January 31, 2015

Help! How do I work my camera?

My pink Sony camera just wasn't cutting it anymore, therefore a belated birthday gift arrived in the form of a Nikon Coolpix. Although it is fairly sophisticated, it is still a compact, which means I can pop it in my handbag and carry it around with me wherever I go, a fundamental requirement for me and my blogging.

The challenge was figuring out all those numbers, buttons and menu options on my new camera. My goal was to move away from Automatic mode. With that in mind, I signed up for a photo course. Turns out the teacher is a young, energetic Spaniard who is very passionate about photography and eager to convey his interest to a bunch of Expat Mums who love taking photos in Paris.

We spent a great deal of time listening to Juan Manuel's explanations and he answered all our questions with immense patience. The first day we concentrated on depth of field, i.e. aperture, lens & distance. The second session was all about shutter speed and the third about how to work with lighting. Bit by bit I worked my way through the maze of numbers and buttons, started bracketing - which I learnt means the technique of taking several shots of the same subject using different camera settings - until I finally got the pictures right. By the fourth session we knew what we were talking about, or so we'd like to think and our charming teacher shared useful tips such as making sure to capture emotions when taking personal portraits (otherwise they are just plain boring), how to incorporate a graphic vision of elements in a composition or to capture frames (windows, doors, reflections) inside a picture.

His suggestions of changing a point of view (higher or lower) for different perspectives is one of my personal favourites which I tend to use a lot. Let's just say, to get that picture-perfect shot I am not quite ready to lie down on the cobblestones of Paris ... YET.

Before practice comes the theory...

... lots of it!

I won't bore you with all my bracketing but this was my motive

Testing shutter speed... it works!

Goast effect shot with Juan Manuel

Panning shot on the Pont de la Concorde

Playing with reflexions

Learning how to under and over expose

Warming up in yet another Parisian Café while taking in the theory.
Mil gracias Juan Manuel!

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