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, July 13, 2010

Another Reason Manual Mode Rocks!

We had an awesome electrical storm Sunday night. Conditions at my house were not bad but there was a pretty cool storm both to the north and the south of us. I took just a few minutes to go out on our back deck with my Nikon D300 with a Nikon 18-135 zoom. This was mounted on a tripod. The ISO was already set at 320 so I left it there. I set the aperture to 9 and the shutter speed at 6 seconds. I then aimed the camera toward the northeast and focused on a light in the distance. After that, about all I did was press the shutter release.

This first shot was one where you could see the amount of lightning activity. As you can see, the lightning lit up the yard.

The second shot is another one that struck relatively nearby.

The third is similar, but I applied a Lightroom preset to give it a little more impact. I only shot for a few minutes and got about 10 usable shots. So how was it different shooting it in manual than what I would have done a year ago? A year ago I would have probably gone with Aperture priority and opened the aperture to the largest possible setting. While that might work well with a daylight portrait, it doesn't always work best for shots like these.

These are definitely the best lightning shots I've been able to get before. The good part is that I didn't have to torment for minutes over how to set the camera. I set it and started snapping pictures.

I'm loving this personal project. What is your personal project for this year? Camera Dojo just had a good podcast about personal projects. I hope you start yours tomorrow.

All the best...Mike

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