England - 2013, Photography

On Manual

For as long as I can remember (ok, so for as long as I can remember since I got my camera a few years ago) I have been taunted by the letters on the dial.  When I first started learning about things, I thought the letters stood for other things – A meant automatic, S meant slow, P was for people, and M, well M was something only smart people who Mastered their camera used.  I stuck with the auto switch, every so often venturing into one of the little picture shapes, but always coming back to auto.  And not the A, the green picture that chooses everything for you.

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The past few months, Amanda has been after me to start shooting in something OTHER than auto, claiming that my pictures would be better, or I would be happier, or I would be able to use the little lens baby that she bought me a few years ago.  Whatever the reason, I wasn’t convinced.  I eventually caved, and told her that I would start shooting in Aperture mode, just to appease her, and because I knew a little something about aperture already.

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And so I began.  Except that I couldn’t achieve what I wanted, and got more and more frustrated.  Too light, too dark – nothing was working.  It wasn’t even working in auto mode, because the more I shot, the more I realized the less my pictures looked like what I was seeing.  My camera wasn’t capturing what I was seeing.  Of course it was my cameras fault and not mine.

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Yesterday I picked Nik up, and followed everyone out into the garden where Mr JD was showing off and having fun in the sun.  Unable to achieve what I wanted in auto, I turn the dial to manual.  The first few shots were underexposed, and overexposed.  White and dark.  Stupid and frustrating.  And then – something happened.  I took a picture – and it worked.  What I saw, was what the camera saw!  I spent the whole day shooting in manual, and while not every picture turned out, I was proud to announce I was actually shooting in manual for the first time in my life.

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I was choosing the settings by myself, adjusting them on my own, and accomplishing what I wanted, and for once – my pictures were turning out to an extent.

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Of course later that day I got to thinking – I remembered the time I found the switch on my lens – and made the switch from auto to manual focus.  How proud I was!  And yet looking back, how silly it was!  I imagine in a few months time, this will seem silly as well.  Most people prefer to learn about their cameras by reading the manuals and while this is probably the smart and most efficient way to go about things, I prefer to learn about the simple things – the hard and complicated way apparently.

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3 thoughts on “On Manual”

  1. Congrats on trying Manual! It’s a big step, and frustrating. But when you get it, you’ll be glad you did. Don’t be too hard on yourself, I went an entire year of trying to shoot manual before I figured out how to read my meter. I had no idea what it was for. Talk about learning the hard way. I know it’s a bit of an investment, but think about taking the shooting 101 workshop through Clickin Moms. You don’t have to be a mom to join, and you don’t have to have a membership to take a workshop. Plus, this year they added more sessions of the course so it isn’t filling up as quickly. It is something I wish I had done when I was first learning manual. Anyway, keep shooting. You’re doing great. Sorry for the longest comment ever. 🙂

    1. Aw thanks for the comment, it made me smile 🙂 I have wanted to take a workshop – just the deciding which one, when to do it…but will check out the one you mentioned. Thanks again!

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