So summer is nearly here (hello June!), which for me is when I try to make lots of dates outside with my camera. One of the best ways to learn how to use a digital camera is to practice outside in areas with variable light. When the light varies from one place to the next or one minute to the next (like when the sun comes and goes), then you really have to know the settings on the camera to get the right photo... 

These are photos I took during Memorial Day weekend at Westside Provisions, a rustic little area full of shops and some of my favorite restaurants. There are lots of different textures, colors, and shades of light in that area, which made it a perfect place for practicing photography. After I photographed this lovely ice cream shop, I ventured out into the area and just shot whatever caught my eye. Since the area was full of sunny areas and shady areas, I was constantly changing the settings on my camera to get the right photo. Constantly changing the settings can be frustrating, but it gets easier the more you practice. Once you learn the camera, you get to spend more time scoping out areas of interest than fooling with modes on the camera.

If I am taking photos during the day (as I did here) I typically get the best photos when I'm standing in a cloudy area and focused on a sunnier area. You will see in the photos below that I am in the shade photographing subjects where the sun is in the background. 

Here are the settings I used during this shoot, which are typical in areas of variable light... 

Lens: 50 mm, f 1.8
Camera Setting: Manual Mode
ISO: 100 (in really sunny areas)  200 (partly cloudy areas)
White Balance: Auto
Aperture: 5.0 (used on chair photo below and last photo to get the shallow depth of field, i.e. only one subject in the photo is in focus) and up to 6.0 (everything is in focus)
Shutter Speed: 1/200 (used in cloudier areas) up to 1/1000 (used in sunnier areas) 

If that was a little confusing, then the chart in this post is super helpful!

Also: Tips on practicing photography at farmer's markets - which I will be doing lots of this summer!

Images by me
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  1. These are BANG ON! Every picture is perfectly exposed, you're not getting any "blow out" on your whites or "highlighted" areas and your focus is sharp. When I was learning photography, I just couldn't make sense of what all of that meant. I needed to just pick up the camera ..... bracket and then get the film developed to see what I did. I had to wait up to a couple of days to get my pictures back and by then I had forgotten everything I did in order to take the picture ........ ;-) Gosh that makes me sound old but it's true.

  2. What a picturesque spot! You've really captured some great snaps here!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous photos!! You have quite the eye. I enjoyed reading how you broke it down. Sometime last year, I took an online photography course by Shoot Fly Shoot, so now I feel I can read that breakdown and actually understand it! :)

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