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I've noticed that some people think that as you work your way up with the mode dial, further away from Auto mode, somehow they think that you're unlocking extra features in your camera, or you're becoming a more sophisticated photographer, and none of that's necessarily true. All modes really are equal in terms of their ability to yield great shots. The difference is, some modes give you more control of one kind than another, and sometimes, in certain situations, having that additional control can help, and other times it doesn't help at all. You can take fantastic shots in full Auto mode.
You can take fantastic shots in Manual mode. The advantage of different modes is they allow you to give up more or less control to focus on one thing or another. So I'm walking around these gardens here, and to be honest, I am not expecting to come out of here with any great shots. I'm here today just kind of looking around. I'm looking at forms, and I'm just shooting them, and I'm looking at texture, and shooting that. That can be a valuable exercise, because the more you look at a particular form, sometimes just one day, something clicks, and you see it in a different way, and now you're seeing photos that you didn't see before. So to facilitate that kind of thing, which is really just, I'm just doing an exercise in seeing, I put my camera in Program mode, because now I don't have to think about exposure.
I can just really look at things, and look at their shapes, and look at their textures, and just focus on that part of photography. That said, one of the great things about Program mode on the Mark III is I've actually still got a lot of manual override. So, I was walking along and I saw this thing here; this is a plant. I know that, and I don't know much more, because really, my knowledge of botany goes really nowhere beyond being able to identify this is a plant. So, I was walking along, and I saw this plant, and it caught my eye for some reason; you don't have to know why. So I decided to get a shot of it, and I come down here.
I'm not doing anything fancy compositionally; I am just putting it in the middle of the frame. And as I am shooting, I began to realize, oh, you know, it'd actually be nice to play with a little depth of field stuff. What's great about the Mark III is that without taking my eye from the viewfinder, without breaking my composition, without leaving Program mode, I can actually play with my depth of field. I'm just going to turn my main dial here all the way to the right to get my aperture all the way open. Now I'm going to spin it out to about f/11 to get me a lot of deep depth of field.
So I haven't left my mode, I haven't left my viewfinder, and I've shot three very different pictures, because as I'm changing the style, I'm getting program shift. The camera is automatically cycling through every reciprocal combination of exposures that yields that same metering. So this is giving me the opportunity to go to a wider aperture, or a smaller aperture, or if this was a moving plant, I could be opting for one shutter speed over another. So it's a great amount of manual control right there without leaving Program mode, and without breaking up the rhythm of my shooting.
Now, as I am looking here, and playing with depth of field, I might also think, boy, there is this nice shadow being cast halfway across the flower. I would like to exaggerate that some more, and I want shallow depth of field still. So I'm going to meter, I'm going to turn my main dial here to get the aperture all the way open, and then I'm going to dial in a one stop of underexposure, and I'm just doing that with my thumb. So I've got my forefinger up here controlling aperture, and my thumb controlling over or underexposure. I never left Program mode. So this is just a really nice way to be able to stay in Program mode, where I've got the freedom to just shoot without thinking that much about technical stuff, I can really focus on seeing, and whatnot, but then when there are those moments where I do have a technical impulse, I can just do it.
So as my day would probably progress from here, if I was going to stay here shooting this stuff, I would probably begin to realize, ah, I'm really just doing depth of field control all day long. So, now I'm going to leave Program mode; now I'm going to go to Aperture priority mode, because now when I'm working, I've just got control of aperture. If I decide, actually, everything I'm shooting today, I'm shooting shallow, then I would just open the lens up all the way, and shoot that way for the rest of the day. I would still have my thumb to control overall brightness with exposure compensation. So these are the ways that I am thinking about mode as I move through the day.
Most of all, I'm not thinking about mode; I'm either staying in Program mode, and taking manual override when I need it, or I've zeroed in on one parameter, and I've dialed in the Appropriate priority mode. So, if there are things in there that don't make sense to you, you need to go back and review priority modes, exposure compensation, program shift, because those are the parameters that I'm working with together here.
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