Looking for some good advice? / by Mario Mirabile

I seem to have become the go-to guy for photographic advice among my local group at work - probably because I spend far too much time reading photography related sites and blogs. While I’d be happy to sit around and dispense my wisdom all day, this is not as simple a proposition as it sounds. Everyone’s goals, budget, current equipment base, level of expertise and actual needs vary so widely that the simple answer sought is rarely forthcoming. If someone says they want to take photos of their kids with blurry backgrounds, the simple answer - that they buy a large aperture lens for their camera and shoot it wide open - is merely the start of the conversation. From there the discussion moves into the realms of aperture, focal length, subject distance, the relative merits of the 50mm f/1.8 vs the 50mm f/1.4 and so on.

I figured that what these guys needed more than advice was a dose of practical education, so I offered (perhaps foolishly) to lead them on lunchtime photo walks. Hopefully in the process they’re learning something about what all those arcane settings on their cameras mean and how to use them to improve their photos.

Given the constraints imposed by time and being on foot, the range of subjects and areas we can tackle will be limited. I’m not sure how long I’m going to be able to keep the walks interesting, both for myself and the participants. The basic aim to visit somewhere of photographic interest or explore some aspect of photographic technique each week. This time the goal was to examine some old pilings in the Yarra which have been converted into a sculpture. We didn't get that far as we stopped and spent a fair bit of time exploring various aspects and angles of this sculpture instead. We'll get to the pilings another day.