In addition to Digital Storytelling, I am also enrolled in Digital Photography.  I was doing great on the first day when we started practicing in Auto-mode.  I thought to myself, “this will be a breeze!” But then we switched into Manual mode.

Why were all my pictures pitch black? Why did I have an image that was completely white? How come there is so much delay time between when I press the button and the actual picture being taken?

This is when I had to pull out my Nixon DX manual, as Chapter 3 suggests to do.  I was tasked to read up on things like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. I definitely had to step outside of my comfort zone when I clicked from Auto to Manual.  But as chapter 3 says, you will learn so much more when you don’t let the camera think for you.  In manual mode YOU have the power to create deeper photographs by adjusting each aspect and being so nit-picky to create your best possible image.

What exactly did I learn from my manual about these foreign terms?

Aperture

My manual taught me that aperture controls how much light is allowed to enter the camera which then controls the depth of field.  However this concept is very counterintuitive because the larger the opening, the less light there will be entering the camera thus creating more depth.  WHAT? I had to read that section over many times, but it still didn’t click until I actually went out and experimented with the aperture settings. I found that most of my photos work best around a 4.5 aperture setting which is on the smaller side of openings, thus letting more light in and creating very little depth.  This has worked for in taking pictures of vast scenes where I don’t want just one aspect in focus.

 

Shutter Speed

The manual explained that faster shutters decrease visible movement while longer shutters increase visible movement which is a fairly easy concept once you begin shooting.  In my experimenting with shutter speed, the longer I made my shutter the blurrier it would be.  I then went back to my manual and learned that with longer shutters it is best to utilize a tripod in order to avoid the camera from picking up on the camera shake and so that it completely focuses on the subject’s movement.

ISO

I also learned that shutter speed goes hand-in-hand with something called ISO which controls the camera’s sensitivity to light.  ISO is something you must take into account in different weather settings (sunny/cloudy) because it affects how readily the camera accepts light and a mis-adjustment to the ISO can result in grainy images.  I have kept mine set at 200 which seems to be a happy medium for all lighting conditions.