Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aspect ratios and indoor photography

click photo to enlarge
I was speaking to someone the other day about the four aspect ratios that the Lumix LX3 camera offers. They are 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1. This person used a Canon camera and said he favoured the 3:2 format. In fact, he said, he couldn't imagine using any other aspect ratio. When I probed for the reason he said he'd got used to it when shooting 35mm film cameras. I suppose we all look at these things from our own perspective, but I too was a long-time 35mm film photographer, and I love the choice of different aspect ratios that cameras such as the LX3 offer today. In fact, I prefer most of their offerings over 3:2, which I find too much towards square without actually getting there. The reason for cameras using that particular size (36mm X 24mm) goes back to the adoption of movie film for still cameras, so isn't particularly grounded in aesthetics so much as necessity.

Our conversation then turned to the 16:9 ratio. My colleague was of the view that it might have an application for landscape photographs. It does, and I've posted a few on this blog. However, I find that it is also an excellent aspect ratio for indoor shots. On  a visit a while ago to Southwell Workhouse, an early nineteenth century answer to those unable or unwilling to make provision for themselves, I took several shots in this format. One was the subject of an earlier post. Today I've posted two more 16:9 images from that location to demonstrate how it lends itself not only to the great outdoors, but to the confines of indoors. The first shows a reconstruction of one of the dormitories for the inmates. The other was taken in the basement at the bottom of one of the flights of stairs that led down into the low subterranean rooms where food was prepared.

Photographs and text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1 (Photo 2)
Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.8 (2.0)
Shutter Speed: 1/320 (1/125)
ISO: 80 (400)
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 (-0.66) EV
Image Stabilisation: On