No, this is not really a post about a resolution for the new year. “Resolution” is in reference to image resolution, and an ongoing learning project I have started for myself. “01” refers to this being the first installment of it.
Several months ago, I bought a Panasonic Lumix G6 camera. It’s a micro four-thirds format interchangeable lens system – basically a DSLR without the mirror mechanism. This makes for a much lighter, smaller camera body and lenses – among other things beneficial to me. A friend had turned me towards the m43 format, and I’m glad he did. Because the camera was small and felt unobtrusive, I felt comfortable taking it with me around the hospital when my son, Harvey, was born. I’m glad I have those pictures.
Before Harvey was born, I hadn’t gotten completely comfortable with the camera yet, and I still don’t completely understand the science of photography. Luckily, there is a pretty good (and quick to turn on) fully automatic setting on the camera. I used this most of the time at the hospital. It was even easy enough to be able to pass off the camera to someone else. For the most part, given the conditions, the pictures turned out great. However, there were quite a few where the focus wasn’t on what was wanted, and a lot of grainy, blurry images from the low light in the room.
More or less, I understand the basic concepts of how to use the aperture, shutter speeds, and ISO settings. It takes me a bit too long to remember which button does what when the dial is set on what mode, and how to use the combination of things to achieve the image I want. I read up on these things and start to get a better understanding of them, however, it’s just real-world experience that does the most help.
That’s why I’ve started a bit of my own “challenge.” Because I didn’t like making a photo collection called “Practice,” I’ve decided to refer to this project as “Resolution.” The goals I am setting out to achieve are:
- learn all of the features of my camera.
- get comfortable with the controls and settings.
- understand better how to control depth of field.
- work on composition.
- find interesting points of view.
My plan is to take my camera out with me once every week or so and find someplace to take some pictures. I’ve already done this a couple of times on my lunch breaks. I’ve found it can be kind of hard to find something interesting to take pictures of by just picking a random spot in a park. Part of the challenge, though, is to find an interesting way to look at everyday things.
One afternoon I was parked on the street along a park and planned to go walk along a creek. The snow was deeper than I anticipated, so I ended up just looking around on the side of the road. It was all pretty boring. About the only thing I saw that could be interesting was the full bright sun, high up in the sky without a cloud to be seen. So I took some pictures of the sun peaking around the side of a telephone pole. Still, not very interesting. It did give me a chance to experiment with the exposure, though.
I finally realized, the interesting part wasn’t the sun or the pole, but rather the shadow created by them both. I got down low and actually had the camera on the ground. I tried a few different things, and eventually packed up feeling underwhelmed.
Once I got back to my computer, and after a bit of cropping, I ended up with an image I actually enjoy. Which made me realize I need to focus more on my framing and composition. That’s all it took to make a relatively boring scene into something interesting.
As I continue with this project, I’ll be posting my results to my flickr account as well as writing updates here – hopefully with what I’ve learned!