thinking with pictures

equipment and one’s eye

Leave a comment

The truism that a workman’s tools determines how and what he interacts with in the world can be seen for camera work in a few ways. (1) One’s screen size alters the scale at which one can perceive detail. Having a digital camera with 5 cm LCD allows crude viewing compared to one that is 10 cm. And reviewing images on a tablet is more restrictive than a big-screen TV or large monitor, muchless the scale of a cinema projector. (2) The same change in vision of what one sees is also a function of sensor size. The smallest sensors of digital camera toys capture a crude likeness of a scene, whereas most of the low-end Point-and-Shoot cameras from the big makers can produce fine snapshots or even small enlargements when set to bigger capture (file) sizes. The pro-sumer and professional cameras have sensors many times the surface area of these other devices. The resulting range of light values and subtlety of color amplifies the vividness and tactile impression one can make on a viewer. By knowing one’s gear and its limitations, one frames the world of photo and video opportunities accordingly. (3) Lens of choice also shapes one’s vision, not only in terms of magnification, but also the relationship of foreground, middle and background. A standard or ‘normal’ lens approximates the relationships of the human eye, while a wide-angle exaggerates the space between near and middle foreground. A telephoto foreshortens the space between near and middle background. The “speed” of a given lens (how far open the aperture can go, thus permitting low-light photography at speeds faster than a lens without the same aperture) also figures into one’s vision of what could or could not be captured visually. In sum it is important to know one’s gear intimately so that response to a given situation is automatic and well practiced. And while the equipment does not ‘make’ a photo, it surely colors the vision of the person who ‘plays’ it.


Author: gpwitteveen

Better Outreach is my aim. See to know more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.