What do you find most enjoyable about photography? Is it because you can join together creative impulses with technical and intellectual skills? Is it because great results are easy for you to get?
Or do you find the process a little frustrating?
In this course, I will make it all easier for you. By the end, you will feel the camera becoming an extension of you. The barriers between your wish to make a photograph and the actual making will shrink.
The way to achieve this is to be a virtuoso of the mechanical skills. This course isn’t about creativity but fluency. I want to turn you into a camera maestro! So, let’s begin by getting to know our camera.
Hold your camera (with lens fitted) and close your eyes. Turn it on. Can you do that without looking?
Set the zoom lens to the widest setting. Can you do that without looking? Without thinking, even?
Now set focus to nearest. No peeping!
The essential point is this: Every time you look down at your camera controls, your eyes leave your subject. It’s the sports equivalent of taking your eye off the ball. How can you expect to get the shot if your attention is somewhere else?
Learn the Feel
Work through some of these exercises, and you’ll see your camera technique improve beyond your wildest dreams. Holding your camera fitted with the lens, make the action with your eyes open at first, then with your eyes shut. When your eyes are shut, feel the action, and try to memorize the action and what it feels like.
Do the following:
• Turn on the camera; turn it off. Turn it on; turn it off. You should be able to turn it on whichever way you pick up the camera.
• Hold the camera up to your eye. Zoom the lens to the widest setting. Zoom to around the middle of the range. Then, zoom to the longest setting. Imagine you want a wide setting. Turn the zoom control without thinking about it, just by feel, without hesitation.
• Turn the aperture setting to the widest aperture (e.g., f/2.8). Reduce aperture by two stops (e.g., to f/5.6): Count the number of clicks needed. Reduce aperture by another two stops. Turn the aperture setting wheel to minimum aperture. Count the number of clicks needed and the direction to turn. Now open up by two stops—eyes shut all the time!
• Work with the shutter setting in the same way. Whatever metering method you use—whether auto or manual—these exercises will help speed up operations.
• The exposure override setting adjusts the auto control to give the results you want: It’s much, much faster than working with manual control. But the key is to be able to work it without have to look at the dial. Simply count the clicks for one stop over-exposure, or turn the dial or click the other way to underexpose.
Repeat these exercises until you’ve got the movement. You’ll soon be working your camera with fresh confidence. If you don’t use the camera for a while, do these exercises to get yourself back up to speed. It’s just like any sports: The more you train, the faster and smoother you’ll be.
Tomorrow, we’ll go out and make some photos.
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