Lesson 1 The Underwater Photo Course
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  1. Get your camera out and read through its instruction manual again, ensuring that you understand all its modes of operation, and what every button does.

  2. Buy yourself a roll of slide film, preferably a 36 exposure, 100 ISO film and load it.

  3. Plan a spare few hours to go out and take the following shots.

    1. Light and exposure exercises

      • Take two interior shots of one of the rooms in your house, one during the day using natural daylight, and one at night using the interior lights. Examine the colour balance between the two pictures.

      • Find a colourful garden with both sunlight and shaded areas. Compose a shot including both areas and take a normally exposed shot, then take additional shots at -3, -2 -1, +1, +2 and +3 stops adjusted from the correct exposure. Estimate what the exposure latitude of the film is. Optionally repeat this exercise using colour print film, but go from -5 to +5 stops with this.

    2. Shutter and aperture exercises

      • Again, in your garden location, compose a shot that has a foreground subject, a middle-distance subject, and a distant subject. Focus on the middle-distance subject, and take a shot at each of the apertures that your lens has. Observe the depth of field in the results. Could you have calculated these yourself? Are they what you expected?

      • If you have a telephoto or zoom-telephoto lens, mount it and set it to its longest focal length. Take a shot using 1/(focal length) as the shutter speed. Take another at the next fastest speed. Take another at the next slowest speed, and again at the next speed slower than that. Inspect each photograph for sharpness, and evidence of camera shake.

    3. Focal length exercises

      • In your garden location, find a suitable and willing model, and using a zoom, or a number of different focal length lenses, take a series of photographs from a fixed location using a variety of focal lengths at the same aperture. Examine changes in perspective and depth of field between photographs.

      • Repeat the exercise above with the same variety of focal lengths, but this time move closer or further away from your model so that they are framed identically in the viewfinder each time. Examine changes in perspective and depth of field between photographs.


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This page was last updated on 11 August 1998
Please address any comments to Mark Mumford