FINALLY taking that big step......turning your camera dial to Manual...YIKES, WHAT HAVE I DONE!!
Today I got a great email from a new photographer friend. Here is her note: "I ran across your blog a couple of months ago. I have since been following it and I really enjoy your pictures and the information you share. I have a question. I have taken pictures for fun for a long time. But I have always just stayed in auto. At Christmas I took the plunge and bought a Nikon D90. I love it and have so much to learn!! Do you have any advice for me as to how to start shooting in manual? I have been reading about aperture and shutter speeds. But when I am out and trying to take pictures I struggle with getting out of the programmed modes because I get overwhelmed with knowing where is a good stating point and what should I do from there. Is there a standard place to start and then change things accordingly? I know I can do this if I can just get past the overwhelming feeling of where in the world do I begin? Thank you for caring enough to allow us to ask questions. I look forward to your reply."
As I was thinking about how to respond, I decided that probably 90% of 'photographers', (rather than snap shooters), could have written this same thing. We all buy cameras, usually for the purpose of recording family memories and vacations. We may even decide to snap some beautiful flowers or a friend's new baby. We find the little green square that means 'auto', and start snapping away. Most people are content with this and are using their camera as anticipated. But some of us look at our snaps and think, "humm, how come my photos don't look like the ones in the magazines", or "I wonder how so-and-so made her flower pics look so much better than mine??" And that's how the addiction starts. It's all so innocent in the beginning.....I'll just read my camera manual and see what it says.... Well, maybe I'll stop by the library on the way home from work and see if they have any photography books.... I'm only going to spend ONE hour on the internet reading about photography instruction, then I'll get dressed and clean the house! And before you know it, you begin carousing the streets in front of your local dealer, and finally come home with a $2,000 habit, (in my case a Canon 5D Mark ll). But, you rationalize, I can stop at any time! Yeh, right says your family and friends.
I'm sorry, I just got carried away, and chuckling so hard to myself I couldn't stop. (They say the first step to recovery is to admit one has a problem. But if my husband is reading this, I'm NOT admitting to anything!)
Back to the purpose of this post. At some point, most of us who call ourselves 'photographers' were probably casual point and shooters who became fascinated with taking pictures and wanted to learn how to do it better. From then it doesn't take long before you learn that most great photographers learn to shoot in 'manual' modes, because often, this is the secret for getting your camera to record an image the way you actually see it or want to see it. But shooting in manual is a BIG leap for many of us.
I thought this would be a great topic for a Tech Talk Tuesday, so I asked my new friend if I could quote her email, and then we will have a discussion on how to make that leap from auto to manual tomorrow. So tune in tomorrow for this discussion, and please join in by telling us how you made, or are in the learning process of making this transition!!