Auto = evil

Garden sculpture in a shady area. Aim - maximum zoom and soft background. Aperture priority setting; f8; ISO400; 1/800; 200mm zoom.
Garden sculpture in a shady area. Aim – maximum zoom and soft background. Aperture priority setting; f8; ISO400; 1/800; 200mm zoom.

You know how much I love taking photos and sharing them, I’ve been a happy snapper since getting my first kodak camera when I was about 13, madly photographing horses, cows, kittens, family and anything else that would let me immortalise it on film. My Mum was not happy when she paid for the development of a roll of film only to discover that half of the photos were blurry images of my friend’s cat and her new litter of kittens. My Mum still doesn’t understand my desire to photograph everything, this is a woman who manages to go on holiday to Singapore and leaves her camera at home or attends my wedding but doesn’t take any photos, it just isn’t a priority for her. I however, recently did a one day beginners photography workshop with BlueDog Photography because I decided that it was time to act on my desire to learn more about the technical aspects of photography. I want to get out of the habit of using auto settings and learn how to combat some of the challenges that arise in photography and ultimately, take better photos.

Using the bulb setting on the DSLR to photograph the word Bluedog written with a sparkler.
Using the bulb setting on the DSLR to photograph the word Bluedog written with a sparkler.Β Manual mode; f22; ISO200; 12 secs; 50mm zoom.

Blue Dog Photography is based on the Gold Coast hinterland, they offer a range of courses from Beginners to star trails, wedding photography and photography tours to places like Fraser Island, Vanuatu and Cambodia. I chose them because of friends that had raved about the course and looking at the course outline, the beginners course was focusing on the areas that I wanted to learn more about. Our teacher/instructor was Danielle, a down to earth lady with an amazing attitude and lengthy experience in the photographic industry, assisting her was David, a former student and experienced photographer, both of them very patient which is what you need when learning something new.

Theory was interwoven with practical, the course wasn’t just about how to use the manual settings on your camera, but included discussion on composition, depth of field, shutter speeds, camera maintenance, file formats and archiving files. Two important things for me to remember are: Auto is evil and to MOVE when taking photos.

One of the practical exercises was to focus on using the shutter priority mode (S on the dial) (without a tripod), we photographed moving water to understand how the shutter speed affects motion and light: a slow shutter speed blurs the water and a fast shutter speed freezes the action, as the shutter speed got faster the image got darker so we had to increase the ISO. The higher the ISO the more light is captured and voila! we had the image we wanted. The f-stop (eg. f8) is automatically set by the camera when in shutter priority mode but I’ve included it in the caption so you can see how it also changes when the other settings are changed. This is not a photography tutorial so I’ll leave it at that but you can see the difference in the following images.

Water is 'moving'. Shutter priority setting; f8; ISO200; 1/500; 200mm.
Water is ‘moving’. Shutter priority setting; 1/500; f8; ISO200; 200mm.
Water is 'frozen'. Shutter priority setting; f5.6; ISO800; 1/4000; 200mm.
Water is ‘frozen’. Shutter priority setting; 1/4000; f5.6; ISO800; 200mm.

For anyone experienced with photography, you already know this stuff and it is something I had learned years ago during a short course on photography but for me it was about learning how to think and what questions do I need to be asking myself before taking a photo. It was a fun day for me and I could have spent the whole weekend at that class but I’ll have to settle for putting what I’ve learned into practice and signing up for the intermediate course.

Motion of water is captured as a blur - need a tripod for this. Shutter priority setting; 4 seconds; f32; ISO200; 70mm.
Focus is on the fountain and the motion of water is captured as a blur – need a tripod for this. Shutter priority setting; 4 seconds; f32; ISO200; 70mm.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Auto = evil

  1. This Sydney Life February 16, 2013 / 9:58 am

    Go you! I am booked into my first photography course next month… Great post, 2BD! πŸ™‚

    • twoblackdoggies February 17, 2013 / 5:36 am

      Thanks TSL! It was a good course and so much fun, I hope you enjoy yours as much πŸ™‚

  2. Ogee February 16, 2013 / 12:40 pm

    Share more…we’ll learn along with you πŸ™‚

    • twoblackdoggies February 17, 2013 / 5:38 am

      Not sure when I’ll get to do the next stage but there are some activities to do in the meantime and happy to share πŸ™‚

    • twoblackdoggies February 17, 2013 / 5:39 am

      Thank you, I’ve been wanting to do a course for a couple of years and am so glad that I finally did πŸ™‚

    • twoblackdoggies February 24, 2013 / 4:55 pm

      Isn’t it just and you don’t actually realise how different until you see the photos side by side.

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