So, after killing myself in the beginning while post-processing my images (taken in semi-auto mode, mind you), to perfect them to where I wanted them, I decided something HAD to give as my time became so much more precious with the birth of our first child in June 2009. I no longer had the time for editing that I had pre-child. And with a little push from the instructor of a workshop I attended in 2010, I became a manual shooter which has changed my overall straight out of camera (SOOC) shots dramatically! HANDS DOWN.
I learned one little snippet of information at that workshop which made everything all clear to me. You know, it was one of those “Ah ha!” moments! That bit of info was simply this– a camera when in auto or semi-auto modes strives to achieve 18% gray in its output. WHO knew? The 18% gray is what I wanted to make disappear from my pictures. I wanted skin tones to display exactly as I was seeing them through the camera, thus the only way to control this output is to control my camera the way I wanted to, not the way it wanted to. I’m sure this is one of the first concepts they teach you in a college photography program, but for a self-taught photog, I had never stumbled upon this information. This explained why I never could shoot a snowy scene and have it look white, like I was seeing with my eye. There was always a gray haze to the photos. Hmm? There’s that 18% gray right there, when shot in auto or semi-auto modes. And with that, I switched my camera dial to M, right there in the workshop, and headed to a session that same afternoon, never to look back.
Well… ok, there is only one situation that I switch my dial back to aperture priority mode for and that is when light is constantly changing. For example, photographing a bride and groom coming down the church aisle as husband and wife requires a certain exposure, but what if I want to quickly turn and snap a shot of them exiting the church door (which throws a flood of light on the shot)? It is possible to handle it manually, but just to be on the safe side, and rather than chance blowing out the shot, I switch over and just let the camera deal with it
So now that we are all changing our dials to M, break out that owner manual and figure out how to not only change the aperture (mentioned in part II), but also the shutter speed to make the little +/ – dial inside the viewfinder eyepiece equal zero. Then… practice, practice, practice.
And you know me, can’t leave a post without a picture! This was taken on my uncle’s farm in Branchville, SC along the Edisto River. I love black water rivers and swampland. It takes me back to my days of cruising timber for Rayonier, Inc. along the Altamaha river in Jesup, GA.