Saturday, June 25, 2011
Experimenting with camera settings
This last trip to the Sierra was my first opportunity to really experiment with the manual settings on my Nikon. First, I'd always just put it on "landscape mode" and clicked away. But, I didn't like the way the sky was coming out on my photos. It was too...blah! And, sometimes the photos themselves were overexposed. So, this trip, I REALLY tried to use the manual settings. I'm pretty comfortable with my camera now and I rarely take landscape mode photos after this trip! YEAH~! (applause, please!)...I thought I'd show you the difference between photos taken on a manual setting and those not, so here goes...Okay, let me explain. The darker ones are the photos taken on "M", the manual setting on my Nikon. First, I would point at the subject with "A", which is the aperature priority setting. Those are the lighter photos. Then, I would mentally adjust the manual setting and take the photo. I usually either went up on the shutter speed, or I adjusted the F stop. On my laptop, here at home, if I adjust the screen by tilting it either forward or backward, I can clearly see the manual setting photos. If you have a desktop, they may be unusually dark, BUT...I've found with Picnik (Picasa), I can adjust the exposure on them. I'm using my husband's laptop because my wireless card has gone completely out on mine and he doesn't have Picasa or Picnik (he DOES, however, have Photoshop, but I don't know how to use that!)...so you are viewing them SOOC (straight out of the camera). Personally, I like the darker (manual) setting ones. To me, they give a truer representation of what I actually saw. I believe that I took the sunset ones all on "A" (aperature priority) with a tripod because of the low light and my long lens (200 mm). At the end of our 9 day trip, I was completely at ease adjusting my manual settings and my photos came out much better than these first ones, which is why I shot 3 of EVERYTHING!~one on "A" (aperature priority), another one (YES...I went back to landscape mode), and one on "M" (manual). I took nearly 900 photos on this trip and we'll be heading back to the Sierra for the weekend. I hope this little explanation will help those of you who are just beginning to use your camera's manual settings. BELIEVE ME, it was a huge step for me! Something else I should mention is that once you have your manual setting set, and you stay in the same lighting situation, you don't need to change it. You will, however, have to change it if you are outside in bright light and then focus on a subject in the shade! (lesson learned the hard way...) or vice versa. But, try your manual settings. You can always change them. I remember when I went out in my front yard, focused on my blooming bougenvilla, and manually went through EVERY f-stop and shutter speed, documented each one, and then finally kind of figured out what to do. There are some excellent YouTube videos by Bryan Patterson and I watched them over and over and over. Here's a link to his YouTube site:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8NEa-ghHbo&feature=related He has 25 different videos and there is a link to his website. Additionally, he has several excellent books (a few of which I bought used on Amazon.com) that further explain aperature, shutter speed, and other topics. I would recommend you browse Amazon under his name and see which books are available and buy a used one. I got several for just a few dollars and they really helped me. I still have a LONG way to go, but I've taken my first steps!