Monday, April 7, 2014

Shooting in Manual

Do you have DSLR camera? By any chance does it intimidate you?

I've had my Nikon D3100 for about three years now, and although I love it, it still mystifies me at times (Wow. Sounds like parenting.) Specifically: Manual Mode. Once in a while I'll go out on a limb, flip over to my manual settings, and start messing around. Nearly always, disaster ensues. Or at least mediocrity.

So I've started taking a little online course in Manual Mode from Shoot Fly Shoot. It's a series of short, user-friendly videos, and now I've bought the course, I can access the videos for ever and ever amen. I caught a great sale last week on the bundle of Photography 101 and 102, so if you're interested, keep an eye out for sales on their website.

I've been playing around after watching the first three videos on Exposure, ISO and Aperture, and here are a few of my favorites among the humble results.

From a conservation event with some friends at a local park:

From tea time at The Orchard, where we cycled (gorgeous 5.5-mile ride!) with our lovely  friend Jocelyn, who came up from London to visit us on Sunday: 

I've noticed over the years that when I take, process, and decide whether to save photos, I nearly always focus on people. If Tim has the camera, we get lots of scenery shots and … things. Birds. Airplanes. Engines. Nothing better or worse about either approach, but it just interests me. I think it's because in my mind, photos are all about telling a story, and the stories that spool out in my head always center on the characters who are making them happen.

What about you? What do you photograph most? Do you use a camera or rely on your smartphone (which I do for most daily-life shots)? Any tips or resources that have helped you get a better handle on photography?

P.S. To be quite fair to He Who Photographs Steam Engines, I leave you with these two shots.

 My lifelong friend and I doing what we do best, which in this case is finding it hilarious that we could even consider having well-groomed hair on a day that involves a bike helmet (which is for me is pretty much every day). Don't we all need people in our lives to help us enjoy the humor in the absurd? 


  1. If only steam engines could speak, the stories they'd tell...

  2. Mary Anne the Steam Shovel WAS more interesting and integral to the story than Mike Muligan, come to think of it...

  3. We have a DSLR and I' m always switching it back to automatic. I tried learning about aperture from Pioneer woman but I think I need video tutorials!
    I always take face shots and the background is very important to me.

  4. that last picture is my fave. :) y'all are the cutest!

  5. I'm all about the people when taking photos! I'd like to add that I wish I could pull of that scarf that Jocelyn is wearing!!!