What To Do With Your Digital SLR

nikond80_mirrorI had the good fortune to attend a WONDERFUL class last night at the Howard County Library.    My hats off to Cristina Lozare of the Central Library  for orchestrating this.  She not only contacted the two passionate photographers to teach the class but she really marketed the class – so well attended class there were no empty chairs.  The class was presented by Anne Kelley Looney and Jeff Kniple.  They did an amazing job of sharing their love of photography, answering questions and making things make sense to this buddy photographer (read very, very much a beginner).  They even kindly stayed after the library closed to help people with the cameras they had bought.  I love to see passionate people share with others.  It was just such an infectious atmosphere to be in.

I decided to Twitter my notes with the hashtag #dslr so I could go back and put them altogether.  The infectious atmosphere must have translated to my Tweets because I had 2 of my followers tell me “really enjoyed your #dslr tweets” and ” following your tweets makes me want to go out and take pics…but it’s dark!“.  I even had a couple of comments on my Facebook page because of my tweets from the class.  I was happy to share this fabulous class with everyone.  I promise Cristina that I’d pull my tweets together into a cohesive list so she could let those pass them on to those who attended the class last night.

My tweets from the class – a lot of good information that I’m happy to share:

  • Sitting in Digital SLR class at Central Library waiting for it to begin – going to hashtag it #dslr for my notes
  • Class offered by Anne Kelley Looney and Jeff Kniple
  • this class will help those stuck in the program mode to get out of it – get a little bit technical to get creative
  • 5 main things – focusing, shutter opening, aperture, ISO speed, white balance
  • your eye sees things differently than the camera
  • Nikon D200 has 11 focal pts where as the Canon 5d only have 9 pts
  • use whatever you are most comfortable w/live view or viewfinder – most don’t focus as accurately in live view
  • biggest reason to use viewfinder – DSLR were designed that way and can be held more firmly/proper grip – leads to sharper pics
  • subject not moving/nor you -choose manual focus – subject not moving too fast – single shot autofocus
  • subject moving – use servo or continuous autofocus mode
  • Exposure – if you can’t see it doesn’t matter if it’s in focus
  • aperture let’s light in more or less efficiently depending on setting – aperture is like the size hose to fill the bucket
  • to a camera the world is grey – camera’s try to average the range of tones into an exposure
  • scenes that fall into the extremes throw off many cameras – sun in frame, beach or snow scene, night time, high contrast
  • camera is trying to capture the best image wo/over or under exposing what it thinks is the subject
  • shutter speeds – camera is giving you a fraction of a second for shutter speed
  • camera is trying to capture the best image wo/over or under exposing what it thinks is the subject
  • fix exposure change the shutter speed, too dark – slower shutter speed , too light – faster shutter speed
  • aperture – fstops – lower # = bigger the higher the number the smaller the whole in the lens
  • fix improper exposure is to change aperture – too light close down lens w/higher # too dark open lens to lower #
  • ISO lower # less sensitive it is to light – higher speed requires less light for correct exposure
  • ISO range fromn 50 – 25,600 most DSLRs 200 – 3200
  • too dark – go up to higher ISo , too light – go to lower ISO – be careful to a pt that is OK – no free lunch
  • higher ISO lose bit of color, clarity – and you get grainy/noise less sharpness
  • wt balance – natural light different colors, tungsten – yellow, shaded areas more blue, fluorescent is greener
  • when possible use white balance setting for the type of light you have – if mixed light use camera’s auto balance
  • read up on raw files change light and switch things around
  • 4 exp. modes – Program camera chooses apt. and shutter speed
  • A or Av you pick apt. S ot TV – you pick shutter speed
  • simplest solution to too dark or too light – adjust your exp comp wheelt to a + number and take it again
  • if too light – turn exp to – side and repeat the process until you get it right
  • inside or if dark enough around you – look at screen
  • if too bright use the highlight warning screen or histogram
  • blow out the highlights means too much light in a particular area – no value – the bucket is over filled -over exposed
  • digital you are exposing for the highights where as film was exposing for the shadows
  • using histogram don’t lose stuff on the far right of the image – the white side
  • don’t over extend the sensor on the dark or the light end – you want it to be in a range – you don’t want extremes
  • got to get it right in the camera no matter what editing software you use
  • larger apt give smaller amt of photo in focus – smaller apt gives more in focus
  • shutter speeds 2nd most important key to sharp images – blur or freeze the subject
  • old rule of thumb – equal length of lens that you are using to ensure sharp pic
  • 1 1/2 times the length of lens w/today’s DSLRs – 50mm 1/75 or faster 100mm 1/150 or faster
  • you can cheat a little if your lens has VR or image stabilization – read manual or marketing on it
  • shoot at lowest ISO rating that your camera is made for – move it up if you have to – no farther than you have to
  • most important accessory – flash! match a flash to your camera system
  • bounce flash gives softer look – bounce off wall can give directional light no harsh shadows
  • shadow directly off to the side – from on board flash
  • if the photo is not interesting, you are not close enough – Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • flash can be a great way to freeze action
  • evoke a feeling – tell a story – document a moment – express imagination – be fact or fiction – be understood uniquely – suspend belief
  • compostion – how you want everything in the image to relate to each other
  • composing your image what/where main subject is and what else is included – yopu are telling them what YOU want them to see
  • white card under subject draw light from the sky into the subject – simple way to get more of what you are looking for
  • composition – size, position, focus of subject
  • where does your eye start? how do your eyes move around the image
  • main subject – where you want viewer’s eye to go – rule of thirds based on 19th cen painters
  • most powerful spots where the lines intersect in the rules of thirds
  • upper left and lower right most compelling spots for main subjects
  • our eyes will follow the subject’s eyes – make sure there is room on the left and right of subject
  • support the main subject – soft focus background, lines leading to the subject contrast between lt & dk framing subject
  • your image is a story – support main character but there are supporting characters too
  • main subj – edge light – juxtapose near/far objects, include something in foreground – leading lines, tone, contrast create depth
  • looking at photographs from famous photographers over the ages to demonstrate the things that support main subject
  • creative ways – get close, wide angle, strong light as an edge light, shift subject away from center
  • watch the background – so easy to make this mistake but so easy to avoid this mistake
  • 2 or more people similarly toned clothing allows focus to be on the people expression relationship than the clothing transcends style
  • remember wide angle lens will widen the subjects at edges – use 50/70 and walk a bit away – will look better
  • always power off before changing memory, battery or lens
  • don’t change lens in dusty area – have camera down to take off lens and put new lens on
  • your computer monitor can be out of calibration so what you think is color correct may not – create relationship with photo lab

4 Responses to What To Do With Your Digital SLR

  1. Joseph says:

    There are dozens of digital SLR cameras on the market today; however, there are few clear or consistent guides to which ones are the best quality and most reliable. Well, Which Digital SLR Camera? has personally tested and evaluated these digital SLR cameras so to give you an easy and simple recommendation of which ones you should choose and which ones you should avoid.

  2. Marcus says:

    This is a really interesting post, very informative.

  3. Pingback: Highly Recommended » Blog Archive » Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson

  4. Pingback: What I Meant To Say « Tech from the Non-Techie

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