Give Program (P) a Try!

Give Program (P) a try!  

John Hadfield, Waverley Camera Club Member, talks to Anne Ramus

It’s common for some photographers, particularly beginners, to ask what mode they “should” be shooting in.  Perhaps there’s some mystique about using Manual in that pros allegedly use it?

Many pros use Manual because it suits the consistency of a fixed lighting environment – the set-up time is not an issue. But in a shooting situation where lighting or focus points may be constantly changing, being in Manual mode means too much time is taken setting up the shot – and a fleeting photo opportunity may simply whizz past while you’re busy wrangling settings!

Look at it this way: Manual requires you to set both Aperture and Shutter Speed, but you’re using the camera’s light meter to guide you.  So if you use Aperture Priority, you’re making a selection essentially around Depth of Field – it’s easy if the whole shoot session involves this element.

If you select Shutter Priority you’re making a selection based on freezing the action or recording a blurred (intentional) image, such as with active children or pets, or sports action.  With either Aperture or Shutter Priority modes, the camera sets the correct exposure control to balance your particular selection using its light meter.  Otherwise, you could lose a lot of shots simply because by the time you’ve set up your camera, the moment has passed.

Now let’s look at one pro who presented at a couple of our WCC workshops on photo journalism – and he shoots for Getty Images.  He uses Program (P).  Program is a good balance if you don’t have a need to bias aperture or shutter speed to capture a certain image.

I use P all the time for general shots.  P is like Auto but it doesn’t fire the flash for almost every shot.  P doesn’t change the ISO.  P is good because it has a progression of aperture and shutter speeds depending on the amount of light and the focal length of the lens.  As you use a longer focal length, it quickens the shutter speed to minimise blur from camera shake.

Give Program (P) a try.  Only go to a priority (A or S) for a particular type of image control, i.e. depth of field or shutter speed for stopping action or causing blur.  Unless you have a particular image style in mind, I would set your camera up for a day’s general shooting  (and the level of light) to give you a reading of about F/5.6 – F/8, a Shutter Speed of not less than 1/125 and an ISO to give you those readings (probably about ISO 200-400).

Set the Mode to Program (P), only changing to Aperture or Shutter to suit a particular type of shot.  I would guess that 80% of your shots will fall within that range I mentioned above.  I would increase the ISO as necessary to keep within my suggested aperture/shutter speed range for general daytime photography.  Be aware that the lower the ISO, the less image ‘noise’.  Further, cameras vary in their ability to handle noise – another factor which will influence your choice of ISO setting.

Overall, it’s important to realise that the “Exposure Triangle” of Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO always involves compromises; it’s a juggling act of your own creative decisions plus the technical path you choose to achieve the image you want.


Anne Ramus

Labour Day Weekend 2012 – I Got Inspired

Although the time has passed by so quickly or because it takes me awhile to do things, the club did have a weekend away at Lakes Entrance over the Labour Day weekend.

Fourteen of us ventured up to the beautiful Lakes area.  Some of us stayed at the Sandbar Motel and some of us camped a few doors down the road.

With all the rain in the region, there were  a lot of full flowing rivers  and areas still under water. Unfortunately, the weather decided not to co operate with photographers.  The amazing sunrise and sunset shots that were going to be taken and win the monthly competition never eventuated. This meant  however, that some people slept in. But not all of us – there was always that wishful thinking that just maybe  the skies would clear.  Up before dawn, we still enjoyed walks along the waterway and the beach, before heading off to a café for brekky or in my case jumbo cappuccino.

Thanks to Pete, Ron and Stewart’s knowledge of the area and maps, our days were beautifully planned.  We would all meet up around 10.00 and head off on our adventure and hopefully, a photographic masterpiece.

Saturday was Metung (so lovely), lunch in the park, local market, amazing river silts, Paynesville. Raymond Island. We even saw owls and there were swans, parrots and koala bears and lots of water.  Glass of wine or a beer  before a pizza tea in the park. Water water everywhere.- love it.

Sunday saw some amazing old trestle bridges. There were also some trail bike riders who like the  skies did not co operate with photographers. Lunch was in the park at Orbost next to the mighty Snowy River. The road to Marlo was closed due to flooding, so it was the long way to Cape Conran.  Lovely scenery but not lovely light. Stopped off at a beach hidden off the road and tried to capture some surfers but light pretty awful. People then headed back to Lakes Entrance. But not all – Bev, Ross and I decided to see Marlo, where the Snowy heads out to sea. Lots of pelicans which was really exciting. There was also the slightest of clearings in the sky, so it was off to the Marlo pub for tea and then off to capture a sunset that didn’t really happen.

Monday was another early  walk before the big brekky. Then it was time to pack up and head back to Melbourne. I thought it was a great weekend (apart from uncooperative skies). It was a lot of fun with great company in a beautiful part of the world.


Sunday Outing – Luna Park Report

On Sunday 3rd April at 2pm, around eight WCC members met under the gigantic face of the 99 year old Luna Park, later joined by 4 more members.

By David Burton
By David Burton
By David Burton

With an overcast sky, we knew there would be no chance of a good sunset while the park’s vibrant colours were challenging to capture without direct sunlight (but the flipside was, no blown out highlights) Nevertheless, the St Kilda area was abuzz with families due in part to the popular Sunday St Kilda Esplanade Market.

By Peter Myers
By Peter Myers
By Peter Myers

Luna Park is returning gradually to its former glory after a few faded decades and has been a Melbourne landmark since it opened in 1912, now with the world’s oldest, continually operated rollercoaster, the Scenic Railway.

By David Burton
By David Burton
By David Burton

Within the park we were presented with two general subjects of photography – the vibrant architecture or the candid expressions of the people on the moving rides.

By David Burton
By David Burton
By David Burton

Later in the day some of the members wandered down to the St Kilda Pier for a few evening shots.