Friday, November 25, 2011

Going Manual

Today, we drove to a clinic to set up and help the sick locals in the town of Faridpur, very near the town we’re staying in, Bareilly.  Inside the clinic complex there were several out buildings.  One building had a room that we used for a pharmacy.  Another building had a room with desks and old hospital beds.  This is where the doctors would diagnose patients.  Next to the clinic was a primary school.  When we arrived, the kids were being picked up from school.  This seemed odd to me because we had not even had lunch yet.  They left in bike rickshaws pulling a caged wagon in which the kids would ride.  It looked like they were being carried away to prison.  Ivan and I took pictures of the bike rickshaws leaving the school. Once the kids left, my mom used the school room for a physical therapy area.

Later in the afternoon, Ivan taught me about the functions on manual cameras, such as  aperture and shutter speed.  He taught me this because he and Dad have talked about getting me a better quality camera with manual settings.  After taking some photos around the clinic, Ivan and I wandered the streets taking photos.  After ten minutes or so, my camera ran out of battery power. 

While taking pictures on the streets, I gained an appreciation for a new type of photography, film.  Due my dead camera battery, Ivan let me shoot a roll of film with his film camera.  I had only thirty-six pictures on the roll so every shot counted.  The film was black and white, so my pictures could not be beautiful in their colors and they had to be beautiful in composition.  I had to focus each shot by hand and change the aperture and shutter speed with a nob on the camera.  I cannot promise this, but Ivan said that he will scan the film and email it to me.  If he does that, I will put the photos on the blog. 

Ivan also taught me that the wider the aperture, the shallower the depth of field.  If the depth of field is shallow, then only a small subject in the picture is in focus and every thing else in the photo is blurry. If the depth of field is deep, then a large area of the picture is in perfect focus.  The shutter speed is how quickly the camera takes a picture.  If the shutter speed is very fast the camera lets in very little light.  Also, the picture is less blurry if the shutter speed is quick. If the shutter speed is slow, the camera lets in a lot of light.  If the aperture is wide, it lets in tons more light than if the aperture is small.  So say if you wanted a shallow depth of field and the light was very dark, you would have to turn the shutter speed way down to properly expose the picture.  These functions can only be changed with a nicer camera that has a manual mode.

After a day at the clinic, we drove back to the orphanage where I interviewed one of the clinic’s directors, an 80 year old American lady, named Lillian, who has lived in India for 60 years.  She took a steam freighter ship to India when she was twenty.  She was very chatty and happily talked to me about her life.  She had always wanted to be a P.E. teacher, but her mother had always wanted, in vain, to go to India to be a missionary.  So, Lillian gave up her PE teacher dream and came to India.  Though the interview was interesting, after a long day, the talking made me tired and I was not very inspired for this blog.  I will write more on the subject tomorrow.

Thank you for reading Rohan geographic!


  1. Hi Rohan - I thought your blog was very informative and it sounds as if you had a very good lesson on how a film camera works. That's the only way we could take pictures for years before digital cameras. The only down side is that you can't see your results until you take them to a place to be developed. Loved the photo with the cow covered with a blanket. Was it a sick cow? xoxo Grandmalish

  2. Hi Rohan, Cat & Tim -- Sounds like you had a good thanksgiving. We did too. We're glad that you all are keeping safe and healthy. What a journey! Love, John, Liz, Anne, Lucy, and Margaret

  3. Grandma Lish,
    Thank you for sharing my enthusiasm with film photography! I think I will save up for one on Ebay and turn my bathroom into a dark room!

    Phily Silbaugh Clan,
    Thank you so much for reading my blog!

  4. Rohan,
    I'm glad your camera lasted long enough to take a few pics. I, for one, am glad not to have to deal with camera film, but I do admire folk with more persistence (and brains?) than I have. As usual your pictures were interesting. As did your Grandma Nancy, I also wondered if that cow was ill. And what was in the 5 large burlap bags?
    Love, Doris