In the last paragraph of the introduction, the author comments that "For many readers, the material in this book will be brand new territory, while for others, the material may serve as an affirmation of what is already known (pg. 11)." I'm deciding that I clearly fall in the first category.
When I got the book and flipped through the pages, I felt all inspired by the pages of dazzling picutres! Heck yes this is what I want my pictures to look like!! But, like Ritsumei, I've come to feel some frustration as well. Sure, this guy is professional and has been doing this photography thing for nearly 30 years, but come on! This is a How-To book! I read the first chapter, what's the hold up?
Heh.. turns out that before I could really do the simple exercises outlined in Chapter 1, I needed to become better acquainted with my camera. So, I went back and re-reread the applicable parts of the manual. And, though I originally thought I might get through this book without taking notes, I've since decided that they might actually come in handy :) (my notebook is ever so much more handy a reference than always looking up the full manual online).
Happily, between the explanations from our book and the examples and commentary from the manual, I'm actually beginning to feel like I might be able to (eventually) master these manual settings! Hooray!
As it turns out, my camera doesn't seem to be capable of going completely manual in the way the exercise wants. I can play with the aperture, and I can play with the shutter speed, but I can't do both simultaneously. So, I set the aperture to F5.6 and the camera would automatically adjust the shutter speed to what worked. Since the ISO on the automatic setting was 100, I just left it there for all the pictures on this round.
Here is what the automatic setting does:
This one I adjusted the aperture to F5.6 and the shutter speed was 20.
While my camera doesn't allow me to tweak the shutter speed while I pick aperture settings, it does have an extra gizmo called "Exposure Compensation" that I can play with; the manual gives some hints as to what settings to use (EV). So, the adjusted picture was a little dark for my taste, so I adjusted the EV to +1 1/3 and this is what it looked like:
All this tweaking definitely does take longer, it may be some time before I use it to capture spontaneous things... but the hope is that eventually this knowledge will lodge itself in my brain well enough that I'll get quicker and know what the "right" exposure should be.
Still, in the meantime, this is way fun!