I set a challenge for myself last week. School has slowed down a little so I wanted to concentrate on working on my photography. I have a great book, Understanding Exposure that photographer Josh Lamkin had recommended to me. I have read it in pieces but never finished reading the whole book. There are various exercises in the book and I would always get hung up at that point having so few options in doing the exercises. Or finding the time! Anyway, the challenge I set for myself was two fold: Thoroughly read at least 1 chapter in Understanding Exposure every week and a half and to not use the auto setting on my camera. I have a very bad habit of switching to auto exposure if I am taking pictures at a party where I have to get the shot really quick and I don't have a lot of time to get my settings correct. So on April 1st I spent the majority of the day doing photography. Once again my poor cats were my models. I decided to concentrate on my weakness which is correct shutter speed. So I tried a lot of different shutter speeds while they were in the sun and out of the sun and combined them with different ISO settings. I felt by just shooting hundreds of pictures that day I became more comfortable with the manual setting and learned more about what works.
So on Easter I put myself to the test where I took every picture in manual mode. The family was playing horseshoes so I was just standing to the side experimenting with different shutter speeds and ISO and also using my zoom lens to capture some close ups. There were a lot of action shots so that was fun to finally have a camera that doesn't blur the action. Unless you want it to! Although I will say one of the better pictures of the day my sister took while she had the camera in auto mode. A little discouraging!
However I felt really happy with the results of my experiments. I am now determined to not use auto exposure. It is really a learning process and I enjoy every minute of learning new things!