advice for getting great pics from a nikon dslr 3100

Discussion in 'Photography' started by hailfrank, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. hailfrank

    hailfrank Admin esq.

    i have a nikon dslr 3100


    had this a while now and looking for ideas. just bought a polorizor lens to help with colours
  3. hailfrank

    hailfrank Admin esq.

    the reviews for this one are great. i need to start taking pics in manual mode though
  4. If i remeber right,
    You need to read up F stops (depth of field)
    And Shutter speed
    And probably lots of complicated stuff like false film speed setting but not sure how that works with digital

    The lower the F stop, (Eg 5.6) the the shallower the depth of field or whats in focus, and the bigger the hole to let light onto the film or sensor so the shorter the exposure If you look into the lense and change the f stop you'll see the hole getting bigger and smaller and obviously the smaller the hole in the lens the longer the shutter needs to stat open for to let the light in to capture the image.

    I havn't thought about all this in over 15 years so it may be a bit like useing a vasaline round the edge of a filter, a bit fuzzy :)
  5. hailfrank

    hailfrank Admin esq.

    i'm getting the tripod down today, a slower shutter makes for wobble. my dad won trophies years ago for his pics, whilst i'm no where near that stage it would be nice that my son gets an interest in photography too :)
  6. Terrordales

    Terrordales Nightshift Admin

    When I did photography at art college, we were told that the best way to become proficient was to take lots of photographs. It didn't what they were as long as you took lots & kept a record of what your camera settings were. This, I admit , was in the days "predigital" & our lecturer also told us something I've never forgotten
    "The cheapest thing you will buy in photography is film, so use lots of it"
    I think that advice still holds true in the digital age, so every picture isn't perfect too bad, just try again.
  7. I'm not sure where you are exactly at this juncture in the hobby, so I will start at the beginning.
    I would first read all about shutter speed and aperture until it is perfectly clear to you what each one does. They are two different ways of controlling your light exposure. Try to learn exactly how they work and how they are different.
    You will never fully understand them until you shoot a few thousand bad photos, but you must start with knowing the basic mechanics of these two tools. It can be more complicated than it sounds. If you get frustrated reading about it, play with your camera for a while, let it soak in and maybe try a different book, guide, or manual. You will probably just wake up one morning and suddenly get it.
    Next, try tutorial videos on youtube, like this one-
    How to use manual mode on your digital SLR
    I LOVE youtube's tutorials. (I'm currently learning to use the Irish tin flute. ;D ) There are a gazillion different ones about how to use your camera on manual. Just find an instructor you like. You can even watch the ones for 35mm film cameras. They will help you with your manual settings just as well.
    You should also have a couple tripods. I keep them in my bus so I will always have them. You just never know when you will need one. I keep a cheap pocket size one in my glove box. It is just for setting up on a table or car hood or something. It also has a Velcro strap that is great for strapping the camera firmly to any small nearby pole or branch. They are common. I keep my real full size tripod strapped in with my VW jack under the bench seat. (I think they have a thing goin' on.)
    Always use a tripod in low light when you don't want to flash or your subject is too far for the flash. Also when shooting over 5-6 X optical zoom without an image stabilizer. I don't even trust my stabilizer at over 9-10X zoom.
    Which leads me to lenses. More optical zoom will give you more quality photo opportunities. And remember- digital zoom is rubbish compared to the old school true horsepower of a super-zoom lens. And do your homework. Spend the money on the good crystal. I have always had good quality from Carl Zeiss.
    Also pick yourself up a fish-eye lens. They're not only great for getting awesome shots of small spaces like inside your bus, they also create interesting effects outside.
    Always feel free to experiment. See those silly pink sunglasses your mate is wearing? Put one of the lenses over your lens and see what happens. Shoot through a wine glass. A clean crystal ashtray, whatever. Try your macro setting on a convex rear-view mirror at a bus show or on a chrome door knob. A VW hubcap. Be creative.
    You can also look for groups of amateur photographers who all use the same camera as you. Try going to Flickr and just type in your camera make and model. Sometimes they have whole groups who all use the same camera and they share and discuss their photos and how they took them.
    Next, follow the light. That time in the late afternoon when the light is golden and the shadows are long is what we call The Golden Hour. Once you and your camera discover it it will become one of the fastest hours you know. Sunset is also nice, but you will want to learn to start catching those sunrises. They are usually even better.
    And always keep your eyes peeled for higher ground. Depending on what you're shooting, a lot of times just a few feet higher can get you a better shot.
    Have fun.
    I took this at sunrise last weekend-
    These bottom two were both taken just about 10 minutes later.
    But this last one was set on manual with a slow shutter speed. I used the table as the tripod as well as content. Then, using a free photo manipulating program called Gimp, I lightened it up just a tiny bit to pull up the wood grain and a minor hue adjustment made the sky look more blue. But most of the difference in light and color was simply from switching to manual and burning more light into the shot.
  8. hailfrank

    hailfrank Admin esq.

    cheers for that. i'm going to dig out the tripods today and keep them in the bus.

    going to start taking more pics on manual to see how they go :)

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