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Learning How to Use My Nikon D3200 in Manual Mode [PHOTOS]

Do you remember the first day you started a new job? Everything was so confusing, you felt like you were never going to understand what this person was trying to tell you. I remember my first day in radio and David Crawford was explaining traffic to me, and clocks and logs and scheduling. My head was spinning. It took me several weeks to figure out what the heck he was talking about.

It feels the same way today while I’m learning how to take photos with my new Nikon D3200 in manual mode. There’s ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, White Balance, fast, slow, high, low. It’s VERY confusing to say the least.

I took a beginner DSLR (digital single lens reflective) camera class at Studio D with Laura Fleming and she covered the basics of the key things to remember when going out to shoot photos.  Then each week the group is given a challenge.

Week 1 Challenge was “Funny Faces”. We were told to take funny pictures of our kids. Well, since I don’t have “kids” I took funny face pictures of my dogs. This one wasn’t MY dog but a friends dog and I just thought it was so cute. We are also required to share our camera settings. You will find this in the caption of the photos.

Boxer Puppy
Lucy (ISO 6400, f/14, 1/20)

Week 2 Challenge was “Freeze It” Whether it’s your child sledding down a hill, your husband throwing a snowball at you, or your dog pouncing the snow, you should use this week to practice your skills on freezing motion.

Again, no children and my husband won’t pose for the camera so I had to use my fur babies again. I took a few of some spring calves running in the snow and then some of Rowdy (our heeler) chasing his Chucka. The latter was my favorite. Here are two photos from this 2nd challenge.

Spring Calves Running in the Snow
Freeze Challenge (ISO 360, f/5.6, 1/2500, 200 mm)
Rowdy catching his Chucka
Freeze Frame (ISO 2000, f/4, 1/2500, 32mm)

Week 3 Challenge: Heart – This week’s challenge is completely open to interpretation. There are no rules, just a theme.

I’m pretty proud of this one! I couldn’t have even imagined I would be able to capture not only the thing I love the most about my life (living on the farm and being a ranchers wife) but to get a calf captured in a photo in the shape of a heart? Never in a million years would I have thought I would have been so lucky.

baby calf bed down in grass
Heart (ISO 200, f/4.0, 1/250)

I have also downloaded a book to my Kindle “Nikon D3200 for Dummies“. Yep, that’s me. It’s written in simple terms that I can understand and while I’m reading the book I am taking practice shots and deleting the ones that don’t turn out just right.

When you get just the EXACT right setting there is a feeling of accomplishment and I get a little giddy. I was reading today and messing around with the settings. The subject of this picture is not the point, the clarity and the color are what made me get excited.

Practice photo
Just sitting on the couch (ISO 640, f/4.5, 1/40)

And of course, this blog would not be complete without my absolute favorite subject…my dog Tooter (she’s growing very tired of me taking pictures of her.)

Tooter (ISO 1800, f/5.6, 1/40)

I can’t wait for next week’s challenge. I wonder what it will be!

Is there a hobby that you really enjoy? What is it?

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