My Recent Taiwan Trip (photographing part 1) – 2017 Week 13

National Taiwan Craft Research & Development Institute

“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.”
— Diane Arbus

Finally, it was the photographing day (3/26/2017)! I got up early, kept asking Wei when his nephew, Kuenhwa, would come. Kuenhwa came around noon and said that taking sunset photos at Gaomei Wetland was our major plan. He then took us for a wonderful lunch (one of the best green onion pancakes I had ever tasted!), and after lunch we went to National Taiwan Craft Research & Development Institute to kill some time so we would arrive at Gaomei Wetland right before sunset.

At National Taiwan Craft Research & Development Institute, Kuenhwa asked me which photo mode I used. I told him that I was quite comfortable with A (aperture-priority), S (shutter-priority), and P (program) modes, but most of the time I used P mode. He said, “You should use M (manual) mode.”

“I am not good enough to use M,” I said. Wei had said that I could take a photo with P mode to find out the aperture and shutter speed settings and then use those settings as a base to take next photo in M mode. But that was too much work and too little gain, I think.

“Use meter, it’s not that hard,” Kuenhwa said.

The only meter I knew was the external light meter, and since I had enough trouble with the camera, there was no way for me to consider using an external device, so I simply ignored his words. After Kuenhwa asking me a couple of times if I started using M mode, I finally said “What meter?”

He pointed at the meter on my camera screen. “There. You can start shooting with 0 setting, take a look at the photo, and then adjust the exposure.”

Ha ha… I had never noticed that meter. It only shows up in M mode and I had used M mode probably twice. In case some of you don’t know either, here is a photo of the meter.

After I learned how to use the meter, I liked M mode much better. Here is why: since most of the time, I do know what aperture or shutter speed I like to use (I know one of them, not both), by using M, I have an easier way to set the exposure as the way I want it to be. Hmm… let me give you an example. A lot of time, I know what aperture I want to use because I know the DOF (depth of the field) I like to achieve. In that case, using M mode makes it easier to set the shutter speed because all I have to do is rotating the shutter speed dial until the meter reads close to 0. (If I use A mode, I can’t control the shutter speed.) I hope this makes sense. ;-(

National Taiwan Craft Research & Development Institute has a lot of stone sculptures. The first photo I posted here, my favorite sculpture, was taken in M mode; the second one was Wei’s photo. Because of the location of the sculpture, there was no way to get the reflection from where I stood. I was glad that Wei got it in his photo. (This means I should walk around more. But to my defense, I was busy practicing M mode at that time.)

Of course when I only have limited time to take a shot, I will still use P 😉

Turning around one corner, I saw sun rays shining through tree leaves. I commented on how difficult it was to get the starburst effect. Wei told me all I had to remember was to use a small aperture. He was right!

I practiced this again later at home.

I saw other photographers taking photos at National Taiwan Craft Research & Development Institute, too. Apparently, it is a popular place for photographing.

So, before arriving Gaomei Wetland, I’ve learned (1) how to take photos in M mode (2) how to get starburst effect (3) do not stay at one spot and be satisfied. If Taking pictures is like stealing Oreo cookies, I felt I had stolen enough cookies by then. 😉

To keep this post short, I’ll stop here. 😉 Gaomei Wetland will be next.

Thanks for visiting my blog.


About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Weekly Little Thought. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to My Recent Taiwan Trip (photographing part 1) – 2017 Week 13

  1. loisajay says:

    I don’t have the same camera as you, but I want to look and see what I can do in Manual mode. Thanks, Helen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Lois. Since I published this post, I am more comfortable using manual mode now, but I’ve found out that I don’t really want to use manual mode all the time. For example, taking street photos, I would rather use some automatic modes. A lot of thinking to do 😉
      How are you? Have a wonderful evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. treerabold says:

    I really appreciate the information you shared about M mode. I’m just learning to use the manual modes on my camera and your tips are helpful.
    I’m also curious about the green onion pancakes…sounds delightful but I’ve never heard of them before. Wonderful post Helen!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Tree. Finding out what you wrote helps others is the biggest reward a blogger can get. Thank you so much.
      Before I was comfortable using M mode, I always felt that I probably had missed something. Now I am comfortable with M mode, I found out that I shouldn’t use M mode all the time. I guess that makes learning fun.
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the stone sculptures! The first shot especially! So beautiful and tranquil. Thank you also for explaining the benefits of the M mode – I’m still scared of it but think I should try it out now! Isn’t it awesome how much we can learn with each day? 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Miss Gentileschi. Like you, I was scared of M mode before. I think that meters really helps 😉
      I love learning. It’s my way of having fun. I wish I could remember all the things I have learned though… 😉
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cee Neuner says:

    I don’t use the M mode, either. Maybe you can help me understand it better. I like picking my aperture because I go for how clear I want something. And then I will play with ISO to get the shutter speed where I want it. My particular camera has a great ISO. So for darker places or longer lenses I will adjust with ISO.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lignum Draco says:

    Glad to hear you’re learning and improving your knowledge and technique. That makes photography more fun. Nice shots.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amy says:

    Oops, my comment didn’t show up here.
    I admire you using M mode, Helen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Amy. Only after I found out about that meter, I dare to try using M. But with all the post-processing capabilities, sometime, I wonder if it really necessary using M. I am not 100% sure.
      Have a wonderful evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Emilio Pasquale says:

    I still switch between M (manual) mode and A (aperture) mode. When I want the starburst effect or a short depth of field I use aperture priority. You’ll get used to it, Helen. It’s fun taking control! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. restlessjo says:

    I only have a Canon automatic (Digital Ixus 9515), Helen. It’s tiny but it takes beautiful photos. Aside from the Macro function I struggle to use any other features. I do like the sound of those green onion pancakes, though. Quite peckish at the moment. Happy Easter! 🙂 🙂 Lovely sculpture, by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Jo. For many years, I refused to have a “big” camera. My camera was as small as a deck of cards, and I just loved it. I don’t remember how this got changed 😉 But I do shoot a lot of photos with my phone. It’s so convenient.
      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Adhika Lie says:

    That first shot is so cool, Helen! Taiwan is treating you well! I am also happy to see that you are playing with the Manual mode. There is so much to learn. You can also adjust the shutter speed in Aperture priority mode or the aperture in the Shutter priority mode by dialing-in the exposure compensation button.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Adhika.
      Do you know something? Now that I have used manual mode for a while, I am more aware of all the settings — I used to do a lot of point ans shoot with my D750 😉 And I think it’s more fun now,
      Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know that 😉 Do you still post photo on instagram?


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