Thanks Oakville Camera Club

I think almost 100 people show attended last night’s session on Manual_Mode_Workshop at the Oakville Camera Club. (Thanks Spring for posing during the hands-on session.)

I want to thank everyone who attended and I want to say how gracious and supportive are the members of this club.

It was very gratifying and satisfying for me to have one of the members come up after my presentation and thank me for the presentation by saying it had helped him feel a lot better about what he was doing with his new digital camera.

You see I told the story about how difficult I found the transition from film to digital photography. Back in my day 🙂 I started shooting with a Nikon Nikkormat and graduated to a Nikon F2. These cameras were bullet-proof and manual everything. I’ve still got a Nikon FM-2 (used to have a matching FE-2) with a case full of original lenses (including a 35mm f/1.8 and the legendary 105mm f/2.5 portrait lens).

I was a working photojournalist back in the 70s and 80s and I was pretty good 🙂 If the editor sent me out to get a photo, I could be counted on to always return with something publishable. And then, after years as an editor myself, I went digital and “Oh Boy!”

Using my new digital Nikon D-300 my failure rate soared. Nothing seemed in focus (What’s with all those focusing spots?) I couldn’t seem to get the exposure right unless I was shooting in Program mode (A sin for any professional photographer or so I thought at the time not know about Joe Buissink who shoots in P mode!). And what’s with this RAW and JPG thing? So I read a lot. I talked to other photographers.

And I shot a lot of images of my cat Buffy. (That’s Buffy on the right.)

Anyway I got it figured out. I set the D-300 to manual mode and went back to the basics. I now shoot a lot in Program mode with one focusing spot in the centre of the screen active. Depending on the job I shoot RAW when I want to work on individual images and JPG when I’m doing special event photography and want to get the images up online fast.

Now I can shoot in any mode. I’ve figured out the Nikon CLS flash system and I actually own a couple of tripods. My digital darkroom focuses on LR3 and CS4 along with NX2 and NIK software products.

Shooting with the new DSLR cameras requires us to either shoot in Program or Auto mode and let the camera manufacturer do the thinking or start experimenting with the camera in one hand and the manual in the other. It doesn’t take long to come to an understanding of what’s happening inside the camera and the best news of all, once you know how to shoot with one DSLR, you’re going to be pretty good (with some variations on the theme) with all DSLRs.

And remember, if you get really stuck with most DSLRs you  can always go back to manual.

Thanks again to the Oakville Camera Club.


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