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Always Return Your Camera To Neutral After A Shoot!


Sometimes irony can be as cruel as a mean, stepmother’s heart! For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about blogging on the topic of setting the camera back to neutral after every shoot. So what do I do? Of course make exactly this mistake even though the topic is forefront in my noggin. My last photo shoot was an early sunrise, calm lake reflection affair. The photo below is an example from this shoot.

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To achieve this shot I am using long exposure, mirror up, 5 second delay, manual focus, and a neutral density filter. I also had my exposure composition all jacked up because I like to push my histogram as far to the right as I can. So after a beautiful morning of shooting I head to the car fat, dumb, and happy and leave my camera set for a long exposure type of shoot.

Fast forward a few days and I am in a high school gym using my camera to film my daughter’s band concert. I will give myself an out, because we live in a society where nobody is at fault. I will use the excuse that the only time I use the filming option on my camera is for my daughter’s concerts a few times a year. Totally not my fault right? Wrong! I am supposed to be a pro and should be a master of my camera. So I proceed to start filming and after a few minutes I begin to wonder why the young man’s LCD screen I can see a couple of rows in front of me is not similar to my LCD screen. Now I am a bit slow, but even I can figure out that something ain’t adding up. After the first piece I look at the front of the camera and realize my ND filter is still on my camera and a light bulb goes off! Crap! I am still set up for the early morning, lake reflection shoot!


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After every shoot, before the ass slapping and high fivin begins due to taking amazing clicks, set the camera back to neutral. A neutral setting may be different for everyone. Don’t use the setup for the photo below as your neutral setting. This is a long exposure shot with settings all over the place.

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My neutral setting is A (Aperture priority on a Nikon), S (Single shot on a Nikon), timer off, exposure compensation to neutral, white balance to cloudy, clear filter, auto focus on/vibration reduction off, auto focus points to the highest level, and ISO 200.

It has taken multiple cussing sessions over the years, but I have finally learned this very important lesson. I have set my camera to neutral for the last two photo shoots in a row! I am sure this issue will never rear it’s ugly head again! Ya right!


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