Posts tagged Art
When buying a new digital camera, most people start out with the best intentions of becoming a truly creative photographer. One look at that thick, complex technical manual, and they switch the camera to auto…and that’s where it stays. As a result, most of us settle for snapshot photography when our cameras are capable of so much more.
Does this sound like you? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Camera manuals reflect the technical power of modern cameras, but they are intimidating to any beginner who just wants to take a decent photo.
Digital cameras are like most computer programs; you may find you can get by with about ten percent of the available functions. So don’t get tied up in knots trying to understand everything. Just learn what you need to know, and learn it well, and you will be well on the way to being a better photographer.
Here are a few tips that may just take the complexity out of photography for you.
Tip #1. Stick with the basics. In the days of film, good photographers used SLR cameras with two main settings; aperture and shutter speed. These were the ingredients of all great photography. Today, cameras come with hundreds of features, but guess which ones you really need to understand? That’s right, aperture and shutter speed.
If you can understand these two settings, you are halfway to becoming a better photographer. Your manual (I never said you could throw it away) will tell you which buttons to press on your camera. However, to really understand what these settings are all about, don’t rely on the manual. There is plenty of information out there; workshops, websites, books and ebooks can help.
Practice has never been easier than it is today. Most cameras have semi-automatic settings, called ‘aperture priority’ and ‘shutter priority,’ that allow you to operate one setting while the camera takes care of the other. This is a great way to practice a skill without fear of getting too many failed exposures.
Tip #2. Learn from your mistakes. If you just delete every photo you are not happy with, you are missing a golden opportunity to learn from your own experience. Photos you consider ‘rejects’ actually contain useful information – you really can learn from your mistakes!
Let’s say you are experimenting with aperture. Try photographing a scene three times, with three different aperture settings, for three slightly different results. Instead of keeping your favourite and deleting the others immediately, you could transfer them to your computer and take the time to examine them properly. You can see how each setting changed the look of the picture, and which setting worked best for that subject. Now you can learn from your own results, not from some theory in a book.
Did you know that if you right-click your mouse over a photograph on your computer and select ‘properties’ you will find a lot of information embedded in the file? You don’t have to keep a note of the aperture/shutter speed information; your photo does it for you!
Of course in the long term you don’t want to keep every single photo you take, but you might want to keep a folder of ‘learning photos’ to refer to later, with maybe two versions of each subject you experiment with. To make it even easier, rename the pictures with relevant titles, for example: Wildflowers/Small Aperture, Wildflowers/Wide Aperture; Waterfall/Fast Shutter, Waterfall/Slow Shutter.
Tip #3. Learn The Art As Well As The Technique. Every problem in photography cannot be solved by the camera. Experienced photographers know that good lighting and creative composition is often more important than up-market technology. In fact, most photos fail not because of bad technique, but because they were taken at the wrong time of day, or the photographer did not put enough thought into the composition. Yet daily I meet people who think that all their problems would be solved by a better camera, or some mysterious technique they are yet to learn.
Remember what I said in Tip #1; aperture and shutter speed are the fundamental skills, and with a little practice, they are not hard to learn. Master them and you are halfway there. The key to becoming a really good photographer is a balance of technical knowledge and artistic skill. Practice both, and soon your friends will be coming to you for photography tips!
Keeping small children occupied can be a full time job. Try utilizing crafts and creative play time to encourage recreational learning while keeping them entertained. Whether it’s one child alone or an entire group to keep busy, there are more things to get kids started in crafts than you’ll be able to choose from. Be sure to try to plan your activities based on the average age of the children. It will make the process much easier for everyone involved.
A safe and easy craft that kids tend to find fascinating is origami. There are many levels of origami from the incredibly simple to the advanced type of folding. Purchase gift wrap from a craft store or local big box store. It’s fun to let kids pick out the wrapping paper that they like. Even the local dollar or liquidation store will have plenty at a low price. Easy beginner origami can be found online with no trouble. Get involved by learning with your children as you go.
Paper plates have been a great craft accessory for years. Most of us can recall using them as children in school to make great things like masks or giant flowers. Supply kids with a stack of plates and additional decorative items like pipe cleaner, glue and markers. It’s always fun to see what children will come up with when set loose with a stack of great materials and their imagination.
Make use of those old egg cartons by giving them to the kids for crafts. An egg carton caterpillar is fun to create. Cut the egg carton so that there is an entire row of egg slots to form the caterpillar body. Use pipe cleaner for antenna and then go crazy decorating the body however you like. This is a great one for younger kids since it involves little cutting. Be sure to always supervise and assist small children with the use of scissors.
One craft idea that will always be timeless is making holiday or birthday cards by hand. There is something so special about receiving a home made card from a child that cannot be beaten by any store bought version. It’s a true keepsake that can be kept for many years as a part of a beautiful memory.
The options are virtually endless for crafts that are perfectly suited to smaller kids. Get them involved in reading by having them create their very own bookmarks. Use sturdy construction paper cut rectangular then let them do the rest with glitter, paint or beads. Have them make one in the style or theme of their favourite story. Pencil holders are also great and related to reading and writing. Decorate a can or wooden container tall enough to hold pencils. There really is no limit to what you can do.
It’s important to prevent kids from developing extreme tendencies for electronics and TV. While those things are fine in moderation, it’s necessary to keep the brain active and stimulated. Crafts for kids are both fun and results in some pretty neat stuff.
Most people who are artistic in nature at some point in time have probably thought about using oil painting to express their talents and create beautiful paintings. Fortunately, learning how to do create these paintings is very possible by taking several basic steps. Doing so is really just a matter of becoming proficient with certain oil painting techniques.
Before you begin with oil painting, be sure that you are workin More >
Adults need to connect with others, to develop satisfying relationships, and through the arts in a social setting such as in a visual arts class, a special bond can develop. It is people who are doing and creating together, not necessarily all doing the same thing, but all involved in the communal activity of making something new. It is not only new for the viewers, but it is even new, serendipitous and often surprising for More >