Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Guess I'll Just Teach Myself

I have been wanting to take a photography class ever since I got my DSLR camera, about 2 years ago.  It's a wonderful camera, and my photos improved dramatically just by switching to it from my point and shoot.  But I have pretty much been using it on the Auto setting for two years.  I've learned a few tips here and there, and purchased some lens upgrades, but I really have wanted to take the next step to using the many settings my camera has to offer.

I grabbed a course book for the local community college a few weeks ago, determined to find a class to take before the baby arrives.  I found one that looked really interesting, but the meeting times weren't very good.  I found another with a doable meeting time, but it wasn't really what I was looking for.  So, I have decided to try harder to teach myself.  I have a camera manual, a good book my husband bought me for my birthday (almost two years ago), and lots of helpful online resources.  No excuse not to gain some new knowledge and skills.  

One thing I've been wanting to do is learn how to use the settings of the camera so I can get more light into my photos without using my pop-up flash, which I have tended to use a lot even though it gives a weird look to the photos.  Unfortunately, around here this time of year it isn't uncommon to have a serious lack of good natural light.  Luckily, this morning I did have lots of light to get some good photos of the girls without using the flash. 

But tonight I wanted to experiment a little bit in the relative dark of our family room.  The overhead lights were turned off, so the only light in the room came from one floor lamp next to my chair and the light from surrounding rooms.  My wonderful hubby was tolerant as I snapped his photo over and over.  I had read a tip that, to let more light into a photo, I should set the aperture to the lowest (or highest? biggest? smallest?  I don't get the lingo yet, but whatever) setting.  I put my camera on the aperture setting and turned it down (the number got smaller) and got this.

Then I went to the lowest number I could with the lens I was using (1.8) and got this.

I couldn't believe how bright the photos were!

Of course, to get this much light in the photos, the shutter speed was slowed down quite a bit.  To give a little bit of perspective, I then switched to the fully manual setting, kept the aperture on 1.8, and then sped the shutter speed way up.  I got this.

A little slower shutter speed and I got this.

A little slower.

Then I slowed it waaayy down, and couldn't get it in focus.  Just the slight shake of my hand while the shutter was open for so long made it blurry.

A little faster.


Isn't he handsome??

I think I'll do more practicing with the camera on the aperture mode.  I think this will be the easiest way to experiment and still get some good photos of my girls.  That's really why I take photos anyway.

1 comment:

  1. These are great pictures. I think doing a course would be a fabulous idea. I have a Canon EOS 450D and I'm the same, only tend to use the auto settings. There's so much more I could be doing with it.

    CJ x