Newbie Mistakes: Where I went wrong

Started May 16, 2011 | Discussions thread
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ishu
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Newbie Mistakes: Where I went wrong
May 16, 2011

In the interest of improving photography for everyone (including myself), I offer some of my mistakes to illustrate some of the advice that's frequently shared here in this forum and by wise photographers everywhere. I welcome any feedback on my experiences, be it browbeating, admonition, or friendly advice.

For the newbies, the first example illustrates the learning curve on a DSLR (unless you use "green Auto" mode). It's also part of the fun, if you're into that sort of thing.

Check your settings: I didn't notice that my aperture was much too small (f/10), forcing a shutter speed that was too slow (1/15). I probably could have had a better shot if I'd opened up to f/5.6 (max) for about 1/50s shutter speed. Since I was at max FL (105mm), I would crop it tighter to get only Vegas Vic (the cowboy) and the musician. This composition isn't that great, but I gave up when the shots weren't working out … if only I'd known why. (I was very tired when out that evening, which didn't help.) I suppose this also demonstrates know your gear , since I did know that I was at max focal length (105mm), but I forgot to use its max aperture of f/5.6. Also, understand apertures and exposure values since I'd have understood that I could have at least halved the shutter speed. The moral of this story is that I need to be more familiar with the process and gear that I have so that I can make the right adjustments.

Find the right light: This isn't such a mistake, just a demonstration of the advice one often reads. I missed my shot by 20-30 minutes as I was shooting at sunrise. As I took a shot, I noticed the reflection of the Gucci sign in the plexiglass retaining wall in front of me, which is superimposed over the reflection of the buildings in the Aria tower. Originally I was shooting the glass tower, but the "reflection on a reflection" concept was something I wanted to capture. I don't know whether the shot I wanted worked, but several efforts failed. I've shared two of them here. There was simply too much light being reflected in the background building that overwhelmed the reflected light from the sign. I'd hoped to return at the appropriate time the next day, but I couldn't work it out.

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