Don’t Forget Your Camera Settings! – Lesson Learned

Typically I try to share my best photography with you, but today, I decided I would share the worst.  Not because I took some horrible pictures, but because I had a lapse and forgot a critical step in my photography process.

Everyone has a lapse at some point.  You might have forgotten your keys in the house, left the lights on in the car, or simply forgot about that conference call you were suppose to dial into about an hour ago.  Whatever it might be, we’ve all had those moments.

With photography, it is VERY easy to change your camera settings, forget you’ve changed them and continue on your way ruining the next 10 or so pictures.  If you always use manual mode, you are less likely to have this issue.  However, if you use any other mode, you are bound to forget you changed something.

For me, it happened about a month ago while I was at the California State Fair.  In general, I walk around with my camera in Aperture Priority Mode, ready to shoot anything in a given second.  I also hardly ever check the preview of the picture (I actually have it turned off and only look when I need to be absolutely sure I got the shot I wanted).  Well, I was walking around inside the exhibition galleries and had switched over to Manual Mode.  After about two hours, we moved on to the outdoors.  There, I approached and photographed a few individuals smoking for The Dying Breed project.  From there, we went to the race tracks, back inside, and I went to change my settings on my camera…long behold, I was still in Manual Mode.  After cursing myself a bit, I finally took a look at the pictures I had just taken and it wasn’t very pretty.

So, the moral of the story, ALWAYS, double check all of your camera settings before setting out to capture a photograph.

After doing some heavy post processing work, I was still able to manage and get the pictures to a visible state (all of them were very under exposed).  If you dare care to have a look, here is what the final result was…

The Dying Breed - Outtake 1 The Dying Breed - Outtake 2
The Dying Breed - Outtake 3 The Dying Breed - Outtake 4

So, I’ve learned my lesson, I have 4 less images in my project, but in the end, no one was hurt.  Perhaps, I’ve got to start doing some brain exercises!

Till next time…

[UPDATE:] A few people have indicated (via Google Buzz and FriendFeed) that they actually like the way the black and white images came out.  So, the secondary lesson is: As much as you don’t like a final image, someone else just might.

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Categorized: Tips & Tricks