Camera Skiils.

Film Cameras:

35mm Camera – Learning about this medium broadened my knowledge of different technologies available to me. During the class I learnt how to correctly load the camera, using the 35mm roll, rewind knob and film advance wheel. These cameras have single lens reflex and can usually expose 24-36 photographs within a roll.

 

Type of film – 35mm cameras use 35mm film, Ilford, Kodak, Fomapan, etc. provide this type. The size of the image on film is usually 24x36 and should have a 2mm gap between the frames. 

 

Medium Format -  These cameras use larger film than 35mm, conclusively allowing more detail in the photograph. Medium format cameras are usually manually operated, this was quite difficult for me, however I eliminated this issue by using a tripod. I was also shown how to load this camera using 120mm film. In modern day some old-style medium format cameras can now support digital backs.

 

(TLR) – Twin Lens Reflex cameras have two lenses, one on top of each other. The top lens is used as the viewfinder, whilst the bottom one captures the picture. These cameras don’t offer interchangeable lenses and the lenses are usually set at the same focal point. TLR’s are usually fully manual also and are a cheaper alternative to SLR’s.

 

Large Format – Theses cameras use the largest film type and can produce extremely high quality images, due to the size of the negative film which requires less magnification. The camera uses 120 and 220 film and can obtain a higher resolution. This camera allows the photographer to have greater control over the depth of field, aperture and shutter speed.

 

ISO – this function of the camera is how sensitive it is to light, the lower the ISO the less sensitive it becomes and the higher the more sensitive.  In some cases, a high ISO can cause grain within an image if the subject is dark or under exposed, therefore it is ideal to keep your ISO low.

 

Aperture – This element controls the amount of light that travels into the lens, the lower the aperture the more light allowed in, the higher the less light. This function can also control the depth of field, the lower the f number the shallower the depth of field, the higher the f number the less blurred it becomes.

 

Shutter Speed – This is how long the camera sensor is exposed to light. The longer the shutter the more ‘motion blur’ will be in the image, the quicker the shutter the more still and crisp the Image. 

 

During the workshops I gained the knowledge on how to process B&W film. This enabled me to broaden my technical skills and enabled me to explore a new medium. During this workshop I learnt about development times, photo-sensitive chemicals, equipment (funnels, dryer, etc.)

 

To start this process, we must put are negatives onto the spiral, this must be undertaken in complete darkness as any exposure to light can ruin the film. Once we put the film onto the spiral, we then put the spiral into development tanks sealed with a lid, ensuring no light can get in. The development tank holds the film in place allowing the chemicals to reach all aspects of the film. This tank can support up to 2 spirals of film, at one time. Each film has a different development time, dependent upon the brand (Ilford, Fuji, etc.).

 

As I used 35mm film I used 40ml of developer and 200ml of water set at 20 degrees. My brand was HP5 400 ISO, therefore for correct processing I needed 5-minute development time and 9 minutes fixing. (after every 30 seconds ‘lightly shake’ tank for 10 seconds).

 

There are four components to this process, Developer (this correctly exposes the film), stop bath (this stops to process of development to avoid chemical damage to the film), fixer (to keep the exposers on the negative frame, to reduce fade) and wetting agent (to reduce tension). 

 

Within this workshop I grasped a better knowledge of resolution and colour. I also had the chance to familiarise myself with software including Epson Scan and Silverfast 8. Furthermore, I was introduced to scanning 35mm and medium format film, using digital scanners. I now have full understanding of how to undertake this.

 

The resolution has to be at 4800 or above, this is to obtain a higher amount of pixels in the digital scan which gives the photographer opportunity for more detailed editing. To scan the negatives, the individual has to insert them into frames, so that the scanner can identify each frame on the negative strip. 

During the studio workshop we were shown how to correctly use the studio and the equipment. We were then able to try out some of the equipment to test if we could change the lights and use the tripod appropriately. Then we were informed of some basic house rules including booking regulations, that we always need a studio assistant from the BA photography course at UAL, we can only hire the studio at a minimum of 3 hours, food and drink is forbidden and we must use the tripods at all times if we are using UAL cameras.

 

Since this workshop I hired the studio for my final project, during the shoot I used a softbox and a white backdrop. I found this process very easy with the help of my assistant and would feel very confident to book the studio again

Lightroom & Photoshop

For this creative workshop we explored these two adobe software’s, as being a digital photographer I was quite familiar with these programs. However, we were encouraged to create catalogues in Lightroom and shown the functions of the different tabs. Library (this is the section where you can organise files and preview them), Development (This is where you can digitally manipulate your images) and Print. We were also shown an efficient way to organise folders to become more organised for future clients, such as making sub-folders for different file types or image sizes. In addition, we were talked through different file sizes including JPEG, TIFF, RAW, etc.

 

When introduced to Photoshop we were shown how to retouch an image, for me I strongly disagree with manipulation of the human figure, so this section angered me a little. However, I obtained knowledge of various tools including the stamp tool, clone tool, layer mask, etc.

 

We were also introduced to Lomography, the tutor taught us how to use digital techniques to edit a photograph to imitate this effect. If I ever wanted to impose a vintage feel on my images I now have the skills to undertake this.

 

After a brief introduction to Lightroom and Photoshop I now have greater knowledge of operating the two software’s, and this will hopefully benefit future shoots and my career in the photographic industry.

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