COLUMN: Tips and tricks for better pics from Norman Silverstone

With winter soon to be at our backs and spring rapidly approaching, what better time to share with you a few shooting tips.

With winter at our backs and spring rapidly approaching, what better time to share with you a few shooting tips.— Want to shoot your sweetie indoors and don’t have a flash? No problem. Use a north facing window, have the subject sit or stand as close to the window as possible and you will have a very soft, pleasant light falling on the face.Use a large white cardboard, a large white paper, or a newspaper opened up to reflect light onto the dark side of the face and shoot away. If you are using a digital camera that is set to ISO 200, you will probably be shooting around 1/30 of a second at f5.6 or f8, so make sure that you are using a tripod.— Do you want to get a star point effect but don’t have a filter? Use some black window screen material. Get different mesh spacing as the finer the mesh, the longer the star rays. Point the camera directly at the light source. Use a medium aperture, if you have an f2.8 lens then shoot at f5.6, if you have an f4 lens then shoot at f8.— Do you need a filter that will soften those facial zits and diminish those ‘crows feet wrinkles’? Try panty hose stretched across the lens and held in place with an elastic band around the lens. Be careful what colour that you choose, beige will give the photo a warm look while white will give it a misty look.— Here is a simple test to see if you or your camera shakes too much when you press the shutter release.Mount the camera on a tripod or a heavy table and make sure that the camera is level. Balance a nickel coin on the top edge of the lens or camera body, press the shutter button and watch carefully to see if the coin moves, jumps, or in extreme cases, falls over.— When setting up a tripod on a slippery floor, a double strip of duct tape stuck on the floor in front of the leading tripod leg will prevent slipping and sliding.— Want to have more control on your electronic flash? Try using a piece of aluminum foil shaped like a cone. Attach the large end of the cone to the electronic flash with tape, be careful not to cover the sensor, aim, fire.Try different cone openings.—  A lot of floor vibration? If your tripod and camera are set up where floor vibrations may occur, take a piece of metal coat hanger and mount it to the top of the camera (slide it into the hot shoe). Make a small flag out of tape and attach it to the top end of the wire so that it is visible from a distance. When the flag stops shaking, the camera has stopped vibrating and you can take a sharp photo.—  I just might give you a surprise multiple choice test next month. How much do you know? Hmmmmm. Any questions? E-mail me at Silverstone teaches photography through North Island College and Eldercollege in PortAlberni.