Read the manual

Let me summarize what I learned yesterday. Mostly about taking photos.

1. Read the camera manual. Why not? It will cost you a mere fifteen minutes of your morning and you’ve owned the damn camera for [whispered] two years.

2. Depth of field. Look look look, it’s my blooming plants against a backdrop of window and beyond!

3. Compare the two photos. Can you spot the difference? This one is nice too, but this is what all my photos looked like before today. Apparently, my camera’s aperture was auto-set to create a shallow depth of field. Who knew?

4. Now I can do what I once thought impossible: take pictures of condensation on windows even in brilliant sunlight. Just gotta slooooooowwwww doooooowwwwnnnn that shutter speed.

5. As all three photos of our living-room windows painfully put on display, housecleaning is not my calling. Have pity and wash us, they cry. In voices too spotty to be heard.

6. This post is getting downright silly, but wait until you see the next photo. That will sober us all up.

7. Hungry? Thought not. And this was the best food photo of the day. Green bean hash if you’re wondering. Recipe not included. Yesterday’s food photography attempt taught me mostly what not to do. Don’t attempt to photograph food in artificial light. It gets dark early; photographing supper should really go on hold for a few months in favour of lunch or breakfast. Or mid-morning snacks. Also, don’t go for candid in food photography. You know, don’t start eating supper, then hop up and decide to photograph it. Trust me on this one.

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8. Everything I don’t know! Buckets and buckets! I’ve got a shallow depth of field when it comes to this subject and I’m not too proud to admit it. Practice seems the best route to remedy that. Blog readers may be in for more flower photos than they should reasonably be expected to tolerate. (This one’s an orchid). Please accept my apologies. And some nice flowers to go along with them.

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9. Finally, most importantly: What pleases my eye? Do I know? (For example, is this photo, unedited out of my camera, a touch too dark, or does it please, with what light there is catching the fingertips?) On automatic settings the camera tells me what to admire in terms of light and shadow, temperature and tone. On manual settings I have to puzzle beauty out for myself. You might call it the perfect challenge.

Who begins too much?
Write to me in poetry


  1. m

    Bring on the flowers!

    The light in our house is terrible for photos. Good for you for pushing yourself. I like what I see.

  2. sheree

    I’m getting my fancier camera this week — and I know nothing having only had a no brainer digital before. I’m signing up for a course — thank you for advance tips.

  3. Margo

    oh, I am so with you! I so badly want to learn to take better photos! I never learned the aperture and f-stops like my husband did in high school. I’m trying to teach myself from my camera manual and a library book.

    I’m too pragmatic and I do take food photos in the terrible winter nighttime light. I know they’re not so appetizing, but it’s for the dark days challenge and I’ll be darned if I’m going to haul out supper leftovers into the morning light for a photo.

    But I’m eager to see what you do – pass your tips along, please – I’m trying to learn too!

  4. Carrie Snyder

    One of my photo friends tells me that while it’s good to get to know your camera, the key to taking good pictures is seeing them and framing them. ie. a lot of the issues around lighting can be remedied with photo editing softward, but you can’t change what you’ve actually captured. So while I’m going to continue to attempt to understand and use my manual settings, if I feel like the camera is getting in the way of capturing what I’m seeing, I’m going to give myself permission use the automatic settings in that moment. So that’s the one tip I have to pass along this morning, Margo!

    Enjoy the new camera, Sheree! Exciting!


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