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...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

North Head Lighthouse, Washington

While visiting the Pacific Northwest recently, we grew tired of the rain and decided to travel north until we found sunshine. We found that sunshine as we crossed into Washington. As I looked on Google Maps on my iPhone, I found that there was a state park called Cape Disappointment on the southern coast of Washington. Among its many great features, there are two lighthouses that are easily accessible. The first one that we visited is called the North Head Lighthouse.

Construction on this lighthouse began in 1896; it was lit for the first time on May 16, 1898. I really did not expect this to be one of my favorite photos of the lighthouse, but a combination of a "PH Dramatic Ocean" preset and a graduated filter both applied in Lightroom 3 gave me a pleasing result--or at least one that I like.

It had been an overcast day but the sun was starting to come out (for the first time all weekend). I selected an ISO of 100 to lessen the sensitivity of the sensor. I shot with my 18-135 Nikon lens at 18mm with an aperture of 7.1 and a shutter speed of 1/400 second. The result was a somewhat "blah" shot with a dark background and little contrast in the sky. However, there was a really nice cloud pattern in the sky which I thought could "pop" with just a little work in Lightroom. I first applied the preset, "PH Dramatic Ocean" which made the sky pop but toned down the brightness of the foreground. I then added a graduated filter to lighten and brighten the foreground, especially the bottom of the lighthouse. A little luminance smoothing finished it off. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pacific Northwest

This is an HDR shot taken along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.
I just returned from Portland, OR on business but had the opportunity to go out the Friday before to enjoy some time on the coast with my wife. It was a great trip--very relaxing--and I am coming to realize how much I love the Pacific Northwest. The scenery there is awesome. Though we were there just a few days we got to enjoy terrific beaches, great lighthouses, and beautiful vistas.

ISO 320, f18, 1/40 sec.
We arrived on a Friday to a very windy and rainy Cannon Beach. The rain and wind (along with the blowing sand) made it a little difficult to take photos, but we still got a few. As you can see in the second photo, the wind was blowing pretty briskly. This is one where Trisha was walking across the beach with the sand blowing by her.

Look for more posts with photos from this trip and follow me on Twitter (manualdslr) to see more photos.

Until next time...