Artigos Peregrinos

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Photography on the Camino
Pieter Pannevis - pilgrim and professional photographer - the Netherlands

Take your own camera with you. The one you KNOW!
Do not buy it 1 day before you go and are unfamiliar with it
If you thinking on buying one consider the following points and get acquainted with the camera and at least run one film to see if you get the options of the camera right.

IF weight is important, buy a light camera
Buy a camera with also a light surface (the new ones with golden and silver looks reflect the sun and leaving it on a table in the sun will destroy the images if the temp. goes up to high).

In buying a camera, go for the wide-angle option. Churches, groups, interiors of churches can nicely done with 30 to 35 mm, even landscapes with enormous skies are impressive.
If you can spare the money try a compact and lightest camera available and look for the zoom f.i. (it says 33~70 mm) The more you can spend on it, the better the zoom qualities become….say 35 or 45 ~240mm (the longer the telephoto, the longer your wide angle is…(it's technical very difficult to incorporate) a nice wide extreme wide angle with a good telephoto (to get detail out of …a church (a statue of St James).
Mind that if your getting to telephoto there is a loss in light coming to your film; so steady the camera then

The mentioned cameras are all 35 mm no APS as 35 mm is more readily available in Spain.
However a compact camera always is surpassed by the normal SLR camera's in quality of sharpness. If you think you can carry it, think about it.
Again a wide angle is always useful. Or take a wide angle and a zoom (80~200 or 250mm)

Compact camera's come with more or less intelligent flash. They do not only calculate the amount of flash to the distance (be careful by placing the automatic sharpness control area on your camera on the right subject, then pressing the pushbutton slightly down to fix the distance and than compose and release shutter.), some have also the option of flash outside to revive colours. Use it! On dull days in makes a difference or when you shooting towards the sun.

To keep the "mood" of the scene never set it on flash, but disable it.
Never flash in churches or large interiors: it makes no sense. It never shows!

Adjust your photography to your subject. So a tall vertical object will be a standing photo etc.
Always remember the golden rule 1/3 to 2/3. This will say never have the horizon or line in the middle of your photo. Think of what part is more important. Is it the cobles on the Roman way…then only a bit of clouds If you're on the meseta and seeing all around..go for the skies with the clouds ( if any) and have only a minor section of "ground".

Doing a city street; watch for activity: a dog in the street will already liven up your picture.

On films.
Buy colour negative even if you not used to these kind of thing. 36 Exposures
Colour- negative is sharper due to the thinner film and you can make perfect transp. and black and white out of it. The speed you choose will be between 200 and 800 (for all seasons)

There are very small foldable ultra mini tripods on the market (9 grams). (Usually sold as display units in camera stores) - check for socket to hold camera.
These tripods come in very handy: if you're going alone and you like to be incorporated in the picture (or all of you). Use the self-timer and…before leaving home try out the camera and its option first without and later with film and check the results!

You always find a table, a stone, the roof of a car to place your camera on, set the timer and run and smile. Do not forget in leaving the camera alone to secure it with the strap…. gravity likes cameras!!

Without a tripod try to find a stable underground…with a little bit of luck you're getting handy in these things…(By the way sharpness in you're picture is mostly set by camera motion not by the quality of the lens uses - source:Ansel Adams).

What to photograph?
I found out that the most cherished photos are those of friends and not of beautiful landscapes…even do not forget that. To see if a landscape "works", close one eye and SEE if it is still as impressive. Some tips: Try to incorporate foreground (which will give distance) A small flower in the foreground give a relation to the scene behind.
Try to incorporate colour
Try to incorporate lines (roads …which lead to your subject). Play with shadow, dark and light.

Do not assume that the moment you come to think to photograph something, you're also on the right spot to do so.!! Investigate your subject.

In buildings etc. go forward backwards up and down, move around to see if it's getting better. Mind that a low perspective ( on your belly) or standing somewhere on it, can make the photo more attractive.
A good set consist of a grand overview ( 50 meters), nearer to get an interesting sight (10 m) and a close up (3 m) and a very close up (1 m or nearer)
If it's people: press the button and see later. If you're in doubt and your close ask the person involved if he/she is all right to have the picture taken

Should you buy postcards…? .Yes if you're not sure These card making people had their camera, the right moment and the right time to do so, but even it's your Camino so make a photo yourself as well. It's your personal statement of that what you found interesting. Do not try to copy a postcard- if you like that: copy these photo standards outside with all the cards in it.!

Photos a generally speaking taken too far away. A nice close up makes the difference in your series. Try to get hold of the essentials of your pilgrim way. (I liked more my photos of the interiors of an alberque than the inside of Eunate )

Go for people you meet, the daily routine, which becomes THE Story, when you come home.
The blisters, the mud, the inside of a bar, your food, signs and shields on the Camino. Do not have all sunshine photos. I there is fog or rain…just continue.
. If you cannot find the right films for a moment go for the substitute; you will find that something happens on the way - when you have no film.!
Always check if the film is rightly set in the camera …and there is a film in it! Check progress in the camera and do not rely only on the counter
Have the camera always ready in your front pouch! Never hide it in your backpack.

What to do with the films?
Keep processed and unprocessed films in the most inner side of your backpack in the plastic container it comes in. Keep it cool! (If you can). See to it that the used film has no film slip outside (roll it entirely into the cassette). So you are not troubled by the fact op using one film twice…..

If you think you can, take the films with you and have them processed at home. Or you can send a packet containing these films home.
One day processing is not bad in Spain, so you can try that as well. The Fuji shop more or less next to the Officina de Peregrinos works very well and fast. Nice people too!

I made a photo of my arrival with Trigo in Santiago and had it copied several times there and send it to all my friends back home as a postcard (prepared the stickers at home). Much nicer than a bought card. If you promise people a photo, do not "forget" to send it.

On digitals: This is the latest of course and the only problem is…battery power and storage.
Buy an at least 3.3 million pixel one. For batteries: the rechargeable of 1800 mAh type and do take the charger with you. Try to get as much memory cards with you as possible 128 MB or 256 MB.
To preserve battery power do NOT use the screen: it consumes. A set of empty batteries will be recharged in one night! So if you can ALWAYS recharge: it's like taking water on your trip.

Be aware that there IS a delay in pressing the "shutter" and the actual taking of it as the CCD reads it in….Do not set the camera on the lowest resolution in order to get more photos on your memory card or stick. It will not print very well!

Happy hunting and a good Camino!

Enviado por Pieter Pannevis
 
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