Monday, February 27, 2012

Old Lamp Bases

Here are a couple of modest photographs, details from two 50s lamp bases. I picked them as subjects because I wanted to photograph things with a lot of texture in low light. And I wanted to do this to see if I could apply some of the magic photo balancing conjuration that Tom Upton, the Photo Trainer, explained to me with such clarity yesterday in Palo Alto. So these pictures proved to me that I actually independently could find working balances for the three big adjustments that have to be chosen and set in order to shoot manual photos (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed) – I had not been at all sure that I'd be able to reconstruct the familiarity with the controls that I'd started to feel yesterday.

I asked Tom if serious photographers were taking notes after they shot every frame, because they always knew the shutter speeds and f-stops of every photo they'd ever taken. It must have been a real effort for this guy not to laugh as he patiently explained to me that all that information (and much else besides) is part of the digital file that is your digital photograph. So I give him great credit for not openly making me feel stupid, but I still was far from sure that I'd be able to locate the information when it came to real photos taken by me myself unobserved and unassisted.

Therefore I can report (with some pride) that the dancing lady above was shot at 1/20 of a second with an aperture of f/5 and ISO of 1600. The ceramic rhomboids were shot for 1/2 second with an aperture of f/9 and ISO of 1600. I was trying to make two similar-looking pictures, one with a faster shutter speed and wider aperture, the other with a slower shutter-speed and narrower aperture. I was not afraid to "crank up the ISO" as Mr. PhotoTrainer ardently encouraged.