Sunday, September 16, 2012

dial M for manual

in the spirit of improving my photo skills, i took myself off to a one day workshop yesterday with the talented tim coulson. i think i first saw tim's work on ms. beetleshack's blog here & then saw his work pop up again on the lovely one claire day blog here. when i saw he was having some workshops in melbs i thought why not? why not take my awkwardly social self off to a day with total strangers & learn how to break my habit of only using the auto setting. well, let me just say, habit broken. i've been annoying the shizen out of my trusty sidekick kingsley all day today. we spent the day checking out the shops in fitzroy & i made poor old kingsley stop every 50m so i could try out my new found skills on her. it's amazing what knowing all the little buttons on my camera actually do. yeah, i know that makes me sound like an idiot, but i'm embarrassed to tell you that i thought manual mode was when i switched from auto focus to manual focus on the lens. on the lens people! what a fool. anyway now that i'm a total pro, i can totes turn the dial around to m and know how (and why!) to adjust the iso & shutter speed. not the aperture you ask? no sista, no aperture adjustment for us nursery graduates. (i hope that's right! at least that's what i took away with me.). the husband wonders if mr. coulson is actually just an exceptional sales rep for canon, but his advice to pick up a cheap EF50mm f/1.8 lens was priceless. and who am i to argue with mr.coulson or ms. anna-beth. chao who i remember espousing the virtues of the 50mm lens ages ago on her fabuous blog here. so, above is my untouched photo from the workshop. tim's little sister was our model for the day & i was pretty happy that i could take a decent photo of her & her fabulous hot pink beanie, with gorgeous blurred out background on manual setting. thanks mr.coulson. it may not be the most awesome photo in the world, but remember it's untouched & it's my first manual portrait. hooray to discovering a whole new world!


  1. awesome, kate!! but don't give up on the aperture altogether, it can be pretty essential if you're shooting in low light. i don't change my iso, i leave it at 200 all the time when i'm shooting manual as i don't really like grainy photos. what did tim recommend leaving your aperture at? i'm intrigued to learn something too!

    1. leslie - aperture is the most essential element for the way i teach people to shoot manual. we definitely don't give up on it. come along and i'll show you what it's all about :)

      also - there will be situations where no matter how large your aperture is, iso 200 won't cut it. dinner parties and dark rooms will need you to pump that number higher, even when you're shooting with your largest aperture and slowest shutter speed.

  2. Excellent! I am going to Tim's workshop in Adelaide in January! Cannot wait...especially after reading your post :)

  3. well done you, that's a great image. I've had my eye on the fact that he's coming over to perth as well. now if i could only siphon some money away from the house to get a new camera OR my other thought was see if he wants to snap some pics for me while he's here.

  4. Beautiful portrait!!! I am really looking forward to taking part in the nursery in October! I just use the P button works well, but I am so excited to finally learn how to REALLY use my camera.

  5. thank you so much for coming :) we loved having you. you got it - i pretty much always leave my aperture as large as it can go! f/1.8 for you.

    and i wish canon gave me a commission on sales. that would be nice.

  6. and i think rach will love that photo. it's really awesome.


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