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 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...


  1. OK, I'm new here and maybe I've missed something in the rationale, but I have two questions for you:
    a) what decisions led you to the combination of ISO 320, f/18, 1/40s specifically?
    b) what metering algorithm are you using to judge correct/desired exposure?

  2. Thanks for a great question. I wish I had a great answer! The point of this year-long project is to get out of the habit of setting my camera on Aperture Priority and never unleashing its full creative power. The Manual DSLR Project gives me the opportunity to think outside of the box and to make mistakes.

    That being said, here's what I was thinking. It was getting dark, raining lightly, and was a little foggy. For that reason I set the ISO at 320. High enough so it wouldn't look dark, but low enough that I could use a slow shutter speed without blowing out the highlights. The f/18 was selected because I wanted a long depth of field where you could see the background, complete with fog and mist. The 1/40 second (which is probably the only one that makes sense in a traditional way) is that I wanted to show the movement of the sand. Make sense? Probably not. Did it give me the desired effect? I think so.

    Regarding the metering algorithm...Forgive my ignorance, but this is why I embarked on this project. I simply do not know. I do hold a doctorate, but it is NOT in photography. :-)

    I would be most interested to hear your thoughts. How would you have pulled off that shot? Where can I learn more about metering algorithms? What would you think of the shot if you didn't know the settings I used?

    This site is all about learning, so I am very interested in hearing your input, advice and (even criticism).

    Thanks for your comment. I hope to hear from you again. By the way, to make it worse, the 1/40 second exposure was handheld on a windy, rainy beach. If you're going to break one rule you might was well break them all!

    All the best!