Monday, September 17, 2012

Adventures in Manual Photography--Commence!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a photography class for novice DSLR users and I think it may have changed my life. Well maybe not my life but definitely my life as it relates to photography. I know most of you who are reading this blog (or who have read this blog in the past) remember this post that I wrote describing the incredible gift Erik gave me when we first started dating--the ultra new, super sweet Nikon D7000 SLR camera. I have loved photography for years and have always wanted to take my hobby a little further (i.e. beyond point and shoot) so I was very excited to get this new toy. However, despite my best intentions for learning the ins and outs of my fancy new camera, I had yet to advance past the "auto" setting (basically point and shoot). Well I am proud to say that I have (finally) taken the next step (we won't mention that it only took me a year and a half) and learned the basics of manual photography. Yay!

I have always been a visual learner so the books I had purchased when I first got my camera just weren't cutting it. I knew that I needed to actually have someone show me the basics. The class that helped me get there was taught by Jen Kolb through the Digital Photography Academy which is based out of New York but has instructors all over the country. I first found out about Digital Photography Academy via Living Social and a deal they were offering for a Composition in the Field class. The price was right and my friend Monique said she would join me so we signed up to see what we could learn. After signing up for the class, I got an e-mail from DPA with some additional classes I might be interested in taking, one of which included an Intermediate photography class for DSLR users. I figured since I knew essentially nothing beyond point and shoot it might be worth my while to take this class--maybe get a leg up for the Composition in the Field class. The cost was $65 for a 4 hour class which I thought was very reasonable.

I went to the class yesterday not really knowing what to expect and was blown away by my instructor and her knowledge. She combined a PowerPoint presentation with a lot of hands on instruction and a couple of breaks to go out and test the skills being learned in the classroom. We learned about Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO settings, and setting up/programming our cameras. The instructor had a lot of really helpful tips and tricks and was really good at answering our questions (there were only 4 people in the class including myself so I think everyone was able to get plenty of individual attention and instruction). She had us shoot in Aperture mode, shutter speed mode, and then finally (dun dun dun!) manual mode.

I will say right now that when class began and we were told that we would be comfortable shooting manually in just 4 short hours I was very skeptical. Imagine my surprise when 4 hours later I am bouncing all over the place shooting manually and completely LOVING it! Turns out, with just some simple instruction manual is really not so scary. Of course I have a lot of practicing to do but I think I can safely say that I will never be going back to auto mode again. Oh and I am really looking forward to the Composition class in a couple of weeks! So without further ado, here are some photographs I took yesterday in manual mode (my apologies to those of you who are my Facebook friends and have seen these already):