Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tips for photographing the Mardi Gras parades, or any other parade

Whether you are shooting Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Parade the Circle in Cleveland, your camera’s mode setting can make a real difference in the type of photographs you capture.

Finding suitable subject matter at a parade is usually never a problem. Within an hour or so, dozens of willing subjects move slowly past your position. It’s like dozens of deer walking slowly up to the hunter. What more could a photographer ask for?

But how will you set your camera to record this visual feast? One of the questions you need to ask yourself is….”What is it that I want this picture to show?” Don’t fool yourself by answering “Whatever I’m pointing the camera at.” Think a little more about the choices at hand in the scene before your eyes.

With depth-of-field at your discretion, you can make the same scene into very different images. (Depth-of-field refers to the portions of your photo that are in focus.) A large lens opening (called the aperture) is represented on your camera by numbers like f2.8, f3.5 or f4.0, and will give you a photo with shallow depth-of-field. In essence, this makes your subject stand out from the foreground and the background because they will be slightly out of focus, while your subject (where you focused the camera) should be in sharp focus.

In the picture of the single dancer, she was all that was important to my photo. All those people in the background would have only distracted my viewer’s eye and so I chose to make them blurry. By using an f-stop of 2.8, only the dancer is in focus.

Conversely, in the photo of all the dancers with their flags, I wanted my viewers to see the entire group. In this photo, I changed my f stop to f14, giving me greater depth-of-field and more people in focus. Chances are your camera will allow you to take photos with f-stops like f-11, f-16 or f-22. These are all suitable for greater depth-of-field.
The choice is yours if you take your camera off program mode and use the aperture mode. Only you know what’s important in your photo, so you need to take control of your camera when the opportunity presents itself.

The f-stop numbers and what they represent are counter-intuitive sometimes, so you might want to save the following simple chart:
Small f-stop numbers (f2.8, f3.5, f4.0) = small depth-of-field = large lens openings
Large f-stop numbers (f8, f11, f16, f22) = larger depth-of-field = smaller lens openings

Tomorrow we’ll talk about shutter speed and the role it plays in making or breaking your photo. Questions, comments? Feel free to leave a message below and get answers to your travel photography questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

College Specials