f/8, 1/160, ISO-100, 50mm

A couple of weeks ago, a very fine photographer that goes by ndjmom pointed out that she has basically the same equipment I do but wasn’t able to get the “same crisp images” that I have, and that she would be grateful for any suggestions.

As I recall, I responded in my usual fashion. I gave a long-winded, puffed-up, self-important litany of things such as ISO settings and all sorts of other technical jargon. It was a terribly presumptuous and preposterous answer, and I want to apologize to jdjmom here and now for having said it.

The fact is, ndjmom, when I had about the same level of of experience with my camera as you have with yours, I was taking pictures of about the same quality as you are now. Which is to say, pretty darn good, but with room for improvement. I offer up this post, and this one, from my archives. Both were taken about a year ago, and I have a special place in my heart for each of them. But they don’t have the same crispness that some of my earlier posts this month do. These photographs were taken with the same equipment, so what’s the difference between then and now?

All I can really chalk it up to is experience. There’s a quote that your first 10,000 photos are your worst. When I had taken those photographs last year, my total count was something like 1700 shutter clicks. Today that total is nearly 35,000. Holy cow…that was the first time I’d checked!

I wish I could more clearly define what I am doing differently today. I am certainly happier with the quality of my photos, but perhaps it is a sign of the progress I have yet to make that I don’t understand why I feel the quality has improved. Certainly I am more familiar with my equipment. I have spent a lot of time learning the ins and outs of every button and switch. I have taken the time to photograph the same object with multiple settings, just to see how the image changed. I have tried many different techniques in terms of settings, and have settled primarily on auto-focus and manual shutter/f-stop adjustment, because I find that I get the most reliable (predictable) results that way.

In the end, I guess what I’m really saying to ndjmom is to practice until you find your own solution. It will come…I can already see you have the eye for composition, and you clearly have the desire. The rest is just a matter of repetition. I don’t think I can give you the direct answer you’re hoping for. But I do know that you’ll find it.

OK, as for the photo. Well, I just thought there was an irony I suppose in a discarded energy drink amidst a worn-out tire. And I kinda like how crisp it is 😉

This entry was posted in Natural Lighting, Nature, Photography and tagged , .


  1. Bella Remy Photography April 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    I always struggle with focus as well ! I had to learn how to breath properly then not get to excited to look at the LCD screen before the camera was taking the shot 🙂 Best way I’ve improved my focus is with a tripod and remote. I’m at about 8,000+ shots, so guess I’ve got some more shooting to do to get to your level.

    • AJBopp May 2, 2012 at 8:04 am #

      Yes I have noticed a tremendous difference myself when using the tripod, which I’m doing more of lately. I hate lugging the thing around but the difference in sharpness makes it worth it I guess.

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