I started working on a new article (which I would submit to ezines.com to help my google ranking). The idea was to write an extremely simple set of rules about the basics of photography. You know. Cover the idea of the F-Stop, the Shutter Speed, how the light meter works; and how different sized lenses effect the image.
It was sort of an idiotic idea since the web and the bookstores are filled with this information, but I wanted to do a very short crib sheet where I could succinctly explain these basics, sort of like the laws of physics.
At first it all seemed simple enough, but I kept coming up with exceptions to the rules I was explaining, and it is just getting longer and longer so that what I thought would be a consice two page piece is now up to ten pages.
You know how it is, don’t you? At first I was just explaining (not technically at all) what the f-stop represented, but that lead me into the concept of Depth of Field (DOF) which lead to things like the length of the lens being used, and it all just kept getting more and more verbose as even this post gets more verbose trying to explain the problem of being non-verbose.
Besides the ezines.com submission, I had the grandiose idea of enlightening the world of point and shooters. I guess it’s the educator streak in my genes since all my relatives are or have been teachers. I thought I could do the world a bit of good and maybe one person could benefit from this knowledge if it was presented in a palatable and simple way. I never liked the Whatever for Dummies Series, (Brain Surgery for Dummies) since I didn’t see any reason for demeaning the reader. But to repeat, the idea of a crib sheet for shooting seemed worthwhile.
So the crib sheet is around ten pages right now, and I still haven’t covered ASA / ISO or how light readings are measured.
But I am determined to finish it up since I’ve already spent a few mornings at it, and that’s longer than I’ve spent on any recent piece of writing. I don’t expect there will be anything in it that you don’t know – but I’ll post it any way and open it up for comments before submitting it to ezine.com so long as you can put yourself into the head of the person I’m aiming this at, uhm everyone I know with a point and shoot who doesn’t know what a point-and-shoot is. Or people who’ve seen that funny F-Stop thingy but have no idea what it is, but are curious to know.
Every time I tried to write some genera definition, I could always think of an exception. I wanted to say: every camera has a lens, a shutter and some method of recording the light which enters the camera. But it got me to wondering, what are the properties of a lens? Does it need to have glass elements? No, since lenses are made of plastic, and who knows what else. Is it anything that focuses light? Is the opening in a pinhole camera a lens? Is the piece of cardboard or whatever you put over the pinhole a shutter? Or should I just forget about these sorts of exceptions and stick to that point-and-shoot.
I remember writing that the longer the lens, the closer the object appears. Even a simple idea like this isn’t true, since a normal lens on a 4×5 camera might be what – 150mm? And the normal lens on a cell phone would be what – a couple of mms. The only way that I could make it simple enough for the average person to understand – was to pick a particular sized camera, a typical point-and-shoot and talk about these ideas in terms of this generalized / specific camera.
I’m going to boil this thing down to basic concepts of photography. I can do it – but it was harder than I thought it’d be.