Thursday, October 06, 2005

To The Loo

The subject of today's class is Photography.

Photo "From the Morning" by Iain Stewart, our lecturer on Photography

We were invited by Iain Stewart to sit and watch some stunning photo's on slides, after which we learned the basics of operating a photo camera (Pentax K1000).

To fresh up the workings of a camera here is a recap:

  • The aperture is the iris inside the lens and the aperture control is the ring nearest to the camera body, numbered from f2 up to f22, f2 opening the iris wide to let a lot of light into the camera, f22 making a very small opening to allow very little light into the camera.

  • The aperture also controls the depth-of-field of the final image, which means the amount of focus in the image. F2 will give very narrow depth-of-field (very little will be in focus), f22 gives greatest depth-of-field (most of image in focus).

  • The shutter is inside the camera body and opens to let light onto the film for varying lengths of time depending on the shutter speed selected. The shutter speed dial is on top of the camera and is numbered from 1000 (1/1000th of a second, very fast) to 1 (1 second, very slow). Unless using a tripod (in Dutch: statief), anything less than 1/60th of a second will result in camera shake (no... this is not the new flavor of MacDonalds)

  • The film speed indicator is in the middle of the shutter speed dial and must be set according to the ASA rating of the film, 100 for FP4 or 400 for HP5.

  • The film transport lever is on the right hand side, top of the camera. This winds the film on to the next frame. In the middle of this is the film frame counter, which keeps track of how much film is shot.

  • The shutter release button is next to the transport lever. This fires the shutter and makes the exposure.

  • The film rewind knob is on the left hand side, top of the camera. pull up to open camera back, rewind in direction of arrow to rewind film when finished. It also moves in tandem with transport lever as film is wound up. This is a good check that film is correctly loaded!

  • The focus ring is on the front of the lens. Clipped onto this is the lens cap. removing this activates the exposure meter, which is seen through the viewfinder.

  • Lastly, the film rewind button is on the bottom of the camera. pressing down when the film is finished releases the film ready to be rewind into cassette.

  • Summary:
    A high aperture (5.6) makes for a little hole, letting little light in, gives a high depth-of-field, all of the image is sharp, shutter speed should be up (to 125), can be used handheld. Best used in the light.

    A low aperture (2.8) makes for a large hole, letting much light in,, gives a low depth-of-field, only part of the image is sharp, shutter speed should be down (to 60), needs the use of a tripod. Best used in the dark.

    Shoot me if I am wrong (that is 'shooting' as in photography, OK).

    We receive a choice out of two individual assignments:
    A. Street Photography - Documentary photography with your own angle on it.
    B. Intimate Portrait - Think Abstract. Lateral not literal.

    I ended up doing a mix of these two (in Dutch: de gulden middenweg).

    My photographs would be taken in a public place. I would be in the pictures (some of them), and I would apply the black and white film to its best use. I thought about taking photo's in a toilet of the toilet miss, but it turned out these were non-existent in Edinburgh. A striking luck was me being informed by a man at the second hand book shop that the town, called Haddington, one hour drive to the East of Edinburgh by bus, had won the 'Loo Award' (five stars) for the tenth time of all the United Kingdom. So there I went... to Haddington!

    And there it was... The Neilson Park Public Toilet:

    You can find proof at (look for "Public Toilets").

    Kept to a five star quality cleanness level by two lovely ladies, Ann Book and Sue Robertson. Both welcomed me as if it was no surprise that a student had travelled about 15 miles to go to the loo (=toilet). Carrying my tripod and camera with me I first had to sit down - on a chair that is - and drink coffee with Ann & Sue. These two are a remarkable couple, been in the toilet business for 10 years and won every award there is to be won. So I drank coffee in the gentlemen compartment and helped the 'public toilet attendents' with their Halloween-themed toilet.

    Just imagine, having a sound-operated ghost hanging on the ceiling and spiders across the wall while taking a pee!

    I set up my tripod and did away with most of the 'creepy crawlers', because I liked my photo's not to be themed, other than being in a public space. Believe me, there is no cleaner spot than Ann & Sue's soures.

    On Friday we are going to develop the pictures we took, in the Dark Room... wow, scary!

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