February 13, 2012

Dial "M" for Manual

This weekend I made a huge step in fulfilling my New Year's Resolution of learning to really use my DSLR camera; I learned to shoot photos using the Manual mode.
It's incredibly easy, despite being initially intimidated by that "M" on my Canon's dial.  Earlier this month, I was frustrated when noticing that photos taken with my point-and-shoot were looking so much brighter and more vibrant than the DSLR.  {Those of you who already have great photography skills  (I'm looking at you, Sheena), just bear with me here.}

While I don't think I have a problem with composition of photos, I am often disappointed about the quality of lighting in my shots, particularly indoor ones, since we live in a house with mostly North-facing windows.  I did have some understanding of exposure, however it often confused me, especially ISO (which still does).

I picked up a copy of Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure at the library, which has been a great resource, as is this tutorial, which is a little more colloquial in its explanation of exposure.
On Sunday, I started fooling around with the camera using the tips I had read about.  What a mighty leap this has been for me, understanding what the former-jibberish on the camera's LCD panel means.  Understanding the light meter alone has been huge.
You might not be able to tell in the photo above, but I can.  It's so much brighter than my prior photos taken in the living room, though shooting two moving boys is challenging with slower shutter speed and a larger aperture (ie. plenty of blurred shots). I'm still learning though.
It's such an incredible feeling when you finally "get" something that you've wanted to understand for some time now, especially when you make a huge leap in that understanding. It's rare for that to happen; it seems like things like this usually take lots of time.  I'm even more eager to share my photos here in the upcoming weeks and months!

1 comment:

  1. Woohoo! I have been overwhelmed by the prospect of learning my camera. I'm slowly making my way. . . That's so cool that you understand the light meter!! These pictures are really cute, and I think your mad skills are showing already.

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