So You Want To Remember Your Old Camera? By Perry Estelle

You Don't Need An Expensive Camera To Achieve Good Results?











I took this 18 years ago with a broken pre-war Zenith. ( I miss analogue!) I bought it for £4 from a car boot sale. I popped in a sepia filmand I flipped the zoom ring snapping full rotation at the point of exposure to give that explosive background feel.


Choosing A Subject In Photography

How do you know what photos you will take?  Are you going to a family reunion?  Are you going out for a hike and hope to see some wildlife?  There are many questions when it comes to photography.  You will want to have a basis of photography techniques to provide the best photograph and once you learn those techniques the subject will be up to you.  Most photographers whether they are professional or amateurs like you will have a medium they work with.  It is the same with other artists; you have painters, sculptors, sketch artists, and much more.  Photography is art and therefore requires an eye for the right photograph.

How do you know what subject you will shoot?  This is where your interests lie.  If you wish only to take pictures of wildlife then you will have to wait for the subject to come into view.  Obviously you can go to a wildlife park such as the Rocky Mountain National Park and hope to find subjects.  Most often it will depend on the time of year.  Elk and Deer are more prominent when they come down the mountains to mate and eat.  Birds will always be available, but the type of birds will vary.  If you are in Alaska chances are you will have several chances of shooting a Bald Eagle, while in Florida you may find heron or cranes.

When you are practicing techniques you will have to choose your subject accordingly.  A lot of us are regulated to the area around us.  Landscape photography requires the use of the land you have around you, unless you are going on vacation to some place new.  This is another important fact to choosing a subject.  You are either limited or you have the whole world at your feet.  It will depend on your traveling abilities.  For now we will stick close to home.

Once you choose your medium you will then go in search of subjects.  The subject that speaks to you is what you should choose to shoot.  If a tree and the knots it’s formed interest you, you will want to check the lighting of the area.  Deciding which angle to shoot from will also make the decision on the subject.  The lighting may not be right for the subject you have chosen and the other side of the subject may not yield the best picture.

To choose a subject you will need a good eye for detail and observation.  Often the best subject is not the one you can see with a plain eye.  Have you ever looked at a tree and found a spider web hiding in the leaves?  If you look closer you might even find a spider.  A spider web can make a great picture not only because of the technique required to have the web show up in your photo with the silky threads, but also the pattern of a spider web.  We are fascinated with an organism that can create a symmetrical pattern.

Again your eye is the best tool for finding a subject.  How you choose the subject will depend on what is available, the angle and the light.  Moving slowly through an area such as landscape will help you determine the subject.  Looking under leaves or rocks is often beneficial to finding something new and different. You never know where you will find a picture just waiting for you to click a picture. Some people and animals do things that will never again happen and this is when you want to have camera available. Most people interested in photography carry a camera with them everywhere they go. If this sounds like a habit, a real habit turns into a hobby and a possible income if you become good at taking the right pictures. As you get better at taking the pictures, you can then start displaying your pictures for others to see and possibly buy.


Light and what it can do. My wife took this back in the eighties at her first visit to a camera club! It's her vintage classic.


Lighting Tips For Photography

Photography requires a few skills to make your prints look professional.  One part of making a print professional is lighting.  Lighting in photography takes a little planning and understanding of a few techniques.  You best subject or object might not turn out that way if the proper light does not help to laminate the area. Below are a few tips on using light for photography.

First you must decide if you will use artificial or sunlight.  If you are using sunlight you will rely on the Kelvin scale to determine the temperature of light and therefore the color of light.  The color of light is important to maintaining the colors you see around you.  For instance the warmer the light the redder the light will be, thus you may need to pick the time you will go out and shoot photographs. Outdoor lighting offers so many different times to take pictures depending on your need.

Next a photographer needs to understand the sun’s color scale.  Pictures tend to lead the viewer towards certain feelings; often softer colors evoke more emotion.  So understanding the suns impact on the colors will help you find the correct time of day.  The sun evokes blue hues in the morning hours, while closer to noon you will find more neutral colors.  The neutral colors can take away some of the definition you want in your print.  Knowing how you want to shot the picture will also help you determine when you wish to take the shot.

When using natural light you will need to work with the angle and direction of the sunlight.  If the sunlight is broad and diffused you will have softer shadows while the more narrow the light is focused the more shadow you can create.  Often at noon when the sun is in mid arc you lose definition of the subject.  The subject could look grainy.  This is why shadow is used; the shadows can give you more quality to the print if used correctly. This adds to the beauty of your pictures.

You can also modify sunlight through certain techniques.  Modifying sunlight when taking portraits outdoors requires the use of a background.  You may wish for a breath taking landscape that will provide more composition to the photo.  You may need to block the sun if it interferes with you or your subject’s sight.  You might also bring in a white surface to fill the shadows.  Landscape photography requires less work than usually natural light for portraits.  In fact using natural sunlight for landscape photography without modifications can yield you a better photograph.

Landscape photography uses nature to provide the light and shadows.  This is why you need to understand the light scale and temperature.  Time is the most important aspect of using sunlight.  To understand natural lighting you need to understand the affects the sun will have at certain times of the day.  For instance if you are in a thickly vegetative forest the sunlight will have difficulty streaming in unless it is over head.  You will have natural shadows in the forest and remember you can move around your subject to find the best angle with the sun.

Photography is an art that requires techniques and practice.  Lighting is a major part of photography, especially when you are using natural light.  Sunlight can bring plenty of shadows or take them away depending on the time of day.  Knowing the best time to take a photograph depends on the sun’s angle.  Photography is an interesting hobby and profession when practiced properly will give you plenty of prints for your home and others.

Whether you are a professional or a novice photographer, you want to produce some exquisite pictures with the proper lighting. With this in mind, choose your lighting according to your needs and the needs of your subject or object. Your pictures will be delightful with brightness when you use the best lighting situation.


My old Olympus found this creepy shed!


In any discipline, you will have what many think of as “the purists”.  Purists are those who revere the way things have always been done and view new innovations in the field as upstarts and obviously of poorer quality than the tried and true methods.

This is nowhere more true than photography.  For decades the film and chemical processing method has undergone continual refinement to achieve higher and higher levels of sophistication and to find higher levels of quality.  Small wonder that when the digital revolution came along, “the purists” were, to say the least, a bit snobby about the idea of professional photography moving in this direction.

But there are some genuine reasons to at least incorporate digital technology into your professional photography game plan.  These reasons are compelling enough that more and more we are seeing the big studios going all digital.  So if you are running an independent photography business or if you are “just” a photography hobbyist (and thank God for the hobbyists), you may have to think through the value of moving to digital processing yourself.


Ease of Use.

The amount of fuss and sheer “stuff” of doing a shoot digitally is dramatically less involved than using the older technologies.  Witness how the digital revolution in photography has revolutionized the personal camera world.  Now people can take as many pictures as they want and have them to review virtually instantaneously.

My daughter on her horse in the Lake District taken with a 10 year old Canon 300D

Probably the biggest leap forward in the use of digital photography is that you can do re-shoots quickly, easily and for virtually no cost.  If you conduct a portrait session with a customer, you can have the “stills” of the session available almost as soon as the session is done.  If a shot was good but not perfect, you can correct it and re-shoot immediately saving huge amounts of time and improving the chances you will get the portfolio you want and that the customer wants on the first session.

Rapid Customer Service.

The impression we get when a technology delivers so much value to the public is that quality will go down.  But, amazingly, this is not the case with digital photography.  If anything, the quality of the photographs is as good or better than any we could do with prior technologies.  And the cost both to you as the photographer and to your customer drops off so dramatically that the age old complaint the customer has had about professional photographs costing too much can be eliminated making the customer want to use your services more often.

Digital photography, being a child of the internet and the digital revolution that has swept our lives via personal computers, can be delivered in a myriad of ways and at a speed that was unheard of prior to the arrival of this technology.  We can deliver the photos via email, by posting them to an online gallery or by burning them to a DVD or CD so the customer can order lots more shots for the same cost and have them delivered in a way that easy to view and store.


Editing has similarly moved from the realm of the back room wizards to something any of us can do due to the sophisticated computer programs, such as Photoshop, that we can use to improve the pictures we take.  It is really amazing the effects that can be imposed on a picture with this software.  But more importantly we can so much more easily correct minor problems with a photograph so what might have been a lost session can be improved to become acceptable with some clever use of digital editing.

In virtually every way, digital photography, delivery and editing is superior to the way “the purists” would have us hold on to.  It makes our lives as photographers easier, faster and more profitable.  But above all, this is something our customers want us to use.  They get to enjoy their pictures so much faster, at a more reasonable cost and the pictures can be emailed to friends and posted on their family web sites which is fun for everyone.  So despite our desire to be “purists”, every reason we need is there to convince us that digital photography is the way to go.


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