Do you know how many shots I took of this photo before I got this one? How much trial and error? How many times I adjusted my white balance, the focus? My f-stops came down and then went back up. I played with shutter speed. I moved closer and then backed up again so the composition was close to perfect. (I still cropped just a bit in Photoshop). But I finally hit on the exact combination of numbers and fractions that made this picture so incredibly cute.
I kept trying until I got it right.
And that’s a lot of what manual photography has been for me so far in these 30 Days: trial and error.
I know it comes from my inexperience with being in control of all the settings. When I shot in A, then shutter speed was handled while I worried about my f-stop. But there’s so much more to consider and be aware of. There’s so much more to tweak and change, and sometimes it’s as if a single click makes or ruins the photo.
So I’ve resigned myself to this trial and error process. I’m trying to see what works, and I’m willing to make errors. I’m trying out the different white balance settings my camera offers while taking the same shot over and over. I’m realizing that what worked for my last DSLR (a Sony) won’t necessarily work with my Nikon. I try something, check the LCD, make small changes, and try something else. It’s slow going.
But I’m okay with it. I’m learning a process, a method. It’s not something that I can figure out instantly, and it’s not something that I’m going be really good at right away.
I wish you could meet my Uncle Chris. He’s our family photographer, always with his camera, always recording those moments that are most important to my mother’s family. Faces, celebrations, funerals, quiet moments. Uncle Chris has his camera at hand, always. And He once told me that a good photographer takes “Enough Photos.”
He meant that it doesn’t matter if you have to keep switching up the settings to get the right shot. And it doesn’t matter that I delete as many (or more) photos than I keep. Because when I take enough photos, then I am surer get capture the very best one. I always keep this in mind as I make another setting change and shoot the photo again. It’s enough.