Shooting in Manual

I’ve owned my Nikon D-700 for a little over a year, during which I have struggled with some of its idiosyncracies – like how over exposed all my shots in Amerture priority setting seemed. I solved the issue by shooting in shutter priority; however, this weekend I took a two-day workshop in London with Lou Smith of London Photo Workshops and Tours. She taught me the art of shooting manual, which is really simple.  First, we used a gray card to calibrate our cameras. Mine, as it turns out, seems to shoot a with a histogram a bit to the right; therefore, requiring correction is you are shooting black subjects.

I had learned the calibration exercise in TAOP; however, in that course I simply did the exercise and never figured out why I was doing it so I never repeated the whole thing. As for shooting manual, I couldn’t figure out how you coordinated aperture and shutter speeds. Lo and behond, it is simply a matter of using the light meter to determine your aperture and then set your shutter speed according to a test shot. My God, it was like the scales fell from my eyes and the colours in my shots were great. In fact, I could do no wrong. I didn’t like all my shots, but every one of them worked. It was a revelation.

We also set a custom white balance, which I had never saw any reason to do. But I do now.

On Saturday we worked in Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Chinatown. On Sunday we worked around the London Bridge Pier. Saturday we worked to take unusual shots in well-known places – to try to give a sense of the place without resorting to the well’known shots. On Sunday we worked on shape, form and abstraction. This is all new to me but I love it.

Nov London Wkshop2 (93 of 111)

Nov. London Wkshop1 (80 of 182) Nov. London Wkshop1 (178 of 182)

The first photo, Abstract was shot with a 24-120mm lens. ISO100, 66mm, f/13, S1/4, WB auto. I pointed my lens upward and focused, then shot and pulled the lens back to bake a blurred effect which softened the lines and the colours.

The girls on the lion was shot with a custom white balance, the 24-120 lens at f/11, S1/250, 55mm.

The final shot of the chickens was shot with a 50 ml. lens, ISO2000, f/5.0, 1/169 S,  I did no post production work at all on these photos other than to slightly drop the one of the girls on the lion.

It was a weekend well spent for me.


About idaswears

I left the U.S. for Cornwall 4 years ago. Since then I have spent my time writing, walking and studying the English. It's not always easy being a Yank in Cornwall, but it's always fun and rewarding.
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