Light the A7RII on Fire & Put it in Water [IP 127]

What's in this episode:

  • Reader Question of the Week: When are the best times to shoot in Manual Mode?
  • Techniques for shooting water!
  • Jim's first impression of the A7RII coming from Sony.
  • Spinning wool & doing it safely. – See photos below!
  • Nick's 2016 Palouse Workshop & his Astrophotography Workshop Add-On to the IP Southern Utah/Northern Arizona workshop. – Visit Nick Page Photography for more exciting details!
  • Google Photos recently announced.  – Is it a good cloud-based storage option for serious hobbyist  & professional photographers?
  • Improve Photography is looking for product/gear & nature photography editors. – Shoot us an email at [email protected] if you think you are a good fit!

Darin Spinning Wool Orb Firestorm

Resources Mentioned:


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15 thoughts on “Light the A7RII on Fire & Put it in Water [IP 127]”

  1. Professional photographers use full manual when they are shooting for serious reasons (trying to get GOOD photographs) To do otherwise is to fail to take your job seriously.

    Admittedly I was taught in the old school… with film SLRs of the 80’s when the program modes were less sophisticated.

    I will use the program mode if I am shooting in what I call snapshot mode. That is when I am at a party of a friend or relative and not expecting to make “good” photos, just family memories for the fun of it.

    The way I see it, if you let the camera’s computer choose either the aperture or shutter, it is making some of the most important decision not you. I say that a good photograph is the result of a bunch of good decisions Starting with the film/iso, The shutter speed, aperture, lens/zoom, the position of the lens and most importantly very often the exact moment the photo is made. Giving any of that decision making process over to a computer runs the risk of making the photo unprofessional.

    I have wrestled with the philosophical point of view of using program modes and the fact that photos are the product of decisions the photographer makes. If the photographer uses a program mode… are the photos it produces a result of his decisions or the computers? I figure the best way is to maintain complete control over all choices of the shot.

    I suppose it is an issue that will go on being debated at least in the mind for years to come.

    I personally think more of a photographer that makes all the decisions for himself. It is the job of the photographer to be aware of all the settings and choose them, in my humble opinion.

    1. @Eddie – Thanks for your comment, but I disagree with a lot of it.

      Your statement “Professional photographers use full manual when they are shooting for serious reasons (trying to get GOOD photographs) To do otherwise is to fail to take your job seriously” is quite the overstatement.

      I’m a professional photographer and a large percentage of the photos in my portfolio and photos that I’ve sold to large corporations were taken in aperture priority mode. I know dozens and dozens of pro photographers that commonly shoot aperture priority. So are none of their photos GOOD, as you stated?

      1. I think this is all personal preference. I am a new photographer who has been at this whole world NON stop since jumping in. AND I MEAN non-stop. To the point of being mentally ill from it (in a good way). Anyway, I like to use manual mode already BUT I am trusting the camera’s light meter and that is exactly what the auto assist modes do – they don’t see anything we see – they are doing all of their work straight from the metering readings the camera is taking. I have noticed when out and not needing to get that super fast shot, I love manual. It is also a great way to learn. But for sports and quick movement in events where light is changing constantly, to fully discount Aperture priority mode is kinda silly. Yes, we often have to change up out exposure compensation but that is one very easy change to make. If, however, you want complete control like some people inherently must have, MANUAL is the way I guess! LOL! But what do I know??

  2. I gotta side with Nick and Darin here, I shoot full manual about 95% of the time, and auto-ISO if I’ve had a few beers. Lately, I’ve taken to using an app that lets me shoot manual on my phone too. This is probably because i have a mirrorless camera so i can see in real time how wrong my camera is getting the scene. I have a long history of automatic doors closing on me and automatic transmissions ruining my engine and getting poor mileage because they’re *literally always* in the wrong gear. Computers are fundamentally stupid and trusting them with decisions of any kind, let alone creative ones, just doesn’t seem like a great idea to me. When i shoot in a semi-auto mode, i feel like I’m constantly moving the metering point and twiddling with exposure-comp to trick my camera into doing what i want it to do. Going manual lets me skip that nonsense. Its also really helpful in lower light, if I have to conciously set my shutter to 1/15s, i get much less blurry results than when aperture priority does it without involving me. Its a boon for post-processing after events/concerts too, if most of the photos have the same dof and motion and they’re all normalized to the ambient light, you can start from the same place globally for highlights/shadows/contrast/colours, instead of all the photos of roughly the same scene having completely different looks at the outset. If someone made a camera with no jpg processing options cluttering up the settings menu and no automated exposure, I’d welcome the streamlining.

  3. Also .. awesome point about all of the Jpeg stuff in the menus.. I would say 60% of whats in our menu these days are picture styles, and settings that don’t effect us RAW shooters one bit. How nice would it be to have a camera that was full time manual.. get rid of all those other silly modes 🙂

  4. Again some interesting discussions on the podcast and forum. I would say that when shooting in semi-automatic mode,the selection of exposure mode, depending on the situation, is KEY to get it right. Maybe this could be discussed in a future episode?
    Also, it was said in the podcast that DSLRs with cropped sensor do not have auto ISO. This is incorrect, I have a Canon 60D and it does have this feature.

    1. @Jean-Marie,

      You are correct, auto-ISO is a feature on many DSLR camera bodies. What I (Jeff) was talking about was the ability to limit the upper range of the ISO to a reasonable value. If I can’t get the shot in ISO 3200 or below, it usually comes out so bad it isn’t usable anyway, so limiting how high the camera will automatically take the ISO is valuable and many of the less expensive DSLR bodies do not have that feature.

  5. Holly Molly! I can’t believe I heard Darin give 1000’s of listeners detail instructions on how to take steel wool, light it on fire and spin it around for a cool affect. And to top it off, the instructions included wearing cotton cloths because getting burned while wearing polyester is like getting burned while wearing a plastic bag. The only thing that was missing was to soak their cloths in gasoline. Could this tip be anymore irresponsible? With Jim being a lawyer, I can’t believe this was published in the podcast. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. I listen to several of the podcast every week and this has by far the dumbest thing I have every heard.

  6. I must say I love the PASSION that comes through my ear buds when I hear Jim talk about his disdain for grey cards and when he does not agree with someone such as Nick about ONLY using Manual Mode. LOL! You guys are great. I wish you somehow had a daily show. I’d pay for it without question!

    1. @BrianPex – Thanks Brian! Sometimes I have to hold back my passion 🙂 And about the daily show, we are publishing 5 episodes a week now with the shows on the network!

  7. Aubree Larsen

    I think the address to the survey was given incorrectly in the show. I did find it by clicking above.

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