When do I break the rules…

As in all of art, photography has a set of rules all it’s own in addition to the larger sets of rules: design, color, composition. Photography’s rules have more to do with exposing the image. Use a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the subject. Use the lowest iso you can to improve the quality and reduce noise and grain. Focus on the subject and use a plenty of depth of field to keep things sharp. The “Program” setting on cameras with automatic is designed take care of all those in one setting. And for most people starting out, it is the safe way to get good photos, letting the camera do the work. But the art of photography doesn’t really start until you get off program and learn how the shutter speed, iso, f-stop and focus work. Then you can use those basics to manipulate the images to what your vision allows.

For this image from Bricktown I wanted to add to the feeling of dark deserted buildings. Using a vintage 16mm movie lens on my Canon M5 causes vignetting in the corners, I intentionally raised the iso to the highest settings, iso 25,000, and underexposed 1 stop. This gave the image the raw “early day” spooky look I was after.

One of my favorite techniques is to use a slow shutter speed which blurs the image. I compare the technique to that of the impressionist painters. Blurring color and shapes and creating new emotion and feeling.

In the car photo I used panning, following the subject with the lens, to create the blur of Christmas lights in the background. I panned the camera against a stationary object, the Crystal Bridge at the Myriad Gardens, to create an abstract, and rotated the camera on the lens axis to create the spinning tree.

All of these images came about because I learned the “rules” and then made the decision to “break” them. Get of Program and break some rules!


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