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Enjoy a monthly photo assignment with critiques an

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Off center photographs [Oct. 15th, 2006|12:24 pm]
Enjoy a monthly photo assignment with critiques an


Sorry this class is later arriving than I had originally intended. Between getting ready to move, going to parties and spending time with family and friends I have neglected this project of mine. Just as I am late with my postings, people are welcome to reply to my previous posts even though the deadline has long since past for both of my earlier classes.

This month I'm getting back to the basics of how to use your camera. One thing I've been seeing more and more of is out of focus pictures that don't need to be out of focus. I feel that it is important to understand how your autofocus system works and to play around with it a bit to get more comfortable using your camera.

The key thing to remember with autofocus cameras is that they need some form of contrast to focus on. This means that if you are trying to take a picture of something that has a long gradual colour shift on it your camera is not going to be able to detect any contrast and not have anything to focus on. In cases like that you will need to switch to manual focus and trust your own eyes.

The other big thing to remember is that most cameras only have autofocus sensors in the center of the image area. There are some SLRs out there that have some fancy selectable focus areas but it's important to make sure that your camera is focusing on what you want it to focus on. This brings us to the lesson in all of this. Most cameras (meaning any camera that cost more than $100) have something called focus lock. This means that you can press the shutter release halfway down and the camera will lock the focus distance and exposure settings on whatever you have in the middle of your viewing area. Once you have locked the focus you can reframe your image in the viewfinder the way you would like to see it.

Keep in mind that is how focus lock works for most cameras. Some cameras have the ability to switch between focus lock and continuous focussing which is handy if you are trying to take a picture of a moving subject (this sounds like a good subject for another class). If you have difficulty performing the following assignment you should check your camera user manual to see if you can change between focus lock and continuous focus. It shouldn't be too much of an issue and you can always feel free to contact me if you have questions about your particular camera.

This month's assignment is similar to the very first assignment in that I am looking for something specific to be in focus while the rest of the image is out of focus to some degree. This time I want the in focus portion of the image to be off center, showing that you had focused and reframed your image prior to snapping the picture. To keep things interesting I want the image to focus on a piece of modern technology. I'm sure that the people who are reading this shouldn't have any trouble finding subject matter.

Submissions, as always, should be sent to photo_101@szilvagyi.com and may be in any image format. This time, people are welcome to adjust any image settings prior to submission but no cropping. I will do the adjustments to the image for you if you would like but I think that some people have begun to understand some of the adjustments I've been making and want to give them the chance to do it for themselves.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about:

No deadlines this month. I am going to be offline for a few days while we are moving from Hamilton to Waterloo. I expect to be in a position to write another class mid-November (maybe the beginning of December) and future classes should be on a monthly basis from then on. If anyone has any subject matter they would like me to cover here or even just have discussions of how a certain photograph was created then feel free to chat away. I find that I get some of my best ideas after someone asks a question.

[User Picture]From: exquisiteoath
2006-10-17 01:21 am (UTC)
Heya buddy. I probably shouldn't be in on this one... my Canon is one of those that has a funky selectable device.

I love using that to put the focus at the bottom or top of a shallow DOF shot, so this seems kind of like cheating.

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[User Picture]From: zagatto
2006-10-17 12:13 pm (UTC)
This isn't a competition or anything... no prizes or costs... if you feel that shooting something off center wouldn't help you develop your skills then by all means step out. If you do decide to submit a photo I will expect more from you as this is a subject you are already familiar with.
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[User Picture]From: exquisiteoath
2006-10-19 01:18 am (UTC)
Sounds good.

I'll see if I can come up with something mind blowing.
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