Photography Lesson

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This is not a recipe post, but recipes are coming. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow... soon. Consider this a sneak preview of some fun and healthy goodies I've been making I think you'll enjoy playing with, too.

Today I made lunch for Staci and Valerie, and Valerie graciously and generously bestowed some of her divine photo wisdom upon us.  For this I am so very grateful, as given my "clean" slate of prior knowledge, sustaining her level of patience is no mean feat, I am sure.  I imagine it's like gearing down to jog at a snail's pace. Sometimes it's exceedingly painful to go slow.

Valerie gifted me with a short tips session last summer, when we worked with a simple point-and-shoot digital. Then, the focus was lighting and positioning. Today, I'm better equipped with our Fuji FinePix s6000fd, and our focus was APERTURE mode.  A better camera isn't worthwhile if you're never brave enough to shift the dial away from Auto focus, and today, for the first time, I dared!

I remember once, while in college, I confessed to my high school piano teacher that one of the alluring qualities of Chopin pieces is that, to me, once it "clicks", you can impress without necessarily having to work all that hard. I was oddly reminded of that statement today when Valerie described Aperture mode. She related it to learning music--in that while it's hard, ongoing, rewarding work to master it, basic but significant skills can come quickly.

I'm not sure how much I can claim to have yet acquired real skill, but the knowledge is coming along bit by bit, and I got some great shots of our food, thanks to Valerie. A few key takeaways I'll hold onto:

  • A key area to check in the manual is "Exposure Compensation".
  • Remembering the smaller the aperture number, the wider the lens, and therefore the most blurred out the background will be.
  • The manual was written for a reason.
  • 2.8 is a perfect go-to aperture number for my camera for close-up food shots and portraits.
  • Need to read the manual.
  • A light box/reflective white background is cheap and easy to create yourself. Maybe I'll make one and do a blog post on it.
  • Losing the UV filter when photographing inside makes a world of difference.
  • Did I mention it would be good to read the manual?

Thank you, Valerie, for taking the time to humor my plodding-along progress in the quest to become a reasonably average photographer. If I can consider this an annual tradition, I will be happy indeed. Better yet , let's up the frequency.  : )

Wendy McMillan