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Thread: SAL Photography Challenge #8 - Manual Mode Only

  1. #1

    Cool SAL Photography Challenge #8 - Manual Mode Only

    In this next challenge we the awesome fireworks celebrations happening around the world, and this can require some special settings on the camera to get the best possible results. The Sony cameras have a fireworks mode that works well, but you can also use manual mode and take total control of the exposure yourself! It's time to get out the tri-pod and switch to the M mode on your camera for this next challenge!

    Goal of Challenge

    - Experiment with manual mode on your camera and have some fun!
    - Share New Photos taken this month with manual mode and provide the settings so we can all learn
    - Learn to use Manual Mode on with some clarity and confidence if not familier
    - push yourself to try new camera settings that Auto Mode does not normally allow...
    - Ask questions if you have them please!

    So why use manual mode?

    Manual mode has many advantages and learning to use it will expand your understanding of how exposure really works. Using the exposure triangle for example, will become much more fluid and with practice magic happens. At some point the light will go on and ideas for new types of exposures will come to mind once you start to get the feel for it.

    Studio photography using off camera flash requires using manual mode, because the camera is using an alternative light source other than the ambient scene, and therefore it can't meter for it. Manually setting the camera up for the lights power is the trick. The settings I use most often in the studio are f/5.6-f/8, 1/160sec, and ISO 100... I then have to make sure the lights are calibrated accordingly otherwise the exposure will not be correct.

    Long exposure photography is also another great place to use manual mode! Bulb mode is only available in manual mode sometimes as well depending on the camera being used..

    Sample Photos

    Layla in the studio - f/5.6, 1/160sec, ISO 100



    Fireworks Sample Photos using the killer Sony RX1 which I reviewed here >>

    Sony RX1, f/8, ISO 100, 10 second exposure:





    f/16, 8 seconds, ISO 100, in the total dark studio



    Here is an illustration I put together that helps visualize the exposure triangle and how one setting effects and/or relates to one another. This illustration can be made a number of different ways, but I settled on this design in the end


    Manual Mode and Exposure Trianlge Explained Video

    And here is a video I made a while back explaining manual mode and the exposure triangle in much more detail using my Sony A7r for a camera body and other props... Sorry the audio is pretty bad on the video, but otherwise it's really good I think.





    And so it begins! Lets see what we can pull off this month friends and hopefully learn a thing or two in the process

    Best,
    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

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    Went to the Detroit Zoo today. Used my A6000 with a 30 year old Canon FD 70-210 lens. Lion settings - 1/1000, F 4, ISO 160. Butterfly in motion - 1/2000, F 4, ISO 400. Silverback Gorilla - 1/350, F 4, ISO 800. All manual focus. The Lion and Silverback were through glass and had to adjust the Black setting quite a bit in Lightroom to get it clear. Jim

  3. #3
    Nice work Jim and congrats on being first to post Really like the gorilla frame in particular...

    I'm going to see some fireworks tonight with the family and will try my best to get something fun!

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  4. #4
    Sony a99/Konica Minolta 17-35mm F2.8-4 D

    1 Paul C Buff Alienbees B1600 in very large softbox camera left at full power

    I'm also really into another (expensive) hobby that involves "shooting" and that's the sport of paintballing I did a shoot with a local paintball team after their tournament last month. The sun was blazing and I had this shot in mind, but I needed a powerful strobe and the B1600 barely did it. The kid to the right was actually underexposed, I tried my best to fix it in post

    Vancouver Viperz (paintball team)
    by Ken, on Flickr

  5. #5
    the Incredible 3d POP from the 35mm Zeiss f/2 found on the Sony Rx1. I always shoot in manual mode, because one can make a artful image that any of the automatic settings won't give you.
    I have said it before, if in Auto the camera controls you, in FULL manual, you control the camera, and that's when the magic happens.






    the HepKitty from Hepcat City.

  6. #6
    Ken, that is a killer example of using manual mode and thank you very much for sharing the settings and gear used for the shoot. When the sun is that powerful it can be very difficult to get the flash and sync speed low enough. Awesome job and the results came out great if you ask me

    So what kind of paint-ball gun you packing? I was looking into that hobby for a while, but never actually jumped in. Had a absolute blast playing a few times though and it really made me look into the Tipman custom, I think it was called, back in the day...

    Lucille, Serious 3D pop indeed, wow! Awesome exposure which illuminates the car almost in a selective way. As if you light painted it a bit or something

    Thanks for sharing some samples guys and have a great holiday!

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  7. #7
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    We're off to a great start for this challenge.

    I like the lion, the paintball kids (thanks for the details) and the golden car is outstanding.

    Good stuff!

  8. #8
    We went out to Monticello Raceway last evening with the family and some friends, but stayed back this time and watched from a distance. I put the old Nex-6 in manual mode using the 18-55mm kit lens and my Oben lightweight tri-pod.

    I set the exposure to 10 seconds @ f/8, ISO 100, because that worked well for me in the past. I then tried 5 seconds and played around with the aperture a bit. f/8 seamed to work well for me this time. although we were pretty far away

    The trick I pulled with this "composite image" was a very basic Photoshop layering technique. Only one fire work was going off at a time pretty much, so I combined about 8 shots to create this compilation below. All I did was stack the images on layers in photoshop and then set the layer blending modes to Screen. This allowed me to move the fireworks around and fill the larger frame with a nice variety and now it looks like a grand finale! I also added a curves adjustment layer on top to make the blacks more black...

    Happy 4th of July


    Fireworks on 3rd of July by Jason, on Flickr

    Thanks for looking and I hope to get some nice family fun captures today as well as more fireworks perhaps. It's actually raining at the moment? hmmm..

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  9. #9
    Very nice Jay. My dog requires medicine at 9 tonight after spending hours at the E.R. yesterday (came out with some good meds and feeling better - much $$$ later), so I'll have to skip the fireworks downtown. Hmph! Really nice jtimmer, Lucille and Ken as well.

    I'll just note that shooting in M mode was something I never tried when I was shooting my NEX 5N. That camera just didn't have the dials to make shooting M easy. I then switched to the RX1 for a few months and I started exploring with it. Then I went to the Canon 6D and switched full time to M and haven't looked back. This is a great challenge to really learning how to take control of the shooting experience. I look forward to participating.
    Everyday Camera: Sony A7; 55mm f/1.8
    “I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” -Ernst Haas

  10. #10
    a client wanted some rolling shots, and I don't have a car photography rig....Yet... still undecided, so I did it the old school way. In this shot I used the Sony Rx1 and used a f9 aperture as I wanted the car sharp. I also used a shutter speed of 1/15 of a sec as I wanted motion blur and enough to give the illusion of driving at a fast speed. It was bright out and my image was going to be blown out, I set ISO to 50 but still to bright so I used a 3 stop ND filter. I was sitting in another hatchback type car in the front and we were rolling maybe 1mph for this shot.

    One cannot do this type of work in auto modes.

    The client was happy but I am not, as I know I can do better, in the 1st place shooting at 1/15 of a sec on the Rx1 with no image stabilization from a moving vehicle is insane and many would say can't be done, glad I don't listen to all
    the 'they said's' out there....


    the HepKitty from Hepcat City.

  11. #11
    A shot from Embudo New Mexico.

    Used the Sony a7 and 16-35mm Zeiss for this one at 16mm. ISO100 for low noise and a shutter speed of 10 seconds, camera on a tripod. I wanted to capture some stars in this shot. Auto mode would be a disaster in a setting like this.


    the HepKitty from Hepcat City.

  12. #12
    Cool shots from everyone.
    Lucille, the automotive shots are great, the old gas pumps and night sky is really outstanding.
    Ken, really achieved superb definition on the paint ballers.
    Jay, the composite really turned out well - that would make a very cool poster or large print.
    Jtimmer, you really went full manual. All very nice, but like the lion best.

    I used full manual settings, but used DMF instead of full manual focus. Jay, if auto focus is out in this challenge, I'll keep it off from now on, but didn't see that & figured autofocus was ok.

    Took several shots of a bluegrass band last night with varying success. Used the 18-55 kit lens in a low light setting, would have done better with a faster prime, but played with more of the settings than usual. Used one of Lucille's tips and customized the white balance, which helped a lot. Had never tried that before, but really made a big difference.
    I do use manual from time to time, but pretty much rely on aperture priority, manually setting iso and aperture. I think this challenge should be a fun learning experience.

    this one shot using iso 1600, zoomed to 31mm 1/20sec, f/4.0

    OakHay06574
    by Will, on Flickr

    Willie

  13. #13
    so, there are a lot of brush fires going on in British Columbia right now, and I think it's turing the moon orange at around moonrise

    a7S/Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM

    I always use manual mode when shooting the moon

    Moon, July 4th, 2015
    by Ken, on Flickr

  14. #14
    Elite Member BrianC's Avatar
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    We took our mothers on a 4WD adventure through the Monticello Box in Southwestern NM today (yesterday, the 4th). We had a blast. But, I clearly need some work controlling the exposure in manual mode. I took this one with my Vivitar 17 @ f/8, 100 ISO, and I'll have to look at the EXIF to see what shutter speed.... It is late (early?) and we're all headed NW later.



    (yes, this is the "Main Road".)

  15. #15
    Here's another with the 18-55. This one yesterday, full sun @ ISO 200, 55mm, 1/1600 sec, f/5.6.

    gardenia06591
    by Willie, on Flickr

  16. #16
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    A7R and the 70-200 f2.8.
    ISO 100
    5 seconds
    200 mm
    F/11

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    These were shot with A6000 with 50mm Sony lens. F9.5, ISO 100, and shutter speed at 8 seconds.

  18. #18
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    I really like the fireworks shots above that have scenery included. The really big show here was downtown in the city along the river on Friday. I skipped the big show as I did not fell like fighting the crowds and traffic. I sort of regret not going now that I see the advantages. Having made a feeble attempt last year from my house of the local show not knowing anything about shooting fireworks I don't think I had the confidence to go "big time". At any rate, I tried again last night again at the local fireworks show but at least with a better starting point. I think I can say a made a significant improvement (I deleted last year's photos) but can see from the above photos I have a way to go.

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    Gear: Sony A6000, Canon T5i, Zeiss 16mm-70mm, various Canon lenses, PS Elements, various Topaz plug ins.

    Mike

  19. #19
    Elite Member Gramps's Avatar
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    Old Circuit Boards
    Taken this morning and I never knew this was here. So please excuse the dust on what I post as these were my tester shots.
    I think I have got a not too bad of a handle on what I am doing with these, but with all thing we continue to learn.
    My shots are of circuit boards from computers or video recorders and things like that.
    I see little cities in them or industrial area's. But thats just me.

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    F/5.6, 1/4th Second, ISO 125
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    F/22, 3 Seconds, ISO125
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    1/6 Second, ISO 125.
    As you will notice there is no F stop on this one.
    I just bought myself one of those Reverse Macro Rings. This was one of the shots I got.
    I used my 18/55 lens which came with the camera. And I got all this detail out of it on the wrong way.
    The more I use it the better the images will come I am sure of that.
    Though I never thought I was going to get in this much so it early in my using this so an interesting times ahead.
    Not sure if others have one but I like mine.
    CC is always welcome, the good and the bad. I promise not to take it personal as I know it wasn't meant that way.

    Sony a77 with 18/55mm lens
    Sony DT 2.8/30 Macro
    Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro
    Sony DT 55/200
    Sigma DG 70/300 lens with Macro button

    Tamron 150-600 f5.6-6.3 Di USD

    Plus some Filters


  20. #20
    I had a bunch of neighborhood kids stop by to shoot off fireworks for the first time. Elijah wasn't so sure about sparklers, but he ended up wanting to do more:

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    Original on Flickr

    Sony ILCE-7, FE 55mm F1.8 ZA, ƒ/2.0, 1/320, ISO 200

    Lucille, that gas station shot is killer!
    Everyday Camera: Sony A7; 55mm f/1.8
    “I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” -Ernst Haas

  21. #21
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Nice fireworks everyone. I particularly like the set with water reflections from Jtimmer and the last image from Mike is really cool. The skyline image with cloud reflection is well done too. Interesting post-processing Jay, nice turnout but looks like a lot of work.

    The circuit board set is also pretty cool, the middle image is the one I prefer; like a small forest of components.

    Ken, you beat me to the moon this time

    Good b&w Willie and nice attempt Brian but a bit dark to me.

    Of course, Sean's style is recognizable anywhere. Great composition and the kid expression and moment is perfectly captured.

    But the set the steals the show for me is Lucille's. Very interesting information on the car image, I would have thought you were driving much faster. Last but best for me is the gas pump image. I just love your night work, beautiful skies, the detailed composition and the shadows are just too much. Great image. No, VERY great image.

    Regards,

    Stef

  22. #22
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Going back to full manual is a bit of memory lane for me. I've always like to set speed and aperture to my liking but I typically now leave the camera choosing ISO. Call me lazy. Or maybe I'm short on patience. Anyways, the mode dial is firmly set to >M< and I have disengaged the auto-ISO for now.

    My first outing was trying to identify a hard-to-expose scene. I found this during blue hour:


    Evening fountain by Stef, on Flickr

    This was hand-held (thanks for OSS) at 1/4 seconds, f/6.3 and ISO 250 using an A6000 with a 16-70mm f/4 Zeiss lens. I was reasonably pleased with the result. I tried other variations (one of the nice things about manual mode) but that is the one I prefer.

    This early morning, I was looking for something different in a grass field filled with yellow flowers when I found this piece sticking out:


    Grass by Stef, on Flickr

    I went working near the ground to get a distant perspective on a shadowed forested area and set the aperture as wide as I could and the zoom to its max focal length (while being close) to blur the background. I thought the color mixing and minimalist view were pretty while the golden hour lighting of the grass was just right. Same camera/lens as before but 1/200 sec, f/4 and ISO 100.

    Cheers,

    Stef
    Last edited by leuius; Jul 8 2015 at 12:46 AM.

  23. #23
    Elite Member BrianC's Avatar
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    Really good shots, guys. Standouts for me so far are Lucille's gold car and Sean's portrait.

    Thanks for the feedback, Stef. Seemed a bit dark for me, too, but SOOC on that one, no post work -- my rationale is that it is easier to lighten later than to fix a blown out shot. It is bad enough to fix the dratted spots. Someday I'll get to the point that the RAW files are just right... Later this month, I'll post more (I *have been shooting) but little time with lots of quarterly work to do. January, April, July, and October are not participatory months for me.

  24. #24
    Elite Member leuius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianC View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, Stef. Seemed a bit dark for me, too, but SOOC on that one, no post work -- my rationale is that it is easier to lighten later than to fix a blown out shot. It is bad enough to fix the dratted spots. Someday I'll get to the point that the RAW files are just right... Later this month, I'll post more (I *have been shooting) but little time with lots of quarterly work to do. January, April, July, and October are not participatory months for me.
    Agreed on the better-aim-for-darker and fix later comment. Sorry to hear that work is interfering with your hobby!!

    Regards,

    Stef

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by leuius View Post



    But the set the steals the show for me is Lucille's. Very interesting information on the car image, I would have thought you were driving much faster. Last but best for me is the gas pump image. I just love your night work, beautiful skies, the detailed composition and the shadows are just too much. Great image. No, VERY great image.

    Regards,

    Stef
    Thank you so much for the very kind words, they inspire me to keep shooting...
    the HepKitty from Hepcat City.

  26. #26
    Really impressive work everybody Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work! I have an idea for a cool photo myself, but I still need to snatch it up...

    Willie, Nice band shots and the flower frame is particularly impressive due to the highlight detailed you managed to retain which then put the background nice and dark. The higher shutter speed really makes the flowers pop if the lighting is cooperating of course...

    Brian, Nice scene captured and it takes a while to get the hang of manual mode for sure. The metering mode will also play with the mind depending on the mode...

    Ken, Excellent moon photo! Michele and I saw the moon the night you took the frame. It was super orange/ yellow and huge looking from where we live, so it was cool to see it look the same in your neck of the woods as well.

    Lucille, Awesome frame with the motion blur and yes many would say that shutter speed is crazy with that camera, but not me! I really appreciate you sharing all the technical info as well.. Creativity is king when it comes to getting a shot like that and I would hire you in a second if I had a cool car worth capturing

    SPtheAlien, Jtimmer, and Mike, Awesome fireworks photos!! Really impressive captures and they images speak to the good show you were watching.

    Badhands, Nice macro work and interesting subject I also love to use

    Sean, Priceless expression and moment captured in time! Really excellent work and thanks for sharing.

    Stef, Nice job with the fountain and the second frame is killer. perfect exposure and the contrasting colors really add to the pop!

    Thanks again for sharing everybody,

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

  27. #27
    Stef, the colors on the grass are great. Such a simple composition and it works.

    Hey look friends, a bike photo from me.

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    A7 with Rokinon 135/2 wide open at 1/160 ISO 640.
    Everyday Camera: Sony A7; 55mm f/1.8
    “I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” -Ernst Haas

  28. #28
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    Really great pictures! Funtastic work @all. I try to participate in further challenges So, see you soon.

    Keep on clicking!

  29. #29
    Elite Member BrianC's Avatar
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    Here is a rock in the Red River, I shot in Red River, NM last evening. Manual, as per challenge reqs. RAW and camera-generated JPG were somewhat close...



    ...and a happy fisherman


  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by seanlancaster View Post
    Stef, the colors on the grass are great. Such a simple composition and it works.

    Hey look friends, a bike photo from me.

    A7 with Rokinon 135/2 wide open at 1/160 ISO 640.
    Killer frame Sean and thanks for sharing

    Jay
    Jay - Comments, Questions, and Critiques always welcomed and encouraged!

    Current Everyday Gear: Sony A7r, Sony A6400, Sony Nex-6, Sigma 56mm f/1.4 Lens, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Lens, Sony E 18-55mm, Sony E 55-210mm OSS Lens, Sony E 16mm f/2.8 Pancake, Rainbow Imagining MC/MD Lens Adapter w/ Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 PG Rokkor Lens

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