Friday, 16 January 2015

photography at Bristol Folk House

I love my camera, but do wonder if I've been getting the most out of it, so booked a course at Bristol Folk House with a tutor that was highly recommended - Graham Parish of Shutterbugs.  Of course with impeccable timing our laptop has died, so I have no way of getting new photos from my camera onto here, but I'm working on a plan!

Situations like this scare me - I wonder if everyone else in there knows the subject back to front, and I'll not only look like an idiot but also gain absolutely nothing from course, apart from a renewed lack of faith in my abilities.  I worry that the tutor will go too fast and I won't be able to keep up.  I worry my not top-of-the-range camera will be out of place.  I worry that I'll ask a question and everyone will laugh.  I worry that I won't remember anyone's name and will offend them.  I worry everyone else will know what all the buttons on their cameras do.  I worry that I have to give at least a brief brain cloud explanation to the tutor in case I have a seizure while I'm there.  I worry, basically.

But the tutor was friendly and approachable, and clearly knew his stuff.  The others in the group have differing levels of experience but are happy to chat and share.  A range of cameras in the room, some more fancy than others but lots of 'oh, I don't know what that button does' and 'ah, I didn't know mine could do that'.  One of the others taking the course turned out to be Rachel who I've been chatting with for ages on twitter, which was a lovely surprise (when I got home, since neither of us identified ourselves at the time...) as well as the lovely Kim from Kim Thompson Designs (she makes beautiful jewellery and teaches others to make it too, amongst other things) who recognised me from a presentation I gave on Personal Budgets and Participation last week! 

Knowing the difficulties that I now have in retaining information, I'm going to use abstractLucas as a place to gather together my thoughts on the course and the things I'm learning, using my own photos as examples.   Hopefully this will enable me to remember and apply the principles discussed, but also act as a refresher for me as and when needed!  Although the aim will be to share the photos I take each week, technological issues are preventing that right now,  so I'll use some old ones for the time being.


The aperture is the hole the light goes through in the camera, to land on the image sensor

In A mode you control the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed (semi auto)

The f number is the focal length of the lens divided by the diameter of the aperture

Switching from (for example) f8 to f11 halves the amount of light allowed through the aperture

Switching from (for example) f11 to f8 doubles the amount of light allowed through the aperture

The higher the f number, the greater the depth of field - this means there's a wider band of focus

The lower the f number, the smaller (narrower) the depth of field

This has a wide depth of field - the people, grass and trees are all in focus, so the camera would have been set at a high f number

This has a narrow depth of field - the background is blurred (out of focus), while the flower is in focus, so the f number would have been low

The depth of field here is narrow, indicating a low f number.  The tip of the glass point close to the camera is blurred, as is the main body of the star in the background, but the shiny silver spiral is in sharp focus.

So, aperture.  Graham has promised that once you have the hang of apertures and shutter speed the (photography) world is your oyster, so fingers crossed!

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