Monday, June 25, 2012

Camera Practice!

Most of us use a camera in our artwork. Some of us carry a camera to capture reference photos. Some of us use a camera to make a record of our artworks. Some of us capture and upload our images to a website to present our work to potential galleries. For some of us photography is the very medium of  our creativity.
These days, using a camera can be confusing. Even the more basic 'point and click' cameras, as soon as you take yourself off the 'automatic' setting, require you to know something about aperture (how open or closed the lens is), focal length (the distance from the center of the lens to the point where an object can be seen clearly), shutter speed (how long the lens is open to expose the sensor to the image and light), and sensitivity (ISO setting--formerly called ASA setting). Short of taking a camera course, it's hard to know what effect will be achieved by changing settings.
As usual, the internet has a rescue plan! There's a website...! How often do I write that?!! Actually, there is more than one website, but this one is free and it's easy to use. It's called Camera Sim: SLR Photography Demystified. When you get into it, you'll see the image I've copied here. Below it are sliding bars and radio buttons that let you fiddle with the aperture and see what changing an F-stop from, say, F4 to F 22 will do to the depth of focus ('depth of field') in that image. You can make that background fuzzy and you can make it clear. You can change the ISO setting and see what happens. You can zoom in and out; adjust the focal length; change priority settings, play with the shutter speed and the lighting and even pretend you're shooting with or without a tripod. It's a place to play and learn. Again, here's the web address ('url'):