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...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stormy Weather

Hello all:

Our area was hit hard by storms yesterday. We are fine but without electricity. We lost several trees and my son's car in the storm. I'll post photos later. Sadly, many of our neighbors lost so much more.

For a few storm-related photos please check my Twitter feed @manualdslr. Once we get electricity (which could be as long as two weeks) I'll catch up with blog posts.

All the best...

Sent from my iPhone
Mike Kennamer

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Hi, gang! You haven't heard much out of me lately because I've been busy with a number of other projects. Here's a quick rundown of what I'm currently working on:
  •  Writing Projects - While I can't divulge the details, I am working on three significant writing projects--all in different stages of completion--related to my background in healthcare. These are the jobs that pay the bills, so you can understand why they have been a top priority. While some of the these projects will be active for a number of months, I hope to get back to The Manual DSLR project very soon. 
  • New Business Structure - After seeing a large percentage of my writing income going to Uncle Sam in the form of income and self-employment taxes, I have worked with a CPA and an attorney to restructure my business from a sole proprietorship to a sub-chapter S corporation. This change should help us to avoid (not evade) excessive taxation while building a business structure that will allow for future growth. It also allows us to combine what we do in photography with our writing business. I took several of the photos in my first book (published in 2002), but because I'm getting paid primarily for the writing, I have never considered myself to be a "professional" photographer. But I guess it's official now.
Our company is called Kennamer Media Group, Inc. Look for more details as we develop it further. Thankfully, most of the leg work in putting together is complete, so I'll be able to get started with manual flash soon.

I'm considering ordering some of Kerry Garrison's Black Belt Lighting products as that would be a good way to learn manual off-camera flash. Look for a review once I get a chance to order it.

Until then, all the best...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chickamauga Battlefield

Aiming toward Chattanooga
Here's a shot of a cannon on the hillside.
Last Saturday I went to the Chickamauga Battlefield near Chattanooga Tennessee and took a few shots. There is not much to say about these other than it was a fun day with my son Lane and about 20 other guys from church.

I hope you enjoy!


Signs of Springtime

Monday, April 4, 2011

Looking Back...

They say that time flies when you are having fun...

I suppose that is true, especially when it comes to the past year during which I have blogging on this site. While I am preparing to move to the next phase of the Manual DSLR Project, I want to take a moment to mention the highlights of the journey.

Since I am both a blog reader and a podcast listener, I was thrilled when Kerry Garrison, of Camera Dojo, posted an encouraging comment on one of my posts. And I was super excited when David Ziser mentioned my blog on his Digital ProTalk blog. I have enjoyed reading comments posted by photographers like me who are working on being the best that they can be.

As soon as I started the blog I also started a Twitter account (@manualdslr) and have excited to get to know some of the photographers (amateurs and professionals) around the world who love to learn (and teach) more about photography. There are too many to mention them all, but I do want to mention some of those who have encouraged me the most:

Shane Lund an LA-based wedding photographer
Joakim Berndes @, of Stockholm Sweden
Kelley Young
Roar Engen , of Norway
4square 5 square Productions
Mary Jane Sparrow @ of Arkansas
Alex Racanelli @ of Danbury, CT
Kimberly Logan @ of Saratoga, NY
Lensbaby of Portland, OR
PostalPix @ of California
Trevor Current @

As I move into the next phase of the Manual DSLR Project I want to thank everyone who encouraged me, pushed me, retweeted me, #FFed me, or just read the blog, enjoyed my photos, or followed my tweets. One of the greatest lessons learned from this project is that the photography profession has some of the nicest, most supportive people in it that I have ever known. Thank you for letting me be a small part...

All the best... Mike 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Original Manual DSLR Project: One Year Later

Hello all:

Just over one year ago I embarked on a new project called the Manual DSLR Project. Since it is now time to take the project to the next step I wanted to preserve the original purpose of the blog by moving it from the header of the page to a post. The blog description will be revised for the next chapter in the Manual DSLR project.

Thanks for reading and be sure to keep following my progress as I continue to grow as a photographer.


Original Manual DSLR Project Description:

Hi, and welcome to my blog. I am an amateur photographer who occasionally takes some decent photos. However, most of the time I shoot in Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. First of all, there is nothing wrong with shooting in "A" or "S" mode. However, I do not feel that I am using my camera to its fullest since I am not at all comfortable using Manual mode. Learning manual mode will also help me to do some artistic things that can't be done in Aperture priority.

So here's the deal...

Inspired in part by the movie Julie and Julia (my wife made me watch it) and professional photographers like David Ziser (who blogs on Digital Pro Talk six days a week), Kerry Garrison (of Camera Dojo fame), Gavin Seim (Pro Photo Show), and others, I am giving myself one year - 365 days - to learn to use manual mode on my Nikon D300. Rather than taking that journey alone, I am inviting you to join me in this journey. Learn from my mistakes. Celebrate with me as my fingers remember which wheel adjusts the shutter speed and which controls the aperture settings.

My goal is that in one year I be more familiar with the features of my camera than I am now. My goal is to be able to look at a scene and know what shutter speed, ISO, aperture setting, etc. to select.

While I am giving myself a year to work through this learning project, I do not expect to post to this blog every day. I work a full-time job and often work late hours. I am not David Ziser (though I would love to have a small portion of the knowledge and skill he possesses). I expect to post to this blog about once a week.

So join me in this journey. Let me hear from you. What I know right now I learned from some of the awesome photographers out there on the web and on podcasts. I am open to hearing your thoughts.

All the best...