Thursday, November 21, 2013

My First Guest Blogger

Happy Thursday!  This sure has been an exciting week of firsts for me and today is no exception.  I'm beyond happy to be introducing you guys to Brass Honey's first ever guest blogger, Mollie, who blogs over at Molliepop.  Mollie and I have quickly become blog buddies (actually, she's pretty much my blogging bff).  In a lot of ways she's everything I wish I could be.  She's quirky, whimsical, lighthearted and she's incredibly creative (definitely be sure you check out some of her DIY's).  She's a beautiful person inside and out and like a great find, she's just too good not to share. 

Yesterday Mollie was brave enough to let a newbie blogger like myself take over her space (here) and today she's been sweet enough to help me (and you too of course because I know I'm not alone) to better understand DSLR cameras.  There are a lot of tutorials and videos out there, but it takes a special person to make things like Aperture and ISO not make me want to go running for the hills.  Seriously, Mollies post on white balance (here) was the first photography tutorial I've EVER read that didn't make me feel like I was back in high school trying to make my way through another torturous day of Algebra II.  So, without further ado, here's the darling Mollie...she's pretty darn cute right.

Hi, guys! The name's Mollie and I blog over at Molliepop. Shannon asked me to come onto her blog today and help her with number 17 on her 101 in 1001 list (learn how to use a DSLR camera manually). Now I'm super excited (not to mention pretty flattered) that Shannon thought of me because I'm a big fan of Brass Honey and like poking around here often. I've never done a guest post before so getting to write one for a blog that I can really relate to and that almost always makes me laugh is a dream come true! We bloggers can be pretty protective of our babies...err...blogs so I'm very grateful that Shannon is sharing hers with me today. Isn't she a sweetie? 

Okay, but enough about blogs. Let's talk DSLRs!

I know DSLRs can pretty intimidating but they’re not hard, I promise!...

For starters, I thought I’d explain a little bit about the Exposure Triangle, (cue “oohs” and “awes”). While that might sound like some sort of RPG item your gamer nephew talks about it’s actually just a really simple way of thinking about photography basics. Um, isn’t photography just looking through a lens and clicking a button? Not really, no. One of the very first (and most frustrating) things you'll learn when you whip out a DSLR is that a camera sees the world around us TOTALLY differently than our own eyes do.

For instance, let’s say you come upon some gorgeous fall scene with brilliantly colored leaves, a warm sky, and a tranquil brown eyed doe eating acorns off to the side. (Hey, it’s my example, I can say whatever I want!) Of course you whip out your camera and fire away while dreaming about all the money you’ll be making from nature calendars begging for your photos. Or so you think, until you plug your SD card into a computer and get a better look at those images. Suddenly all the colors are washed out, the sky is a giant white blob, and your beautiful doe looks dark and shadowy. Ugh, everything looked so perfect before…what happened? You, my friend, just got your first sound whipping from the Exposure Triangle. 

Huh? Okay, basically the Exposure Triangle is composed of your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Ack! I don’t know what any of those mean! It’s okay, nobody does at first. When someone talks about exposure they’re referring to how much light is let into the camera. The aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all work together to allow light in. Try thinking of them as three flavors that can be combined and mixed in different amounts to make yummy eye candy. 

Here I used an open aperture to keep the dog's face in focus but blur everything else.
This refers to the hole in the front of the lens. You can make it wider or smaller, a lot like the pupil of an eye. Obviously, wider lets in more light, smaller lets in less light. I don’t want to complicate aperture too much but for now I’ll just say that the size of the hole also changes how much or how little of the scene is in focus. If your aperture is wide open then only a small amount of the photo will be in focus and the rest will be blurry. On the other hand if you have a very small aperture then most or all of the photo is going to be in focus. Aperture is measured in integers often with the phrase “f-Stop” attached. (1.4, 3.5, 22)

In this photo my shutter speed was too slow to completely “freeze” the water and so it is blurry while the rest of the image is in focus.

Shutter Speed
This is what’s working when you hear that *click* as you snap a picture. Your shutter acts as a gate that lets in a little or a lot of light depending on how you set it. The faster your shutter speed, the crisper photos will be of moving objects. Such as at a sports game or of a running animal. The faster your shutter though, the less light your camera will receive and the darker your photos will look. Shutter speed in measured in seconds or fractions of a second. (1/50, 1/2000, 1”)

The ISO was definitely set too high when I took this image. If you look around the nose and in between the leaves you can see the speckles and dots.

Okay, so this is the boring one of the bunch. In non digital cameras ISO refers to how sensitive the film is to light but in a digital camera it refers to how sensitive the sensor (behind the aperture and shutter) is to light. To be honest, I don’t play with ISO a lot because I’ve found the other two points of the Exposure Triangle to be more than generous with their results. The only thing you really need to know about ISO is that if you set it too high (1600 on my camera) it will make your pictures look grainy (or noisy as some people call it). ISO is measured in the hundreds and thousands. (200, 800, 1600)

There you have it! The Exposure Triangle. Don’t get too mad at yourself if you still can’t take perfect pictures after reading this. Just because you know about three flavors doesn’t mean you’ll instantly be able to arrange them in good tasting combinations…that takes practice. Other than simply taking your own pictures to practice I’d suggest digging around on other photography sites where photographers list their photo settings next to their photographs, that’s always a really big help to me! If you’re still lost there are tons of great Youtube tutorials that can shine light on the subject (pun:D) and your local library might have some great resources as well. 

I hope reading this tutorial has helped you understand that camera in your hand just a little better and as always, happy shooting! 

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