Posted on November 8, 2012
Back in 2010 when I was still fiddling around learning more and more about The Precious, I attempted to take a shot of Zara during our annual pumpkin picking adventure at Windingbrook Farm. Unfortunately I was still shooting in aperture priority and not full manual as well as full frame metering instead of spot metering. I also made the silly mistake of trying out the auto ISO feature (memo to self, never, ever, do that again!)
It was supposed to be a shot of Zara in the center of an old hollow log. I made several attempts with the ISO jumping around from 6400 to 100. This was the best of the lot:
Note that shutter speed. That is NOT a hand held shutter speed! That is a mess. But since I was shooting on aperture priority, the camera chose the shutter speed for me and I didn’t notice how low it was. UGH!
The camera had also exposed mainly for the scene/light on the other side of the log. Thus I had an underexposed child with motion blur that I attempted to fix as best as I could in Photoshop. But there is no hiding the soft focus and grain evident on Z’s face.
This year, however, it was very, very different indeed! Shooting on full manual gave me the control I needed to set all the parameters to get the shot. Also, spot metering allowed me to meter specifically on her face and expose for her and not the background. The results are much better.
f1.8, 1/640, ISO 400
f1.8, 1/640, ISO 400
f1.8, 1/400, ISO 400
Same kid, same log, same camera + better photographer=
Posted on November 17, 2011
This is a little lesson for all of us trying to balance the capturing of the moment with the antics of capricious children while avoiding turning our cameras back to auto mode.
It was a Tuesday in the summer. I had brought my camera with me to work because I knew that I’d be taking Z to Castle Park at the end of the day. I wanted to work on spot metering and getting my exposure nailed in camera since I had had a few snafus months before.
It had been ages since I had used my nifty-fifty lens (50mm 1.4G), so I had to get re-used to zooming with my feet, as it were. I shot what I could and what Z would allow, but then as we were leaving I saw this cool patterned crosswalk that I thought would look fabulous in a shot.
Now if I had a time-freeze button, I could have pushed it and taken the necessary time to scope out the best positioning and the best shooting angle in relation to the setting sun, other people, and the fact that it was a freaking cross walk that cars were crossing intermittently. But you can imagine that at the end of the day, with a cranky preschooler, I had no time-freeze button with which to avail myself.
It became a quick dance of positioning (No, Z I will not let any cars come near you, I swear!), framing, metering/focusing, and then pressing the shutter. This is what resulted:
Notice something besides the epic cuteness of my kid? Yeah, I screwed the pooch with the leading lines and the photos’ balance. It looks off, cockeyed, if you will.
Finally realizing that in all my quick prep I had failed to consider the overall balance, I moved my position a little and begged Z’s continued patience and captured this:
Ahh, now that’s a lot better for the eyes. Not so jarring. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better.
So this is a little reminder that you need to scan the scene fully before depressing the shutter, even in those I only have a second before my kid enters meltdown modes we often find ourselves shooting in. Your eyes will thank you!