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Visual Drama

Lesson 47 from: FAST CLASS: Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

47. Visual Drama

Next Lesson: Elements of Design


Class Trailer

Photographic Characteristics


Camera Types


Shutter System


Shutter Speed Basics


Camera Settings Overview


Camera Settings - Details


Sensor Size: Basics


Focal Length


Lesson Info

Visual Drama

so visual drama, things that once again are intrinsically interesting to the eye. And so, in some ways, this isn't really a composition section is how to compose your photograph. But this is a section on, you know, these air, just things that work well in photography. They make for good subjects, and so first thing is contrast, and we like seeing contrast. And I think this is one of the areas, and in future classes I may doing photography that I would like to expand upon, because I think there's a lot of ways that you could have contrast, because there is kind of the actual contrast how bright certain pixels are versus other pixels and having an image that has a lot of lights and darks tends to be interesting for us to look at. There's a lot to take in in any particular situation, and so ah, contrast here is in kind of a rough area, versus a very smooth area. And so this gets to be a very common theme. A lot of times when you're shooting water cause it looks very different than the env...

ironment around it, those rocks and those roots are very, very big contrast to what we're seeing in the water, and having those two elements together is kind of like having the two subjects together that are playing off of each other. And so, having this nice pink soft sky and in these rusted hard metals in the same photograph work well together cause they play off of each other. And so, using those skies and other structures you find around it tend to work really well. Lightning storm that hard, crisp, bright light of the lightning versus the sloth soft, fluffy nous of the clouds are very different. Feel in contrast there, and so that just kind of plays off against each other. It's a nice background for that subject. In some ways, these are two completely different subjects. The you know, soft clouds and the nice colors in the sky versus these very jagged and hard rocks. They play well together, and so that's just an element that works well in a photograph. We talked about this before, in in what we look at in a photograph in sharpness, and it's really important that you get your pictures focused as properly and as best you can, because the honest drawn to those sharp areas, and they don't tend to want to go to those other areas that are out of focus. And so you have to be very sure about getting the focusing spot on, because if it's a little bit off, once you start looking at it closely, you're not gonna be able to read that image properly. And as I've said before, you're the director of a small story that you're telling here. And when you put something in focus you are telling, it's the most important thing. And when it's out of focus, it's kind of like a supporting character in a movie. It's not the main reason you're there, but it helps tell the story of other things that are going on. And so this technique works very well for a lot of different types of photographs where you have some things in sharp focus and some things in soft or blurred focus. There's a lot of different ways of doing it in. One of my favorite techniques is of course, Pani and I love doing this in Cuba because I got these old cars, which is just really nice, colorful big objects, and they're moving at nice, consistent speeds, and there's interesting things in the background. And so, uh, let's just have a small little diversion here. And let's just talk about panning for a moment. And it's a great technique for using on anything. Thats moving that you want to show it in a way differently than using a fast shutter speed on Just show it in a different way in a different environment. So when I'm panning with the subject, I am trying to track where that subject is going, and I'm trying to be perpendicular to that subject, and I'm gonna shoot as it's approaching my perpendicular point. And then once it moves past the perpendicular point, I kind of stopped shooting because I'm more interested in the front of that subject than the back of that subject. In most all cases, there's always exceptions for the rules, of course, and so let's go ahead and start playing around with some different shutter speeds with panning. And so if you were to not pan at 1/4 of a second with the streetcar going by, you're going to get the streetcar blurry. If you pan in the right way, you're going to get the streetcar sharp and the building blurry in the background. And so the question is, is which one do you want in which way? Because I think they're both interesting photos that are good for different types of purposes. One of the key things with panning is the shutter speed. What exact shutter speed should you use? And it depends on the movement, your angle of view and the lens that you are using. All right, So photographing a runner on the track at 1/1000 of a second, the chain link fence in the background, the runner itself, the shoe laces they are frozen at 1/1000 of a 2nd is good for fast human action, so we're not going to get any panning motion here. But as we work our way into slower and slower shutter speeds, you're going to start noticing more movement in that fence in the background, a blurriness in that background, if I am tracking my subject, keeping him in the same spot in the frame as I'm moving and following them, he's gonna appear relatively sharp, granted his feet in hands, which are moving at a different speed than his torso and head. Those are gonna be end up being blurry. But the slower we go, the blurrier the background gets, but also the blurrier he gets. And so there is a balance between enough blur to get rid of the background. But then, too much blur to actually ruin the subject, you might say. And so you would have to have a subject moving very quick in order to blur them at 2/50 of a second. And so in this case, you're just not getting much blurriness of the background caused by movement. And so if you get a plane going really quick, well, yeah, you might be able to blur the background. Ah, little bit and so 125th of a second, we are having some areas and sharpness, and we are blurring that background a little bit in some pretty fast movement here. So now that we've entered 1/ of a second, we've entered what I like to call the panning zone. This is where you're gonna likely get good panning shots depending on the variables that you have in Pani. And so a subject moving pretty fast with a longer lands. Yeah, you'll be able to get a good panning shot at 1/60 of a second, moving down to 1/30 we can pan with subjects that are moving a little bit more slowly. We can get more of a blur if they're moving extra quickly here in 1/30 of a second. My favorite Cheddar speed for panning is 1/15 of a second. It seems to be a perfect balance between blurring the background yet getting at least a reasonable number of shots in focus, because the problem when you are panning is not panning smoothly and everything being out of focus, which happens quite frequently. And so 15th of a second seems to be a really good in between spot for most subjects that you see pani. So I got lots of 15th of a second. Now I like this panning shot. But there's one thing I don't like, and that is the Blue Sky Day. And one of things I learned about Pani is that you need kind of a bad background in pani, and you need a contrast e cluttered background. When you have a clean background you can't pan, and so like, let's say if you had a perfectly white wall. You can't pan on that because you need something that's light and darks to kind of move over each other. And so in some ways, panning works, and it's a solution in the worst of environments. And so when you have the worst background possible, a panning shot can work here. And so the other thing is, is that you need to back up from your subject. It's very hard pan in a tight alleyway. A something is going past you. And so this is the slot canyon leading down to the Treasury building in Jordan. And the reason I shot a panning shot here is because it was the only place I could shoot a panning shot because the trail kind of wind up. And it was, I don't know, maybe feet across at this point in time. And if I backed all the way up against the wall and if the horse carriage came down all the way on the other side of the wall, it would work out, and so, with a longer lens, you're not turning us much. And if you were to try toe pan with a car coming right down the street in front of you with a wide angle lens because you're viewing at such a wide angle lens. The panning speed is different because of your angle of view, and what happens is that you end up getting a little tiny portion of the car and focus, but the rest of it how to focus. It's kind of interesting at first, but you're not able to hold a lot of focus. And so what I'm trying to do when I'm panning is I'm trying to find an area where I come back up for it as I can. And so this is a special street in Havana where it's a boulevard that has three lanes in both directions. And so when I'm on one side of the street and one of things you've noticed about all my panning shots in Havana is, the cars were all going from right to left, and that's because they're the cars on the other side of the street. When I go down to Australia, I guess I'll be able to shoot cars coming the other direction. I don't know if they have as many old cars. Ah, but I'll shoot him in the other direction. And so that's why they're almost always coming. Right toe left is I'm shooting cards on the other side of street in the far lane, where I can use kind of, ah, normal, too short telephoto lens over there. In some cases, it's kind of hard to back up very far, and so this is a wider angle shot and you'll notice the top of the frame. There's a little bit of curvature to this, and that's because I'm using a wide angle lens because there's just not a lot of places I can back up and safely shoot this. And this is in Bhutan all right, and so Dance festival. And once you've got all your sharp photos start experimenting around with slow shutter speeds, it could be a lot of fun. This was just one of these shots rides like let me just play around with something really strange and, you know, a slow and it's out of focus as they are. The coaches and all the athletes can identify every one of those individuals, and all their parents know exactly who they are. They don't have to be really sharp and that once again is adding a little bit of mystery into a photograph. And so it's a fun thing to Dio from time to time. And so you do have to shoot a lot of shots that I will shoot Ah, 100 shots and get two or three keepers out of it. And as you go down to the slower shutter speeds, well, what I would I do when I have a group of people and we're all doing panning and some people are doing it for the very first time? What I tell us, Start out at 1/30 of a second and you're not gonna get a lot of blurriness on the background, but you'll get a fair number of sharp images. Once you get a few of those sharp than step it down to 1/15 of a second, you're gonna get more blurriness, but you're gonna end up more throwaways. And so I'm always trying to push the edge of what I can do. And so I like trying to get down to 1/ 2nd But I still have a pretty relatively low hitting ratio, you might say as far as winners in this category because there's a lot of movement that can happen in 1/4 2nd Now the stabilization system in the lenses will often help you out here just to keep things a little bit stabilized because they know not to correct for that type of movement. And so it's usually not the first technique when I'm trying to get a photo that documents a particular place or location. But I know it's a technique that I can pull out of my back pocket. That gives me a different view of that subject when I'm trying to tell a more complete photo story, and I will go down to really long shutter speeds one second. This is pretty good for one second. This is what most of my one seconds look like. So this is what you can expect now, if you want. You can call this art and just say you love it, and it's great, and there is something that is kind of interesting to it, but it is kind of nice when you get him at least reasonably well, and this is about as good as I could do on a one full second Cheddar speed. Now you can also add in a zooming effect to, and I don't do this very often. But this 1st 1 was actually more by accident than anything else, shooting at a slower shutter speed. And then as they ran past, I zoomed in a little bit, and it adds, just a little bit of radial zoom in there, which kind of really makes you feel like you're moving into the scene with them. And so if you wanna add a crazy zoom, you just kind of zoom your lands right as you're doing it. And so it kind of mimics extra movement that wasn't originally there in the first place. And this can be kind of fun with nighttime and like painting. And so there's some unusual things that you could do by zooming the lens, doing during a long exposure.

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