Camera Troubles – Part 2

I can be quickly angered with myself because I lack the understanding of how my own camera sees the same scene I do. Not only that, but if I did have the understanding of how my camera see the scene, I do not anticipate that I have the dexterity to change the camera settings in the time it takes to raise the camera to my Eye once I see a shot. Although, because I know why I am angered, I can learn what I do not know. So, let us get to it!

In Tuesday’s post “Camera Troubles” we talked about how our Eye receives light and the path it takes through our Eye to the Brain. Now I should tell you that your visionary organisms are so magnificently fashioned no camera can compare to its spectrum of strength, complexity and ability.

Cameras are doing some amazing and spectacular things today, but the camera which outputs the most fantastic images is only at a basic level able to capture 1 out of the 100 things the Human Eye sees. Amazingly, even giving it a 1 out of 100, is being generous.

The camera is fashioned after the organisms that give us the capabilities to see. By displaying the inspiration for the first camera prototype I will list and correlate the major devices of the digital camera to the human capability of vision.

Major camera devices:

  • Lens – The lens containing glass for focusing and diaphragm for measured light control.
  • Shutter – The shutter is a part of an SLR camera which covers the sensor and only opens for the purpose of taking a picture.
  • Sensor – The sensor receives the light which surrounds the scene.
  • Processor – The processor receives the information from the sensor and sets it in order for storage.
  • Storage – The storage is a memory card that can produce any or all of the images you have taken.

Cameras, film and digital, are wonderful devices we can use to remind us of those specials times and events. There are some limitations of camera technology as compared to our visual capabilities.

“So how do I learn the difference between what my camera sees and what I see?”

“What settings ought to be change, and what is the proper setting level?”

These and other questions will be answered in our first two posts of April. Please join us as we explore how to get the most out of your camera!

Camera Troubles

I am frequently asked about how to adjust camera settings to reduce motion blur for photos. In each case I try to learn one thing; “How much light enters the camera lens?”

Let me see if I can bring technical specifics down to a lower altitude for us to work on without the fear of nose bleeds.

Taking photos is not all so different from looking at those beautiful scenes we are so blessed to wander through, savoring the grace and delicacy of the garden. However, I would not deceive you, there are some very specific differences between our Eye, Optic Nerves and Brains as compared to camera lenses, censors and processors.

Let me start this post set with a discussion on the make-up and structure of our vision.

Our Eye takes in a lot of information, filtering it through a complex network of cones, rods, blood vessel and finally to an Optic Nerve situated at the back of the Eyeball. This only begins the wondrous process we call “sight”.

As the Optic Nerve receives the information from the Eye, it begins informing the Brain through neurological pulses. The brain then both processes and stores the information.

So, to simplify that chain process down to a basic form is this: Eye to Optical nerve to Brain.

Now, please stay with me, we will be looking at some details within the eye that will later be applicable to cameras.

The Eye is very complex and since I am not an Optometrist I will not pretend to know every detail. The basics we will benefit in knowing are these:

  • The Eye Lid, protects from injury, cleans the Eye of debris and is a front line defense to direct sunlight.
  • The lens of the Eye is called the “Cornea”. It slightly changes shape, with the aid of muscles behind the Eye Lid, to form the properly curved angle for the purpose of focusing on objects near or far.
  • Underneath the Cornea are the Pupil and Iris. It is very easy to start talking about both the human Eye and cameras right now, but I choose to remain on optic…I mean, topic. The Iris is the colored “ring” and the part of the Eye from which we discern the “Eye color”. It contains at-least one muscle which constricts the inner opening of the Eye (the Pupil) when you step out-of-doors and into the sun. The muscle or muscles will also relax and the Iris opens allowing the Eye to receive more light.
  • I just made a statement about the Eye receiving more light, which in a manner of speaking is true. However, there is a part of the Eye called the “Retina” which is the specific receptacle of light. The Retina is very sensitive to light and will easily burn if not protected by the Eye Lid and Iris.
  • The Optic Nerve is next in process from the Retina, sending the neurological pulses received from the Retina to the Brain.
  • The Brain receives the neurological pulses from the Optic Nerve and catalogs those pulses in its own magnificent way.

This article is already pretty long, so I will bring it to a close and bring you “Part 2” on Friday. Before we close though I would like to bring out one last thought.

When you step into a dark area from a well-lit place, it takes your eyes a measure of time to adjust. For some people their eyes adjust faster than others while others employ methods which seem to speed the process along. One way I have heard effective is closing the Eye Lid during the transition.

Have you noticed in a low light situation, quick or faster motions do not seem as smooth or  connected? At the very least in low light situations quick or faster motions are more easily concealed.

I hope this Friday to make the mystery of the “pesky camera” plain.

Stay focused.

“Rules”

You could say that I have never grown up because I keep bending or breaking every rule I have ever been taught! Not to worry there are a few rules that I have learned can not be bent or broken.

Rules as they apply to photography though are a different story! Each photograph is made for the purpose of communicating a message. Not every message is formatted the same way as every other, and thus you have creative expression! Just as with crafting a message in language, framing a picture requires some insight, forethought and creativity.

For example, in photography there is a rule named “the rule of thirds.”

This photo illustrates the rule of thirds. The white space of the corn field, even the sky in the mirror. The mirror frame provides the containment for the subject and finally the road leads you to the subject which is a farm house.

Each image requires a third to consist of “white space”, the second third of “framing” and the final third being your “interest” or focal point. There are many ways of making this “rule of thirds” way too restrictive! On the other hand it can provide a wonderful guideline as you frame your next photographic interest.

Do not obsess with getting an exact third each time you release your shutter, only focus on a third until it is naturally formed every time you lift that camera to your eye. If you shoot every day, a week maybe all the time you need. If you do not shoot a frequently, say a minimum of 3 times a week, I would suggest 4 weeks. Again, this is setting a rule hard and fast of the time it takes us to learn. I merely suggest these time frames to give a bench mark so that you may set your goal reasonably so as not to burn out.

Here’s a little humor on the lines of “Burn Out” for your pleasure:

Original found on Despair.com

So please do not take my suggestions so seriously as if you were to carry them out that you will be a better photographer. Perhaps you would be and then again my attitude may be far too aggressive causing you to burn out. That would surely be a sad event and one that I would be ashamed to cause!

Besides the “rule of thirds”, other guidelines are utilizing leading lines, lighting techniques, focus points,  setting for the point of view and best perspectives for starters! I find it most helpful to take a rule and break it down into manageable portions.

I suggested working on one-third of your photo when speaking of the “rule of thirds”, and this illustrates how something can be brought to manageable portions to learn one piece at a time. For leading lines, practice shooting only leading lines and then when you feel comfortable with adding something, add a subject and use the leading line to draw your viewer toward the subject.

I truly does not need to be complex. Some of the best photos are the simplest in message.