Learning to Shoot
Learning to Shoot
I am a completely amateur photographer and I’m learning as I practice. I used to be shy with my camera and not take it out because it made me feel self conscious and I didn’t feel like I was very adept with it. Also, when you’re taking photographs in an area with people, they always seem to notice and watch you, as if to say “Are you going to take a picture of me…” Something about that moment of recognition would throw me off. I can only imagine what it’s like to be The Sartorialist or Bruce Gilden…
Last night, I took my camera out to the PAMM, a contemporary art museum by Herzog and de Meuron that opened at the end of last year. I have been 3 or 4 times but there was something unique about this last time; the atmosphere was different, I had never visited at night and it was raining. The building is composed primarily of concrete in varying textures and aggregates creating a myriad of combinations from smooth and shiny ground concrete to walls that have been purposely chipped away to increase its rough character. Despite its tough and heavy nature, concrete is alive and responds to its environment so wet concrete has a different color profile from concrete in a dry, sunny environment. In contrast, these huge, heavily vegetated tendrils hang from the building’s “canopy.” If you’ve never been, I suggest you make a trip there ASAP.
After walking the interior of the museum, we joined the event that was going on outside, Teengirl Fantasy. Every third Thursday the PAMM hosts DJs and musicians to perform. The DJs were good but there was a weird vibe and I would blame it on the weather. We chose not to join that party and take some shots. The building was so beautiful; I felt confident that I could get some good photographs. After I arrived home I was proudly surprised with the outcome.
Earlier, in the day I learned an important lesson about F-stop. If you use a smaller f-stop, you allow more light into the camera and have a shallow depth of field. This gives a cool effect because you can have a particular object in focus, which is good for detail shots. When you increase your F, you increase the depth of field, which is good when you want the foreground and background to be in focus. What’s important to note that as you enter both extremes of the f range, you lose image quality.
Earlier in the day I was photographing some cookies I made with a 50 mm f/1.8g and I was pushing to the smallest F to create a lot of focus on one part of the image, but my images were not crisp at all. I asked Gio, about it and he told me that you relinquish clarity at extremes. Wish I would’ve know before taking the shots of the cookies, haha. Either way, I do still like the images because they have this “they’re so delicious they glow” thing going on.
I took that lesson and put it to work at the PAMM.
Everyday is a learning experience and the more you expose yourself and practice, the better you will be.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” -Aristotle