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Social Networking

April 17, 2010

A friend of mine the other day asked the rhetorical question how to use social networking to further their photography.  That (and Smirnoff Triple Filtered Vodka) started me thinking tonight.  It seems in the last week or so I have gained 30 or so new FB friends, all gifted photographers.

My style of photography has been and continues to be PJ mostly, with some nature and landscape thrown in for good measure.  Occasionally however I will take pictures of the family, friends, or just interesting people.  Ever since I started this photographic journey, Neil van Niekerk has served as a source of source of inspiration and knowledge.  I have pored over his Planet Neil and Tangents blogs, reading and re-reading the articles and studying his photo shoots.

Now I have no real desire to become a wedding photographer, or even for that matter a portrait photographer.  But I would like to know how to take a good picture regardless of the circumstances.  For instance, last year I found myself in Baghdad, at the top of a palace, standing in shade but in the middle of the day.  A couple friends wanted pictures of themselves in front of the landscape.  Extremely bright light outside, shade inside.  I almost always keep my camera on M mode, letting me make the decisions regarding shutter speed and aperture (plus ISO naturally).  Normally easy enough, f/11 or 1/1250 or so would give appropriate exposure for the landscape, if that was all I was worried about.  f/4 or 1/125 give or take would be appropriate for in the shade, depending on what depth of field I was after.  How to combine them though into one photograph?   What I learned from Neil’s sit taught me what I needed to know about fill flash and exposing for the landscape (background).  Since my 40d max’ed out at 1/250 using the built-in flash for fill (my 550 EX was not with me), that meant I would need to use a small aperture to get the background down to a reasonable exposure, and use the flash to light up the foreground (us).  Something like f/16 and 1/250 at ISO 100 fit the bill.  Even better, I needed to explain to my compatriots what I was doing, since one of them needed to take my picture also and photography was not the hobby any of my friends was really interested in.

After much rambling, this brings me back to my initial point.  Social networking involved trusted photographers that I looked up to leading to many talented photographers, whose work will continue to inspire me in the future.  I look via Social Networking at their work to be inspired, and to broaden my horizons.

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