Day 243 – Shooting Manual

It has got to be done before the end of the year – I spent the morning shooting manual. Shooting manual means that I took control of the ISO, the aperture and the shutter speed.

I shoot manual when I use the flash or when I have a filter on my lens and am aiming for a particular feel to the image but in most other situations I use Aperture or Shutter priority depending on what I want to achieve, although I often control the ISO setting in these modes….

ISO400, F11, 1/125sec - The view towards hurst
ISO400, F11, 1/125sec – The view towards Hurst

My goal was to get a balanced image – despite the grey sky, I wanted to show the tonal range of the water, freeze some of the movement on the water and get a good depth of field.

Thinking about composition - ISO400, F11, 1/125sec
Thinking about composition – ISO400, F11, 1/125sec

I ended up tough thinking a lot about my composition – to ensure I got foreground interest and then my hyperfocal distance to ensure that the nearground and foreground were in focus.

Leading lines 0 ISO400, F11, 1/125sec
Leading lines – ISO400, F11, 1/125sec

With the consistent light, once I decided what settings were right for my image – they worked today in either direction…

Framing the shot - ISO400, F11, 1/50sec
Framing the shot – ISO400, F11, 1/50sec

However once I reduced the available light by moving into the shade, I had to to increase the shutter speed to let more light in and to enable me to capture the details…. I love how the view is framed by the canon, and I understand here how the exposure could be trickier on a brighter day…..  today was an easy day to shoot manual.

I have read a lot this year on camera settings, and I have discovered that all sorts of people have different views on this…  but as I am getting close to the end of the year I thought I would share my view…

Which mode do I shoot in…

  • Green button – fully automatic – the perfect setting to hand your camera to a family friend and ask them to take a shot. As long as they manage to get it to focus… you should have something….
  • P mode – semi automatic – see article – it enables me to be more creative… I rarely use this but it is a great place to check… if for some reason I am not getting the image I want – P mode is great for guiding me where I am going wrong, and can check the settings the camera choose here… and work with them.
  • Shutter Speed (Tv) – when you know you want the camera to shoot fast so you can freeze moment, or slow for you to plan…
  • Aperture mode – my preferred setting, where I control the depth of field and let the camera control the shutter speed, and I often select the ISO (rarely do I shoot auto ISO) but Ioften use exposure compensation…
  • Manual – where I can control the aperture, shutter speed and ISO
  • Bulb mode – where I do night time images and long exposure times, over 30 secs.

As I said I use Aperture more of the time… but I often taken control of the ISO and use exposure compensation – the only thing the camera decides is the shutter speed which i watch to make sure it is fast enough to avoid camera shake….  I feel I could easily switch to manual … but I don’t want to… I want the camera to work with me….

I tend to agree with Joe MacNally, a nikon ambassador and general photographer (as he likes to take on a variety of assignments!) … as he believes the equipment and the technology if offers is designed to be used.

“I am in aperture priority mode 90-plus percent of the time…. I am occasionally in manual exposure mode, say, when in a dark room… But, I tell ya, if you only use these cameras in manual mode because, as I have heard on occasion, you ‘don’t trust the camera’ or you ‘don’t trust the meter,’ then you are taking a souped-up Ferrari and driving it like the little old lady going to church on Sunday. Why do that? Use the technology!” quoted from Joe MacNally

I honestly feel that shooting Manual does not make you a better photographer, using your camera to the best of your abilities does – whether that means using manual, aperture priority, shutter speed, or even program mode – learning what setting to choose to get the shot you require is the most important… what do you think?

And I think thanks to Joe – maybe I am a “generalised” photographer – my aim of my 365 was to discover my style … maybe I have!

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