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Everything you wanted to know about Photography….Part the Second

And so, after a slight interlude of approximately 18 months (or maybe more…) the club welcomed back our Hon. Secretary, Aodan Higgins for the second part of his brave attempt to answer all the questions sent to him by members on “any subject at all”, as well as photography. Picking up straight from his well received opening night, we opened on Question 6. This featured items on ISO/Flash and post processing – which is best for getting the best results from a shot taken (or to be taken) in dark light. As is often the case with photography, the answer depends on what effect you wish to achieve and Aodan gave us examples from club members’ work and elsewhere to demonstrate what works best for each type of effect. So, for still life, best results are obtained through increased iso. For portraits, Aodan offered examples that bring shadow to the subject in the right places in order to give a natural look to the face. For movement, the shutter speed should be chosen and it may be linked to flash being used in order to better capture the drama of movement – cycling being used as a good example. First and second curtain sync on the flash is key here with second curtain being best.  Fill in light, even from an ipad, can help in certain situations if you wish to make a feature within a portrait. We had a test of members’ knowledge with an “iso or flash?” quiz which I think most got right. Following coffee break, Aodan took us through the white balance on our cameras and as he explained, it can be used for many more effects than one thinks.  Auto white balance will be the most common but we saw how moving through the now familiar choices on pretty much all cameras of shade, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, etc. can bring about some surprising changes to the image.  If there is time and the conditions are right, one of the best choices is to use a white card which will represent true white. Take a shot of this card and set your camera’s white balance using this image.  If you are not familiar with a white or grey card or need to get some workable reading, your hand can be a very useful substitute. Here is how: https://petapixel.com/2012/06/06/use-your-hand-as-a-makeshift-gray-card-for-estimating-exposure/ So as you can see, this method is certainly not my idea but it is online and I think hands are something that I think most of us carry around all the time so let’s all try it and see!

As is to be expected, the main lesson is to use the most appropriate setting and Aodan gave examples of this across these options. All in all, it was a great insight and showed how much members think about the finer points of their photography. For an encore, David P gave us all a look under the hood of the free photo editing app, Snapseed. This is from Google and can be used on phones and tablets – currently not on desktops. It  certainly whetted our appetite to know more and next season we could well see an evening given over to these free editing tools as a way of widening what all of us can do with our photos. Happy weekend to all!