SECTION TWO - LECTURE & NOTES
S2 - DAY ONE - Basic Photography
Photography: writing with light.
Camera: a light-tight box containing light sensitive film or sensor that is used to make images. Today's cameras incorporate microprocessors and sophisticated exposure systems; in a sense, the instrument itself mirrors the age, just as the pictures it makes reflect the world in which we live.
Digital: information used by the computer, represented by numbers. The buzzword for any capture device that converts photons to electrons. The use of that information to store, manipulate, transmit or output images in a computer environment. As opposed to analog.
Digital camera: a filmless camera that converts light energy to digital information and stores that information in a buffer or directly onto a removable memory card.
Viewfinder: the viewing screen in an SLR on which composition takes place; viewfinders may also contain various guides to exposure, focus, and flash-readiness. In all senses, the control panel from work is done.
Lens: lenses have two primary functions: one is to focus light with as little distortion or aberration as possible on to film or sensor. The other function is to control the amount of light hitting the film by use of its aperture.
Electronic flash: known as a flash gun, strobe, or speedlight, it consists of a gas-filled tube that is fired by an electrical charge.
Dedicated flash: a flash that coordinates with the camera's exposure, and sometimes focusing systems. Dedicated flashes may, among other things, automatically pick up the loaded film's iso, set the camera shutter speed to x-sync, and "tell" the camera when its ready to fire.
Autofocus: a method of focusing where focusing distances are set automatically. In 35mm slrs, a passive phase detection system that compares contrast and edge of subjects within the confines of the autofocus brackets in the viewfinder and automatically sets focusing distance on the lens. Commonly found in amateur lens/shutter cameras.
Manual: an exposure "mode" where the exposure system recommends a setting that is then made by the photographer by selecting aperture and shutter speeds manually. The booklet one doesn't read before using a piece of equipment.
VISCOMM Studio Camera Tutorials
S2 - DAY TWO - Exposure
Exposure: the amount of light that enters the lens and strikes the film or sensor. Exposures are broken down into aperture, which is the diameter of the opening of the lens, and shutter speed, which is the amount of time the light strikes the film. Thus, exposure is a combination of the intensity and duration of light.
Auto exposure: a method of exposure where aperture and shutter speed settings are first read, then set, by the camera's exposure system. Various auto exposure modes allow for customization or biasing the readings.
Correct exposure: the combination of aperture and shutter speed that yields a full-toned negative or slide that yields the best possible tonal representation of the scene onto film or sensor.
Overexposure: in exposure, when too much lighting strikes the film for a proper rendition of the scene.
Underexposure: failure to expose correctly because not enough light has struck the film or sensor to faithfully render the color and brightness values. Underexposed pictures are dark; the more the underexposure the darker they become.
Brightness: the luminance of objects. The brightness of any area of the subject is dependent on how much light falls on it and how reflective it is. Brightness range is the relationship we perceive between the light and dark subjects in a scene.
S2 - DAY THREE - Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams was an American photographer best known for his iconic images of the American West, including Yosemite National Park.
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
Ansel Adams was born on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California. Adams rose to prominence as a photographer of the American West, particularly Yosemite National Park, using his work to promote conservation of wilderness areas. His iconic black-and-white images helped to establish photography among the fine arts. He died in Monterey, California, on April 22, 1984.
Ansel Adams was born in on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California. His family came to California from New England, having migrated from Ireland in the early 1700s. His grandfather founded a prosperous lumber business, which Adams’ father eventually inherited. Later in life, Adams would condemn that industry for depleting the redwood forests.
As a young child, Adams was injured in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, when an aftershock threw him into a garden wall. His broken nose was never properly set, remaining crooked for the rest of his life.
Adams was a hyperactive and sickly child with few friends. Dismissed from several schools for bad behavior, he was educated by private tutors and members of his family from the age of 12.
Adams taught himself the piano, which would become his early passion. In 1916, following a trip to Yosemite National Park, he also began experimenting with photography. He learned darkroom techniques and read photography magazines, attended camera club meetings, and went to photography and art exhibits. He developed and sold his early photographs at Best’s Studio in Yosemite Valley.
In 1928, Ansel Adams married Virginia Best, the daughter of the Best’s Studio proprietor. Virginia inherited the studio from her artist father on his death in 1935, and the Adamses continued to operate the studio until 1971. The business, now known as the Ansel Adams Gallery, remains in the family.
Adams’ professional breakthrough followed the publication of his first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, which included his famous image “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome.” The portfolio was a success, leading to a number of commercial assignments.
Between 1929 and 1942, Adams’ work and reputation developed. Adams expanded his repertoire, focusing on detailed close-ups as well as large forms, from mountains to factories. He spent time in New Mexico with artists including Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe and Paul Strand. He began to publish essays and instructional books on photography.
During this period, Adams joined photographers Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans in their commitment to affecting social and political change through art. Adams’ first cause was the protection of wilderness areas, including Yosemite. After the internment of Japanese people during World War II, Adams photographed life in the camps for a photo essay on wartime injustice.
Weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Adams shot a scene of the moon rising above a village. Adams re-interpreted the image—titled “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”—over nearly four decades, making over a thousand unique prints that helped him to achieve financial stability.
By the 1960s, appreciation of photography as an art form had expanded to the point at which Adams’ images were shown in large galleries and museums. In 1974, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York hosted a retrospective exhibit. Adams spent much of the 1970s printing negatives in order to satisfy demand for his iconic works. Adams had a heart attack and died on April 22, 1984, at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey, California, at the age of 82.
Aperture: the opening of a lens, the size of which is controlled by a diaphragm. The term is commonly used to designate f-stops, such as f/4, f/5.6 etc., which are actually arrived at by dividing the focal length of the lens by the diameter of the aperture. Thus, f/11 on a 110mm focal length lens means the opening is 10mm. The wider the opening, the lower the f-number, the more light is let through the lens. Each step in aperture represents a halving or doubling of light. Thus, f/8 allows in half as much light as f/5.6, and twice as much light as f/11.
F-numbers: a series of numbers designating the apertures, or openings at which a lens is set. The higher the number, the narrower the aperture. For example, f/16 is narrower (by one stop) than f/11--it lets in half as much light. An f-number range might be f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11...To find the next aperture in a narrowing series, multiply by 1.4. F-numbers are arrived at by dividing the diameter of the opening into the focal length of the lens, thus a 10mm diameter opening on a 110mm lens is f/11. Alternately used with f-stops.
Shutter speed: an element of exposure; the duration of time in which light is allowed to strike the film.
Shutter: in a focal plane shutter, a set of curtains travels past the film gate and allows light to strike the film within a set period of time. A leaf shutter is located within the lens itself.
Speed: with a shutter, the duration of time in which light strikes the film. With film, the sensitivity to light. With a lens, the maximum aperture. All can be described as either fast, medium, or slow speed.
Shutter priority: an auto exposure mode where the shutter speed is user-selected and the exposure system chooses an appropriate aperture for correct exposure.
Iso: a prefix on film speed ratings that stands for international standards organization, the group that standardizes, among other things, the figures that define the relative speed of films.
Exposure Charts & Cheat Sheets
S2 - DAY FOUR - Aperture & Shutter Speed
S2 - DAY FIVE - Composition & Rule of Thirds
Composition: the arrangement of subject matter, graphic elements, tones, and light in a scene. Can be harmonious or discordant, depending on the photographer, his or her mood, and the subject at hand.
Contrast: the relationship between the lightest and darkest areas in a scene and/or photograph. A small difference means low contrast; a great difference high contrast. High contrast scenes usually cause the most exposure problems; however, their difficulty can mean they hold the potential for more expression.
Depth of field: the zone, or range of distances within a scene that will record on film as sharp. Depth of field is influenced by the focal length of the lens in use, the f-number setting on the lens, and the distance from the camera to the subject. It can be shallow or deep, and can be totally controlled by the photographer. It is one of the most creative and profound effects available to photographers.
Rule of thirds: in the rule of thirds, photos are divided into thirds with two imaginary lines vertically and two lines horizontally making three columns, three rows, and nine sections in the images. Important compositional elements and leading lines are placed on or near the imaginary lines and where the lines intersect.
Foreground: part of scene or space around object that appears closest to camera. (2) element or feature of composition of photograph that is depicted as being nearest viewer.
Middle ground: is the space located between the background and the foreground in a painting or drawing.
Background: the portion of a scene that sits behind the main, foreground subject. The background can be made sharp or un sharp through the use of selective focusing techniques and depth of field manipulation.
Sharpness: the perception that a picture, or parts of a picture are in focus. Also, the rendition of edges or tonal borders.
Crop: to select a portion of the full-frame image as the final picture. Cropping is done in the darkroom or computer environment by the photographer, or by an appointed surrogate in a commercial photo lab.