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...

Friday, March 25, 2011

The End is Near!

Okay, don't panic. Not that end, but...

The first phase of the Manual DSLR Project will end in less than a week. I started this project 360 days ago with the goal of learning how to use my Nikon D300 in manual mode. I had heard others talk about shooting in manual but it seemed like a mystery to me. Wow! What a ride it has been.

I have learned so much in the past year but know that there is so much left to learn. Look for a reveal of the next phase of the Manual DSLR Project in the next few days.


Monday, March 14, 2011


Last month I lit a couple of candles and took a few shots, posting the results on this site. Here is one more from that shoot.

This was shot at ISO 200 using natural light; f5.6, 1/5 second. I bumped the black setting in Lightroom to get rid of some of the surrounding ambient light. The result is what I was looking for.

With only 16 days left in the Manual DSLR Project I am still working on what to do for my next project. I'm narrowing it down, but will probably make the decision on a trip that I'll be taking later in the week.

Between taxes, a new writing project, and doing some work on a new business venture, I've been on somewhat of a dry spell in taking photos lately. However, I will have some great opportunities for taking some photos this weekend. Look for some new photos on Twitter and Instagram as early as Thursday. My username on both is manualdslr.

All the best... Mike

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Taking Care of Business

I've been tied up with a couple of other projects lately so the frequency in which I have posted has suffered. So here is a quick post to let you know what I've been up to. 

This is a barn that belongs to my sister and her husband.
First, it is tax time and I have been going through the torture of working on my tax return. I will start by saying that this is THE LAST time I will do my own taxes. I have hired a CPA who understands my type of business and who will take care of my business and personal tax returns for what I believe to be a very fair price--the preservation of my sanity. I started preparing my own tax returns several years ago when my tax professional retired due to health reasons. At the time our business was relatively simple and she encouraged me to do it myself. There comes a time, however, when things get so complicated that completing your own tax return is somewhat akin to performing your own appendectomy. Now I'm pretty good at carving the Thanksgiving turkey, but there are some things that amateurs shouldn't do.

Speaking of that a co-worker yesterday asked me if I would be interested in shooting a wedding for her. Again, there are some things that amateurs should not do!

Finally, I am working on a sample chapter of a new book. I can't release details at this point, but I'm excited about the possibilities.

With only 22 days left in the 365-day Manual DSLR Project, I am also thinking about deciding what my next step will be. I'm leaning toward devoting a year focusing on lighting techniques, but am not absolutely sure yet.

I am excited that late next week I'll be taking my wife on a surprise trip. You should understand that I am terrible at surprises. My kids were so good at convincing me to let them open Christmas gifts early that we just started "having Christmas" on December 23. But I have kept this one a secret. Not many people know the secret destination and fewer know the itinerary, so I believe that she will be genuinely surprised. It's funny. I could list the itinerary here and she'd never know. It's not like she ever reads my blog!

Anyway, look for Twitter messages and photos to start next Thursday. I am looking forward to a much-needed break and a break from our schizophrenic weather. Not to mention some quality time with my sweet wife.

Until next time...Mike

PS. Don't forget to check out my weekly posts at I also recently posted an article at Amateur Photographer Magazine.