Monday, February 02, 2009

Na Na

Took this of Henry this morning. Whenever I read his shirt I start singing "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot but with the alternate lyrics: "I like Big Trucks and I cannot lie..." Now that is probably in your head. You're welcome.

Anyway, today I became smarter than my camera. I know this will sound like nonsense to many people, but usually I would just shoot in aperture priority (Av) mode, but somehow my dial got switched to fully manual. In Av, I could adjust the depth of field / aperture and the camera would adjust all the other settings according to what it thought it needed to expose the photo correctly. In manual, however, I can adjust all the settings how I want. It seems like a no-brainer that everything would turn out better, but I just didn't trust my own ability to make those adjustments on the fly, and opted to go with Av in order to get the best exposure. That often resulted in me using a really wide aperture to get a fast shutter speed (esp. indoors), but that made it a lot harder to get the focus spot-on (or I'd get one eye clear and the other eye, maybe angled a little further away from me, out of focus - which can be a desirable effect, but not usually).

On that note: when we're talking about photos of people, usually the most important part to get in focus is the eyes. If the rest of the face is slightly soft, it's forgivable. The eyes (maybe because they're wet and reflective) have got to be sharp. With small children, it can be hard to achieve since they are constantly moving. Or you have a fast shutter and the image is too dark. Wide aperture speeds up the shutter and lets in more light, but you might miss the focus mark because you have to be that much more accurate. Sound confusing? It kind of is, but over the course of a year and a half I have gotten a much better grasp of these concepts (while taking thousands and thousands of photos, 75% of which are deleted almost right away). This isn't meant to be a lesson in photography technicalities, so thanks for bearing with me here.

I'm just excited because now I feel like I am justified in my need for a new camera body, sometime this spring. I am not going to get "this year's model" or top of the line anything, but a decent step up from what I have now (which is a Rebel Xt). I think it's only right to move up a step when I feel like I've mastered the camera I have. Now that I can shoot in manual mode confidently, I think my pictures are going to be turning out even better. The one above might look a lot like many other photos I've taken, but the amazing thing was even with him moving his head side to side, almost all the shots I took turned out just as sharp-eyed, which isn't typical.


Ron said...

That's awesome! I'm really glad you've "conquered" your camera! Sweet!

Trish said...

so will you be selling the one you have now?

Mindy said...

no - because it's still a very nice camera and i will need it as a backup for weddings and other important events. i've read that it's very important to not leave anything to chance, even if the chance is slim to none. at some point i probably will sell, because i doubt that i'll ever want or need 3. you can find rebel xt or similar model used or refurbished for pretty inexpensive these days. most can come with a "kit" lens too.