The New Manual DSLR Project

Hi, and welcome to my blog. The Manual DSLR Project was started March 30, 2010 with the intent of devoting one year to learning how to use my Nikon D300 in manual mode. I invited you to join me as I took this journey. You celebrated with me as my fingers began to remember which wheel adjusts the shutter speed and which controls the aperture settings. I was brutally honest in sharing my mistakes.

A year passed quickly...and I achieved my goal of demystifying the manual operation of my camera.

While the Manual DSLR Project was intended to be bound by time (one year), I am eager to keep the conversation going. So look for additional posts on anything related to photography. And interact. Let me know if you are reading the blog and find it useful.

All the best...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two weeks into the project...Feeling gutsy?

Well, here I am two weeks into the project and I must say that the past two weeks has been great because it's almost like I have a homework assignment--something to shoot most every day. Repetition--it's the mother of learning. And while I haven't turned into an awesome photographer overnight, I am feeling more at home with the camera in my hand.

Yesterday a friend called and asked if I would shoot a family portrait for them this afternoon. I'm happy to do so since it is good practice for me and they are patient as I try to get things right. So am I ready to shoot in manual mode with someone besides the trees watching? I bit the bullet. I used the Nikon D300, Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 and shot from a tripod. On some shots I used an SB600 Speedlight off camera while most were done with available light. I used a diffuser on some of the first shots when the sun was a bit harsh, but didn't need it once the sun went behind the trees.

I can't say this is my best work, but I'm pleased with the results especially since I was brave and shot it all in manual mode. I hope they are equally pleased. So even though nobody is reading this blog, it has been good to write my thoughts and use this as a way to discipline myself into shooting most every day.

I didn't post yesterday, but took this shot of one of the fruit trees in our yard. It was shot with my Quantaray 70-300. In Lightroom, I applied the Seim Effects Criss Cross preset.

On another topic, Lightroom keeps reverting to the "2009 Mike Kennamer" indicia even though I have changed it to 2010 a dozen or more times. Argh! I don't know why it keeps doing that. Nevertheless, that is why many of my images taken this month have shown a 2009 date.

All the best...MK


  1. Mike...found your blog today after seeing a comment you posted on David Ziser's site. I think I might take this journey with you. I need to get better at shooting my D300 in manual mode.

    There are people reading it!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Greg. I really wasn't sure that anyone would ever want to read it. At the time, it was intended as a journal for me so that I could track my progress. However, I am excited that someone is actually reading my "scribbling". I think that the hardest part has been getting over the fear factor of where to start. From there, the old adage, "the harder I work the better I get" rings true. I'd love to hear more from you about your journey. Adios....Mike

  3. Kudos on being brave enough to go full-time manual. After nearly 5 years of SLR shooting, I know how to use it, but I tend to stick with Aperture priority... most of the time I don't care what my shutter speed is, just the DOF. I figure I paid for the fancy electronics inside the camera, I might as well use it! ;)

    Did you find where Lightroom is keeping the 2009 setting? If not, it sounds like it's part of your default Import preset... You can check/edit all of the metadata presets (including the IPTC Copyright section) under the "Metadata -> Edit Metadata Presets" menu. My default import sets the copyright and contact info for every photo, then I have other presets for various locations that I can apply easily for common places. Just have to remember to update the default to the new year each January.