Photography Adventures.....Playing with Shutter Speed and Macro

Santa, (Thank you Joe:-),  gave me a beautiful new camera for Christmas.  It is a SLR Nikon D3200.  I am so excited to jump in and get started on my new camera adventure.  I thought I would start with a Meetup Workshop I saw listed on the meetup site.  The Meetup group is called Photography Lessons. The workshop I signed up for was called "I Just Got a New Camera for Christmas, Now What?" Sounded perfect for me!
Several folks met up at Starbucks in Raleigh for this class.  Our instructor, Jim, did a great job teaching us some of the basics.  I learned a bunch but also learned that I have a lot to learn.  He also told us practice, practice.  
I got up this morning ready to go.  I felt that today was a macro day...Here goes....
........My first try was using the Macro Mode on the camera.  It does all the work for you....
Automatic Macro Mode
(ISO 400, 46mm, f8, Shutter Speed 1/60)

Then I read an article in my new favorite magazine..."Photography For Beginners Volume #17. This brief article was on taking photos of insects using macro photography. After reading the article and attending the class I decided to manual a try.  
In the article they suggested using a tripod. I don't have one yet...someday:-) They said you need to freeze the motion with a shutter speed of 1/150, of course I am taking a picture of a flower not a bug. Use all available lighting and be careful not to cast a shadow.  (I tried to figure out on my camera how to force a flash and was reminded I have so much to learn.  Did not figure that out.)  Use a wide aperture or low f#.  They suggested starting at f4.  My camera would only let me go to f/5.3.  I don't know if that is due to the lens or the camera....see....more to learn!....
Headed to the backyard and here is what I captured and the settings I used....

I started out as close to the suggested settings as possible
ISO 100, f/5.3, shutter speed 1/160
Way too dark.  I did not have any notes with me and I remembered from my 
meetup class yesterday that decreasing the shutter speed lets more light in so I began to 
adjust my shutter speed settings.....

Shutter speed 1/100
A bit brighter but still not enough...

Shutter Speed 1/50

Getting better with Shutter Speed of 1/25

Shutter Speed 1/15
Shutter Speed is 1/10
This one is my favorite of the manual shots
So what did I learn?  I learned that I could manipulate the amount of light that is available to me by adjusting the shutter speed.  I learned that I can do more in the manual mode but that it will take patience and practice.  I think it will be fun.
What were my favorite pictures?  I liked the automatic macro mode but there were shadows.  If I could have figured out how to use my flash  I think that would have improved the shot.  I liked the manual mode shot because there were no shadows and it was fairly sharp.
I am entering a monthly contest in the Photography For Beginners Magazine. This month the challenge is "the little things, a focus on detail". Sounds like macro to me. I can enter 3 shots.  I think I will enter one of the two flowers that I like.  Not sure which on yet.  Any thoughts?
Get out and take some pictures.
Enjoy Your World:-)


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