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TITLE: Perspective control with lead lines and the prevention of deterioration of paint on camera lenses and bodies.
Hello Ladies & Gentlemen:
I would like to begin this months get together by thanking you very much incidentally for your positive remarks pertaining to my blog articles/posts and photography.
*I am most appreciative of your wonderful feedback!
Humbly spoken here…..I have many, many years of photographic experience and as an instructor/teacher, it is always my pleasure t o help people by providing them with good, solid advice regarding how to benefit their picture making adventures.
At this time, I would like to begin by making reference to the season we are currently experiencing which is basically, the beginning of summer. This is a time of year when the insect population is flourishing at rather alarming rates. I mention this because I have been in numerous areas when the photographic conditions seem to accelerate the activities of black flies and mosquitoes such as hot, humid weather. I wish to share with you an incident I experienced years ago, and is most appropriate to today as well. I frequently carry insect repellent in my camera bag, and apply it liberally to deter the annoyance of insects when trying to produce imagery. Typically, I would spray products such as muskol into the palm of my hand, apply it, then continue handling my cameras controls while making compositions. On one such occasion, I noticed that the paint finish on the top portion of my camera body was beginning to show considerable wear, meaning, the removal of black paint on the camera body. My camera was not that old to show these signs of wear.
This lead me to make inquiries at the local camera store along with my associates and the general conclusion was, that the insect spray was so strong that the product itself can dissolve paint! Hours which turn into months of handling my camera with insect repellent on my fingers was the cause of this problem.
I wanted to make certain to mention this to you since for many people, the photography season is just beginning and you may be handling your camera more frequently at this time of the year. I now carry small packets of handy wipes with me to clean my hands after applying the repellent and for the most part, I use a spray can to minimize handling. I hope this tip will benefit you so your equipment will be kept in excellent condition much longer than mine. Good luck with this!
***It should now be said in 2023 that products such as muskol have reduced quantities of “deet” in them as opposed to previous products of yesteryear. This reduced quantity of deet will necessitate more frequent applications of the product to repel insects but still encourages camera paint deterioration.
Perspective And Design
The accompanying images I have included in this months article will direct peoples eyes through the imagery as opposed to making their eyes remain stagnant in one area of your photograph. This dynamic view of perspective can be accomplished by altering your body height as well as selecting an appropriate lens to further exaggerate your composition. In many instances, several of my photographs are produced using very basic camera equipment such as a good quality wide angle lens, reputable camera body and tripod.
*A student recently inquired as to what I suggest they purchase in the way of tripods, and since I have addressed this topic previously, I will just advise people to purchase an excellent quality “ball and socket” head for your tripod. This will give you remarkable versatility when composing your imagery as opposed to tripods with adjustment levers.
Very seldom do I require the usage of filtration on my camera lens which at times tends to produce unrealistic effects due to over compensating the filters ability to alter it’s environment. Polarizing filters in general are often misused and their effects should be dialed in sparingly.
I was driving through back roads of remote farmers fields last month and took notice of this acreage. It was quite remarkable due to the fact that the absence of people took precedence. Strolling towards the rows of flowering trees I heard nothing. A gentle breeze was all that was present and the quietude of the area created in it’s own way, a departure from most people’s reality. I spent some time walking through the area looking for the angle of sunlight; the rather militant display of the trees and in addition, did not object to the ever present dandelion population which under normal circumstances is very troublesome to many. I came to the conclusion that varying the camera’s lens on specific angles to create strong lead in lines seemed an appropriate way to begin my photography. Using a low ISO setting which I elected to do, frequently produces slow shutter speeds on your camera and this I did not find objectionable. The breezes slight blur of the petals was very realistic at times adding to the often motionless surrounding area. I find that an individual should remain in the proximity you wish to create photographs in for awhile, allowing yourself the permission of becoming acquainted with what it has to offer. As I have indicated frequently, a person does not have to drive endlessly searching for engaging pictorials and rushing through image creation. Often times after careful study, excellent imagery can exist within the proximity of your home. Slowing down and taking the necessary time to befriend your area unquestionably develops a relationship between you and your surroundings. You are permitting yourself to advance visually as opposed to hurrying through fields or attractive scenes, quickly recording numerous sets of unwanted imagery upon later review.
After metering the scenes before me I concluded that a small F-stop-(aperture of F16-22) on my camera would be the most appropriate setting to carry focus from the foreground to infinity.
*An oversight of camera lens manufactures of today is that they do not include a detailed “hyperfocal focusing” scale on many of their lenses. On several of my lenses this scale is included and it permits photographers the ability to achieve excellent, sharp focused imagery without taking the time to actually focus your camera. Let me explain…….. as a working photographer for many years I have on many occasions not had the opportunity to take the time to look through my camera to ensure the object is in focus. By using the hyperfocal distance scales, I can set the lens to a specific aperture which will carry focus within an acceptable range thereby assuring me of a successful image. Let me now provide you with a realistic example which I hope will further clarify what I am making reference to. When photographing a wedding for instance and people are walking up the aisle, they obviously are moving. Autofocus cameras now handle this focus tracking feature quite well but for years I have used a completely manual camera. That being said, I would have previously determined an aperture on my lens that would “carry focus” at X feet from me to my subject. I developed an aperture/distance scale so when a person is full length from my camera, I would set the focus at 8 feet, 3/4 length imagery would be set for 7 feet. When doing groups of approximately 12 people I would set my focus to 10-12 feet and “never have to look through the camera to ensure if my subjects were in focus”. They always were in focus using this method of pre-focusing. This kept portrait sessions moving very quickly ensuring high levels of efficiency.
Once my camera settings were established, I was free to compose the above imagery at various angles and heights without concern and recognized a successful series of nature photographs.
As an instructor and veteran photographer, I hope this article has provided you with information you can incorporate into your own image creation activity with great levels of success ! Let’s meet up next month and as always……..
With My Good Wishes Extended To All,
Jeff Ryan Photography/Ryan Studio Ottawa
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