If you have been following this weeks posts, they have been all about ways to improve your travel photography. My last post of the week is focused on using your camera to improve your image making abilities. I know that when show my images, one of the first things most people ask is 'What camera do you use". The implication is clear, they believe it is the camera that produces the great images and not the photographer.
In the year of 2012, nothing could be farther from the truth. Cell phones represent the largest single source of images on the internet. Now, I am not saying that a cell phone is capable of producing what we would call 'Fine Art' images, but none the less, technology has made image capture much easier than it used to be. The problem here is that because technology has advanced so rapidly, almost anyone can stick there camera or cell phone on 'P' (program) mode and fire away. The resulting images will most likely be properly exposed images with a reasonable level of quality. This is especially true when looking the cameras being offered in the low to mid tier by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olypus, Fuji, etc.
The fact of the matter is these cameras all produce nice images. However, it is still the photographer that must make the image and it is still the photographer that must have a vision. Earlier this week I talked about seeing and angles, but lets look briefly at the camera and how you can use this amazing piece of technology to help make your images stand out from the masses.
I believe that the single biggest change that the average person can make to their photography is learning how to shoot in 'A' - Aperture Priority mode instead of P mode. In making this switch, it is critical that you take the time to learn what an aperture is and how changes in aperture affect your image making skills. The best way to do this is to go take a workshop that immerses you in shooting and reviewing your images. While their are great resources online that can help you out, nothing beats hands on instruction in the field.
The use of high quality lenses, especially those found in the fast growing m 4/3's community, the Fuji community, and even the more limited Sony E mount community, coupled with an understanding of A mode can help you to create images that isolate your subject and create a level of uniqueness that is missing from the vast array of images shot in P mode.
This image was taken in early morning light, something that I have not yet talked about, and with a high quality lens at a very large aperture. The resulting shallow depth of field takes what is nothing more than an ordinary beer coaster and creates a more dynamic image that helps to tell a story. If you were traveling through Ireland and Guinness was a big part of your trip, you could take pictures of beer glasses full of Guinness like everyone else, or you could use some vision, a change of angle, and a larger aperture and create something unique to help differentiate your story.