Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Slow shutter-speed experimentation

Slow shutter-speed can be good for many things (Eg panning, sports and low light photography). But if you, for a moment, stop trying to create the conventional photograph with pin-sharp points of focus, and start playing around with slow shutter-speeds you can get some wacky results.

To create photos like this example set your camera to a slow shutter-speed and experiment with moving the camera during the exposure. You must use a long exposure to ensure you have long enough to move the camera and fit the whole scene that you want to capture in. If you end up with almost white images as results, change your film speed to compensate for the slow exposure.

If the exposure is still going after you have panned the scene, try panning back the other way. You can also experiment with moving the camera up and down, in a bouncing motion from left to right. There are many possibilities. Just take your camera out and have a go! This can be tried in daylight or at night with street lighting.

Film or Digital?

Film versus digital is currently a big debate in the photographic world. Some professionals are strictly film users but others prefer to use mixed media, digital and film. With todays modern technology, and the rate of DSLR production, it is indeed becoming more convenient to shoot digitally. Universities are also training their graduates for a mostly digital-based career, as it is their vision that in the near future film and wet processing will die out completely. But Which is truly better? i cant make up your mind for you, but here are a few Pro's and Con's of each method. Feel free to add your own at the bottom of the post.

Film Pro's (based on 35mm black and white film).
  • More rewarding to develop your own film and prints.
  • More exciting as the outcome cannot always be predicted.
  • Lasts longer. (Digital files can easily be deleted from the camera/computer by accident).
  • Better contrast.
  • Better representation of tone, depth and texture when shooting in black and white.
Film Con's
  • Can take a long time to get that perfect print without streaky chemical marks.
  • COST of both paper, chemicals and film.
  • Negatives can be easily scratched.
  • You would need your own darkroom (unless you use one at College / Uni / School)
  • Easy to over or under expose.
  • Can't see the image straight after taking it, so you may waste a whole roll of film by not achieving the result you wanted.
Digital Pro's
  • Photoshop manipulation.
  • Easy to store on a computer.
  • Fast.
  • Cheap.
  • Instant review of photographs.
Digital Con's
  • Complex in-camera menu's to navigate around.
  • Can be easy to set the camera up wrongly.
  • Photos can be easily lost if a problem occurs with the computer. (Always back up files!)
  • If shooting in the wrong mode a computer may not read your image format.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Rule of Thirds

Ok, so if you know anything about photography then a post on this topic seems a bit irrelevant. But i remember a time at GCSE when my homework was to explain the rule of thirds.

To explain it as shortly and as simply as possible, rule of thirds is a compositional technique about composing a photograph over three main sections of the frame. Looking at the image, the parallel lines represent the thirds, and the horizontal lines represent the other set of thirds. You do not have to use the whole grid when you take a photo. Leaving negative (or blank) space when you take a photograph can produce some really strong images.

Looking at the Photo of the Bee (left to right) the first third is blank, the second third has the bee in and the third the flower. This can be a good way of presenting your photographs.

To experiment with this when shooting, just imagine the grid, or on most cameras you can actually bring up the grid on your screen. Good Luck! Email your results to gfryphotography@yahoo.com and the best may be posted here.

Pushing and Pulling Film.

Pushing Film means rating the film speed (or iso) higher than the film is designed for. An iso 100 film for instance, can be rated at 200 or even 400. By setting iso 100 to iso 200 is PUSHING the film one stop. The opposite of pushing is of course pulling. Pulling means rating the film slower than its normal speed, this can be used to reduce contrast. Pushing and Pulling film can give you grainy photos, it may also require the film to be processed at a commercial lab. For more information about processing a pushed or pulled film, take it to your nearest Pro Photo lab (not supermarket processing counters) and ask them if they are able to develop film that has been pushed / pulled.