index.htm introduction.htm folder Gallery folder Composition folder Lighting folder Camera-basics folder Exposure folder Approaching-birds folder Post-processing folder links
Camera FamiliarityCamera familiarity is an important asset. Digital cameras are complex beasts. I'm 71 years old as I write this in 2020. I started with a black and white darkroom in my basement while I was still in high school and still living at home. But Cameras still confuse me. I understand the theoretical concepts and have for a long time. The hard part is putting it all together during the during a two or three second photo opportunity, while the lighting is just right and the birds haven't flown yet. Camera explanations you can put together in a sentence are not at all the same as finger tip muscle memory in the blink of a frog's eye.
You don't want to be remembering anything in the heat of the moment. You want your fingers to work by remote control. The only way to get that familiarity is practice.
Practice used to be expensive, during the film camera days. Now it doesn't cost a thing. Not once you already have the camera anyway.
It's also worth mentioning the manuals packaged with new, usually made in Japan cameras are almost universally unreadable. They're written by engineers who don't speak English well. If you have a new one or two or even a new five thousand dollar camera it might be good idea to spend an additional $30 to $40 dollars on a third party camera manual, written by a native English speaker. Fat, expensive paper technology camera manuals are rapidly becoming obsolete however. For nearly any camera ever made you can navigate to https://youtube.com and type the model number of your camera into a search form. And viola. A page of links to explanation videos will instantly appear. Some of those videos are better than others. You can usually tell ten seconds into a video if you want to relax and listen, or if you want to go back to the search form and try again.
You're going to need to know about aperture priority, shutter speed priority, exposure compensation, ISO speeds, focus lock, exposure lock and a host of other camera concepts that all have corresponding button or dial setting controls (somewhere) on your camera. You really should spend some time experimenting with manual exposure mode.