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Friday, April 2, 2010

Fashion friday (and a little more experimentation with the Manual camera setting)

It's fashion friday, time to take a peek at a couple of outfits the girls assembled this week. This time I was playing around some more with the Manual setting on the camera, so there are wayyyyyyy more pictures than usual. If you just want to see the outfits, here's Ro on the left and Ree on the right. This is how they looked after their pre-K Easter party and egg hunt. Cute little bunnies, and the outfits this week almost look "normal" don't they? Or maybe I'm just getting used to their way of dressing. DSC_3416LR Now, for anyone interested in the camera side of things, I usually take pictures using the "auto" mode for the D300 (it's really the Program Mode, where I can specify a few things that I want and then the camera will automatically figure out the rest). Problem is, I'm never really happy with the reddish skin tones and the tad-dark exposures. So I've been playing around with the Manual mode to see if I can get things a little closer to what I really want (and to try and learn a little more about photography). I've been trying to manually set the white balance, and so far mastery of that little trick has eluded me. I've got a nifty white lens cap that supposedly works with the "Pre" button setting procedure, but the results are just plain off. So today I ended up setting the white balance temperature manually (choosing the temperature I wanted by eyeballing it). I like the results, but it's a pain to do every time I move to a new room or light condition, and I'd really like to figure out the Pre button so I can do it quickly. Maybe if I get a gray card and use that? Anyhow, along with the manual white balance temp, I played around with different ISO, shutter speed, and aperture settings (in my Manual mode the camera tells me when those things are correctly balanced, which is nice). Basically our family room is always a little dark, so I started with the biggest aperture I could to let in the most light possible. On the 18-200 lens zoomed a bit that was 5.6. Then the slowest speed I could hold the camera steady was 1/30th, so that meant I had to use an ISO of about 500 or I had to bump that ISO up to 1000 if I wanted a little faster (and therefore steadier) speed at 1/50th. Alright, so far so good (I think, haha). Here's Ro, trying to decide if she got the same amount of candy as her sister: DSC_3427LR This look is quintessential Ro: DSC_3449LR DSC_3458LR DSC_3464LR DSC_3466LR And here are a few of Ree. This one's not great focus-wise, but the look is so Ree that I had to include it: DSC_3435LR DSC_3442LR What are you munching on there, little bunny? DSC_3498LR Oh. Hee! DSC_3500LR Gee, that certainly looks, um, appetizing (not!): DSC_3504LR Ree's little foot in these big 'ole Polliwalks cracked me up. We ordered them a half size too big and were going to put them in the garage and wait awhile to wear them, but the kiddos simply can't resist: DSC_3519LR Candy in my mouth? What candy? I didn't sneak any candy: DSC_3482LR Mmmmmm: DSC_3488LR Can I try yours? Huh? Come on, please?: DSC_3492LR DSC_3495LR Mama, this Easter thing sure is fun. (In these shots, heavy-duty sunlight was streaming in from the window behind Ree's left ear and I was thrilled that the backlighting didn't kill the picture. Usually I get a black face in these conditions. Score one for Manual!): DSC_3528LR Well that's all I've practiced so far. Now, the questions for the real photographers out there: 1. Are you shooting in Manual? Why or why not? 2. How the heck are you setting your white balance? 3. Would I get similar good results shooting in Program Mode using spot metering and setting my white balance (assuming I ever figure out how to set it)? 4. Are there any photography classes that you'd recommend?

15 comments:

  1. Let's see: I've heard that you should just use a grey card to set the white balance. I've also heard that you should use the flash to balance out the backlighting, so the bright parts don't get washed out.

    Mind you, this is all stuff I've heard, not tried. I think your photos on manual setting are gorgeous!

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  2. I use a BaLens cap and it works and they are always on your lens but for the most part I shoot in raw with my D300 and it is very fixable in Lightroom. Don't have to worry about white balance. Try it, you will be surprised. For classes online try Jodi Friedman...she has online classes.

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  3. I usually shoot in AV mode where you set your aperture and the camera chooses the shutter speed. Then I set the exposure compensation to +1/3 to just brighten up the photo. If your photo is backlit and you don't want to use flash, then turn your exposure compensation up a little. This will give you proper exposure on your subject and blow out the background. I shoot Canon but I'm guessing Nikon is the same. I'm a youth sports action photographer so the techniques work for general kid action too.

    liz

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  4. Oh, I forgot to say, turning your exposure compensation up will slow down your shutter speed so make sure your ISO is high enough to keep your shutter speed up or your pictures will be blurry. 1/320 is the minimum shutter speed for action and 1/500 is better. I prefer a little noise from high ISO to motion blur.

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  5. I have the same camera and I have the same struggles!! I am looking forward to seeing what your readers have to say!

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  6. have you seen kenrockwell.com

    i love that site!

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  7. I'm embarrassed that I can't find the courage to set my big fancy camera to anything other than auto. It just does such a fantastic job of figuring out the best settings that I can't compete. And what it messes up, I can easily fix in Lightroom2. White balance is easily fixed there too.

    I'd love to take a photography class too and I'm looking into the local community college.

    Donna
    Our Blog: Double Happiness!

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  8. No help here as far as camera settings but those are sure some cute little bunny girls.

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  9. I only shoot in manual. I took an online class by Rawsii that taught me the basics. I now pay the small fee for the Kelby training online. SO many videos to watch and SO much to learn. It's awesome! Oh, and I have a TON of photography books. Your pics came out great...then again they always seem too : ) Seriously, YOU are one of the first bloggers to inspire me to get into photography. When you first got your camera you posted these pics of the girls in the bathtub. You focused on their feet and the rest of them blurred and I was all , " OMG HOW did she do that?!?!?!??!" So THANKS!

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  10. I want bunny ears, too. Those are awesome.

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  11. AV, TV and manual. my 3 fave modes :) glad you are branching out~! the pics are great.

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  12. I took an online class through Rawsii, she taught me how to get that button off of auto. Jody Friedman rocks too, you can see her here....http://www.mcpactions.com/

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  13. Manual is the ONLY way to go. Your backlit photo is the reason why! A camera on auto mode will see all that light and change the settings around and you'll end up with an under-exposed mug and that stinks.

    I have to be honest, I'm not a manual WB setter. I'm just not. I have spoken with a lot of pros who tell me they [secretly] still use auto WB! :O)

    What I do is I set it for wherever I am [indoors/outdoors/flourecent, etc] and then I shoot in RAW! Do you shoot RAW? It's the bomb, there is no two ways about it.

    So, when I go to edit my photos, if the WB isn't perfect [it is VERY difficult to train your eye to see color casts and skin tone issues that aren't blaringly obvious] I fix it in ACR [Adobe Camera Raw]. With RAW files you can tweek exposure, brightness, etc. and it changes the actual data of the photo. When y ou make those changes on a flattened .jpg file, well...it's just not the same. RAW files are HUGEMONGUS but it's the only way to go.

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  14. M3,

    You need to use a middle gray, not white, to set your white balance. (I can show you how to do it in a week!)

    I think my camera shoots dark so I always keep it rolled up a 1/3 of a stop. This is also called exposure bias. You may just want to keep your stops rolled up a little too.

    I think your pictures look really good. The focus is laser sharp and that's the biggest trick in my opinion. You can fix most other things after the fact but if you miss the focus there's not a thing you can do about it.

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  15. I'm sure they were the cutest little bunnies at pre-K! So sweet.

    Hope you had a great weekend with lots and lots of chocolate!!

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