A Morning with my Camera - pointers for shooting in manual

Today I woke up and peered out the window to discover I couldn’t see past the trees for all the mist. Usually I wouldn’t find mist terribly exciting, especially on a weekday where school runs are involved but today was different. Today was a Saturday, and the possibilities were endless. Hubby kindly agreed to hang out at home doing breakfast things whilst I threw on some clothes, jumped in the car and headed out into the fog.

We are lucky enough to be a stones throw from the Gower and within minutes I was driving along country roads with mist enveloping the trees on my left and the water on my right. I felt giddy with excitement. I haven’t found myself with that many opportunities to photograph in misty conditions and I knew it would only enhance the already beautiful landscape.

SS:1/400 F2.2 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy. 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus

I decided to start at Broad Pool, at the bottom of Cefn Bryn. 99% of the times I’ve driven past this pool the reflections have been breathtaking, regardless of the weather. It’s a photographers dream. Today was no different and as I approached the pool and saw the reflections and the mist just starting to lift off the surrounding fields I must confess I gasped just a little.

Broad Pool

SS:1/320 F2.5 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy. 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus.

As I started taking photo after photo I made myself stop for a minute, take it all in and slow myself down. Far too often when I’m excited about a landscape I’ll get snap happy and rush myself through the process. This time I told myself there was no rush, even though the lovely mist was quickly disappearing the pool and the reflections weren’t going anywhere. No children needed to be kept safe and no demands were being placed on me, no little hands pulling me this way and that. I slowed and I savoured, and the experience was all the better for it. 

Don't be afraid to look for different angles and perspectives.

SS:1/640 F1.8 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy. 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus.

I even took the time to set up my tripod and get in the frame myself. Getting in the shot more is on my list of things to do. Not so much as a New Year’s Resolution, more of an ongoing aim. Invest in a remote shutter release if you haven't got one already.

SS:1/320 F2.8 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy. 2s delayed remote shutter release. 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus.

SS:1/320 F2.8 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy. 2s delayed remote shutter release. 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus.

SS:1/320 F2.8 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy. 2s delayed remote shutter release. 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus.

Afterwards I drove to the top of Cefn Bryn and walked out to Arthur’s Stone, a surprisingly short walk when you don’t have children in tow ;) On seeing the mist filling the Valley below I knew I would need to stop in Penclawdd before heading home. I’d have happily driven further into the mist but time was ticking on and I couldn't keep the family waiting forever.

That moody little Estuary town never disappoints.

Penclawdd

SS:1/800 F2.8 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy. 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus.

Arthur's Stone

SS:1/250 F:3.5 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy. 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus.

I’ve included my settings with each of the photos posted here, and I hope that it’s something you find useful. I know when I first started shooting in manual it really helped me. Don't be afraid to ask photographers their settings on photos you love, more often than not they'll be happy to help you as you learn. The benefit of digital is you can quickly see what works and what doesn't. If you are a keen photographer then take up the challenge to carve out some time for you and your camera, slow things down a little and enjoy the process and the adventure, you don’t need to wait for some mist to motivate you to get out there. There is always beauty to be found if you go looking for it.

Penclawdd

SS:1/640 F2.8 ISO:160 WB: Cloudy 50mm Lens. Single Spot Focus.