David’s Perry’s Photography Lesson

  • Post published:08/04/2011
  • Post comments:8 Comments
David Perry, Photographer

One of the stellar events of the Garden Blogger’s Seattle Fling was the workshop with David Perry, photographer extraordinaire.  We only had an hour of instruction, but I went right out to use the P setting on my little Canon Power Shot A590.  I call it my Point and Hope because it is so difficult to use in the sun – but it was raining at the Bloedel Reserve and I was ready to actually move the dial from Auto and adjust my exposure. Radical.

Once I put the dial on P I pressed the little button next to the LCD screen that has a tiny + slash minus. I press that button and I see a dotted line on the screen shot going from -2 to +2 with 0 in the middle which is the default Auto exposure. David says he thinks that, generally speaking, automatic settings are too bright. He recommended hitting another little button to get the exposure down to -2/3.

Willow - Automatic exposure

This is the willow tree and pond right near the Visitor’s Center where David gave his workshop. I was wasting no time. I used the automatic exposure first.

Willow with - 2/3 exposure

I can definitely see an improvement. And I am no longer afraid of the P setting. I might even try a – 1/3 or – 1 or even -2. With all intermediate settings. Experimentation is the way to go. Bracketing – trying out different settings for the same shot to see which is better.  There are times when a + 1/3 or + 2/3 or +1 or +2 might be called for. But not in the rain at the Bloedel.

He gave our group another couple of tips. He recommended a flexible plastic cutting board to use as a light diffuser when the sun is too bright, or even a very mild  spotlight. I found my cutting board at the Lamson and Goondow outlet. Three bucks!  He also said that while he, and other professional photographers have expensive tripods, many of us might consider going to Home Depot or some such and buying a tripod that construction people use for laser leveling. Less than twenty bucks. I am ready to invest!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Lisa at Greenbow

    Hmmmmm tripod. I have one of those and never use it. Maybe I should. The cuttingboard diffuser is a good idea.

  2. Pat

    Lisa, I haven’t gotten a tripod yet, but I felt very brave lowering my exposure. We haven’t had much sun since I bought my cutting board, but you will hear how that works. Soon I hope.

  3. Wasn’t he the best help ever? I’ve heard him talk three times, and I learn something new every time. I also had a point and hope that day, and I learned a lot using it.~~Dee

  4. I love David’s willingness to share, and he’s always fun and inspiring to listen to. It was definitely a highlight of our trip.

  5. Mary Schier

    Great tip! I use the P setting a lot and then adjust the aperture up and down a couple of settings on the same shot to get different light levels. This sounds a bit easier.

  6. Cindy, MCOK

    I’m thinking about getting one of those Popabrellas David had on his camera. He is as entertaining as he is informative!

  7. Layanee

    Oh, yes. It was a great talk. Need a camera umbrella. Really.

  8. Tatyana

    Thank you! I attended only the last event, at the Dragonfly Farms. So, for me, it’s good to read about what I missed.

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