Where Is Your Camera Manual?

We all know that Ansel Adams was one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, but what is not so well known is that he often told his students that of the millions of images he’d made of the natural world, only those that were intensely felt at the moment of exposure would survive the test of time.

Adams knew that beyond the mastery of producing a technically perfect negative, great pictures are a combination of what the eye sees and what the photographer feels inside, and to be great, you must have both.

First things first. Let’s start by making a New Year’s Resolution to produce  technically perfect files by studying our camera manual. Only when we know how to work all the nuts and bolts of our camera can we move on to artistic excellence…the magic that happens when we are able to forget everything we know about making a photograph, and concentrate instead on conveying our unique view of our animals onto a flat piece of glossy paper.

So your assignment for this week is to find that manual you stuck in a drawer somewhere, open it up and STUDY it. That’s the first step on our road to producing technically perfect files.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I stop the movement in my animal photographs? (Hint…look up shutter speed in your manual.)
  • How do I isolate my subject/subjects in my animal photographs? (Hint…look up aperture settings which control depth of field.)

Start with these two variables. Play with them. Figure  out how to make them work together to achieve good results.

More next week.


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