I found this site called CameraSim.com. It’s a pretty cool site, and an excellent resource for those of you who are just getting into photography and want to understand the basics of how your DSLR works. Below is a screenshot from the Camera Sim site. Pretty cool.
I’ve been shooting on manual mode (M) for a long time now, and rarely do I use anything else. Sometimes I’ll use aperture priority (Av – canon)/(A – nikon) if I’m runnin’ & gunnin’, and the light conditions are changing quickly and there isn’t an opportunity to redo a shot (i.e. a sunny day with a lot of broken cloud frequently passing across the sun, therefore changing your exposure).
Visit Camerasim.com and play around with their simulator. Put the simulator in the different priorities, make some changes, and then watch how other things change as well – the most important of which will be the light meter readings (that’s the green, -2 to +2 scale under the photo that gives you your exposure). Snap the picture and see what you get. You might want to have your camera nearby as well, for a little real world practice. Make the same changes on your camera, shoot the same subject over and over, and see what you come up with.
Some exercises to try (outside of just getting proper exposure):
- Adjust the shutter speeds and watch for blur.
- Adjust the aperture and look at differences in depth of field ( detail in the background) – same for distance and focal length.
- Adjust ISO and watch for what else is affected(and photo critique after you snap the photo).
They also have a couple sections that really help to explain how the camera works (with helpful visuals), and another section on focusing/composition, which I thought was pretty cool (this is essentially how I shoot/focus because I have a 5D!) <— photographer humour. 🙂
Cameras nowadays are pretty intelligent. You can pick one up and use it straight away on Auto and usually get a good photo. Sometimes though, these sophisticated little boxes can be pretty dumb, and in those situations, you really want to know what you’re doing. I sometimes think back or look at photos that I took years ago. A lot are of special moments. And a lot are crap. I wish I had learned more earlier. But this anguish doesn’t have to be yours as well!!
My advice to you is this: if your photos really matter to you, you’ll want to get off the Auto setting, and start controlling what you’re doing a little more. If you do, you’ll find yourself in fewer and fewer situations where you “can’t ” get the photo you want.
Taking pictures can be great fun, but it gets much more enjoyable when you start to learn and understand what you’re doing, and you start making the photos you really want to make. In my opinion, Camera Sim is a great place to start.
It can be a fun time waster as well.