Sunday, March 18, 2012

From here to DSLR - The Basics

Last post, I outlined I would be entering the world of digital photography, first by exploring what could be achieved with my Nikon CoolPix S3000, a basic point and click (p&c) before graduating to a digital SLR. By reading and learning the basics of photography from YouTube videos, googled articles and a couple of books from Waterstones, I will attempt to document the process, list my successes, my failures and what I've learned along the way.

So first stop was Waterstones, a browse through the photography section and whoa, information overload! So where to begin? I spotted this book, "Digital Photography - A Basic Manual" by Harry Horenstein, a guy who has been taking photos since the 70s and is a professor of photography at RISD in the States.

This book covers a heck of a lot and starts the reader off from a beginner level and moves on swiftly through to more advanced topics. This book did not bamboozle or tech overload me one bit, the writing is easy, the concepts well explained and photo images are great examples of what can be achieved with practice. A valuable read. I even showed to a work colleague who also has a passion for photography and she was impressed.

First up, what is digital photography? Light enters a sealed box through an opening, passes through a lens and is focused onto a sensor which converts that light into an electronic signal which in turn gets processed into an image. That's all there is to it. This whole process is called 'capture'. And capture is what this blog is all about, the how, the why, the oh no and the oh yes!

So, next I needed to find out what goes into capturing an image? There are 3 basic elements, namely Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO. The aperture refers to the size of the hole or opening through which the light comes into the camera, the shutter speed determines the length of time the light is allowed to fall onto the sensor and finally the ISO refers to the sensitivity of the sensor to the light falling on it. These 3 elements (volume of light, duration of light and sensitivity of the sensor to that light) when combined as intended, are what make us pause, reflect and gasp at the world.

Our own style of photography comes through manipulating the tools at our disposal and coupled with artistic vision, thoughtful composition, message and subject, our images get created. And the beauty is we can always return to that moment. It's past and present. Cool bananas huh? Next time, I will look at the 3 basics,

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