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David’s Perry’s Photography Lesson

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!

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