Friday, August 9, 2013

August 9. Day 221. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

I love my digital SLR camera. Unfortunately I have absolutely no idea how to use it.
a) is why God invented the automatic mode and
b) would require RTFM. I never read manuals.
So I push buttons and for the most part I'm happy with what I see.
So this evening on a walk along the Kangaroo Point boardwalk I stopped to randomly push buttons as I do.
Just up from me was a bloke also taking photos but he had a serious looking camera and obviously knew what he was doing.
"Did you get anything good," he asked. So I showed him one.
"Did you deliberately over-expose it?" he asked. That didn't sound like something I'd want to do.
"I don't know,"" I replied. "Did I?"
"Well, was the arrow in the middle of the bars?" asked my new friend.
"Oh, you think I'm shooting on manual." The penny dropped. "I've no idea what I'm doing."
So after a bit he came over and showed me. Showed me were the manual setting was. Explained how I wanted to over-expose and shoot with as long a shutter speed as possible. Thirty seconds would be good. And the F stop should be as high as possible. We went for 22. The higher the f stop the less light per second. Right. I think.
He even loaned me his mobile phone so I could prop us the lens to get the angle right.
And then my new buddy told me he was Marc Robertson the night photographer at The Courier-Mail.
He didn't have any jobs on tonight so he was sent out to snap the city lights. He wasn't paid to spoon feed novices but he did it anyway with patience and grace. I thanked him and told him about my Project 365. Experiment and pick up a few tips along the way and you'll be great by the end of the year, he said.
And then he was off. The phone I had returned without dropping in the river rang and suddenly that empty job diary had a new entry. "A dead body in Ipswich. Very decomposed. Looks suspicious."
Personally I was happy to be able to stay and play with the city lights.
So my take home message for today. Read the *ing manual. And no matter what my mother told me it isn't always bad to talk to strangers.

1 comment:

  1. what a very useful meeting. No I dont understand the technicalities either, oh goes on about thousands of a second, letting light in etc etc.....point and shoot I say.
    May I also add for somebody who knows so little your pictures are incredible. dont think I have seen a bad one anywhere on your blog