By Joe Farace
One of the best ways to improve your photography is the self-assignment. Mine is taking pictures of barns, the older the better. Here are my personal guidelines when photographing barns but consider them as a place to start your own explorations.
# 1: Always ask permission and don’t walk onto someone’s land as if you own it. I keep images on an iPad to show people what I’ve done hoping once they see my photos they’ll be accommodating. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t.
# 2: Remember the adage of “f/8 and be there” and keep a camera handy. The photo at the top of this post was made while my wife and I were driving to lunch. I had a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 28mm-135mm IS lens attached and made several exposures of this barn.
# 3: To get all the important details in clear focus, I shoot at the smallest possible apertures, preferring f/16 or smaller. When composing, don’t forget the total area of sharp focus is one-third in front of the object and two-thirds behind.
# 4: Most digital SLRs with a monochrome option also let you apply digital filters to the image so for black and white shots I’ll typically add a Red filter in to produce dramatic skies and snappy, contrasty images.
# 5: Use the lowest possible ISO setting. This may result in slow shutter speeds, which is why I also keep a tripod in my car. Using a tripod slows the pace of photography and spending extra time makes sure the composition is exactly the way I want it to look.
Tip: Avoid surprises, look at the four corners of the frame before clicking the shutter.