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...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Measure Twice. Cut Once.

I enjoy woodworking. While I don't often get out to the shop and build things, I do enjoy it and should do it more often. However, there are always reasons not to get out to the shop: Too hot; too cold; don't have time; don't know what to build; don't have time to finish a project...

Today I decided to go out and start a project. As I walked down to the shop I began to think about the similarities between woodworking and photography. Here are my thoughts:

  • The right equipment makes all the difference. The project I am building has three main parts. The first of the three required me to cut a gap (or dado) about two inches wide and two inches deep in eight places. A daunting task if you don't have the right tools. However, with a table saw and dado blade, the work is simple, clean, relatively quick, and safe. Does that apply to photography? I think so. While you can improvise with many items, some items are necessary to do a good job. I don't want to make this about equipment, but the right tool does make a difference. 
  • A plan is vitally important. While I didn't draw a written plan for the project I started today I did have a mental image of what each component would look like. As you compose a photograph, you should also have a plan. What story are you trying to tell through the photo? Are there distractions (power lines, garbage, etc.) that you need to remove from the photo through removal or changing perspectives? How is the lighting? Are you shooting for motion blur or freezing action? You may consider these questions and more as you set up for your shot. 
There is an old adage in woodworking that says, "measure twice; cut once". As photographers, we probably did that when we were shooting film, due to the cost of film and processing. However, when we shoot digital, we sometimes tend to just click the shutter until we get a good shot. I admit that was my strategy a couple of years ago. Now, however, I am trying to "measure twice" and think before I shoot.

ISO 250, f5.6 1/500 sec.
Since this is a photo blog I suppose I should post a photo. This was taken in August during a trip to Lake Guntersville for a family gathering. These ducks were at the edge of the water doing "duck stuff" and I was walking around doing "photo stuff". I really didn't do anything in post except for RAW conversion and a little sharpening on export.

ISO 250, f5.6, 1/60 sec.

The second shot is the son of one of my nephews. It was shot at the same family gathering under a picnic pavilion. As you can tell he had played hard, but I think this shot fits him well. This is shot using available light. Cropped just a little on the right side and I applied a Seim Preset: Angel Kisses B&W in Lightroom. 

Thanks for reading. By the way, I should note that this blog received a nice comment on David Ziser's blog a few months ago. I was flying to New York City when it was published and didn't see it until much later. (That just goes to prove that you should never miss a day of Digital Pro Talk). As Mr. Ziser is one of the inspirations for this blog, I appreciate his kind words and am honored that he would take the time to view my work. A link to the story is here. Digital Pro Talk June 11, 2010

All the best...

No comments:

Post a Comment