Monday, August 11, 2008

New Camera Pix...and some questions!

We went on a hike on Sunday to the Cascades, which is a beautiful waterfall near Blacksburg, VA. The hike up was 2 miles and the kids were troopers! They really did great. We took the easier way back down and only minimal whining. I was messing around with camera settings and attempting to shoot in manual...







The second to last picture was taken in regular manual mode and the last picture was taken in portrait mode. I like the portrait mode...it makes the falls look kind of misty. Oh, and that girl you see walking across the falls? FREAKING STUPID WENCH. What was she thinking? REALLY good way to fall and break every bone in your body. And thankssomuch for setting that awesome example for my kids who thought it was really cool.

Now, here are some pictures I took of BabyGirl yesterday. I played with them quite a bit in Corel Paint Pro.





I joined the Clickin Moms website so I could learn more about photography and photo editing. It's a great site...I wish it had a little more detailed information but it does offer a lot. Unfortunately, I have a really old version of Photoshop (2.0) that doesn't recognize the Photoshop "actions" you can download from the Clickin Moms website. When I owned a stationery company I invested in the Corel Paint Pro 10 program which has a higher concentration on graphic design. It's great for photos, but it is amazing for graphic design. It was really expensive at the time and I'm not quite willing to switch and make the Photoshop investment just yet. Corel is almost exactly like Photoshop anyway in terms of editing. The only problem is that it doesn't recognize the Photoshop actions either! There's also a new photo editing program out called Lightroom but it's rather expensive as well. What to do, what to do...
So I have a few dum dum questions for those of you who might have a D40 with the regular lens it comes with (no fancy lens for me yet).

How do I change shutter speed? For instance, one of the clickin moms said her shutter speed was 1/4000 in a picture I loved. Did she use a special lens? (I felt too dumb to ask but since I have no shame with ya'll I'm going for it)

How do I change the aperture on my camera? That would be the f value, I think? Can I only do that with a fancy lens? (I can't find my manual so don't tell me to check the manual)

Finally, how do I set my camera to spot metering and Oh, by the way, what the hell does that even mean?

Thanks, friends!

16 comments:

Blue-Eyed Bride said...

you've inspired me to beg my hubby for a new camera!

Pink Flamingo said...

What beautiful photogrpahs you took! I love the waterfall shots...breathtaking. Your little girl is a doll.

Jen said...

I went to Tech and the waterfalls are just as beautiful as I remember. Great pictures!

I'm pretty much still on Auto on my D40. To change your aperture, put the camera on A then use the dial (on the right) to move it up/down. You can change it with the lens you have but it is limited.

some helpful sites I've used:
- www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm
- thepioneerwoman.com/photography/

I love Picnik.com -- it's a great online photo editor.

Impoverished Preppy said...

Seriously coveting your camera! Those pictures are great!

(Also coveting Babygirl's school wardrobe and soooo jealous of the fact that you'll only have to do laundry once every two weeks! We went with three jumpers and five blouses, which means I'll probably be scrambling Thursday nights to get a clean jumper for Friday. Think of me struggling with my stain stick as you're relaxing with your glass of wine and a good book!)

ashley seawell said...

This may be too long for a comment but I will try!

Okay first – you do not have to have a “special” lens to change aperature and shutter speed. However, better lenses will usually allow you to set the aperature to a lower f-stop.

Second – The updated and higher level photoshop is so worth it. Actions are great but they will do more for your images if you start with a great photo.

Click on this link http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/noprint/D40_noprint.pdf

and go to page 43. This is an online manual that explains how to change aperature and shutter speed.

The f-values ARE indicative of aperature (lens opening). As your f-value gets lower, your lens opening get bigger and therefore more light is allowed into the camera. However, as the f-value gets lower, your depth of field lessens (objects in background will not be in focus.) I hope this makes sense but here is an excerpt from a site:

Photo Basics:
When taking a picture, light rays from your subject are bent by the lens to focus (upside down) on the film. There must be enough light to chemically alter some of the particles in the emulsion, but not so much light that all the particles are converted. And the light rays coming from any individual spot on your subject must be bent so they all meet at one precise point on the film. These are the two critical pieces for a picture: the right amount of light for the film you're using and the right focus.
Get the exposure right. You have three variables to consider: film speed (measured by the ASA number), shutter speed (measured as a fraction of a second -- the "125" on your shutter speed control knob means 1/125th of a second), and the lens opening (called aperature or f-stop, and measured in numbers that get bigger as the opening gets smaller -- f-16 is a smaller opening than f-8). Which of these variables is most important? It depends on the type of picture you'll be taking.
For example, to shoot moving things in low-level natural light, film speed is important, so you pick a 400 or even 800 ASA film. Otherwise, you'd pick a slower film, because the details and colors would be better with the lower ASA film.
For rapid action photos, you want a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. (For underwater photos, shutter speed isn't usually important -- nothing moves that fast underwater.)
Or, to keep both foreground and background in focus, you make the aperature as small as possible. When "depth of field" is important, the size of the lens opening may be the most important variable.
Once you've decided which variable is critical, you set the others to get the right exposure. For example, if you narrow the lens opening so less light enters the camera, you reduce the shutter speed (so the film is exposed longer) to compensate.

Rory said...

We got a D40 about a month ago and my husband has been reading this site, maybe it will help you.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40/users-guide/index.htm

Haley said...

I'm learning how to use my new D40 too. In the M-mode, press the picture taking button down half-way, then with your right thumb turn the dial up and down. When you are looking through the viewer you can see the numbers change along the bottom. I messed around with that and it changed the brightness/whiteness of the pictures. What I did was sit in one spot with the same lighting and take about 40 pictures while adjusting that little dial. I think that might be shutter speed.

Neil said...

Beautiful photos! I haven't figured out all the manual aspects of my camera, either but the digital photography book from this site - http://www.nowbooks.us/ - is really, really helpful (much more so than the field guide I bought for my camera originally). It's written in easy to understand terms, rather than photographer jargon - plus, it was only about $25. The guy who wrote it is a professional photographer with an outstanding resume. He also has a great book for PhotoShop if you ever make the switch - I use it constantly for work.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! I happened to find myself here while "monogram and preppy " searching on the computer but I sure do like Chardonnay too and what a great idea for my left over sippy cups with half the caps missing! I am an anesthesia-gas passers wife too...lots in common! We'd be fast friends! Keeping posting your great ideas and shopping tips. What beautiful photos and models!
jcrewmommy

Bama Girl in AZ said...

Hi I have been reading your blog for a week or so now and 1st off--your kids are lovely! 2nd - have you visited Twopeasinabucket.com for photo advice? You probably have but I had not heard of the Clicken Moms so I will check it out. Just wanted to share my photo fave site.

N.M.B. said...

How much do you want for her?


SO FRIGGEN CUTE. I can't take it!

Paula said...

I used to love to hike to The Cascades when I was in college. What a beautiful place!

Pink Lady Bug said...

I love the pictures of your daughter. Oh, and the waterfall looks fantastic!

Buford Betty said...

Wow - gorgeous! I especially love the last one.

Gigi said...

You can control shutter speed and aperture by rotating the mode dial to M. Rotate the command dial to set shutter speed. To set aperture rotate the command dial while pressing the +/- button. Spot metering makes sure the subject is in focus if the background is darker or lighter. To set metering push the info button, then "i" and you can set metering from there. Hope this helps.

Lipstick said...

Thanks so much for the Clickin Moms mention. My camera is just too advanced for me, all the pics look mediocre, and I don't know how to fix it. I can't wait to read their entire site!