Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday's Exercise

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! I hope everyone had a chance to grab a shot you can be proud of this weekend.

As promised, today we’re introducing our first exercise. With this exercise, you can learn a lot about composition, as well as spatial compression, DOF, and lighting.

The exercise is simple, for the next week, you’re to only shoot with 1 prime lens. That means if you choose your 50mm, then you can only shoot your 50mm. Whatever the focal length, stick to only one prime focal length lens. If you don’t have a prime, if you only have your kit or some other zoom lens, then choose only 1 focal length, either racked out full zoom, or minimum zoom. Don’t cheat and use the zoom for any of your work.

This simple exercise will teach you how to be creative in your composition. It means you will need to visualize your shot, see the framing and cropping before shooting. You will almost definitely need to move to get the shot. Either move in, out, or change your angle, and you will have something entirely different. Just using zoom doesn’t give you that.

Zooming your lens will change your perspective and create the framing you’d like. However, it also compresses the perspective, which can make for really good DOF. Zooming with your feet and opening your aperture can give some nice DOF effects, too, and does so without compressing perspective. Zooming can change the impact of your lighting, so can moving.

Hohenfels Volks: Sunset in Prague
ISO 400, f/5, 1/100, 44mm, daylight balanced. The shot was metered for the rotunda and exposed for M+1, then edited for M-1, increasing the saturation and improving the tonal range.
This was one of the sunset shots taken in Prague last weekend. It took several attempts to get it right, but just moving around made the scene match what I had envisioned. Give it a try for yourself before you shoot that next pic!

Take a walk around your subject. Approach from different angles and distances. You will start seeing how these little limitations can open up a whole world of possibility. The old masters had to work with 1 focal length or lens for a long time. Lenses were heavy, cumbersome, and often not the way to get the shot. Learning to see in this way is a great tool to open up your creativity and improve your composition.

Rise to the challenge and share your shots. We’d love to see your work and the fruits of your exercise. Enjoy the rest of a wonderful week and make sure you get 1 in the can!

Don’t forget to post any of your images you’d like to see here at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too! Don't forget, we're on Google+, too!

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