A Lengthy Reboot

By Richard Hsu
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Lesson in Photography: Using Shutter Priority

I was handed the camera(Canon DSLR with Yongnuo flash) at my friend's birthday dinner last month. I pointed the flash to the ceiling(bounce), set the dial to Aperture Priority and went about making photos. I noticed the shutter speed being calculated was slower than ideal and some photos were blurry. The settings I would have used in my Nikon DSLR wasn't working for this Canon camera and I had trouble adjusting. To get a faster shutter speed, I increased the ISO (maybe to 800) and it seemed better. I kept making photos but was uncomfortable with the results. Towards the end of the birthday party, I changed the mode to Shutter Priority, set Shutter Speed to 1/100 sec, ISO 800 and it solved the exposure problem. I should have done that much earlier.

Yesterday, my friend sent me the first 80 photos and most of them were not properly exposed due to slow shutter speed. I could see ghosting, blur, etc. in the photos. It was disappointing and heart breaking. I was trusted to document an important once-in-a-lifetime event in my friend's life and I failed. I am yet to receive the photos made towards the end when I switched to Shutter Priority. Let's hope there is enough in there to make it memorable for him.

I must have viewed countless hours of video, books etc. that covers exposure and the role Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO plays. Yet, when it mattered, I forgot the basics and took too long to get the right exposure and wasted important moments.

Next time, I will remember to set the ISO higher and start with Shutter Priority in that kind of a situation.