Photoblog of the Week – ottok

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This weeks Photoblog of the week is ottok. It’s a great photoblog that I’ve really been enjoying over the past few weeks. The photographer behind it is Otto K and he’s been kind enough to answer our two photoblogger questions (read them below) and share a couple of examples of his work.

Otto is an amateur photographer based in Atlanta USA. He uses a variety of cameras (digital and film) and produces one of those photoblogs that you go that you never quite know what you’re going to get in terms of style and subject matter. As he says in his About page – he’s no photography purist and the mood that he’s able to add to his shots in post production (mainly on digital shots) is fantastic. I hope you enjoy his photos and tip below.

Woman In Alps Holga-1

Share one Digital Photography Tip with our readers

In a Manual Frame of Mind

A big improvement to my photography occurred when I learned to shoot in manual mode. It was actually easy to do, especially with a digital SLR. And once I made the switch, setting the aperture and shutter speed myself, I never looked back. So what are some of the benefits of shooting in manual mode?

  • Better understanding of light – I found that, when I started working manual mode, I needed to read a scene to determine where to take the light reading with my camera. As a result, I believe that I got better at understanding light overall and the exposures of my photos improved.
  • Better use of aperture and shutter speed – Prior to my move to manual shooting, I know that I was guilty too often of composing the shot and letting the camera choose the aperture and shutter speed for me while occasionally switching to another mode if I wanted achieve a particular effect, like a shallow DOF. Now in manual mode, I am more cognizant for each shot of what DOF my aperture is giving me and how the shutter speed is going to affect my subject. I find that I am more likely to have these values set to achieve what I really want to accomplish with the image instead of leaving it up to the whims of the camera’s automatic settings.
  • Ability to use certain specialty lenses – In my camera bag now are two lenses that are completely manual that will not communicate with my SLR at all, requiring that I operate the camera in manual mode. If I did not know how to do that already, I would not have been able to use the lenses, and I really love having them in my arsenal.
  • Slowing down – I think that this is one of the biggest benefits. Compared to when I just shot in automatic mode, shooting manually is definitely slower. It makes me think a bit more about what I am shooting, the composition of the scene, the overall exposure, and what I want to accomplish (DOF and/or shutter speed) with the image. Consequently, I would like to think that the resulting photos are the better for it since I have made the switch to manual shooting.

Now that I have talked about moving to manual shooting and some benefits, should you shoot in manual?

Maybe. If you are a beginner, you should probably get a good handle on the basics first before jumping into shooting manually. Before diving right in, there are ways to get your feet wet first. You can use Aperture Priority mode or Shutter Priority mode on your camera to start gaining some control and confidence over exposure. In fact some people prefer to use these modes over shooting exclusively in manual mode. I do think it is beneficial, though, in learning how to read a scene and shoot in manual mode whether you continue to shoot in manual or not.

Old House Holga

Briefly Describe Your Camera Kit – Camera, Lenses and Accessories.

Check out more of Otto’s work at www.ottokphotography.com

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Nice post, great site and wonderful featurette. I, too have a Canon 20D and have been glued to it since the purchase last June. Slowly I have added lenses and have grown to LOVE shooting in manual mode. I love the choices it makes me take and almost never shoot in auto mode. I have found using auto mode has made me actually botch a few images as it seems to average out light creating hot spots in full sun. Great stuff! I’ll have to look into the Lensbaby kits, seems pretty exciting!

  • Bruce, thanks. I love my Lensbaby macro adapters. It opened up a whole new world of doing macros beyond my regular macro lens. I highly recommend getting the set if you already have the Lensbaby — it’s not much. (Heck, I recommend the Lensbaby if you don’t have one. I love it.) Forewarned though, a tripod is an absolute must I find because the macro adapters on the Lensbaby lens makes the DOF so thin that you need the sturdiness of the tripod to get the focus exactly where you want it.

  • Otto,

    I see that you have a “Holga plastic lens EOS mount”– is this what I think it is– the ability to shoot Holga-esque images from your DSLR? Is there a Lomo version?

  • Darkwhorse

    Thank you for your tips! They are greatly appreciated. As an aspiring photographer I appreciate your input.

    Sandy aka ‘Darkwhorse’

  • Sarah, it’s Holga-esque. It’s basically the plastic Holga lens with the sharpness in the center with the fuzziness around the edges mounted on an EOS body cap. You can still turn the Holga lens to “focus” it like you can on the regular Holga. The results remind you of the Holga, but it’s not going to duplicate the Holga. I got mine from Randy at Holgamods. As to a similar thing for the Lomo, I haven’t heard of such a thing.

  • it’s ok not to be purist like ottok. as long as the picture speaks a thousand words.
    http://aidwiz.fotopages.com

  • Hey, i bought myself a camera, and just instantly learned in manual, i found it to be alot easier and also beneficial into grasping and creating my own techniques, ive only been learning myself for 3 weeks now 🙂 and still cant grasp capturing trailing light eg a tourch light in a moving car (to produce a stream effect) without over exposing.
    and what the hell is an F number lol
    would appreciate any help 🙂

  • Aaron, an F number represents an F stop and is what the aperture is measured in. dPS has an article on aperture that you might want to read: https://digital-photography-school.com/blog/aperture/. It might help you to understand it better.

  • Aaron McPolin

    Appreciate your help, sorry for the really late reply, Grasped apeture and exposure and now moving into fashion and conceptual photography 🙂

  • wow! how can i join the photoblog of the week contest?
    or do i have to qualify? im just an amatuer photog 🙂

    http://www.ezraphotography.blogspot.com
    http://www.aipye.multiply.com/photos

Some Older Comments

  • ezra February 19, 2010 05:14 pm

    wow! how can i join the photoblog of the week contest?
    or do i have to qualify? im just an amatuer photog :)

    http://www.ezraphotography.blogspot.com
    www.aipye.multiply.com/photos

  • Aaron McPolin July 23, 2008 11:28 pm

    Appreciate your help, sorry for the really late reply, Grasped apeture and exposure and now moving into fashion and conceptual photography :)

  • Otto K. February 26, 2007 02:05 am

    Aaron, an F number represents an F stop and is what the aperture is measured in. dPS has an article on aperture that you might want to read: https://digital-photography-school.com/blog/aperture/. It might help you to understand it better.

  • aaron mcpolin February 25, 2007 01:41 am

    Hey, i bought myself a camera, and just instantly learned in manual, i found it to be alot easier and also beneficial into grasping and creating my own techniques, ive only been learning myself for 3 weeks now :) and still cant grasp capturing trailing light eg a tourch light in a moving car (to produce a stream effect) without over exposing.
    and what the hell is an F number lol
    would appreciate any help :)

  • syahid ali February 20, 2007 06:04 pm

    it's ok not to be purist like ottok. as long as the picture speaks a thousand words.
    http://aidwiz.fotopages.com

  • Otto K. February 20, 2007 07:57 am

    Sarah, it's Holga-esque. It's basically the plastic Holga lens with the sharpness in the center with the fuzziness around the edges mounted on an EOS body cap. You can still turn the Holga lens to "focus" it like you can on the regular Holga. The results remind you of the Holga, but it's not going to duplicate the Holga. I got mine from Randy at Holgamods. As to a similar thing for the Lomo, I haven't heard of such a thing.

  • Darkwhorse February 20, 2007 05:48 am

    Thank you for your tips! They are greatly appreciated. As an aspiring photographer I appreciate your input.

    Sandy aka 'Darkwhorse'

  • Sarah February 20, 2007 04:17 am

    Otto,

    I see that you have a "Holga plastic lens EOS mount"-- is this what I think it is-- the ability to shoot Holga-esque images from your DSLR? Is there a Lomo version?

  • Otto K. February 20, 2007 12:12 am

    Bruce, thanks. I love my Lensbaby macro adapters. It opened up a whole new world of doing macros beyond my regular macro lens. I highly recommend getting the set if you already have the Lensbaby -- it's not much. (Heck, I recommend the Lensbaby if you don't have one. I love it.) Forewarned though, a tripod is an absolute must I find because the macro adapters on the Lensbaby lens makes the DOF so thin that you need the sturdiness of the tripod to get the focus exactly where you want it.

  • bruce anttila van hoover February 19, 2007 12:55 pm

    Nice post, great site and wonderful featurette. I, too have a Canon 20D and have been glued to it since the purchase last June. Slowly I have added lenses and have grown to LOVE shooting in manual mode. I love the choices it makes me take and almost never shoot in auto mode. I have found using auto mode has made me actually botch a few images as it seems to average out light creating hot spots in full sun. Great stuff! I'll have to look into the Lensbaby kits, seems pretty exciting!

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