Sunday, 17 January 2010

Excercise 1 Focal Length and Angle of View

This is the first excercise to find the 'standard' focal length of my camera and my comfortable viewing distance.  I found it really difficult to do!  Doesn't bode well for the rest of the course does it?

My difficulties really were mainly to do with the circumstances:  inclement weather, dark dark days so not much natural light indoors, severe weather which meant the kids were off school so less time with my camera...  I also wanted to take photos of something interesting and in natural light but I thought I needed to crack on with this really and get started so apologies for the subject of my first excercise not being exciting.  

Anyway, so the problems really started.  This excercise necessitates me viewing the scene through the viewfinder with one eye but with the other eye also open.  Could I do it? Ha.  Nope.  Then I tried shutting my viewfinder eye and then my unaided eye to try to work out when the scenes matched.  Wasn't that succesful with that either! Anyway, this is the best I could do.  For the photographs, I used fixed focal length lenses; 35, 50, 90 and 125.   Because I was finding it difficult to match what I saw in my unaided eye to what I saw in the viewfinder, I also later practiced looking at other objects in the same way, and used another lens which went up to 70.   I have come to the conclusion that the standard for me is between 70 and 90 (unfortunately I do not have a lens which covers the focal length between these two).   This is unexpected as usually, the standard is between 40-50mm.  On the other hand, this may explain why my favourite focal length is the 90.  I find it very natural shooting with it.  I think I will revisit this exercise later when I've practised viewing scenes with both eyes open but with one looking through the viewfinder.

Iso 400, aperture f/4.0, and shutter speed 1/160 on all.  (nb, for those with an EXIF viewer, some of my lenses are old third party manual lenses which means that they do not have electronic contacts with the camera which record the right f stop, and indeed my 35mm says it's a 90mm but really it's not!)





The scene isn't particularly exciting, but if I had to choose the best in my view, it would be the first, shot with the 125mm as it has the least distracting elements in it.  I also have another 90mm photo which I actually preferred but I jogged the tripod and shutter speed setting at the time and completely overexposed the snow on the ground.  This is the photo, shutter speed 1/60

I preferred the composition on this one as the bird bath was less central, and I feel it's better balanced with the tree on its left.

Oh, and I chose the 90 as my standard, which was approximately 36 inches - a comfortable viewing distance for me.

The 35 was about 5inches from my face which was not comfortable!  And the 125mm was 45ish inches.

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