From time to time, I host a café meet up and talk about photography. Today, a group member asks a very basic question that others seem too shy to bring up. He wants to know the definition of photography. ”It’s an art to capture a subject by using camera and lens as a medium,” one replies. “It’s a way to document time and space,” says another. Everybody has a different definition and they’re all correct. However, it seems that everyone in my group forget the most important ingredient in photography—light. According to Merriam-Webster, photography is defined as “the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or a CCD chip).”
What do you find when you look at your camera, any camera, film or digital? You find settings that regarded to light, correct?. ISO setting is used to determine the sensitivity of photographic films or digital imaging sensors to light. Shutter speed is used to control the duration of light allows to reach the negative or image sensor. While the aperture is used to manipulate the amount of light reaching the negative or image sensor. Since these settings work in conjunction with each other, they’re equally important when it comes to producing a well-exposed photograph.
Many beginners often overlook the ISO setting, thinking the Auto ISO will give them the peace of mind. I think differently. I think that the ISO is the most important setting and it is always the first I check each time I pick up a camera. When I see a sharp edge shadow—I’m a hardcore old schooler. I don’t look at the light but I look at the shadow to see my light—I would set my ISO to the lowest setting. With a soft edge shadow, my ISO would be set in the range of 250 to 400. ISO 500 to 640 would be set for shooting in shading areas while 800 to 6400 would be used for evening, restaurant and night club scenes. To control the duration of light, my reference for shutter speed settings is based on two factors—the focal length of the lens on my camera and the light sensitivity that I set by way of the ISO setting. Say, I’m using a 35mm lens and my ISO is set at 640, then I know my safe the slowest shutter speed is 1/30 and the highest is 1/640. Aperture settings are often based on the dof which I want to achieve but I rarely set the aperture at its widest f/ stop—unless I really have to. Often, f/5.6 is my choice for street shooting and f/2.8 for portrait.
Keep in mind, my friends. Photography is the artistry with light.