We all know how to take a picture.

Point a camera in the direction of something that catches our eye, then press a button and the camera will take the photograph for us.

The question is, do we use the camera in automatic-mode OR do we set things ourselves?

Under most circumstances, we will get some very good results from being in full-automatic. Unfortunately, the odds are against a camera taking the absolute best picture for us.

Flip through these 15 photographs, which one do you like the best?

1/100 @ f/4.5

Each photograph is visually different from the other in how the water appears. 

For whatever reason, out of all these 15 choices, only ONE image will really stand out as being better than the others. Sometimes it's only slightly  better, while other times it wins by a country mile.

In simple math, that's a 1-in-15 chance that the camera's auto-mode will choose that  particular photograph exposure for me.

Generally, I prefer the slow-motion blurred angel-hair effect of a waterfall which comes from having a long exposure, and since the camera is pre-programmed NOT to give me a blurry photo, it will set my exposure values so that the water freezes in action.

The exact kind of photograph I don't want.

That's why people learn and practice photography.

To create an image which matches (or even exceeds) what we are already picturing in that wonderful creative imagination of ours.

ISO, Shutter-Speed and Aperture

These 3 properties govern ALL of photography, be it film or digital, manual or automatic.

We learn what these properties encompass, and how to balance them to give us a photograph which looks visually appealing to the eye.

"Load a roll of film in a camera and go in your backyard. Shoot that entire roll, but do it in manual if you can."

Every new student to photography got a similar instruction.

If you have access to a camera that allows for full manual control, great.

If you're on a mobile device, there are plenty of apps which give the user at least some  measure of control. Many of these apps are free, with an upgrade to access more features.

Photography is NOT  hard to learn, it just takes time and practice. That's all.

So relax, you're in good company.

No one is born knowing this stuff, we have to learn it and the information is easily at your fingertips.

These pages are just a small part of that.

Yes, you will make mistakes. We all did and we still do, but it's the thrill of the chase... the moment when you set everything yourself and get a photograph that captures your imagination.

So let's get started...

"Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow."

Imogen Cunningham

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