Orientation to Manual Photography[☾ ~ #3]

Saturday, January 21, 2012



One of the things that makes DSLRs very appealing to photography enthusiasts is its manual settings control feature. You can manipulate certain settings in the camera that can greatly affect how the photos will come out. The most important settings that should be taken into consideration in manual photography are exposure, aperture, shutter, and ISO.

Camera settings are very well explained in this cheat sheet for photography.

Exposure
Honestly, I still don't get this one. All I know is that it's okay to just set this to 0 (zero).


Aperture
This has something to do with the size of the opening of the lens. Usually, this is indicated on cameras in f/[number], where f is the focal length. It controls the amount of light that enters the sensor. It is designed after the natural behavior of eyes when exposed to varying amounts of light. 

The essence of aperture can be best illustrated with this picture -- a cat's eyes at day (left) and the other one at night (right).

The larger the aperture number, the smaller the light the lens will absorb. Just like the eyes, say of cats, in the morning there's only a small black area in their eyes because few light is needed to be absorbed to be able to see correctly, and otherwise at night.

I've also read that aperture plays a role in making the background blurry in the future. I guess I'll take a look on this later on.


Shutter
Also coined as shutter speed, it indicates how long the camera's sensor is exposed to light. The faster the speed, the more crisp and focused the resulting image would be. If you want to capture movement trails in your picture, then you must make the shutter speed longer. On the other hand, if you want to freeze a moving subject in your photo, then select a faster shutter speed on your camera. Shutter figures (i.e. 30, 20, 1, 1/25, 1/100) are measured in seconds.



Car light trails are evident in this picture. (shot with 2 seconds shutter speed)

ISO
This is the measurement of the camera lens' sensitivity to light. High ISO is recommended when shooting at night time as to capture the stars' light well and to lower the noise level in the image.


COMBINING THESE SETTINGS TOGETHER!!
And here comes the headaching part.  It takes a good combination of these settings to create a good photo. As a beginner, trial and error is the easiest way for me to learn this part. Selecting the settings correctly will come instinctively as more experiences are gained in the future.

One of my trial and gone errored photos. xD shot at f/4.5 1/3 sec ISO-400 (left) and f/4.5 1/3 sec ISO-3200 (right)


Some of the photos fortunately turned out well...


shot at f/4.5 1/15sec ISO-6400
I like this shot! :D (f/3.5 1/20sec ISO-6400)
This photo is by far my favorite amongst the ones I've taken tonight. I loved the way the background blurred while the bear came to focus. :D

I further experimented with the settings of the camera, and I was able to produce this shot...


camera settings are set at f/25 1/4000sec ISO-1600

Note that I took this at night and the bulb was on.This shot looks promising for future astrophotos. :D This image made me remember my first telescope alignment lessons wherein we were taught how to align the eyepiece and the view finder. Our subject then was a light bulb along the academic oval in campus. The image formed in the telescope similarly looked like this. If the light absorbed by the lens is controlled, the body outlines of the bulb can be captured even if it is turned on and there is too much light emitting from it.



There is still so much to learn. However, this is one great leap in my knowledge in photography. To enhance the knowledge and skills for these settings, applying them in different scenarios would be an effective way. Let's try that next time. :)




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