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Thread: Just learning and not sure how:::

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    Just learning and not sure how:::

    to get the camera settings right. I don't fully understand the Aperture, shutter speeds etc, and maybe figuring all that out will help me get better pics. Is there a website anyone has found which would help.

    I took the kids to the zoo yesterday, so thought I would experiment with my EOS 400D. I got hardly any pics I would like to keep. Heaps were either too dark, or they had camera shake (not practicle to take a tripod to the zoo, and have 2 kids with you).

    What is the best lense to use while at the zoo. I have the EOS 400d Twin Lense Kit, and I found I was forever changing lenses which was a huge pain, especially while I had 2 kids with me, and I was pushing the pram.

    Also how is the best way to take pics of your kids and not get camera shake, or a bluey tinge to your photos.

    I tried so hard yesterday to use the functions on my camera rather than just shooting the whole day in "auto". I think I only took about 5 out of 160+ photos in Auto.

    I am not game enough to post any of my pics at the moment.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Deanne

    An easy (ish) way to learn is to set your camera to AUTO. take a shot and look at what settings the camera "chose" for the shot. then switch to manual and copy those settings. Over time you will learn to read the light visually yourself. etc, and be able to use the manual settings.

    Its also good to spend some time in the backyard at home, setting the camera to Av mode and taking shots at various settings, then swap to S(hutter) mode and do the same. Get on your computer and look at the shots and compare what happens when the Av mode is set to say 3.5 and what its like at 22. You will then learn what each setting does and how it affects your resultant images.

    But the best thing is get out there and PRACTICE.
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    Deanne
    There are many ways to learn basic photography but reading it here on the net is generally not the best way.

    When you read about something in a book or on the net, very little as actually retained and even less if you cant quite grasp what the underlying principle is. Thats why you have teachers and lecturers in schools to show you the correct method and how to correct your errors.

    Basic learning from the net is very difficult and this can be compounded by having numerous people explain the same thing in a number of different ways - a bit like 4 different people try to explain how to open a file on your PC - they're all correct but which is the best way and which are just short cuts without real learning.

    My recommendation is you look to your local adult learning college and book in for basic photography. There are usually classes in local schools that run for about 10-12 week at about 2-3 hours a week. There will be assignments etc etc. It will cost a few bucks but will be worthi it in the long run.

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    Thanks guys. I am trying not to use the "auto" function. I got a DSLR for the reason I can be in control over everything. I already had a pretty good camera prior to the DSLR (Canon Powershot G6).

    I am trying to enrol in a photographic course near me, but 2 of the nights for this term are unsuitable, so I am just finding out if I can swap those 2 nights to another night.

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    Thumbs up

    Rick's suggestion is a good one, and one i used to get the hang of my D200 (before i aquired the ebook)
    Just put it in auto and focus, then take note of the setting's (A notepad is handy in your kit anyways,so)...
    Or, leave it in auto and look at the exif data when you get home.
    "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." - legendary war photographer Robert Capa.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deanne View Post
    Thanks guys. I am trying not to use the "auto" function. I got a DSLR for the reason I can be in control over everything.
    thats true, but you cant learn to walk without support and assistance to start with. Take it slow, learn what each part of shooting manual does by itself, then start combining them to create the whole. Sounds like you are getting frustrated, but it need not be that way. Take it one step at a time and you will be using manual easily in no time.

    As you said, most of your shots came out dark, do you understand why? If not, you need to step back and take it slower, gain understanding and slowly progress. You cant be in control over everything when you don't understand the parts that make the everything controllable.

    You will achieve it, we all have and we aren't any smarter than anyone else. Have FUN and you will learn.

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    Ricktas said "have fun" and that is a great point. In fact it is the main point. You have bought your camera to enjoy so don't stress, take photos and enjoy it....with a bit of practice and advice the results will come.

    I agree with the others in that if you are not sure about what your doing, shoot in auto then check the results and settings and learn from that.

    Ricktas has used the same method I used to get a feel for the camera.

    The zoo is a hard place to learn as you are confronted with different lighting, zoom, shutter speeds and other issues.

    Go to a place where all the conditions are stagnent. Like a park, a beach etc. Half depress the shutter in auto and take note of the settings. Take a few shots. I would then suggest using AP (Aperture Priority) and take the same shots again using different apertures and then check the results (the camera will select the shutter speeds). You will soon learn about aperture settings. However lighting comes into this big time so for now just do it in daylight conditions to get a feel for aperture.

    If your taking a photo of a dog on a pavement try it using the biggest aperture (the smallest numbers ie f2.8 or f3.5 or f4 depending on your lens), then again with the smallest aperture (biggest numbers) you will see that the object stays in focus but the background changes from blurry to sharp. That is your first lesson.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    the importance of 'self teaching' shouldn't be underestimated so easily.

    If you have the patience and will to learn it all for yourself, you will probably come out of the experience with more satisfaction.

    Get some books, an ebook on your particular camera model..etc.

    The best types of books for learning photography(just my opinion, not any facts I've suddenly discovered) are photograph books, not just technical manuals, but coffee table kinds of books. Hopefully there will be some indication of some of the camera settings at the bottom of each image, to help you with some technical knowledge...

    But as for practicing with the camera, you already have two great subjects(and I'm assuming a backyard?) get out there and just shoot!
    I did a lot of that.. fast paced, hyper kids playing in the BY, set the camera to Aperture priority (I think someone said Av mode) learn to change settings quickly, to be more adaptable.

    Last point I'd like to make, is to join a club/ find a friend that shares the same passion(and gear!). They can show you as much as anyone else, and you build your knowledge from there..

    I know how hard it is when the kids are hanging off 'ya.. I tend to stop at those times as it's not as much fun(for me or them!)
    But practicing with the kids as willing participants is going to help a lot, and don't be afraid to delete pics.. they didn't really cost all that much!
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    Just to add to the good advice already. If you can get your hand on a copy of the book "understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson it is worth getting. I have a copy sitting next to the breakfast bar and constantly refer to it just to refresh my knowledge.
    Brian

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    I agree with commets above. See if you can do a basic photography course. I did one (6 nights over 6 weeks, field trip to end) and the difference was AMAZING after doing it. Really well worth the effort.

    A couple of free tips tho

    - For zoo shots, your long lens is usually best, but these are the hardest to use when you are starting out. But, for the purposes of this example, lets say you are using your 75-300...
    - On your display, there are 2 numbers of importance - aperture and shutter speed. Aperture will be a decimal number (4.5, 5.6 that sort of thing) and the other, your shutter speed, a bigger (usually) number (125, 250 etc).
    - The trick with long lenses is to keep your shutter speed bigger than the focal length of your lens. So, if you are shooting at 300mm (the real close-up end of your long lens), you need your shutter speed to be more than 1/300 of a second, To do that, set your dial to Tv, and rotate the little black wheel next to it to get a number bigger than 300. This will remove 'camera shake' and you'll get a much sharper image.
    - its hard to get a shutter speed like that unless you are in full sunlight. So you can see, it is much easier to get sharp images using your 18-55 lens, as the number doesnt need to get so big. But at a zoo, the animals arent usually 2 feet away from you, they are 30 feet, so you need a longer lens to get close.
    - The aperture is a whole other kettle of fish, and the key to creative shots. You need to learn that, but for now, I suggest concentrate on getting sharp images that are well framed, using the above technique.

    - Last point. If you cant get your shutter speed bigger than your focal length without the shots coming out too dark, try adjusting your ISO (this is in your menu settings). Default is 100, but you could go up to 400, this will give you 2 extra stops of light in the lens (the shutter speed number will doubled, twice). Your pictures will look a little grainy, but they'll be sharper.

    That's really all I can say without making it totally confusing. Hope it helps.

    Oh, and read the manual, and experiment. Its really the only way!!!
    Last edited by Ploddy; 14-07-2007 at 11:00am.
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    Hi Ploddy

    I am in Newcastle also. I have just booked in with Hunter Region School of Photography to do the Photographic Techniques Part 1 course. I think that is the course you are talking about. I am starting on Tuesday night with a friend of mine.

    Once I have done that 6 week course, they have part 2 of the course which I want to do also, then there is the 2 night courses they have along with the portrait ones. I am planning on doing them all and once I have done that, I am hoping my photos are alot more spectacular than they are now.

    As for the notebook in the camera bag, I already did thatl. As I was reading through the manual the other night I thought if I was to write some of this down, it would be handy to refer back to. Writing it down, helps it to sink in a bit better. I wish I could get out of the house to take some pics, but this cold weather is driving me inside where it is lovely and warm.

    Will let you guys know how I go after Tuesday Night.
    Last edited by Deanne; 14-07-2007 at 12:33pm.

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    Yep, Deanne, that is the course I did. I did the package too, Techniques 1 and 2, Portrait and Night. Well worth doing all, particularly the Tech 1 and Portrait were outstanding. I learned so much its not funny.

    You'll be an expert by the end, I promise!!!

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    There are a number of clubs up your way that will give you the opportunity to meet like minded people.

    Newcastle Photographic Society

    Belmont 16 Footers Photographic Club
    Last edited by Ged; 15-07-2007 at 6:49am.

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    This post would make for a great sticky.

    Really sound advice guys!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sans2012 View Post
    This post would make for a great sticky.

    Really sound advice guys!
    An even better sticky would be a list of known Clubs Australia wide

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    Not much time to reply, looks like you have been given some fantastic info already

    Here is a great website, work your way from the start to end.....good for learning with the EOS:

    http://web.canon.jp/imaging/enjoydslr/p_3_001.html
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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    hmm... very informative thread.

    as the first post said, dont be afraid of auto, the camera will show you what settings you require for a given situation these can then be aplied in manual if you so desire. fiddle around in aperture and shutter priority modes too, its fun.... put the camera in aperture priority, set it to something like 2 or 3 and gradually increase it watching the camera decrease the shutter speed to compensate dont even have to take a picture to observe this.

    i guess most of all have fun and experiment when ever you can. i am a newbie to DSLR too


    **edit: oh, and one more thing. if you see a picture you like on this forum view the exif data for it so you can find what setting the photographer used!
    Last edited by ving; 19-07-2007 at 4:00pm.

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