The New Photographer

Each new day is a chance to learn.

Wading through Low Light Waters

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AmberOne of the things that I believe a budding photographer should do is to be part of groups of, well, photographers!

The list of reasons can be

^Get to know local people who share the same passion for photography
^Exploring the art through activities and gatherings especially with experienced shutterbugs. Those who’ve been there, done that kind of people are a good sources of priceless tips and information
^The chance to preview and get your hands on other cameras (be it a Nikon or a Canon or even others). That is something you can’t do always in camera stores if you don’t have the intention of buying new and upcoming camera or glass
^Borrow lenses you do not have in your arsenal.

About two weeks ago, I had the first chance to meet with fellow Filipino Nikon shooters. It was a casual meet-up at Il Ponticello (well known as “Ponti”) of club members residing within Makati City. Food and drinks was generously provided by one of Nikon Club PH directors, Arnold Cruz.

I suspected earlier on that the place would be dark, typical of bars and restaurant with fine dining. It was indeed a low-light setting of two tables with dozen photographers exchanging funny stories, serious thoughts on lenses and bodies, and a few more laughs.

There are three notable ways of treating a low light environment.

  1. Arm your camera with a tripod
  2. Strobist
  3. Fast lens

Using a tripod cures the problem of camera shake or more like ‘shaky hands’. Even VR capable glass is not enough to produce pictures of people under dark environment. When a camera is mounted on a tripod, it eases the photographer of being limited to a certain aperture and shutter speed where good exposure is achievable. Some issues that you need to take care of when shooting with a tripod in crowded and small places are space to place it (make sure it won’t disturb other people) and blurry photos if subjects themselves aren’t still. Add to that, the burden to your back if your tripod is bulky and heavy.

Strobist and off camera lighting is a territory I am venturing in the next couple of months. Simply basing my ground to pictures I’m seeing here and here that lighting is more than appropriate in producing stunning low-light images.

My instinct led me to stuff my trusty 50mm f/1.4 AI in the camera bag before the meet. A fast lens for a shaky hands. For newbies, aperture signifies the size of the hole in the lens when the shutter button is pressed. It greatly affects the amount of light entering the sensor while the image is in the process of being exposed. While this lens doesn’t auto-focus on my Nikon D40, I don’t see it as a problem but more of an advantage. So I shot that night with candle-lit tables, bottles of beer and a couple of tips and stories to store in my memory. I also became an official member of the club. Below are some of the photos:



Written by Jervis

September 7, 2008 at 9:29 am

35mm Photography

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For this blog’s maiden post, I am going to try to explain what the term “35mm” means for someone who wanted to attend basic photography classes and requires him to bring a 35mm (film or digital) camera.

So, what is 35mm?

Honestly, you can always go to google, yahoo, or any other search engine hoping to find answers to questions such as this. I’ve done this before and continues to do it since I don’t have a version of the mind of Mr. Adrian in Monk with photographic memory.

In a purely technical terms, 35mm refers to a measurement using millimeter (or mm) of the metric system, as the unit of measure. If inches is more convenient to your reading, 25.4 mm equates 1 inch. Thus 35mm is about 1.38 inches.

In the film era, 35mm is the most common format of photography. Every sensor of a film camera, either a single-lens reflex or simply an automatic, the size of its width is 35 millimeter. The film that lays flat on the sensor also measures 35mm. Thus coining the term 35mm camera or 35mm photography.

Transitioning to digital. Modern digital cameras, SLR and point & shoots alike, employ a sensor smaller than 35mm. The common measure that buyers and consumers normally look at is the amount of megapixel a camera can contain in every shot. As I write this, most cameras now can handle 6 to 12 megapixel compared to 2 or 3 years ago when 4 megapixel is already a blast. A physical 35mm digital sensor size is yet to be manufactured and that could present a whopping 24-megapixels.

35mm is a convention referring to the size or format of the film being used. This widely accepted format has also been the basis of digital cameras of today. That’s why when a focal length is define in a digital camera specification, an equivalent range in that of a 35mm is stated for comparison purposes.

So whenever one refers to 35mm, remember that it is the size or format of how the picture should be taken.

Written by Jervis

May 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Photography Terms

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