I am quite proud of the images I take for my blog and on Instagram but there is always room for improvement.  I use a Canon Powershot 16 and my OnePlus 6 phone but both are on what my family call ‘numpty mode’ – that’s automatic to you.  Up until now all I know how to change was whether I want a flower for close up shots, or a mountain for landscapes.

This month I decided things were going to change and, using my trusty Craftsy Unlimited (now called Bluprint) subscription, I found a Start Up course with Chris Grey

The first thing I found quite reassuring is that tutor reminded us that the camera is only a tool and creativity and composition come from your eye.  Having spent many years on shoots for The Knitter I am pretty good at both of these, but it’s the technical side that I wanted to get my head around.

I realised I had lost the manual for my camera so my first challenge was to locate how to change the ISO, shutter speed and F-thingy. It took a while, I can tell you.

Next was to understand what these mean.  As I learned, exposure means the amount of light getting to the sensor, the shutter speed is the time the light has to reach the sensor and the aperture is the size of the hole that allows the light in to the sensor.  By this time I just wanted to run away from the enormity of trying to balance all of these.  If you throw in the variable of what kind of shot you are taking it I felt that nuclear physics could not be any more difficult than taking a camera off auto.

The way the course is structured allows you to experiment with this triangle of settings till you get what works so I have taken a few pictures of a ball of yarn to see the different effects. In this first set I have been playing with the ISO which changes the amount of light you let in.

1/125 F2.2 ISO 80
 1/125 F2.2 ISO 250


1/125 F2.2 ISO 1600

Then I tried playing with the shutter speed.

1/80 F2.2 ISO 400
1/160 F2.2 ISO 400
1/500 F2.2 ISO 400

So what have I learned?  I think it’s going to take me a long time to really get my head round the different settings and I’ll probably start with the shutter speed. Sadly I am never going to be a great photographer and actually I quite like numpty mode.

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