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Update August, 2019

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SNAP SHOTS   by Harry Flashman


Age is no barrier

With modern cameras, age is no barrier to enjoyable photography.

Today, age really is no barrier. In fact I received a letter from a reader, and I quote, “Up until quite recently I had no particular interest in photography, for many years I have had a camera of some sort ranging from a box which used a Selo or Kodak roll film and as regards pictures were concerned I just pointed the box in the direction of something that caught my eye and clicked.  After a few days I would collect my films from developing, look at them, show them around and then put them in a box and that was that.

“Your page in the Pattaya Mail gave me a tip which I had never considered, this being to use height in taking a picture of a marching parade, marvelous. My picture would have been a side view of a couple of people mixed in with a few heads standing in front of me.

“Thanks to you I have taken a really good view which I am proud to show. Thank you again, also I am able to tell people about, SLR and wysiwyg.

“Another reason to write is that the name Harry Flashman is not common but when I was 7 or 8 years old, I am 90 this year, I remember a boy of that exact name, could it be you or a descendant?”  Henry McCarthy.

Many thanks Henry, but I’m not your boy from all those years ago, but I am delighted that you have found photography at your age.

As one gets older, physical activity is important – just getting out of the house or condo is an enjoyment in itself. This is where photography is so good. Give yourself a small photo project and out you go and illustrate it.

Photography is an ideal pastime for seniors, because it is something that can be picked up and put down at will, it is not too physically demanding, and modern cameras can assist in the areas where age has taken some toll. And the end result is something that can give you great joy, be that award winning sunsets or just pictures of the grandchildren.

To play photography you need a camera. Get one with autofocus (AF). There are many reasons for this, but since sharp focus is necessary for a good final print, let the camera do it for you, when sharpness in vision is something that becomes very problematical as you get older.  Provided you can point the camera in the right direction, the camera will do the rest.

Zoom lenses also save you having to go the distance. Is it just too much of a hassle these days to walk up to distant objects to get close-up details?  Then a zoom lens will do it for you. With a zoom lens it is no problem at all to get a close-up, a wide angle and a distant shot from the same camera position. Maybe an autofocus digital compact camera with an inbuilt zoom lens is just the camera for you. Just push a button to make the zoom bring the subject closer or farther away.

As we get older, we are also more prone to the shakes. Today’s digital cameras can even compensate for the tremor, with anti-shake technology. This makes photography for seniors even easier.

Today’s camera manufacturers have taken the fears out of flash too. Most new cameras have their own in-built flash which comes on when the light levels are too low, will set their own flash power and give you perfectly lit indoor night shots every time.

So there you have it, retirees. There are cameras available now which can get you into photography! If you once had the ‘photographic eye’, then that ability is still there. All you have to do is get the equipment to let you use and enjoy it again. Look for suitable AF digital compacts with built in zoom, anti-shake technology and auto flash.

Pricewise you are looking at spending something starting around Bt.10,000. There are plenty of choices in the marketplace - something from the major brands such as Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Samsung. A hint to the family around Xmas or birthday should suffice.

Guaranteed better photos in 2019

Photography has something for everyone. Pensioners can take great photos, and so can youngsters. What I am doing today is to try and make sure you get even better photos.

Fancy cameras are not needed, good technique is. The following tips will help you get the most out of your investment. Of course you should remember that point and shoot varieties have limitations and SLR’s have advantages! The two types of cameras have their different capabilities, and you must stick within the parameters.

The first tip is one that I give to everyone at least once a year. “Walk several meters closer”! More good shots are ruined by having the subject as small dots in some huge background. Make the subject the hero. If the subject(s) are people, then use the telephoto setting and still walk in closer. Fill the frame with the subject and you do not need to worry about the backgrounds. Ever!

Another easy procedure is to use filters to warm up the scene, or polarize and add some intense color to the photo. “But my point and shoot digital doesn’t take filters,” I hear you say. Sure, but the lens is physically so small, it is easy to place something before it. Even various colored sunglasses can both polarize and add warmth to the shot. You may want to put the camera on a tripod, while you hold the sunglasses directly over the lens. There are small ‘mini’ tripods you can use, which retail for around B. 200 and do the job admirably. By the way, the polarizing effect is most noticeable when you are shooting “with” the light, rather than into it.

When taking portraits outdoors, turn the flash on as well. The camera will have set itself to expose the darkest part of the scene, so the flash then brightens up the foreground subject.

Another trick to outdoors portraiture is to take some shots with the sun behind the subject to ‘rim light’ the hair with the halo effect. With the sun behind the subject, you also stop the screwed up eyes from the sun’s glare, which is never very photogenic.

You should also explore your camera’s capabilities. A notebook will also help you so get one. Try different settings and see what the end result can be, but remember what the settings were by noting them in your notebook, if you want to repeat the effect!

One setting that most digital cameras possess is a ‘macro’ mode. Use this to discover new and exciting details in your garden. The macro mode is usually depicted as a flower in your on-screen menu. Remember that to get the best macro shots, look carefully at which part of the subject will be in focus. The depth of field in macro is very shallow, so note where the camera magic eye is indicating the focus point is, relative to the subject, before slowly pressing the shutter release.

Another very simple tip, but one that seems to be forgotten is the placement of the horizon line, which should be one third down from the top of the LCD screen, or one third up from the bottom of the screen. The horizon line (as the name suggests) should also be horizontal! Now place the image one third in from either side. This is the Rule of Thirds.

Another tip is to buy another memory card. The one you will get with the camera is too small. Buy a 4GB card and use the highest resolution you can. This way, if you do have a great shot, you can have it enlarged, and still be sharp. Another advantage of having two cards is you never end up with a full card and another great shot to be taken. I set my camera on 200 ASA for 90 percent of the time.

It should be remembered that when you bought this new camera because it had plenty of megapixels, unless you run the camera at its highest resolution, all the expense of the additional megapixel capability has been wasted. You got a 24 megapixel camera, rather than an old 12 megapixel for that reason! So enjoy your camera, this weekend.

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Age is no barrier

Guaranteed better photos in 2019