The Camera Modes to Getting the Money Shot, Lloyd Mitchell Photography

Four basic settings can make a big difference in your fireground photos.

At the end of the day a camera is a camera. A 12 megapixel camera is the same light box at 16 megapixel camera. The camera can be made by Cannon, Nikon or Pentax. It makes no difference what brand you use. What really matters is how you know operation your camera. Do you know how to operate all the settings on your camera? The difference between knowing camera and not knowing settings helps make the difference in a photos outcome.

All Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras have four major controls.

Manual Mode – allows you to set up the camera’s ISO, shutter speed and depth of field. An example would be day time. ISO anywhere from 400 to 800 to get max amounts of colors. A Shutter speed of anything of 1/60 of a second or above is perfect A depth of field of 5.6.

Aperture Priority- is used to control the depth of field for the camera lens. Depth of field can be used to either blur out the background of foreground depending on what you are shooting on the fire ground. Examples of depth of Field. During the day 5.6. At night anything from F. 1.8 to 4. Aperture controls the amount of light coming into the camera.

Shutter Priority – Is how one creates movement or freezes action. The way you create movement is by placing the shutter speed at 1/.250. You can also do this by panning in and out with your lens. If you want to freeze the action leave your shutter speed at around 1/2000 of a second.

Priority Mode – Priority mode lets you select and override which features of your camera are most important. It gives you full control of your camera from aperture to shutter speed.

I like to shoot on Aperture Priority. I like playing with the depth of field while creating images. Always keep an eye on something you have not seen before. Everyone has their style that works for them. Do what works for you.

 

See more of Lloyd's work on Backstep Firefighter.

 

Lloyd Mitchell is a photojournalism student. His main focuses are breaking news and humanities as well as crimes and fires. Lloyd also covers college and professional sports such as minor league baseball. He uses photojournalism to tell a story and to make a difference in his local communities at school in Buffalo and at home in Brooklyn.

 

We encourage and support constructive dialogue and debate. View our comment policy.



(function() {
var po = document.createElement(‘script’); po.type = ‘text/javascript’; po.async = true;
po.src = ‘https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s);
})();

Find us on Google+

You are not authorized to see this part
Please, insert a valid App IDotherwise your plugin won't work.

5 Comments

  • Stanley Jaworski says:

      This article is awful.  I looked at the guy's website, and he takes nice photos but the information he shared is lacking/incorrect.  The article is also poorly written.  Where he mentions 'Priority Mode', that information is totally incorrect.  It is Program Mode.  That is where you have no control as the camera sets all of the settings for you such as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.  Manual Mode is the one where you have full control over your camera and must choose all of the settings.     In Manual Mode he writes about 400 to 800 ISO being best for max amount of colors.  ISO is set in relation to the light and what shutter speed/aperture combination you are looking to use. The lower ISO generally the better image quality, but 'day time' is too general as what ISO to use as it is going to depend on the lighting and the settings you want to use.   In Aperture Priority all he focuses on is creating blur.  In general, when shooting a fire scene you want maximum depth of field so that all of the details will be in focus.  Creating blur is neat when doing creative shots, which are also done in fire service photography.  But most fireground images are being shot to document the event and not for creative means.  Thus, he should have spoke about how apertures such as f/16 will get more of the image's detail in focus compared to if you use f/2.8.  Of course, in low light situations you may have no choice but to shoot at f/2.8 in order to get enough light to create a decent image.  Thus, where he talks about using very wide apertures for night shots, he is correct that you will often have to use those to get enough light but he doesn't mention what that will do to an image.  Using f stops below f/2.8 will create a very shallow depth of field.  Thus, if using f/1.4 to shoot a fire scene, you need to be very careful where you chose to be your focus point so you can get the area you are most interested to be in sharp focus.   In Shutter Priority he is way off in the figures he provides.  First of all, it depends on what you are shooting as different shutter speeds will freeze some items but show movement when shooting a different item.  Since we are talking about fireground photography, a shutter speed of 1/250 is usually going to be very good at freezing action.  You won't need to go to 1/2000 to freeze action on a fireground.  To create movement on the fireground you will want to be around 1/60 or less.     Again, it's not Priority Mode, it's Program Mode.  Some people refer to Program Mode as 'automatic mode' or 'point and shoot mode' as the camera does everything for you.  You just place it in that mode and fire away as you don't have to worry about selecting/changing the settings.  

  • First let me say to state Lloyd's article is "awful" is quite harsh. The information he gives here is basic but also a good guide to begin with when shooting. In the days of 35mm film, the standard for shutter speed/apeture combination in daylight was 1/125 at f8.
    Also, to slam him for using ther term priority instead of program is kind of petty. In my opinion this basic guide has a lot of good information. Each photographer develops a style that worls for the, as far as what features to use.
    I have been a professional fireground photographer for 28 years and not once has anything written in a book as to what you should do has worked for me. It is all experimentation and seeing what looks good and what doesn't. I disagree that the fireground is a place to only document the scene and not be creative. Fireground photos with nothing but flames, smoke and very little "action" is quite boring and will lose a viewer's interest quickly. Artistic and creative approaches to fireground imaging adds flair to the photos and I encourage that.
    Also there are 2 forms of "Program". One is a greeen box which in fact does make all the decisions for you. The second "P" allows the photographer to have some control over the settings such as different f stop.shutter spped combinations and ISO control.  Nikon refers to this setting as Program Shift. In essence your information about Program is incorrect.
    Again, this article is not poorly written nor inaccurate. There is not 1 item here that is technicaly wrong except what Lloy's choices are happen to differ from your's. I don;t think you would enjoy a comment slamming your choices of what works for you so to do so here to Lloyd is not only unfair but the fact you state incorrect information and also your PERSONAL preferences does not make you look professional. I think Lloyd's article is a a useful "quick guide" and each photographer must dewvelop their own style and reputation. In the future please have some repect when offering a critique. Lloyd is an excellent photographer with a solid reputation in the field in NYC. He will be going places I am sure.
     
    Stephen J. Walsh
    President, International Fire Photographers Association
    Photographer Brookline Firefighters Association
    Owner Box 714 Imaging

  • Lloyd Mitchell says:

    Dear Mr. Jaworski,
    Thank you for taking the time to read the article. First off let me say I respect your viewpoint on the article. I am a photojournalism student. I have more of a creative approach to photojournalism. Depending on the situation you’re shooting  on the fly. The article was written for the causal photographer in mind or people just starting out. You have your style and I have mine.  I wrote the article with the mindset of wanting to help others and myself improve their craft of photography. If you shoot with a shutter of 1/60 of a second your image with come out blurry in the day time. Your hand can’t stay steady for that time period without a tripod or placing it on a flat surface.  “Thus, he should have spoke about how apertures such as f/16 will get more of the image's detail in focus compared to if you use f/2.8. Of course, in low light situations you may have no choice but to shoot at f/2.8 in order to get enough light to create a decent image. Thus, where he talks about using very wide apertures for night shots, he is correct that you will often have to use those to get enough light but he doesn't mention what that will do to an image. Using f stops below f/2.8 will create a very shallow depth of field. Thus, if using f/1.4 to shoot a fire scene, you need to be very careful where you chose to be your focus point”  A f stop of 1.8 allows for the most amount of light to get into the camera. The 35mm prime lens is meant to be shooting at a depth of field of 1.8 at night during low lighting situations. You are standing at a distance so the depth of field won’t matter.  You can always us the rigs as a light source.
     
     
     

  • Stanley Jaworski says:

    @ Stephen Walsh
     
     
    "to state Lloyd's article is "awful" is quite harsh."  
    I tried to think of a less 'harsh' term to use, but on the other hand it is how I felt about the article.  
     
     
    "In the days of 35mm film, the standard for shutter speed/apeture combination in daylight was 1/125 at f8."
    There was no exposure standard in film days which differs from digital days.  Exposure is the same as that has not changed with the technological differences.  The only common 'standard' for settings I know of is the "Sunny 16 rule".  Please share a reference/term which describes the standard you mention as that would be interesting to look up and learn about.
     
     
    "slam him for using ther term priority instead of program is kind of petty"
    Since he was using this article to teach others who are new to photography or just casual photographers, using the correct terminology is important as they will not figure out what he means like a more experienced photographer would.  When they go to their camera settings they won't find a "Priority Mode", but will find both Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority.  Thus, they will be looking for Priority Mode but may not make the connection that what he meant was Program Mode.
     
    "I disagree that the fireground is a place to only document the scene and not be creative."
    I didn't state that the fireground was "only" to document a scene.  
     
    Where you talk about the Program Shift feature you are incorrect.  Program Shift is a component of the Program Mode where you don't have more control over the settings.  In Program Mode the camera chooses the settings for you.  When you use the Program Shift feature that allows you to have the camera change the settings it gives in the Program Mode.  But you don't have any control over those settings.  If you don't like the settings the camera provided, you can use Program Shift to have the camera select another selection of settings which will provide the same exposure.  You don't select what those settings will be as the camera does that for you, but you can simply tell the camera to 'try again'.  (This is in regards to Nikon cameras, other brands may differ.)
     
     
    "Again, this article is not poorly written nor inaccurate."
    I disagree as I pointed out the inaccurate items (besides the items we feel may be subjective, some of the things I pointed out are objective items), and looking at the grammar alone I feel it was poorly written (that is objective, the other aspects involve some subjective items).
     
     

  • Stanley Jaworski says:

    @ Lloyd Mitchell
     
    "If you shoot with a shutter of 1/60 of a second your image with come out blurry in the day time. Your hand can’t stay steady for that time period without a tripod or placing it on a flat surface."
    That is a very inaccurate statement.  Using a shutter speed of 1/60 may show motion blur due to the subject moving, but you can easily handhold many lenses at 1/60 and get sharp images.  In general, there is the handholding guideline about using the reciprocal of the focal length.  That is a well known and valid guidline.  For example, if shooting a lens at the 100mm focal length, you need to be using a shutter speed of 1/100 at the minimum to get a sharp image.  So, using that theory as long as the lens was not at a focal length greater than 60mm, you can handhold that lens and get a sharp image using 1/60.  Though, that guideline is not absolute.  An experienced photographer can usually handhold a lens below the recommended shutter speed that the reciprocal theory provides.  And with many lenses having Vibration Reduction/Image Stabilization that allows handholding lenses at very slow shutter speeds.  
     
     
    "The 35mm prime lens is meant to be shooting at a depth of field of 1.8 at night during low lighting situations. You are standing at a distance so the depth of field won’t matter."
    Prime lenses come in different apertures, not just f/1.8.  I can only assume that you have the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens being why you only reference that one aperture and the 35mm focal length.  If so, you should have mentioned that you were using a prime lens with an aperture of f/1.8 in your article so someone with a lens that has a different aperture wouldn't get confused.  That is true that shooting from a distance depth of field will be less important as the image becomes more 'flat'.  Though, that contradicts much of what you said about being creative as you will then have to get closer to your subject to create the shallow depth of field you described.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

Backstep Firefighter

“To provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format.”
Comments
Bill Carey
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Thank you Shawn.
2014-09-09 10:58:45
Bill Carey
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Thank you Trey. It would be valuable for all of us to do a follow-up later or a look at one of your trainings and how departments are applying the new research and testing the new tactics for themselves. Bill
2014-09-09 10:58:32
Shawn Royall
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Bill, Thanks for saying exactly what many of us want to but don't have an outlet for.
2014-09-09 03:30:10
Trey Smith
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Bill, thank you for your feedback. I would invite you to contact me to learn more about FPM.
2014-09-08 22:20:52
Ron Ayotte
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Buckets, not puckets... 1st day back at work after vacation, and all the coffee I had today hasn't kick started the brain into gear!
2014-09-08 19:55:41
Give It The Best That You Have
First Day Back
First Day Back
New Leaders: JFK's Nightmare
New Leaders: JFK's Nightmare
It's OK.
It's OK.
Welcome to the Club
Welcome to the Club

AFTDIMage
BostonFireGearImage
Plugin from the creators ofBrindes Personalizados :: More at PlulzWordpress Plugins