georgmi: Camping on Shi Shi Beach, WA (Default)
( Sep. 13th, 2007 12:59 pm)
Been thinking about photography again, what with the trip to Yellowstone just past and the trip to Vermont coming up next month. Thinking about photography makes me think about the book(s) I want to write to help people get more out of their photography. I see so many people out there, taking pictures that I just *know* aren't going to turn out the way they could; I want to run up to them and tell them what they're doing wrong, and how they can do it better. But I am *positive* that this would be universally annoying and wouldn't do anybody any good. Also, it might lead to questions like, "How would you take this picture?" to which the answer is often, "I wouldn't," for a variety of reasons, and then it would seem like I'm condemning their taste *as well as* their competence.

But here, I have a (reasonably) friendly audience, and I'm not singling anybody out for a specific criticism. (As a rule, I don't criticize other people's pictures unless they specifically ask me to. I'll point out things that I think work particularly well in the image, but no negatives.) I do, however, believe that there are some common things that most people don't understand about photography and that a basic understanding of these things can make anyone a better photographer pretty quickly. I also believe (OK, I more than believe this--I know it for a fact) that the limiting factor in almost every photographer is in the head, not the camera. Once you know your gear and its limitations, great photographs can be taken with almost any camera, from your 1.5MP cell phone camera all the way up to the 8"x10" view cameras used by Ansel Adams and William Henry Jackson. (Your format may limit what you can *do* with your images, but that's another article.)

PS: Comments on the usefulness and understandability of the information presented below are encouraged, as are suggestions for topics of future, similar articles. I’m interested in comments from everybody—if you know what I’m talking about and I got it wrong or missed something, or if you don’t and all I did was confuse you, let me know. It’s often tough for me to pick a logical and useful path through a topic with breadth and depth and interconnections, given my penchant for digression and distraction. Questions, no matter how specific or general, are also welcome. I am here to help.

So, anyway. Exposure. )
What is exposure? )
Controlling exposure )
Cameras and eyes )
Handling exposure extremes )
Practical steps )
Example image )
Related topics )