The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Posted by Exile on July 31, 2019

Or so they say..

In my efforts to use my time productively and enjoyably, I have decided to try my hand at photography. I’m not Rembrandt, nor am I particularly artistically inclined but I do know a good thing when I see it, so why not try to capture it? Sounds simple enough.

But no…EOS_1200D_Default_tcm81-1125480

I have a camera. I think it’s a good camera too. Nothing for a professional, I’m sure, but then again, I am no pro. It’s a Canon EOS 1200D. It came with a “kit” lens. Which means it will do the job but it isn’t fantastic as far as objectives go. (Objective; posh name for a lens!) It didn’t cost a fortune and it has served me well in the past but now I need to find out what this thing can do apart from take happy snaps in automatic mode. It can do much more, if I can learn how to do the job…
Reading the manual is a drag. One needs to be a lawyer to follow the not-so-clear instructions or, at least, have someone who can translate the written word into some practical pointers. I have no person on hand to do that so there has been a lot of Youtubing going on.

Apart from all the automatic functions this camera offers there are three ways to ‘improve’ your pictures. There is “Shutter speed mode”, “Aperture mode” and “Manual”. The latter putting the man behind the camera in complete control of the beast. I’m not there yet.

Shutter speed mode means that you control how quickly the camera opens and closes its eye thereby steering the amount of light one lets into the camera. So, low light, long open time. Really bright light, short open time. Which appears fairly logical. This means you can get the exposure you want, lighter or darker depending on what one chooses. The camera looks after the rest. Bravo. So far, so good. But you do have to be aware of how sensitive the light sensor inside the camera is. Enter ISO. You can set that too.. Low ISO value, high sensitivity. High ISO value, not so sensitive. That complicates things again. High sensitivity means you can get away with faster shutter speeds. Even at low light. Confusing isn’t it?

It gets worse.

Aperture mode means you can control how wide the hole is that lets the light into the camera. Low aperture number (or “F”, as it is called) lets a lot of light in. High F value, not so much. F also determines the depth of field that remains in focus. High F leaves a lot in focus, low F means a very short amount of field depth. The camera takes care of the shutter speed and allows for the correct ISO. More jiggery-pokery if you ask me. However, I do get good results with this way of doing the job. I just need to perfect the other settings to get it absolutely right.

Manual mode is just that. One sets everything up exactly as one wants it, setting the speed, F and ISO and hoping one guessed right in all three cases. This needs a lot of playing with and I’m not that good. Yet. I may get there but I’m autodidactic at the moment so it’s a steep learning curve and it’s all up hill.

Throw in the vagaries of white balance, flash lighting and fill lighting and one has a vast array of stuff to worry about before getting the perfect shot.
Stressful? Yes and no. If the piccy didn’t come out right, delete it and try again. Pretend it never happened. The one truly simple thing about digital photography.

There is one thing I haven’t yet mentioned. RAW.

RAW is a way to get the camera to record all the data that comes into the camera. Pictures are compressed as a rule, meaning that some of the data is reduced to a basic form. RAW lets you keep it all. The only problem with that is that one cannot simply print or share the picture in the normal way as with a .jpg or .png. No. The picture needs to be converted to these formats, so one requires photo editing software to edit and convert the data before sharing. I have such software. It came with the camera. It is as confusing as everything else. It does work though and I can embellish my photos if I am not fully pleased with what I shot. Again, a steep learning curve and, again, it’s all up hill.

Luckily, I have the time to play with all this stuff. I might eventually get good at it. Let’s hope so.

Anyway, all this is very entertaining and one may laugh at my preliminary efforts, but here are a couple of my shots, taken in my garden, just to get me started.


Behold and wonder..;


IMG_attempt
IMG_1005 (2)

4 Responses to “A Picture Paints a Thousand Words”

  1. James Gavin said

    Good to see you are still “experimenting” so to speak while in retirement. I will be entering that mode come December, and photography is one of the fields I have been looking at to fill the time. That and burning as much pipe tobacco as is possible without turning my tongue into shoe leather.

    • Exile said

      I am familiar with both James. Combining the two could be fun..! Fill up with a good virginia, or some such stuff, and take the camera for a walk.. Can’t be worse than doing nothing… And good luck and congratulations with retirement. You’ll never be so busy as you will be once you get there.

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