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Shooting with the Nikon D800
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Exploring focus and composition


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Shooting with the Nikon D800

with Ben Long

Video: Exploring focus and composition

If you've slogged all the way through the rest of this course up till now, I commend you. That's a lot of material and some of it is pretty dry material. That said, it is important to really know all the features of your camera, and know how to drive each one. So sitting with these videos or with the manual is a good exercise. But there's a difference between sitting in a room simply studying those features and being out using them. So it's time to get outside with your camera and start actually getting some real-world practice. Remember, these cameras were designed with photography in mind. It's not just engineers just sticking buttons and features on as they like.
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  1. 9m 28s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 18s
    3. Using this course
      1m 54s
  2. 30m 59s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      6m 34s
    2. Attaching a lens
      3m 28s
    3. Inserting media cards and a battery
      6m 14s
    4. Powering up
      2m 8s
    5. Working with menu navigation and factory defaults
      3m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 50s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 20s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 15s
    9. Holding the camera
      4m 9s
  3. 26m 35s
    1. What are shooting modes?
      2m 11s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      4m 41s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      46s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 42s
    5. Metering basics
      1m 31s
    6. Reviewing images
      2m 21s
    7. Working with image playback
      7m 16s
    8. Adjusting beeps and timers
      1m 52s
    9. Changing button behavior
      2m 2s
    10. Using screen tips
      1m 13s
  4. 26m 58s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      50s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      4m 16s
    3. Changing ISO
      2m 30s
    4. Using auto ISO
      4m 25s
    5. Exploring Flexible Program
      2m 49s
    6. Exploring image format and size
      6m 18s
    7. Setting a virtual horizon
      2m 17s
    8. Setting the color space
      1m 22s
    9. Configuring multiple media cards
      2m 11s
  5. 12m 49s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 6s
    2. Exploring autofocus area modes
      4m 50s
    3. Using focus points
      1m 57s
    4. Using manual focus
      3m 56s
  6. 9m 57s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 1s
    2. Working with white balance presets
      3m 8s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 48s
  7. 11m 54s
    1. Exploring Continuous mode
      5m 56s
    2. Exploring Quiet mode
      53s
    3. Using the self-timer
      3m 26s
    4. Locking the mirror up
      1m 39s
  8. 34m 40s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 4s
    2. Using the auto exposure lock
      4m 35s
    3. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 3s
    4. Using depth of field preview
      2m 50s
    5. Exploring Shutter Priority mode
      2m 32s
    6. Working in Manual mode
      2m 40s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      6m 40s
    8. Using Active D-Lighting
      1m 19s
    9. Using the Vignette Control feature
      1m 6s
    10. Using the Auto Distortion Control feature
      58s
    11. Using long exposure noise reduction
      1m 41s
    12. Using high ISO noise reduction
      1m 22s
    13. Using the Bulb setting in Manual mode
      1m 2s
    14. Using the Info button
      1m 48s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Adjusting LCD brightness
      2m 31s
    2. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 43s
    3. Hiding images
      1m 35s
    4. Toggling the Rotate Tall feature on and off
      50s
    5. File naming
      1m 21s
    6. Creating a file number sequence
      2m 35s
    7. Creating storage folders
      2m 3s
    8. Adding copyright info
      1m 50s
    9. Using in-camera retouching
      2m 26s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. Using the fill flash
      1m 48s
    2. Using Flash mode
      3m 18s
    3. Working with flash exposure compensation
      2m 8s
  11. 22m 25s
    1. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      5m 38s
    2. Creating multiple exposures
      3m 38s
    3. Using the interval timer
      5m 42s
    4. Shooting time-lapse photography
      1m 19s
    5. Working with the image area
      4m 25s
    6. Using the remote control
      1m 43s
  12. 8m 33s
    1. Defining picture controls
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      2m 38s
    4. Using the monochrome picture control
      2m 10s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Activating Live View
      8m 9s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 27s
    3. Reviewing some Live View drawbacks
      2m 6s
  14. 17m 27s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      4m 34s
    2. Focusing and working with exposure
      7m 11s
    3. Using Playback mode
      3m 17s
    4. Customizing movie controls
      2m 25s
  15. 12m 44s
    1. Using menu banks
      3m 31s
    2. Using the My Menu feature
      2m 12s
    3. Customizing controls
      4m 0s
    4. Autofocus fine-tuning
      1m 25s
    5. Saving and loading settings
      1m 36s
  16. 14m 5s
    1. Working with custom settings
      51s
    2. Using the Focus Priority feature
      2m 15s
    3. Using the AF Activation feature
      1m 34s
    4. Controlling the number of focus points
      36s
    5. Using ISO sensitivity step value
      1m 8s
    6. Working with EV steps for exposure control
      1m 7s
    7. Using exposure flash compensation step value
      1m 1s
    8. Turning on easy exposure compensation
      1m 31s
    9. Using Exposure Delay mode
      1m 20s
    10. Using the Assign FN button
      2m 42s
  17. 6m 45s
    1. Camera sensor cleaning
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 57s
    3. Getting firmware updates
      1m 19s
  18. 15m 43s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      4m 55s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      6m 50s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      3m 58s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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Shooting with the Nikon D800
5h 4m Beginner Nov 08, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, photographer and author Ben Long details the features, controls, and options in the Nikon D800 digital SLR. The course begins with an overview of what a digital SLR is and a tour of the camera's basic components. Ben then discusses the camera's basic operation: changing lenses, navigating the menus, shooting in automatic mode, reviewing and managing photos on the camera's LCD screen, and transferring photos to a computer.

Next, the course introduces more advanced exposure options: program mode, exposure compensation, ISO adjustments, and more. After Ben briefly defines each option, he shows how to adjust it using the camera's controls.

Ben also discusses white balance options, advanced metering and autofocus controls, flash, live view, and video shooting. The course ends with a chapter on maintenance, including sensor- and camera-cleaning and care tips.

Topics include:
  • What is a DSLR?
  • Attaching lenses
  • Powering up and down
  • Formatting the media card
  • Holding the camera
  • Shooting in the Auto and Program modes
  • Changing the ISO
  • Controlling autofocus and white balance
  • Using a self-timer
  • Working with the exposure control options
  • Activating Live View
  • Shooting video
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear
Software:
D800
Author:
Ben Long

Exploring focus and composition

If you've slogged all the way through the rest of this course up till now, I commend you. That's a lot of material and some of it is pretty dry material. That said, it is important to really know all the features of your camera, and know how to drive each one. So sitting with these videos or with the manual is a good exercise. But there's a difference between sitting in a room simply studying those features and being out using them. So it's time to get outside with your camera and start actually getting some real-world practice. Remember, these cameras were designed with photography in mind. It's not just engineers just sticking buttons and features on as they like.

There has been a lot of thought put into how different features work together, which ones you need access to quickly, which ones can be buried in menus. And a lot of these features work in concert. As you start thinking of the whole camera as a system, then the way you'll approach different subject matter will change. So in this chapter we're going to spend just a little bit of time going over some real- world scenarios so that you can see what my thought process is in relation to the camera and kind of how I work around certain things.

So we're going to start with focus and composition. We've talked some about autofocus, about how you have different focus modes, how you have different focus spots you can choose between, and most importantly, that you have to prefocus, that you have to choose your focus point and lock it in before you take a picture. So I want to take a picture of these nice pink flowers back here. And I don't want them in the dead center of the frame; I'd like them off to the side. Right now I've got my D800 set to automatically pick a focus point. So if I frame my shot the way that I want it, with my flowers off to the side, and take a shot, it accurately chose a focus point. The flowers is in focus; the shot looks fine.

That said, I usually don't work that way, and the reason is it changes my thought process while I'm shooting. When the camera is automatically selecting a focus point, I frame my shot. I half-press to focus. Then I have to stop and go, oh, did it choose the focus point on my subject? For some reason, that's putting the focusing part in a different part of the thought process than I like to work, so what I normally do is I switch the camera to a center-point focus. I make sure that the very center of the frame is where the camera is going to focus.

Now, if I were to frame the shot like you saw it and focus with center-point focus right now, the flowers are going to be out of focus. I've got pretty shallow depth of field and that center point is going to focus on those plants way in the back. So instead, what I have to do is I first have to put the center focus point on the flowers. Then I half press the Shutter button to focus in meter. And then while still holding the Shutter button at the halfway point, I reframe my shot. Now I can press it the rest of the way to get the shot and the flowers will be in focus. So that's what I'm going to do right now. I've got the center point on the flowers.

I half-press to focus. You heard the beep. It has locked focus. I still have the button halfway down, so focus is still good. Now, I'm reframing my shot to put the flowers where I want them, pressing the button the rest of the way, and there's my shot. Now, it's the same picture; the flowers are in focus, just like they were the first time. The difference is now my thought process is, there's my subject. Am I focused on it? Yes. How do I want the framing? Great, now I take the shot. It's putting the focus decision making process in a different place, and for some reason it makes more sense to me to do focusing first.

That may simply be because I have been shooting since before there was Autofocus Point Selection and that's the way that I'm used to working. It's worth experimenting on your own with that. Try these different focus modes. One of the things that's nice about the D800 is you can configure it in lots of different ways. You will probably never use all the focus modes. You'll find some that you like and some that don't work for you. So I'm going to do something else now. I want to try a few different framings of the flower. The distance between me and the flower is not going to change, because I'm going to stand right here and just put it in different parts of the frame.

The problem with the center point autofocus technique is I'm constantly having to go back and grab focus and reframe, and that can slow things down. So instead, what I'm going to do is put the center point on the flowers, half-press the Shutter button. Now, I've got focus set for the flowers. I'm going to switch my camera-- or my lens, rather--to manual focus. Now that focus is locked in no matter what I do with the Shutter button. Now I can just shoot away. I can put the flower wherever I want it and easily shoot a bunch of pictures, and they will all be in focus as long as the distance between my camera and the flowers doesn't change.

If I was working with extremely razor-thin shallow depth of field, this technique may not work so much, because at that point even a little bit of forward or back motion might throw things out of focus. So what you'll probably find is that you like a couple of different focus strategies. I tend to switch between center-point autofocus and fully automatic autofocus depending on subject matter. Most of the time I stay in center point, but if I'm really having to move fast in a changing environment and it's an environment where I know I can trust the Autofocus Point Selection, then I'll switch back to that. So do a little experimenting with both and just be sure that you have a handle on these different autofocus strategies.

There are currently no FAQs about Shooting with the Nikon D800.

 
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