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Old December 30th, 2008, 07:04 PM
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newlove newlove is offline
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Assignment: Manual Exposure

Here's an assignment for those who'd like a first step lesson on how to use their camera's manual mode

(Note: with these assignments I've chosen to take a baby step approach on the technical aspects of photography. You may expand on anything assignment related on your own, however each assignment will be basic and designed to build upon):

This first assignment is 'lifted' from Bryan Peterson's book 'Understanding Exposure'. I picked it for its simplicity and because it is an excellent beginning exercise.

First, let me set up a little pre-explanation for you to help with the assignment.

Most, if not all, digital cameras have a built in exposure meter. In case you do not understand what this is, it is a tool to help with correct exposure.

Usually the meter readings are inside your viewfinder (you'll also find it on your LCD screen if your camera comes equipped with one). If you look into your viewfinder and press your shutter release button halfway down (do not take a picture) numbers will pop-up inside your viewfinder (usually green or red in color).

For this exercise we will be concentrating on the little guide that looks like a ruler. This guide will display numbers from 0-5.

When your exposure numbers are correct a meter reading will show '0'. A number with a + will result in a slight to major overexposed image, and any number with a - will result in a slight to major underexposed image.

Aiming for a '0' in your meter read is highly suggested before capturing your image.

Here's the assignment:

-Go outside and pick a shady spot (either under a tree, side of a building or any other place that has shade - if it is a completely overcast day you can go anywhere since the clouds are acting as your shade)

-Recruit either a statue or person who will remain still to act as your model

-Set your camera to Manual mode (it's the M on your camera dial in case you weren't sure what the M stood for)

-Find the dial that controls the f stop and set it to 5.6 (f/5.6 will be the reading in your camera)

-Set your iso to 100 and WB to the cloud or building shade icon (if you are not sure what iso or WB is then just set them both to auto, for this assignment only)

-Place your subject about 6-8 feet away from the background area (either the tree, building, shrubs or what not)

-Look through your viewfinder and focus on your subject (preferrably their eyes or the most interesting part, if not a person)

-Find the dial that controls the shutter speed (shutter speed numbers will usually have a 1/ and another number, sometimes it will have a number preceeded with a ": Note - I highly doubt you'll have a speed with a " in outdoor natural daylight but in case you do, you'll need a tripod!)

-Now, adjust your shutter speed until your internal lightmeter reads '0' and take the picture

If you did everything step by step and exactly as written you will have taken a manually CORRECT exposure!

YAY!!

There are other factors to getting a properly exposed image but learning to read your meter is truly the best 'first' step!

Hope this helped those that needed it. If you want to discuss, post your examples, have any questions and/or simply just not getting it, please do not hesitate to post! I, as well as others, will help you get there!

Good luck, enjoy and happy picture taking.
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Last edited by newlove; December 31st, 2008 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Note
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Old December 30th, 2008, 07:36 PM
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Photologic Images Photologic Images is offline
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Excellent assignment, lise.

Something that helped me a lot from that book (which I think should be prerequisite reading material for any photographer) goes one step further than learning to read your light meter... Even more important is knowing where to take your meter reading FROM and what metering mode to use. For instance, don't take a meter reading from the sun, take it from the sky on the left, etc. Also, while there are many "correct" exposures, there is typically only one "creatively correct" exposure, which varies based on subject/situation.

Some intimidating terms, to be sure, but he really breaks it down to be idiot-proof... or joe-proof, as my wife calls it In any case, pick up the book if you've never read it.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 09:12 AM
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newlove newlove is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joethedestroyer View Post
Excellent assignment, lise.

Something that helped me a lot from that book (which I think should be prerequisite reading material for any photographer) goes one step further than learning to read your light meter... Even more important is knowing where to take your meter reading FROM and what metering mode to use. For instance, don't take a meter reading from the sun, take it from the sky on the left, etc. Also, while there are many "correct" exposures, there is typically only one "creatively correct" exposure, which varies based on subject/situation.

Some intimidating terms, to be sure, but he really breaks it down to be idiot-proof... or joe-proof, as my wife calls it In any case, pick up the book if you've never read it.

Excellent advice! Thank you. And, I should have stated in the assignment that the book is a wonderful, cheap, 'classroom textbook' for learning exposure. I got mine for under $15, which beats any $200 course any day!

And, a note: these assignments are designed to be a baby step approach. Each assignment (if they continue) will be a building block on each other.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 06:30 PM
TruLight TruLight is offline
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"(if they continue)"

Please...I hope they do continue! This is helpful and a great opportunity to practice.
Thanks!
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 05:40 PM
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TruLight, my hopes are these definitely continue but if not enough interest results then I have no other choice...

And, for all those who'd like to participate in these assignments, please post all your outcomes. In the next assignments I'll be posting my examples and outcomes so that everyone has a visual and guide when doing and posting.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newlove View Post
Here's the assignment:

-Go outside and pick a shady spot (either under a tree, side of a building or any other place that has shade - if it is a completely overcast day you can go anywhere since the clouds are acting as your shade)

-Recruit either a statue or person who will remain still to act as your model

-Set your camera to Manual mode (it's the M on your camera dial in case you weren't sure what the M stood for)

-Find the dial that controls the f stop and set it to 5.6 (f/5.6 will be the reading in your camera)

-Set your iso to 100 and WB to the cloud or building shade icon (if you are not sure what iso or WB is then just set them both to auto, for this assignment only)

-Place your subject about 6-8 feet away from the background area (either the tree, building, shrubs or what not)

-Look through your viewfinder and focus on your subject (preferrably their eyes or the most interesting part, if not a person)

-Find the dial that controls the shutter speed (shutter speed numbers will usually have a 1/ and another number, sometimes it will have a number preceeded with a ": Note - I highly doubt you'll have a speed with a " in outdoor natural daylight but in case you do, you'll need a tripod!)

-Now, adjust your shutter speed until your internal lightmeter reads '0' and take the picture

So here's mine: my speed stopped at 1/60 to get a "0" lightmeter read.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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MyhobbyPhotography MyhobbyPhotography is offline
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Ok, I tried this assingment and I am lost. In manual mode I do not know how to adjust my shutter speed. It automatically does it and I do not know how to override or do it myself. I have the Sony A300.

Can anyone help me?
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Old January 7th, 2009, 04:42 PM
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MyhobbyPhotography MyhobbyPhotography is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyhobbyPhotography View Post
Ok, I tried this assingment and I am lost. In manual mode I do not know how to adjust my shutter speed. It automatically does it and I do not know how to override or do it myself. I have the Sony A300.

Can anyone help me?
P.S. I have read my manual but it's a little confusing and doesn't go into very much detail about manual mode. I signed up for a free class on my specific camera for January 31st, so I'm hoping if y'all can't help me before then I can find out at the class and catch up with this lesson. .
  #9    Top
Old January 7th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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newlove newlove is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyhobbyPhotography View Post
P.S. I have read my manual but it's a little confusing and doesn't go into very much detail about manual mode. I signed up for a free class on my specific camera for January 31st, so I'm hoping if y'all can't help me before then I can find out at the class and catch up with this lesson. .
Okay, I'll try...I don't know your camera or how it operates but I'll tell you how mine works, then you can see if it's compatible with yours.

On the top of your camera there is a dial that shows letters (M, A, S, P and so on...there are also a few illustrations of a flower, face and so on)

Turn this dial until it goes to the letter M.

There should be a separate dial sticking up out of your camera, this should control both f-stop and shutter speed. If you turn it it should tell you which it controls without an aid of another button. If by turning this dial the f-stop number changes then you need to press another button simultainously (sp?) while turning that dial to change the speed. On my camera the button is a square with a + and - sign on it. Try pressing this button while turning the extra dial, it should make your speed change.

If none of what I told you helps and/or changes things then I am at a loss. I learned by trial and error on my camera, my manual was little to no help so I know what you are going through. Good luck let me know ifit works...
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Last edited by newlove; January 7th, 2009 at 05:31 PM. Reason: dyslexia
  #10    Top
Old January 8th, 2009, 06:36 AM
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MyhobbyPhotography MyhobbyPhotography is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newlove View Post
Okay, I'll try...I don't know your camera or how it operates but I'll tell you how mine works, then you can see if it's compatible with yours.

On the top of your camera there is a dial that shows letters (M, A, S, P and so on...there are also a few illustrations of a flower, face and so on)

Turn this dial until it goes to the letter M.

There should be a separate dial sticking up out of your camera, this should control both f-stop and shutter speed. If you turn it it should tell you which it controls without an aid of another button. If by turning this dial the f-stop number changes then you need to press another button simultainously (sp?) while turning that dial to change the speed. On my camera the button is a square with a + and - sign on it. Try pressing this button while turning the extra dial, it should make your speed change.

If none of what I told you helps and/or changes things then I am at a loss. I learned by trial and error on my camera, my manual was little to no help so I know what you are going through. Good luck let me know ifit works...

Oh, ok, I got it. Thanks so much, the control dial controled the aperature.. but by pressing the other button (+/-) while turning the control dial THAT controls shutter speed on the camera. That was confusing. haha
However I went into my menu, and you can set the control dial for either shutter speed or aperature.. for this assignment I switched it to shutter speed, and now pressing the button with the +/- button, controls the aperature. I just reveresed it. I am going to do this assingment as well as the 2nd tonight. Thanks so much for your help.
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