September 27, 2020

Manual Mode

I’ve always been intimidated by the manual settings of my cameras. To be on the safe side, I always put on automatic mode, trusting the camera to take the decisions about film sensitivity, aperture and shutter speed for me. The resulting photos weren’t bad, but I always felt like I was cheating a bit, and that there was another level of photography to explore.

I recently traded my old camera for a Ricoh GR, which has a form factor that really appeals to me. I can stuff it in my trouser pocket, and I usually do when I am going out. On receiving it, I made a promise to myself that this was the camera I would learn to shoot manually with.

So far, I’ve been true to my word. I set the mode dial to M when I got it, and I haven’t changed it since.

In the time since, I have noticed a big change in how I approach taking picture. I now consider what I want to achieve before I dial in a setting.

  • Do I want narrow depth of field?
  • Do I want to freeze movement?
  • Do I want to emphasize the light areas?
  • Do I want a pristine image, or graininess?

These are questions I didn’t ask myself before. I just spotted a nice motive, and pressed the button.

I don’t know if my pictures are any better as a result of this, but I do know that I enjoy the process a lot more now.

And it turns out, choosing the settings you want is not witchcraft. If I can do it, you can do it.

What is this?

This is Day 2 of 100 Days To Offload.

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