Sunday, 30 September 2012

Shooting where no tripod may go

This is  what happens if you don't use a tripod: blurred images or worse, too much noise as the camera, set to Auto ISO cranks the sensitivity through the rook to 'get' the shot, no matter what.
Same view with the camera set to f8, ISO 100 and placed on the floor with the self-timer set for 2 seconds. Make sure no one trips over your camera while doing this!
Italy has some fabulous churches, palaces and museums. In many you can take pictures, which is great, because I really hate being told "no photo", even if I don't want to take a shot. For me it's a little like freedom of speech.
In the example of the fabulous Duomo in Siena, it's most likely to do with keeping the flow of visitors unencumbered by dawdling photographers - but occasionally it might also be to prevent ordinary people from cashing in on the postcard, poster and DVD market. As if anyone is going to do that.

I know tripods can be a nuisance in a church - the Duomo of Siena is a classic example. When I visited, the normally covered tiled floors had been uncovered. Apparently this happens for a few weeks a year so it felt that every man, and his dog, had turned up to check them out. It's impressive, as is the massive black-and-white architecture.

But, boy is it dark inside. So how can you get a clear shot? My technique (which of course, is totally covered by world copyright laws and must never be copied), is to pre-focus the lens on the ceiling, set it on a suitable depth of field (normally f8), choose the two or ten second self-timer and then carefully place the camera on the floor, press the shutter and walk away. Doing this allows you to get a good shot at ISO 100, with far less noise and clarity than everyone else. All those folk I see walking round the cathedral banging off picture after picture are going to be sorely disappointed...

Here's an example of pillar photography. Hold the camera carefully against a pillar, squeeze the shutter button and don't let go till the end of the exposure or the exposure bracket if shooting a sequence for HDR
You can also do a similar thing by holding the camera against a pillar although you are somewhat limited by the angles available. It usually works well.

If Plan A doesn't work because there's not enough floor space, go to Plan B and buy a calendar...

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