Photo Project: Step Two: Parameters…

It’s been two weeks since I visited the museum exhibition that inspired me to start this project. (See Museum-worthy Inspiration.) My first step was to choose the scene that I would photograph daily. Check. Now, I must decide what constants my project will reflect and what variables will remain as variables.

For the past week and a half, I’ve been experimenting. When I began, I had no idea that I would learn more about my camera and about photography in the process. But I have. To produce his photos in the exhibit called “6:30 AM”, Robert Weingarten used a slow speed film, procured and cared for carefully, so as to keep this medium as one of his constants. He also set a fixed aperture, focal length, point of focus, time of day, and scene. His only variables were shutter speed and mother nature. By some trial and error, I think I’m close to settling on my constants, too.

Jan 27th Blizzard!

Jan 27th Blizzard!

Constants

My camera is digital. So, no need to worry about the condition of film. I set my camera’s ISO on 100, apparently as slow as it can be set. I set the images to be recorded as JPEG Fine and I won’t do any after image editing. The focal length seems to be around 21mm in all of my shots so far. It’s hard to keep it strictly constant when I use my camera for other events and then have to remount it on the tripod for this scene. But, I consider the boundaries of the scene as constant enough to keep the focal length in check. I do want aperture to be a constant, but have been experimenting a little with it. I know I also need a constant time of day, but that’s been a bit tricky and isn’t completely settled yet, either. (More on that later!) My main variables, like Weingarten’s, will be shutter speed and the weather.

Aperture

Jan 28th F5

Jan 28th at F5

At first, I tried using mid-range apertures between F5 and F8. The camera’s recommended shutter speeds for these settings produced overexposed results. And the foreground was not in focus. Oops! So, I chose F11 instead, in order to keep most of the scene in focus. I learned how to use the Manual setting on this camera — which, I hate to admit, I hadn’t tried in the year since I got it. I set the shutter speed to under-expose because the white snow and white January sky were otherwise overbearing. If I set the camera on auto, the F-stop automatically set at F5.6 with a faster shutter speed. Look at the two below, taken on January 29th. The differences are subtle, but having the whole thing in focus is important. I wonder if I dare use a smaller aperture? Maybe I’ll try that tomorrow.

More in my next post about time of day…

 

Jan 29th at F11

Jan 29th at F11

Jan 29th at F5.6

Jan 29th at F5.6

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One thought on “Photo Project: Step Two: Parameters…

  1. Pingback: Photo Project: Summer Into Fall… | Chapter 3

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