Show #25–Shooting in Manual Mode

Host Mike Howard, Tim Kemperle and Kathleen Bowie discussing taking photos in Manual Mode.  The host are later joined by a previous guest, Scott Greene (Show #22).  I almost named this show “I Smell a RAT”.  To find out why, watch the show!




  • Nikon D4  –
    • Adds the ability to add a network cable to stream video
    • 16.2 MP
    • ISO 204,800
  • Lightroom 4 Beta –
    • Released to the public
    • Mike is running the beta in a “Virtual Computer”
    • Modules – Added a
      • Google Map, works with Geo-tagging
      • Books – Create a book within Lightroom; Blurb
    • Be careful with Beta’s, usually you will need to reinstall instead of upgrading from the beta which will cause all updates to be lost.

Made the switch from Livestream to Justin.TV.  Issues with Livestream has caused us to switch.

Shooting in Manual Mode:

Kathleen; explains the way it makes sense to her.
The goal is get the proper exposure of the scene.
The three areas to focus on are:  Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed – Exposure Triangle


Aperture – the size of hole in the lens to allow light in.  The larger the number the smaller the size of the hole and the less light that is coming into the lens.  It is like your eye…if you walk into a room that is bright the pupil will contract to allow a little light in.  If you walk into a dark room the pupil will get larger to allow more light in.  If you are taking a portrait you would want to use a low Aperture which will “blur” the background and only allow the subject to be in focus.  If you shoot in a high number aperture the entire scene will be in focus…very helpful for landscape photography.  A general rule Kathleen follows is the number of people in the portrait is the lowest number aperture she will use.  Four people and she uses f4.

Shutter – Camera determines the amount of time the scene is exposed.  A slow shutter setting will allow the water to flow in a waterfall while a fast shutter speed will allow the water to freeze.    Rule of Thumb, take the focal length of the lens and multiply by either 2 or 2.5.  If you have a 50mm lens you would shoot at 1/100 or 1/150.

ISO – Remember with film.  Options to purchase 100 ISO, 200 ISO or 400 ISO.  The box would tell you what to shoot with such as 400 in the shade or 100 in the sun.  The higher the ISO though the more likely to introduce grain into the picture.

    • What do you use to reduce noise?
      Scott – Software, Imagetronic – must do one image at a time.  Also
      Mike – Nik and Noise Ninja and Lightroom
      Tim – Lightroom, try to avoid noise
      Kathleen – Nothing


Sunny 16 Rule – On a sunny day set aperture to f/16 and shutter speed to the [reciprocal of the] ISO file speed [or ISO setting] for a subject in direct sunlight.  In other words if shooting ISO 100, set the aperture to f/16 and the shutter speed to 1/100.  If shooting ISO 200 with a aperture of f/16 set the shutter speed to 1/200.

Metering – The camera has a built in meter in the viewfinder that shows the exposure of the subject.

    • Matrix / Evaluative – Takes everything in the viewfinder into account and determines the exposure for the entire scene
      Spot / Partial – the camera will only measure a very small area of the scene, typically the very center of the scene.  Good for back-lit subjects.
    • Center – Takes the metering of the center of the scene.


Consider going from Automatic to Aperture or Shutter priority instead of full manual.  Different situations such as youth soccer / football do not allow for quickly setting the settings while in full manual.





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About geephotant

geephotant (Geek-Photographer-Accountant) (aka. Mike Howard) is the creator of Nov Studios and the jpeg2RAW podcast. Mike is an accountant by day as the Controller for a large US based corporation. By night, he is a geek and has appeared on the Home Server Show Podcast & the BYOB podcast ( both found at He has also appeared on the Home Tech Show podcast ( and is now a regular guest on that show. Mike's true passion is photography and shoots when ever he can find time. As an amateur photographer, he is always looking to learn more about the craft.

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