Gone are the days, when a couple of rolls of 36 exposure Kodak film was considered a bountiful, in any destination. A fixed focus camera carried by most of the tourists gave them a memory shoot of the tourist destination and feel proud that they had actually visited the place. Most discerning of photo takers, would go for a SLR, and get a classy picture of the same shoot. Having used a Pentax KM SLR for 15 years in 80’s and 90’s, I simply loved the split image focusing and getting the photo, as I saw through the lens. An accessory like 2X zoom lens gave me a lot of candid shoots.
In 2006, I started with my first digicam Canon 510, with 3.1 Megapixels, for my Char Dham Yatra shoots. And, till this day it remains one of my most faithful companions, especially when I have to carry that stuff in my pocket. The 4X optical zoom it offfers, is good way to start. I had shot some of my very good videos. The drawback is that the zoom setting has to be done before a video shoot. The view finder, in addition to LED screen is a big plus. During sunlit days, in LED screen, you will see more of your own reflection than the scene. My next digicam a Canon SX 100 IS is a 8 Megapixel camera with 10X optical zoom. The zooming capability, while using video mode was an advantage. But doing away with view finder, was a big disadvantage in bright sun lit day. My next camera Canon SX 20 IS gave me a view finder albeit with low resolution, which helped me in a sunny day with LED screen reflecting most of light. The 20X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom served most of my still photography needs. The movie mode was not as good or comparable to Handycam, as the zooming in and out was too fast for comfort. That left me with no option but to go for a Sony Handycam DCR - SR47 with a whopping 60X optical zoom and 60GB memory internal hard disc.So, now my camera bag has to accommodate a still camera and also a Handycam.
For discerning photographers doing still photography, the high end camera called Digital SLR, proves to be best, in terms of focusing, composing, in all possible lighting conditions and providing with best possible clarity. The disadvantage again is, it does not have a movie mode.
All present day developments in digicam is focused around higher Megapixels and higher optical zooms. The higher Megapixels became more of a bane than a boon. 3 mp camera gives images of resolution good enough to cover the entire computer screen. Higher Mp only made you consume your memory sticks faster. More often than not, the camera shake decides whether your picture will be of good quality or not. A 12 Mp picture with camera shake will give as bad as a picture taken by an ordinary box camera of olden days! But then manufacturers are clever enough not to market low MP cameras. A high Mp camera can be made to work as a low Mp one with change in settings. But, in practice, one seldom used those settings. The large MB photos consume a lot of computer disc and take a lot of time to upload on internet. On the advantage side, a high Mp image taken with steady hand, is amenable to processing in computer,most importantly photo cropping without losing any of its picture clarity.
The intent of Photo Talk is to share my experiences of shooting images and movies using a Digicam and Handycam and subsequent processing work using a software in computer. As the saying goes, photo speaks a thousand words. A viewer interprets a photo through his imagination. A photographer conveys his story through his photo effort. Not always both are in convergence. Generally speaking most photographers and viewers are happy to get a technically good picture which is correctly exposed, well focused and well composed. With the advent of present day digicams, for all possible lighting conditions, image stabilisation incorporated in most of the cameras, one rarely takes a bad picture unless his hand shakes too much. Hence it is difficult to separate the quality of images which millions of photographers bombard the net. In social websites like Facebook, the Birds, Bees and Flowers predominates and it is no big deal to get appreciation for the same. Yet there are discerning photographers who want to surpass the realms of the obvious and experiment on their own. Some try to shoot a photo from an unusual angle, or use black and white or colour depending on subject and the story he wants to convey. The single most successful ingredient for a photographer is the content of the image or video. In other words as I perceived over the years, 'content is the king.' Some rare content in a photo will stand out even with less technical perfection. The professional news photographers score very high on that count.The subsequent Blogs will focus on various aspects to improve one’s photo taking ability or photo processing ability. Blogs will also be there in form of photo essays where the photographer will add a few lines to his frame, to say his part of the story.