Tag Archives: Nikon D3000

How I got this shot on my Nikon D3000

9 Dec

For those of you with a Nikon D3000 who are experimenting with night shots, here are a few tips. At least they worked for me the other night when I walked on the pier at Manhattan Beach, in Los Angeles, on a chilly night.

First, don’t be afraid to change the ISO. It’s one of the three easiest things to play with when you are trying for an artful shot. The other two things, by the way, are shutter speed and aperture. The ISO for this night shot is 1600, which allowed me to shoot at an f-stop of 5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second. I went tripod-less and rested the camera on my other (gloved) hand. Also, I braced my elbow against my waist. So my second tip is, don’t be afraid to try it, even if you don’t have a tripod or a solid surface to rest the camera.

Third tip: Think about your composition, and here I am using an obvious leading line — the lights and railing leading to the tree. In retrospect, I see it was helpful to have all that lighting for a decent shot at ISO 1600, without a flash.

Have fun shooting holiday lights! Comment below if you have other helpful tips for night shooting with a Nikon D3000.

Experimenting with night shooting

Quick Tips for Nikon D3000

25 Jan

I’m calling this my Know-it-all (Not Yet) Guide to DSLR Photography.
My Nikon D3000 camera is an amazing thing, taking photos that turn out dazzling without my even really trying. But now I want to kick it up a notch (or dial it to “Manual,” you could say) and become more than an amateur shooter. In this space I’m distilling the tips I got in my intermediate/advanced photography class at a local community college.
Before I start, here’s a nice quote from the instructor:
“We don’t use the F-word here anymore.” As in “film.” Time to embrace digital. Which is why the course is called “Intermediate/Advanced Digital Camera Experience.”
Quick Tips for Nikon D3000 —
With every shot, think of the “exposure value” — is the camera set to the right aperture, shutter speed and ISO for the shot? If the photo seems yellow or blue, change the white balance setting.
NORMAL SETTINGS
High resolution JPEG with the least compression, if there is room on SDHC card — “Large” and “Fine” or “Normal.”
SHOOTING
Info button near shutter, with i button on bottom left, moves you through the settings quicker. Same thing with Fn (function) button.
Check histogram: From left to right, it shows shadows, midtones and highlights. It’s better to underexpose, because the image can be enhanced in iPhoto. Usually a good photo is when the peak is in the center.
White balance on Auto is usually OK, except when shooting indoors without flash.
Use Exposure Value (EV) compensation in aperture, shutter and program modes. It works best in increments of .3, .7 and 1.0.
Metering set on “average” or “matrix” is best, but try “center-weighted” when the camera needs to measure the light on about 50 percent of the scene.
Macro shots: In P mode, get as close to the object as desired, then set to Macro and refocus with the halfway hold on the shutter. Bracket the shot.
Manual shooting: make use of the in-camera meter to note over- and under-exposure.
Use Active-D Lighting for high-contrast scenes.
Turn on Noise Reduction for long-exposure scenes using Bulb.
In Manual mode, use the dial to adjust shutter and use the plus/minus button to adjust aperture.
NIGHT SHOTS
A higher ISO allows for a greater flash range. Take the ISO as high as 1600 and check for noise. You can set “Noise Reduction” to on, but it reduces sharpness.
PORTRAITS
Change flash settings to “redeye” and “fill flash” (especially if background is brightly lit) as needed. Flash compensation works in Auto mode.
PLAYBACK
Use lower left “zoom in” button to check photos for noise as you shoot. Adjust exposure accordingly.
Create folders to organize shots (by destination, e.g.)
ZOOM LENS
A general rule of thumb is to avoid camera shake by using a shutter speed in which the bottom number is at least as high as the focal length. So if the zoom is on 200 mm, set shutter to at least 1/200 of a second. Try the VR (Vibration Reduction) button on the zoom lens, but be sure to switch it back to “off” before taking off the lens.
FEATURES TO REMEMBER
Continuous shooting, for sports, children, etc.
Time exposures, using Bulb or the timer.
No-flash setting.
Auto Exposure-Lock, Auto Focus-Lock button.
Fine tuning for white balance. Use grid for special effects, such as sepia tone.
Picture Control: for adjusting contrast, saturation, hue, sharpness and for shooting b/w (monochrome landscape)
Filter effects: try green for portraits, yellow for sunny landscapes,
Focusing options
AF-Assist (page 130 in manual)

One of the best of my practice photos for class: good composition through leading lines and use of the bulb setting to shoot in candlelight.

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