion or rhythm. Experiment with different arrangements of your subject and go for dynamic, graphic simplicity! That is define, isolate and simplify.
A simple design has more impact.
Emphasize a few strong elements (one, three or five) in the scene.
Plan to shoot as many vertical compositions as horizontal ones.
Maximize the use of contrast, sharpness and warm colors in your composition to attract the viewer’s attention and hold their interest in the photo.
Check the movement of the eye as it travels through the image. Does it work?
The key to good composition is pre-visualization.
The view or subject should be:
Isolating the center of interest or simplifying the image often improves the photo.
Insure that the visual weight of the elements is in balance so that they work together.
All of the following add interest to the composition:
Check the borders of the camera frame and include only what adds positively to the composition. Eliminate merges and converges as appropriate.
Use light that best enhances your subject
Adjustments - consider whether you can:
Recognize superb light!
Spot meter the main subject area and the highlight, then adjust the exposure based on subject reflectancy.
Determine how light or dark you want the subject or the image to appear in the photograph.
For example, if you expose at what the meter says, a medium blue sky with no haze will be medium blue. By opening up one stop, the sky will be light blue. By closing down one stop, the sky will be dark blue.
Note that new technology is not a substitute for good technique and your creativity.
Polarizer - reduces reflections, shine and glare of surfaces (skin, rocks, leaves, etc.), and to increase color saturation.
Warming Filter (81B or 812) - reduces blue light and warms it on hazy or overcast days or in the shade.
Split Neutral Density Filters (both 2 and 3 stops) - reduces contrast between sky and land or water in landscape photography. Very useful for sunrises and sunsets.
Color Enhancing Filters - while this filter increases the intensity of reds, oranges and yellows, it can have a negative effect on white and greens.
Mid Tone Measurement Alternative
Meter Extremes in the Scene
Sunny 16 Rule
On a sunny day, set the lens at f/16 and the shutter speed equal to the film speed. For example, for ISO 200, the shutter speed is 1/250; for ISO 100, the shutter speed is 1/125.
This rule only works on a sunny, clear day on a front lit, medium tone subject. You must:
Meter the palm of your hand at the film plane angle and open up 1 stop (this is a substitute for a gray card). Use your hand as a reference in the field.
For sunrise and sunset shots, spot meter the more neutral area of color outside the sun’s brightest area, then bracket by ½ to 1 stop each way.
Often it is helpful to use a hard edge 3 stop split field neutral density filter to lower the contrast between the sky and the foreground and create more impact.
Rainbows: For deeper color, stop down ½ stop of spot meter reading.
Fog: Spot meter and open up 1 stop.
Shutter Speed (100 speed film)
The following exposure times are guidelines or starting points. However, if you can use your spot meter to meter a bright highlight and open up 2 stops, this is a better way to start. Then bracket your exposures.
Using the following table:
1. Set the focusing mark on the lens to the distance indicated below the f stop selected.
2. The lens will be in focus ½ the distance from the lens to the hyperfocal distance, continuing to infinity.
For example, a 24mm lens at f16 is set to 5.6 ft. on the focusing mark, so that everything from 2.8 ft. to infinity will be in focus.
Once the hyperfocal distance is set, do not refocus the lens, even if it looks out of focus.
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