Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chinatown and Carnaby

Yes, that is my hand.

Yesterday in photo class we learned more about exposure times and techniques like panning, which means following a moving object with your lens so the object is in focus while the background is blurry. The teacher had us hold our cameras on our shoulders and spin around while focused on our outstretched hands. I thought that was a pretty clever way to show how panning works.

We also experimented with spinning the camera itself while snapping a photo, which produces this effect.

And isn't this cool? If you use a long exposure in a dark room and someone sets off a flash a few times in front of their face -- in this case, my teacher -- this ghostly effect is the result.

We studied other things too, like how changes in the aperture (or F-stop) affect the depth of field. Again, some of this stuff I already know, but experimenting with it is always helpful. It's surprising how lazy you get just shooting everything on automatic. You forget what your camera can do.

In the late afternoon our class took a walk over to Chinatown, where we broke up and spent an hour or so shooting. I like this shot, with its bright colors and relatively shallow depth of field (blurry foreground and background).

And on the way home, I stopped on Carnaby Street -- scene of the swinging '60s fashion scene in London and home of the miniskirt -- and took some shots at night with longer exposures.

I'm having a lot of fun with this class. Today is a homework day -- I have a few assignments, but I'm also planning to just go out and wander a bit.


  1. Such cool pictures! I should sign Mike up for a photography class - or maybe me, since I hve more time.

  2. I'm really enjoying seeing what you are doing in this class.

  3. How exciting! I am really intrigued by the ghostly photo. It looks like the sky's the limit in terms of possible technique. Maybe if you get an A in the course they will hire you to teach. That might be fun.

  4. So cool. I'd love to take a class like this. I just bumble along with my digital camera --

  5. Your shots look wonderful. I've always wanted to learn to do that. I think I will eventually have to go take a class.

    Ms. M

  6. love the photos! so, if i get laid off from my job (it's layoff season again!) i'm going to take a photo class too! what a capital idea! (that's my fake british accent because i so want to climb into that photo of Carnaby Street!). xo