Last weekend I took a wonderful Nature Photography class at the park in Baxter. The class was taught by Fort Mill resident and professional photographer Melanie Tinkler-Stuck. Melanie also teaches the photography classes at York Tech and this is how I first met her.
For most of the class I used my new 50mm primed lens with a maximum aperture of f1.8, sometimes referred to as a ‘Nifty Fifty’. This lens has helped me tremendously with my food photography. Using a lens with such a large aperture allows you to take pictures in low light without a flash or slowing down the shutter speed, a big plus when doing food photography.
A primed lens has a set focal length and does not zoom in or out. It is a little difficult to get used to when you are so accustomed to zooming. But it really just means you have to stop being lazy and move your body to get the shot you want. The limited knowledge I have of lenses tells me you can get a zoom lens that goes to an aperture of 2.8, but they are very, very costly. Well over $1,000. The 50 mm f1.8 lens can be purchased for just over $100.
The neatest thing about shooting with a very wide aperture is the depth of field it creates as can be seen in many of these photos. You can really isolate the subject and make it stand out from the background.
You can barely see a few ants crawling on the mushroom pictured above. This mushroom left me wishing I had a macro lens.
Melanie really encouraged me during the class to switch from shooting in aperture priority mode where I choose just the aperture and ISO and the camera picks the shutter speed, to shooting in full manual mode where I choose all 3 settings. This will take a lot of getting used to and is more time-consuming but definitely has some benefits.
We spent some time in the tunnel under Sutton Rd practicing taking silhouette pictures. This same technique can be used at the beach to create a photo where your kids appear as silhouettes with either the clear sky or waves in the background.
This class left me realizing that while I have learned so much about photography this year, there’s still so much I want to learn. Around the end of October, Melanie plans on having a class that focuses on both architectural photography and night photography and it will take place in Uptown Charlotte. When a date and time has been set, I’ll post information on it.
In the meantime, if you’re looking to learn more about photography, Melanie has two classes coming up this fall at York Tech. You can register for them online.
- Beginning to Intermediate Digital Photography- September 11- October 4 2012 from 6-9pm Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cost is $179. This class covers photography basics including an understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
- Advanced Digital Photography- October 9- October 18 2012. Cost is $130. This class will get you comfortable shooting in Manual Mode.
Look for a post in a few days about Melanie’s exciting new business Alphabet Photographs.