Learning More Behind the Camera

Yesterday was a great learning experience with my camera. We went to a cemetery nearby and I basically went to town taking photos – intriguing headstones, interesting items, wildlife… You name it. If it was there I probably took a picture of it. It was good fun.

I was playing with the manual focus and full manual settings and I discovered that I still have a lot to learn. I am by no means a good photographer but I enjoy it. The hope is that I continue to learn and also improve. I think more learning experiences like yesterday are required. I really don’t her out enough taking photos. But back to the things I learned:

  1. I have trouble with exposure. My photos have a tendency to be over-exposed.
  2. I can’t focus manually, at least not yet. Many of my photos were not fully in focus. Auto-focus it is, for now!
  3. I am terrible at changing settings through the viewfinder. Is moving the camera away from my face to change my settings and that doesn’t do much good as the picture will not be the same one you are changing your settings for. Something that will take don’t practice I think.
  4. My composition skills were lacking, especially in my wildlife photos. Something else I think will take practice.

The result of all of these overexposed, out-of-focus, poorly composed photos was that I learned something, and know exactly what areas I can improve upon and how. I decided that until I am able to master my camera settings I will stick to auto-focus, as while practicing later on last night I had much better luck with my photographs. It will make things easier as I practice. I had a lesson last night after we got home in metering – choosing the proper exposure. I was using the wrong things to set my exposure for my photos. Usually an 18% grey card is ideal, but something that acts as a neutral in the environment works fine as well. Grass will work, for example. I also sat down and went through the settings and buttons and other wingdings on my camera and learned exactly what each of them do, and how to change my aperture and shutter speed and ISO all on the fly while looking through the viewfinder. This was all really valuable information. I feel much more confident with camera in hand than I did when first heading out yesterday. I will have much better luck next time.

I really got a lot out of yesterday aside from fun and the things I learned were really invaluable if I really want to take better pictures (and I do). And who do I have to thank for all of this? None other than my fantastic fiance and his wealth of photography knowledge! If it weren’t for him I’d be so clueless and would have no idea where to start. The best part is his own DSLR should be on its way to us. Soon we will be able to go out and take photos together! I’m really looking forward to that.

Though the photographic outcomes of the cemetery outing are far from great, I see it as an invaluable experience and process. Here are a couple of photos I didn’t deem total failures. It’s good that some of them turned out okay!

Mossy Headstone
A mossy headstone. I thought it quite lovely to look at. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

 

Old Lock
An old lock on the gate of probably the most depressing mausoleum ever.

 

Family Bench
This was a flimsy old wire bench we came across as we were strolling along. I didn’t really notice until right before I took this photo that a family had left it. It is in quite terrible disrepair. It has been here a long time.
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