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Using a DSLR camera #photography

I saw a post on a photography group from someone who is new to using a DSLR and wanted to know how to take sharper pictures. The answer is complicated because the cameras are quite complicated but there are basics like keeping the camera still as you take the shot that you need to learn before you switch to manual.

using a DSLR

Low light

I had several problems when I took the shot above. It was low light, it was cold and I was about 100 yards from my subject so I had to zoom in. When you zoom in the slightest movement of the camera will blur those lines you see in the picture. The image isn’t too bad but it could have been sharper if I had captured the image with a faster shutter speed. So shutter speed is part of the answer for getting sharp images but to get a fast shutter speed you need a wide aperture or you need to raise the ISO.

Automatic ISO

One topic I haven’t covered in these weekly photography posts is auto ISO sensitivity control. When this is turned on the ISO is automatically increased for shots like this allowing a faster shutter speed on aperture priority. It is advisable to turn that off when you’re shooting under fluorescent light. I get lots of noise at high ISO settings from fluorescents lights and I have had the same problems with infra-red.


To get things that are far away into focus you use a narrow aperture (high number) such as f/8 for a subject 100 yards away. For close up portraits you use a wide aperture.

Using a DSLR

Using a DSLR allows you much more control when you’re taking a shot. I decided to photograph these geese with a wide aperture as if I was shooting a portrait.

POOL (38)


My subject for this shot was the fat goose in the middle. I used spot focusing using just one focus point and chose spot metering as well, metering the light reflected from that goose in the middle. It gives us a slightly 3D effect separating the geese from  the background. Notice that the background is out of focus and look at the ground, it is out of focus in the foreground. My focus is where I put my focus point, on the goose and everything else that distance from the camera. I also used continuous focusing. I took that shot at 1/500 of a second and with auto ISO switched on; my camera set ISO at  1250. There might be a little noise in the picture but I can’t see any.

Break the rules

That’s all for this week. Experiment with your DSLR, take lots of crap photos until you have seen what it can do. Don’t be afraid to use high ISO settings, the settings are there to be used. Don’t be afraid to shoot a landscape on a wide aperture to see what it looks like or a portrait on a narrow aperture. Break the rules and try to create images that are different.

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