Cam 101

Recently a friend decided that the time was ripe for him to go systemic, he got himself a pre-owned EOS (myself I use Alphas) and then came to the conclusion that he needed some education on how to use this for him unknown piece of technology, he also decided that I should be the one to educate him.

Well, here’s the first lession he recieved…

Let’s start with the equipment which basically consist of two main parts. First and foremost there is what is called a house and no, it’s not intended to be a dwelling for small people or dust rats. In fact it should be dust free in there where the mirror is located. It’s called a single reflex camera for a reason and dust won’t reflect at all with the exception for existential issues as whether vacuum cleaners from Bosch are more dangerous than the ones from Philips.

Attached to the house there is a tube shaped thingie. It’s not a beer can although Minolta actually have a series called just that, it is a pipe with lenses called objective. In this case though it’s not the opposite of subjective, it’s very much subjective what the objective is aimed at.

The tube is attached to the house with a bayonet mount that have nothing to do with weapons, in fact there is no mount that will fit on a rifle for this particular bayonet. In back of the tube, in the house that is, there is a mirror. Sadly for all the ladies this is not a makeup mirror, it’s a vital component enabling you to see anything in the view-finder.

In the front of the device there is a round window with a hatch, this is the end you point away from yourself. Don’t forget to open the hatch, you’ll only get pitch black pictures if it’s closed. Now it gets confusing, at the other end of the camera there are two more windows. However these are square which should help to know which end is front and which is back.

One of the windows is a screen where you not only can see the image but also all the faulty settings you make. The smaller window placed over the other one is the one called view-finder and it basically have the same main function as the larger one which is to see what it is you’re actually taking pictures of, just smaller but in fact more precise.

The time has come to shoot your first picture which not always is unproblematic. It can happen that the square windows are entirely black and for this there can be several reasons. One common source of error is that you have forgotten to open the round hatch or simply forgotten to turn the power on. Another cause for the windows to remain black is that the motif is black or that it is night time.

Sometimes the image is a little blurred, the cause for this can be that you have Parkinson’s disease, that a dust rat actually moved in or simply that the motif is moving.

With this the first lession is concluded and I have managed spending half an hour of your time with nothing but drivel…

The Golden Ratio

In this day and age when just about everyone easily can publish images, social media platforms enables this, and everyone through their cellulars have a digital camera at hand we are flooded with pictures of various quality. Although anyone can take a photo not everyone should, there are many lacking knowledge on how to compose a good image. Someone said just the other day that there were huge differences between his photos and the ones taken by a photographer, but he had no idea why this was.

To create a harmonius picture you need to think about where things are placed within the frame. The first rule of engagement is to learn and use The Golden Ratio. This is something that was known already by the ancient Greeks, so it’s not some modern idea but something that has been adhered to for millennia by painters, architects and mathematicians to name a few. Actually it’s something you even can find everywhere in nature as well.

The Golden Ratio is not a difficult thing to learn either, you can see it as “the two thirds rule” if you want to. Put into words A+B is to A as A is to B. In practical terms, divide the image into three thirds and put the horizon, buildings, people or whatever the motif is in one third or on the dividing line (imaginary line that is). Below are two examples of this placement.

Please note that the two thirds rule isn’t exactly the same as The Golden Ratio, but it’s a working approximation that will help you generate better photos. The first two examples show the two thirds with less motif, but off course the opposite will work just as fine or depending on the motif better. The third image falls into the latter category.


I weep for humanity!

After performing a totally unscientific experiment I have found that social medias and cellular phones (ie smartphones) are stupidifying people. First I made two posts on Facebook with the link for this blog, in the first post I actually asked people to help out getting the newly moved blog to get properly off the ground and give it a flying start in the rankings at Bloggportalen and in the second post I simply informed them that if everyone in my contact list visited the blog once a week it would get in to the Top 40 and stay there.

The result? Merely 5 visits in two days…

Next I made a nonsense post with the rear end of a chicken (second image) with the text “Let’s see how awake everyone is. What is this?”. In half an hour there were 7 comments with suggestions, 11 now and still counting.

The conclusion? Facebook is worthless and people actually rather make more of an effort commenting nonsense than click a simple link to help a social media friend with his/her own company to get ahead. Mind you, some of these are relatives and IRL friends. Who needs enemies with friends like these?

How far?

A question I often get is how far different lenses can see. To answer that once and for all I give you a uncomplicated explanation here and now. The problem with a qustion like this is that you can’t compare like that. All lenses can see just as far, the difference is the grade of magnification. A lens on a camera can’t see any further than the lens of a human eye.

Let’s say you stand on a beach and your eyes are 2 meters above sea level, then you can see approximately 5 kilometers and anything beyond that is under the horizon and gets obscured. The surface curvature of the Earth sets the limit. If you’re higher up so your eyes are 10 meters above sea level you can see a little over 11 kilometers and at an altitude of 100 meters you can see almost 36 kilometers.

As the camera lens usually is at the same height as your eyes all lenses can see 5 kilometers when they are 2 meters above sea level and so on. This of course presumes that you have free sight, if there is a hill 3 kilometers away neither your eye nor the lens can see further than 3 kilometers.

How detailed the image will be however is deterrmined by the quality and resolution of the sensor in your camera, all lenses though can see just as far.

To illustrate the difference between lenses here are a couple of images, they’re all shot at the same distance from the house, 45 meters, but with different focal lenghts (18, 50, 100, 300 och 500 millimeters)

18 mm
50 mm
100 mm
300 mm
500 mm