Why ‘Still Life’ is Recommended for Learning

26 Sep

As part of my “teach myself photography” project, I decided to try a simple still life. Quite a few of the (numerous) online tutorial sites suggest that it’s a good exercise. Instead of worrying about catching a fleeting image (especially for sunrises and sunsets, which I’ve concentrated on), you can just take your time and work through getting lighting, focus, composition, white-balance, aperture, and timing all sorted out.

  • Dalek and Spikey

 

I set up a quick grouping in the garage, using a couple of work lights for illumination and some toys as subjects. With the tripod in place and a so-so composition in place, I hit my first snag straight away and had to dive back to the manual before I could take a single shot! In this case I realised I needed to tell the autofocus to shift to an off-centre point. Easily done, but one of the many items in the manual that I’d put on the “later” pile. I wanted to change the ISO rating (light sensitivity) as well, and I had at least looked that up. Once I took a few photos I realised why the issue of white-balance (how red-ish or blue-ish the lights are) was so important, and there was another part of the manual for me to hunt up.

For a quick exercise, I can really recommend it.

  • Spikey and Minions

(Note: Spikey’s minions are made from chunks of lead that I melted and poured into cold water, then soldered the resulting sharp/organic shapes together. Dangerous but fun.)

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