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Photography DiscussionMy new challenge: shooting in manual only.

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Duck
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Re: My new challenge: shooting in manual only.

Post by Duck » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:40 am

The best advice I give my students is to take advantage of the fact that digital film is free. Spend some time doing nothing but playing with one setting at a time. Use the ability to chimp a photo to get a feel for how the camera behaves. Don't worry about subject, composition, framing, rule of thirds, etc. Just worry about controlling the exposure. After a while muscle memory starts kicking in and you start getting used to the process.

I keep telling myself that I have to start making these little videos, but I keep forgetting until I get reminded again here.


... note to self... :doh:
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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Post by Matt Quinn » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:23 am

Duck wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:40 am
The best advice I give my students is to take advantage of the fact that digital film is free. Spend some time doing nothing but playing with one setting at a time. Use the ability to chimp a photo to get a feel for how the camera behaves. Don't worry about subject, composition, framing, rule of thirds, etc. Just worry about controlling the exposure. After a while muscle memory starts kicking in and you start getting used to the process.

I keep telling myself that I have to start making these little videos, but I keep forgetting until I get reminded again here.


... note to self... :doh:
I have been doing that and am starting to get the feel but I always fall back into worrying about composition, etc. The devil makes me do it.
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"...approach the light as opposed to the subject." Stan Godwin

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Post by Charles Haacker » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:08 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:12 pm
"I'm curious though, I know you're just getting into this, but what do you think of it? S"

It's a muddle right now. I keep forgetting one of the three legs and just fire away, hoping for salvation in pp. Then I pause, breathe, and try what Duck and Chuck have recommended. I don't keep notes on what I am doing so I can't reflect and learn from what I have done once I see the results on the screen. I blame all this on the seduction of digital--scatter shoot, hope, then choose. No new tricks for this old dog, I am afraid. Maybe today, though. Maybe...[...]
By the time I got back here it has already been mentioned that the metadata recorded by your camera has all the notes you used to have to jot down, and it's all permanently attached to the file. It's a good reason to have the date and time set correctly in your camera because then you know the time of day and season the frame was made. I've noticed that the quality of light is not recorded but I suspect that is because unless you set a specific white balance (and shooting raw I never do) it won't record, but you can read the light from the picture. Strong shadows suggest full sun, weak shadows suggest thin overcast, no shadow may be dense overcast or open shade--- you can figure it out from the picture itself. The shutter, aperture and ISO are all recorded. Distance focused upon I don't think is, but if focus is missed it's missed, and it depends on whether you are shooting a broad landscape or a leaf on a tree. The closer you get to anything the less depth of field you will have at any given aperture. 8~
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:10 pm

Psjunkie wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:45 pm
That was an image I captured Matt......and I am almost ashamed to admit it but I don't know how to use any of the other modes on my camera other than manual...I've never taken time to read about them.
There is not one single thing wrong with operating a camera 100% in manual. It used to be the only way! :yay: Automation is rilly kewl, and I love it, but the reason I think it's so kewl is that I learned in manual.
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:21 pm

minniev wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:33 pm
I am glad Frank brought that up. I do not have a clue how to use the Program mode on my camera. I can and do use the others, but for me, Manual is so much easier because I control everything and I'm not likely to end up with a bad surprise because the camera picked something I wouldn't have picked. I pick the aperture and shutter, and if the exposure is too dark, I decide whether to alter the ISO or make a devil's bargain with the other settings. If I'm handholding, there are physical limits to the bargains I'll make with shutter speed, but that's my first choice if I'm using a tripod. My camera is an m43, so I can bargain more with aperture than some of you can, especially with landscape shots.
Program is, in a sense, manual on steroids. On most cameras you can manipulate a single ring or wheel or something which will change one setting in one direction and the other in the opposite direction, exactly as you might do with full manual control if you want to keep the same exposure but change the depth of field or action stopping. Say your correct exposure for a given scene is 1/125 at f/8 at ISO 100 but you want more depth of field without changing the exposure. You roll the wheel (or whatever) to stop down to f/16, which is two stops down (smaller aperture). In Program mode the camera will automatically adjust the shutter to 1/30 or thereabouts, two stops up, same exposure overall but now more DOF. Conversely if you need a higher shutter, say 1/500 which is two stops less exposure, you roll the wheel thingy the other way to change the shutter and the camera responds by opening the diaphragm (aperture) to f/4, which is two stops wider aperture. These are all fully equivalent exposures but doing different things for different reasons. If you need to change both shutter and aperture for some reason then you need to change the ISO. I honestly never use it, but that's how it works. :|
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:32 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:23 am
Duck wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:40 am
The best advice I give my students is to take advantage of the fact that digital film is free. Spend some time doing nothing but playing with one setting at a time. Use the ability to chimp a photo to get a feel for how the camera behaves. Don't worry about subject, composition, framing, rule of thirds, etc. Just worry about controlling the exposure. After a while muscle memory starts kicking in and you start getting used to the process.

I keep telling myself that I have to start making these little videos, but I keep forgetting until I get reminded again here.


... note to self... :doh:
I have been doing that and am starting to get the feel but I always fall back into worrying about composition, etc. The devil makes me do it.
Duck is 100% right. When I was in school (oh lordy there he goes again :angel: ) they taught us to first "learn the pallete." They taught that the camera, in those days all fully manual everything, "must become an extension of hand, eye, and mind." In other words, we were to learn the operation of a camera so that it became, quite literally, automatic. In an age long before automation. I myself believe that if you can work a manual camera that smoothly then using automation becomes an absolute joy. I can work a camera manually so I feel free to choose not to, but I'm convinced it is because I really, really understand at the most basic level what is happening inside the camera, why I choose a shutter or an aperture or allow the ISO to "float" (an unbelievable luxury we never had in film days because the ISO of film was fixed and immutable). I don't think modern photographers have to learn manual to that degree, but I do think it is very valuable in the long run. If you can think about composition and whatever that's great, and it will come, but the camera is first and foremost a tool. Learning how it works and how to work it is what allows you to make the picture you see in your mind.
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Post by Matt Quinn » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:20 pm

Thanks, Chuck. A lot of info here and I will be returning to review it from time to time. By allowing the iso to float I suspect you mean auto iso? Matt
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:47 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:20 pm
Thanks, Chuck. A lot of info here and I will be returning to review it from time to time. By allowing the iso to float I suspect you mean auto iso? Matt
Yes, exactly, and it's one of the many things that gobsmacks me about digital. Film was made in various ISOs. Original Kodachrome was ghastly slow at 25, but you could take a tiny 35 mm Kodachrome slide and blow it up to a literal billboard and it was fine, sharp, and grainless. Kodak kept tinkering and eventually introduced Kodachrome 64, slightly more than a stop faster, but with slightly different color and maybe a tish more "grain," but many photographers standardized on it. Those were transparency films. There were the Ektachromes that could be user processed and went up to 400 I think. Negative color films came in speeds from about 100 to at least 400. The thing was, though, that once the film was in the camera you were stuck with that ISO (then called ASA but same thing). If you had 400 in the camera you had to shoot the whole roll at 400. If it was black and white you could take advantage of a trick called "pushing" where you deliberately underexposed the film and then increased the development or used special "soups" to get a usable negative, but pretty generally whatever the ISO was you were stuck with it for the whole roll.

If you want to shoot full manual, especially for learning purposes, to do it the Old Fashioned Way you should probably set an ISO and stick with it, adjusting only the other two legs of the three-legged exposure stool. Outdoor films usually started around 100. Indoor films we'd usually choose 400. I personally standardized on 400 and hardly ever shot anything else in any roll film camera.

But the ability to either manually or automatically change the ISO "mid-roll"??!! :yay: :clap: :thumbup: (OK) From an old film guy's perspective it was nothing less an a miracle! Sure, the higher you push the more noise (digital grain), and that can be a pain to fix plus it degrades overall sharpness, but being able to set the ISO on auto and let it what-I-call "float..." :S On my cameras the "floating" ISO can be what-I-call "capped," not allowed to go above and certain number, which is for noise control, but there are times when I want to shoot in what-I-call "available dark" and I'll let the thing go as high as it wants and deal with the noise later. 8):
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(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Duck
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Post by Duck » Sat Apr 21, 2018 6:02 pm

Speaking of manual and priority modes... here is a slide from my lecture on Understanding Exposure I think fits in with this discussion.
The three columns are ISO, Aperture and Shutter respectively.

Unitas_Photography-Modes.jpg
Modes
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Post by Steven G Webb » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:25 pm

Free film in digital is a great concept for learning. While it's foolhardy to waste frames on a portrait session and over-shooting for paid jobs costs money when learning the object, the more the better. Right too is the suggestion that subject matter and composition aren't paramount for exposure exercises or depth-of-field study. Just this past week I wanted to work on focus stacking for macro so I plucked a dandelion bloom and then an English muffin for tabletop subjects. I also wanted to have a go at HDR so I used a pond on our property simply because it had a mix of shadow and highlight values; also, I found a pile of junk and used it because it had a range of light values and it had a good mixture of textures. Nothing pretty, nothing artsy just elements that worked into my study. No major loss either if the photos came out rubbish.
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