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Key Camera Skills Assignment [OLD]

Discovering North Yorkshire through Photography and Video

Your Key Camera Skills Assignment after watching the first episode of Phovlography! will help you master shutter speeds, aperture values and other basic settings on your camera. This is not a test, its more about getting to grips with your camera and gaining experience. Let’s take a look at what you can achieve.

Shutter Durations

Key Camera Skills Assignment

Faster Shutter Speeds

Consider a fast moving subject in your area. This can be a road, railway line, animal park, or anywhere else that contains constantly moving elements. Try taking a shot of the moving subject using a 1/1000 sec or more. However, try varying ISO’s from 400 up to 3200 and notice the difference it makes to the image. Ensure that your aperture value for your final shot is narrow creating a deep depth of field. Remember, the higher your ISO, the less wide the aperture will need to be. If your ISO is too high, it will return a noisy photo.

Longer Shutter Durations

Consider a local watercourse such as a river or stream. I you live close to a waterfall or weir, try taking a photo here. Remember that the more movement the watercourse has, the better. Go to your water feature at twilight (or early morning when its semi-dark) and take a shot of it using an aperture value of around f16. Do not forget to use a steady surface such as a tripod or wall and set the self timer to 2-5 seconds. The camera will calculate the correct shutter duration. If your camera displays the shutter duration on the LCD screen, pay attention to how long the duration was. What has happened to the water in your shot? If you have a ND Filter for your camera, you can try this during the daytime. If you do not live close to a watercourse, try using a busy road with moving traffic. Be sure to take someone along with you for your personal safety.

Aperture Values

Key Camera Skills Assignment

Remember that the f-stop value relates to the focus area and not the size of the aperture itself. In your local area, look for a subject that you can focus on with a background behind it. This could be something like a signpost or a statue. Set your aperture value to something wide such as f4.5 for example. Focus on the area of the subject by pressing the shutter button half way to attain a focus lock. Once acquired, press the button all the way down to take the shot. What happens to the background in your image? Is your subject sharp? Now try retaking the shot with a much narrower aperture such as f10 or above depending on how bright it is. F16 is often a good aperture value to use on a bright day. If it is an overcast day, you can use a tripod or wall with a self timer so that the camera can extend the shutter duration automatically without returning any camera shake. What happens to the background now? Is your subject sharp? Now try taking the same shot once again except this time, with your aperture the same value, extend your lens to its fullest extent. What has happened to the background? Is your subject sharp?

White Balance

Key Camera Skills Assignment

Take a walk outdoors and take some photos of anything that you like. However, take your White Balance away from the automatic setting, and take images using all the other settings such as Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten etc. What do you notice about the appearance of each photo?

Image Analysis

Key Camera Skills Assignment

At this point you can now begin to build a portfolio of your work. In your portfolio, for each image you have taken in your assignment, make a note of what settings that you have used and any mistakes that you may have made. This will help you better understand your camera as well as photography to build up your skills.

Key Camera Skills

Camera Shutter Settings

Aperture Value and Depth of Field

Image Quality Settings

Mastering Colour Settings

Photo Sharpness