Friday, July 22, 2011

The game is to fill the frame

An example of shooting the beautiful nature, human feelings and emotion.
This is my very first blog on photography. My topmost hobby in which i am still far behind the standard. So when did all these started? Actually i don't remember it but with a vague memory i can tell you that once upon a time when i was a kid and when i say kid it means i was may be in 7th or 8th standard. I was going for some picnic or something and my father knew that i am fascinated by this little black mechanical device called camera. But he was not sure whether i can handle those expensive camera or not (We have lot of camera almost all generations). So he brought me a really entry level film camera, a Kodak one. In which you just insert the film and boom, its ready to shoot. Then later we got film SLR (manufactured by Vivitar) but surprisingly i did not like the quality of the picture and hence never used it after the first attempt. But it did served the purpose of Zooming in. Damn it is still in our almirah lying with Polaroid, Yashika, Kodak and Sony. Then came the era of Digital camera. The first one to hold was none other than Nikon coolpix. It was impressive indeed. When i took the picture of my sister i said what an amazing quality. At that time i did not know it is the effect of DOF but the composition was pretty impressive. But it was worse in night shoot. Now it was my time to loose the wallet to buy the camera. Being truthful to myself i spent more than average on a point and shoot and each and every shot was worth it.Thanks to My friend Sumit Sinha. He has the same camera. I carried it for more than 1.5 years and it is still being used at my home with surprisingly amazing results. Now my interest in photography and of course others appreciation took me to next level. After watching for almost an year finally i've got engaged with the Nikon D90 (A camera which made histories in photographers world). Over a period of time i learned a little bit of photography even though i am still struggling with the setting up the technical aspect of camera for getting a better picture as per the composition. So i am explaining a little bit of my Journey so far to know what makes a photo look jaw dropping.
  1. It's all about the composition: A better picture is always about what you can see and others don't. Look for composition. Think what you want your photograph to speak? What is in your mind which you want to capture? If you don't have a good composition and it is in your hand to create it, do so. Look for the drama like cloudy sky and its shaded. Try to avoid the noise. e.g. you are shooting a seascape and there is a one person walking or standing in the middle. If he is not fitting in the composition then it will be treated as a noise. wait for him to go away. One thing I've noticed a lot, when there are two people who think of composition before taking picture there shot will never ever be identical and both will come up with very good picture from the very same scene. In my case i see images everywhere and before shooting i think what i want this image to speak. Some time i am open but most of the time i am too shy to trigger the shutter. Which is in fact not a good attribute of a photographer. "The game is to fill the frame" indeed a very good line from an article. ( I am thinking of writing a separate article on composition tricks)
  2. An angle will make your photo look different : Just clicking the shutter is not important. lay down on the ground, climb up to the chair, keep your self at the level of subject, go behind, i don't know what all you should do but choose the angle which represent a complete different aspect of composition. Angle it very important. Don't just shoot until unless you are on the verge of losing the shot. If you have time choose a good angle or plan the angle. The moment you get your desire composition click it, that's how wildlife photographers do.
  3. Keep your camera perfectly straight and aligned during scape shot: Many times you will observe that people is shooting landscape, seascape and photo is tilted. Woo this is worst composition. No one want to see a tilted sea, mountain or just in case the subject which is straight. It will just make your photo look awesomely boring and never ever assume that you can straighten this in tool. Tool will drastically take away the photo sharpness and make it more worse.
  4. Light is the life of the photo: It is true that light is life of the photo. If you think a good photograph can be taken only on day time or full of lights, you are completely wrong. The lights in photo can be shadows, reflections, moon lights depending upon the scene. The best time for out door shooting is around sun rise and sun set. During that time you have a truly dramatic colorful sky and the light is not too harsh. I got a photo during sunset and the sky was layered with light brown, blue and yellow color. It was so amazing. Use your flash intelligently even in the day, Surprised, using flash in the day can give altogether a different exposure to your composition. Do not use full flash always. It will make your photo look flat. Decrease or increase the timing of flash compared to the shutter speed depending upon the scene.
  5. Know your camera: It is a myth that only DSLR can take good photo. Sometime even the point and shoot can give you an extraordinary results. Know your camera limitation otherwise you will be frustrated and tired of saying my camera can not take good quality pictures. Know how to set the camera for different composition and situations.Use slow or high shutter speed, small or medium aperture with optimized ISO. These are the three triangle to shoot what you want.
  6. Small Editing will add lot of flavour: Never think that you can take good picture in you camera only and you don't need any post processing. Even the pro photographer use to spend hours in processing their shot. A small editing like sharpening  tweaking the white balance and saturation will make your photo beyond what you shot in camera. That is why i always shoot in RAW.
  7. Use Stable platform for slow shutter speed: Humans are not made of metal with fixtures to stabilise themselves and keep it in same state until they want, not at all. Up to certain shutter speed with certain techniques we can stabilise our camera but do not expect too much from yourself. Even you wont notice it in camera screen but at the end you will loose the sharpness of the picture. Use table, wall, tree anything if you don't have the tripod (Choose your tripod wisely). If you are using tripod don't miss to use remote shutter release button or auto timing function. Never think that you have the fastest camera and you don't need a tripod. Unfortunately this will be the biggest joke of your life.
  8. Choose lens which supports your imagination: I know that it is kind of expensive affair but it is important. When i bought my Nikon D90, i choose the best lens available with the camera i.e 18-200 MM F/3.5-5.6 VR lens. It was perfect for me. A lens that can be used as a wide angle as well as telephoto lens. But over a period of time i realised that it is not sufficient for me. Because i like macro photography and bokeh. So at least buy which we can afford. So may be i will go for 35 MM F/1.8 or 50MM F/1.8 whichever i can afford. You see, all these money are worth of each photograph when you will see it later on computer screen and say WOW. That is the photography. Note: Never forget to use hood given with the lens they are required to filter the light falling on your lens which can add additional unwanted lights on you picture.
Conclusion:  Be imaginative, have the tools that support your imagination and know their boundaries. Enjoy Photography.

My Photography Tools : Nikon D90 Body, 18mm-200mm Nikkor VR lens and hood, 16 GB SD card, Slik 1703 carbon fibre tripod, Kenko Shutter release button.