Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Travel photography and camera settings - manual or automatic?

Since I embraced the advent of digital photography when I bought my first digital camera for an overseas trip in 2005 my photography journey has been on a steady upward rising curve. I discovered that I LOVE photography! I now never go anywhere without a camera!  But I must confess until the last few years I basically only used "automatic settings" and they have served me pretty well I think.  I feel when I am travelling I need to grab the shot as it presents itself and not miss the moment. I tend to concentrate on composition. I don't feel like I have time to fiddle around with checking exposure and settings, but perhaps that is just an excuse for not "knowing" the technical side of photography.

This is Cable Beach, Broome -


and amazing Purnululu in Western Australia's Kimberley region, as seen in my article for On The Road magazine, November 2011.

even underwater!

I love wildflower photography and I do use Aperture Priority for flowers - as in this Rusty Hakea in the Fitzgerald National Park on Western Australia's south coast -

I have used "sports" mode for freezing the action at a dragon boat regatta -

and shutter priority to capture gentle light - when I have had a tripod with me - this is a road through Karri trees at Pemberton in our south west corner - 


TIME TO LEARN MORE - But using full MANUAL mode? this is entirely new to me. Setting the ISO, aperture, shutter speed and metering for exposure. I have got to the point with my photography where I think I need to step up! I have recently enrolled in a beginners photography short course which runs for 2 and a half hours, one night a week for 8 weeks with a professional photographer with many many years of international experience. Yes, I am going right back to the beginning to fill in the gaps I have missed out along the way. And the first thing we are learning of course - immediately - is full manual mode. I certainly have a lot to learn! We are doing portraits first, another area which I have difficulty with. I prefer candid shots.

Here is one of my first attempts - low light, on full manual, candid portrait of Spanish dancer - trying to catch a candid portrait while action is happening and checking/adjusting your settings but still "see" the shot is not so easy! Like I said it is time to step up - a new huge learning curve for me -


So where are you at with your photography? Do you use "automatic" or "manual" mode? Or do you use one of the priorities, ie Aperture Priority, and let the camera figure out the rest? After all cameras are very intuitive these days. You can make adjustments in processing, but I prefer to get it right in the camera. And this is what our lecturer emphasised today "get it right in camera".

Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and where you are at with your photography.
I am linking up with Travel Photo Thursday, please click on the link here to see the work and images from other contributors around the world - Travel Photo Thursday

You might also like - please click on the links -
On the road in the Kimberley
Which camera will I take with me?


24 comments:

  1. I mix it up. If I have the time and the tripod along, I'll go for AV or Manual. But for grab shots it's sure nice to have that automatic setting!

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  2. I use auto but feel the time is coming when I shall have to do a course to learn how to take photos on manual. I like your Spanish dancer.

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  3. I took five courses last year though I rarely shoot in manual unless its at night. I shoot in Aperture Priority 95% of the time.Good luck with the courses. I learned a lot though there's still more I''d like to get under my belt.

    Enjoyed this weeks images.

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  4. I agree it is all very confusing. I took a couple of courses last year that helped take me through the basics and from which I learnt a few points! The biggest thing that I learnt is that I am not a photographer..I am a traveller who likes to take photos! Something I have to remind myself when I am being told to hurry up by a non photographer husband! I also learnt that editing plays a huge part in photography. So much to learn but at least it's good fun!




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  5. I don't even know what ISO, shutter speed and aperture is. ;) I upgraded from a point and shoot in December to a DSLR and my goal for the year is to take more intentional, thought out photos as I learn to adjust all of the settings on my camera.

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  6. Depends on the situation, I choose automatic or manual...

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  7. Nice shots. Aperture priority and manual 95% of the time. Once you go that way, you'll never go back. :)

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  8. I shoot in manual and made the decision to do so about 8 or 9 months ago. I don't always feel like I know exactly what I'm doing, but my shots have been as good or better than when I was using Aperture priority. It has forced me to learn so much more about photography and then put that knowledge to good use.

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  9. I've always used a point and shoot but I think I'm ready to buy a DSLR and sign up for a photography class. One of my goals for this year is to improve my photography! I love that photo of the Spanish dancer - I think you did a great job with it!

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  10. Where am I at? Well I've heard all those terms! Last summer I actually got the manual out for my "idiot proof" camera and was amazed at all the different settings included. It is a complete trial and error to see what works and what doesn't. I still need A LOT of work but you've got me thinking about a photography class! What a great idea.

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  11. Your photos are as always stunning and your text inspiring me to get out the 'how to do it' book and take my camera off the auto mode to test out skills and talents.

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  12. HI JIll, all the above shots are stunning. I particularly love the beach and underwater shots. Since I took my first photography class about 6 yeats ago, my camera has never left the full manual mode. II's always trial and error. I have a long way to go to perfect it. But I like the fact that I control the exposure and not the camera.

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  13. Your photos are beautiful and I especially love the underwater shot. My husband takes most of the pictures and he does manual settings. He's taken photography classes and reads a lot. My shots are set on auto all the time and I know I need to take photography classes one of these days :)

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  14. I am surprised that you usually use automatic because your photos on the posts I've read are so lovely that I thought you were an expert. I'm an automatic gal with a point-and-shoot. However, my hubby bought me a new camera last summer, and the auto setting on that is a thousand times better than on my old one. I really need to figure out the manual settings, though. I was at Uluru in January and wanted to capture the night sky. That's when I realized that I didn't know how to use the manual settings and that the instructions were on a different continent. Oh well.

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  15. Totally depends on the situation, but mostly manual. Your first attempt on manual is lovely. Good luck with the class!

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  16. I must say all your photographs are stunning and beautiful it would certainly encourage the people to visit these places.These shots can be a good inspiration to other photographers.Love to see more like this.

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  17. You have a wonderful eye for great shots!

    I use aperture priority for most of my birding shots as things can happen so quickly when photographing them that I don't want to be fooling around with the dials on my camera. But for landscapes I prefer to use manual.

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  18. Manual settings are a closed book to me ... but you've inspired me to at least take a look!! LOVE your Cable Beach shot - it looks strangely familiar!!!

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  19. Gorgeous pictures and I think you're brave and adventurous, not only in your travels but also in going to manual (maybe even more so in the latter ;>)...

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  20. I enjoyed reading about how you take your incredible photos Jill. You know, I am such a beginner and I desperately need to take a class. I do a lot on manual but change lens. Truthfully I don't know what I am doing but I just go with it and sometimes I amaze myself! I think what photography has done for me is to simply notice beauty. And that is not a small thing. I will look at something and think to myself, look at the light on that, or how pretty and quaint, and I want to take a photo of it. To put the photo to words seems to make everything much more profound, like over at my blog. It heals a part of me, I write and photograph myself into wholeness. Have a blessed weekend,
    Gayle from Behind the Gate

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  21. Thank you everyone for your comments. It seems I have introduced a topic that resonates with many of you. It certainly has been interesting, enlightening, and heartening to read all your comments and thoughts and where you are at with your photography. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Photography is such a continual learning process - I don't think we will ever stop learning - and that is a good thing - right? Enjoy your photography everyone, whether it be on automatic or manual. For those on automatic, experiment a little. It's daunting - but I am having a go! Have a wonderful week and have fun clicking those pics!

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  22. Thanks, Jill! These are great tips, I'll have to try Aperture Priority for my wildflower shots. Will let you know what I think.

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  23. Your photographs look truly amazing! I loved the way nature is portrayed in your pictures. Thank you very much for sharing them !!

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  24. I'm also like Jenny, a travelling photographer! I think there will come a stage when I need to take better photos, but so much to learn, and so little time. I love the photo you've taken of the sign in the Kimberley and the Baob tree. You have a gift when it comes to finding the right light.

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