Four days ago, I came across Chris Gampat‘s The Phoblographer commentary “Manual Mode Is Overrated: A Popular, Unpopular Opinion“. Conceding that I am amateur at best, my tendency is to shoot semi-automatic by presetting aperture and fiddling with other settings only when necessity arises.
Chris tramps through several examples of missed opportunities. From the lede paragraph: “You raise the camera to shoot, very sure that you’ve got the decisive moment. But when you chimp the LCD screen, you notice the screen is pure white. Because you were in manual mode, your camera couldn’t adapt and you lost the moment. Had the camera been constantly adjusting the exposure itself, you would’ve probably captured the moment”. Okay, I might have some experience with that.
So since, I have tried fully auto. Almost immediately, I flubbed two otherwise aptly-composed and well-balanced portraits of Meowy, who appeared in my “Cats of University Heights” series seven months ago. We met at dusk and, whoops, Leica Q2 prioritized low ISO when I needed fast shutter to stop motion, resulting in blurry beastie.
Today’s exercise, demonstrated by the Featured Image and companion, is better but so were shooting conditions. Okay, sorta. The main subject, a screaming homeless dude pushing a shopping cart Westward along University Avenue, is in the shadows but clipped by sunlight. A biker braves the hill, approaching Park Blvd, on the outskirts of San Diego neighborhood Hillcrest.
Caution overtakes the rider, who dismounts and walks towards the unruly fellow ahead. I don’t know the outcome but assume the biker passed by without incident.
The first photo is recomposed some, and the second is close-cropped. Vitals are same for both: f/5, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 11:23:52 a.m. PDT and 11:24 a.m. respectively. I likely would have chosen f/8. The view is from the George Street Bridge, BTW.