Since my wife had the new camera, I had to go to the shoot with my little point and shoot camera. Every one in the class had a nicer camera than me. But that was OK. I figured that once I learn more about photography, I will buy myself a nice camera too.
This was a fun experience because the park is called Parque de República, and I have never even known this park existed. It is located in the neighborhood of Catete and the park unlike many parks in Rio is very nicely done. It is about 2 city blocks big. It has a lot of very cool statues, and many of the statues have a common theme of little children strangling animals. Pretty wild! In addition to the statues, there are several large fountains, a water fall, a monkey feeding station, and a turtle station. we were also quite lucky because the weather was beautiful for a cool winter day in August. The place was alive with people of all walks of life. Lastly, there is a huge children’s playground which was packed the entire time.
So our entire class basically start clicking photos in the park. I had no idea what to expect, and I just started. I know how to use my Panasonic Lumix more or less but I never really bothered to learn the finer points of my camera. So I asked the teacher, and she proceeded to give me the best digital camera advice EVER. The impact on the quality of your photos can be amazing. It is so important than I thought I would share it here.
The key to great photos is to NOT use the automatic settings on the camera. Put the camera in manual mode. I had never done this before and she showed me how it worked. Once it is in manual mode, you can control two settings on your camera. The opening of the camera and the shutter speed. Both of these settings control the amount of light that enters into the camera. It makes sense. The smaller the opening the less light gets in. The faster the shutter speed (or the time the camera is open), the less light enters. So when you are messing with the settings, you need to make sure there is adequate light to take a picture. Luckily, the camera when it goes into manual mode has a sensor to tell you whether there is enough light. It is called the photometer, and you just mess with the setting until there is enough light and then snap the picture. That’s it! Mess with the two setting, and watch the photometer to make sure there is enough light!
After about a couple of hundred photos, I must admit I got a little bored. All the other students were running around the park clicking photos, and the teacher came to me and told me other things to photograph. So I did. It was a great lesson. Another key to great photography is to take a lot of photos. When you got time, you should always keep on going. So I did, and some of my best shots were actually taken after she told me go get going again.
When we were finishing up, she told us that next week, we needed to select 40 photographs and show them to the class. Here are the one that I chose. I am proud that I was able to get my cheap camera to take almost professional quality photographs. Thanks to the best digital camera tip of all time. I also did not crop and edit the photos because this is much more like pure photography. Here they are totally unedited.