Guest post featuring Justin McKee
For this new year, I thought it would be great to offer you, my lovely readers, a new guest blogger: Justin McKee! You might recognize his name, as he takes about half of the photos seen here on my blog. He is incredibly skilled behind the camera, and his expertise can help you become a better photographer, too! Each month I will feature a new post from him.
To see more of his work, make sure to like his page on Facebook!
Please feel welcome to add comments or questions in response. I’ll make sure he receives them and has the opportunity to respond.
A camera is a huge investment. A modern DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera, such as a Canon 5D Mark III, can cost thousands of dollars to purchase and without knowing how to use it properly it’s a wasted investment. Even basic point-and-shoot cameras can cost a bundle.
Here’s where this column can help you.
Say you just purchased a new DSLR or point-and-shoot and, while the automatic modes seem to be really useful at family get-togethers, you really want to broaden your horizons by learning how to use your camera’s manual controls. Future posts will cover the basics of photography and how to use your camera to its fullest potential.
Not every camera is the same, but just about all of the photographic functions and techniques talked about here can be applied through various means with any camera model. Some may prefer to use Canon cameras and lenses, but that doesn’t mean someone who owns a Sony, Nikon or Pentax DSLR cannot take anything away from this series. Even people who have a point-and-shoot can apply some of these tips to their photography. Oh, and be sure to read the owner’s manual from cover to cover; it’s inexplicably helpful.
Each month I will explain the use of lenses, shutter speed, aperture, ISO and a whole camera bag full of photography techniques from long exposures to stop-motion photography. It’s important to know that photography is not limited to the camera you own — even a professional photographer can make good use of a cheaper, less versatile, camera. Anyone can be a photographer with enough time and energy devoted to the craft.
As this is the first of many posts to come, there is a simple question to be answered before moving forward: Just what is a camera?
Well, we know that a camera captures images for us to view, print and put online — but how?
A camera is a device that takes the light that enters through the glass of a lens and records that light to either film or a digital sensor. Different light patterns can create different hues (think rainbows), and a camera is used to condense these colors and light variations into a photograph.
Photography has been around since even before the advent of cameras. Fine artists, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, used something called camera obscura to quickly recreate paintings they had already taken to canvas. Camera obscura is basically using a dark room with one small opening to allow in light that creates an image on the wall (or ceiling, if you use a mirror to flip the image) opposite to the opening. Camera obscura is also referred to as pinhole photography.
Eventually, cameras changed from the pinhole method into smaller, more portable forms. A view camera, such as one used by Ansel Adams to take photos of our national parks, was (and still is) a popular method of photography. We’ve all seen view cameras in one way or another. It’s the camera that looks like an accordion. View cameras utilize ground glass and large pieces of film to gather the light across from the camera to create an image.
Photography has become a broad career path over time through the invention of the twin-lens reflex camera, single-lens reflex camera and eventually the digital single-lens reflex camera. The method of capturing images has changed rapidly over the centuries. We’ve gone from primitive methods of photography to complex and compact cameras that we carry in our pockets.
To the average user, cameras are mostly automated and do all the work for them. With the tap of a finger on glass we can take as many photos as the battery on our phones will allow. However, for those of us who choose to delve deeper into the world of photography, more knowledge is required.
So stick around.
It’s going to be fun.
Justin McKee is a small-town photographer with big ideas living in Michigan. In addition to portraits, wedding photography and video, he also enjoys wildlife photography. He always seeks to learn more about his craft.