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Thread started 03 Sep 2011 (Saturday) 14:34
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Why does my brain turn off when I'm shooting?

 
pictureplace
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Sep 03, 2011 14:34 |  #1

First of all, I've been reading this forum for a while and picked up lots of great advice, thanks to everyone for those!

But to the point: I certainly know how to use ISO setting, aperture and shutter speeds for various situations, but what I don't know is why on earth all of this knowledge just flies straight out of my head when I'm shooting! My head seems to be completely empty as for using correct settings for the camera, especially when shooting something relatively fast paced (different events with action and people).

Many times I really wonder for myself why I have used aperture f10 when shooting people indoors, or why I have thougt that 1/100 sec exposure time was enough for running horses? Afterwards I realize I haven't even looked at the settings when taking the pictures! And when the shooting situation changes, the old settings are of course usually wrong. How can you really miss such a thing!?! Does this ever happen to you? And how can I practise to learn to prevent this in the future?




  
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snyderman
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Sep 03, 2011 15:00 |  #2

Those things used to happen to me all the time. Like why am I getting 1/2500 on the shutter when it's daytime but cloudy and kind of dull outside? Answer? Ooops, forgot I was shooting basketball last night at ISO 2500!

In time, you'll learn to isolate and eliminate some of the settings that lead to errors. For example, the wife and I went to a local county fair to walk around, eat garbage, people watch and take some pics. The only thing I really changed was the ISO setting on the camera due to early evening light to darkness 2 hours later.

Also, set the camera in AV or TV mode ... can't ever remember which one allows for constant aperture and the camera selects proper shutter speed. Used that mode for awhile until shutter speeds got too slow then simply raised ISO setting from 200 to 800.

Eliminate variables, but think wisely about what you'll be shooting. Take a middle of the road, yet sensible approach and you'll usually be in the ball park.

The only thing I'm noticing using this strategy on my 5D2 is that in AV and TV modes, the camera under exposes quite a bit. There is likely a setting in the menu to adjust +2/3 stops or something to correct this issue.

dave


Canon 5D2 > 35L-85L-135L

  
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shadowdancer
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Sep 03, 2011 16:07 |  #3

Yes, I'm trying to train myself out of this. I get caught up in the emotion and excitement of getting the picture and forget to change settings e.g. when moving from indoors to outside. I usually check carefully at the start of the day, but as the day progresses with changing scenarios, I forget to check settings religiously. It's habit. I'm used to shooting in one environment where things change more gradually (e.g. sports, where you have time to monitor changing light-speed, etc). Forgetting to change the WB is another slip-up (fortunately not too bad as I shoot raw, but adds another processing step to rectify).

I'm thinking of sticking a note or a less obvious memory trigger in my camera bag - "remember to check all settings" so when I go to change lenses at least I'll get a prompt.




  
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othomas
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Sep 03, 2011 16:11 |  #4

Just try and master one setting at a time and get used to it. Be itshuter speed, aperture or whatever. Also, stick to one focal length and use just that one for a while.

You'll be surprised what sticks.




  
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suecassidy
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Sep 03, 2011 16:21 |  #5

snyderman wrote in post #13046309 (external link)
Also, set the camera in AV or TV mode ... can't ever remember which one allows for constant aperture and the camera selects proper shutter speed. Used that mode for awhile until shutter speeds got too slow then simply raised ISO setting from 200 to 800.

Eliminate variables, but think wisely about what you'll be shooting. Take a middle of the road, yet sensible approach and you'll usually be in the ball park.

The only thing I'm noticing using this strategy on my 5D2 is that in AV and TV modes, the camera under exposes quite a bit. There is likely a setting in the menu to adjust +2/3 stops or something to correct this issue.

dave

You are absolutely right, I agree. Another thing is that after you shoot enough and REALLY understand what you are doing, you will do it without thinking about it much, it will become second nature to you. Like when you first learned to drive and at first you thought about the mirrors and the gas petal and the gears, but eventually it became second nature to you and you still have to DO things, but not think about them so much. You just have to put in the time, shooting and evaluating and shooting some more. It can really be overwhelming at first, so you may have a learning style such that you concentrate on one area at a time. For example, shoot ONLY in AV mode for a month, adjusting your ISO only. You will soon learn the limitations of AV mode when you do that. Same thing with TV mode, using it exclusively and evaluating the result. Digital photography has made it so much easier and cheaper to learn than shooting film was for me. I used to carry around notebooks writing things down so I'd know what I'd done when evaluating shots. AND I typically had to stick with whatever ISO film I'd had in the camera, no changing from shot to shot. AND I had to walk uphill in a snow storm to get to school, you know what I mean?


Sue Cassidy
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mike_d
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Sep 03, 2011 21:46 |  #6

pictureplace wrote in post #13046209 (external link)
My head seems to be completely empty as for using correct settings for the camera, especially when shooting something relatively fast paced (different events with action and people).

I know what you mean. Its almost like sometimes I lose 40 IQ points when I'm actually shooting, then I'll get home and realize all the things I should have done differently. I remember one time I was struggling with getting the shutter speed under the camera's max sync speed. For some reason I totally forgot about high speed sync!

Have you ever thought about making yourself a cheat sheet before shooting? Sit and think about what you'll be shooting and what camera settings you'd aim for. Make yourself reminders about things like enabling high speed sync, exposing for backlit conditions, etc. Then when your brain freezes, your cheat sheet can give you a kick in the right direction.




  
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Ugly ­ Joe
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Sep 03, 2011 23:42 as a reply to  @ mike_d's post |  #7

Put your camera in Manual mode for one year, regardless of the photos you end up with.
Settings will become natural before you know it.

Just be ready to think, "Jeeze, my photos SUCK!" very often.
Someday, they'll be great.
At least, that's what I keep telling myself (year and a half of Manual mode and counting - now I just need to improve composition)


"Hell is an eternity of getting up at 4am to nothing but decaf coffee..."
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A true friend will help you move a body.
An old friend more than likely will pass on either because of a bad back.

  
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TheBurningCrown
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Sep 03, 2011 23:43 |  #8

Ugly Joe wrote in post #13047927 (external link)
Put your camera in Manual mode for one year, regardless of the photos you end up with.
Settings will become natural before you know it.

100% this.

Ugly Joe wrote in post #13047927 (external link)
Just be ready to think, "Jeeze, my photos SUCK!" very often.

Hell, I still think this.


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tonylong
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Sep 04, 2011 02:52 |  #9

No matter how much head-knowledge we have about "photography", no matter how much we have absorbed about "Understanding Exposure", what the OP has posted points out and interesting issue, and this is that we photogs need to develop a set of habits that include a habitual "re-evaluating" whenever the conditions or our shooting changes!

And yes, that should be a simple and self-evident thing. And, when we do goof up, well, we goofed up. So you can say "What's the question? It's obvious!"...but then we've all been there so we also have to grin and say "Yeah...:)!

And then, I can just imagine the high-powered high-paid sports photog who gets a weekend with his wife up in a place like Yosemite, and wondering "How the hell to I take pictures like Ansel Adams took? And how do I take a picture of this elk that's just standing there? And how do I...:)?!


Tony
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Jimconnerphoto
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Sep 04, 2011 12:24 |  #10

My brain has 2 modes of operation. One is technical and the, artistic. I need both for shooting. Switching modes can take a second or two. Switch to often and I experience a freeze up that can take a moment to recover from.
That internal conversation can go like this:
Artistic side will say, "WTH, this pic doesn't look good. What's wrong with it?"
" I dunno but you better figure it out, the client is staring." responds technical side.
"Isn't that your job? Your the technical mode!" exclaims artistic.
"oh, uh, yea, your right. Uhm, I think it's too light, or, uh, dark."


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chauncey
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Sep 04, 2011 12:28 as a reply to  @ Jimconnerphoto's post |  #11

If it's anything like mine, it's just broke down. :lol:


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mtimber
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Sep 04, 2011 12:33 |  #12

I had this the other day....

Perfectly nailed all my exposures, then got home and had a load of soft images.

Looked at my shutter speed and had been shooting at 1/30th of a second without even realising it...


"Light travels faster than sound. Which is why people some people appear bright, until you hear them speak..."

  
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images ­ by ­ Paul
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Sep 04, 2011 12:59 |  #13

I think it's human nature to get "caught up" in what you are doing. I've been at this a long time and still find myself doing really dumb things. When I have time and am being diligent, I'll check settings and iso for the next location. It's when I'm rushed that I falter. Like zagiace said, sometimes it depends on what mode I'm in. When rushed, I fall into an artistic mode for some reason and the technicals are sometimes missed. You just gotta keep on truckin! This truly is a thinking mans game.




  
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The ­ Outlaw
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Sep 04, 2011 13:16 as a reply to  @ images by Paul's post |  #14

i do it all the time but my problem is usually the metering mode. i make it a habit to reset my settings to av, f/wide open, iso 100, burst mode, servo focus then in the bag it goes and as i shoot i tweak what i need for the exposure and shutter speed. problems i run into most often is when i switch metering modes and forghet, or i adjust aperature for exposure and dont realize that with the current settings and lens im only going to get a 1/4" DOF when i need 3".

also i notice all artistic thought leaves my head when i leave to shoot. i can think of ideas and set goals and make plans but that part of my brain shuts down as soon as i pull the camera out of the bag and the mechanical part takes over.

i joined when i bought my first camera and still have this problem a couple years later.


Nothing to see here....

  
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HappySnapper90
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Sep 04, 2011 16:32 |  #15

pictureplace wrote in post #13046209 (external link)
Many times I really wonder for myself why I have used aperture f10 when shooting people indoors, or why I have thougt that 1/100 sec exposure time was enough for running horses?

It all comes with experience as i does with cooking or driving a car. Practice, practice, practice and learn from what you've done.




  
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