First Decent Shot With My D80

I just bought a Nikon D80. I’ve wanted a digital SLR for ages, and with the help of my good friend Jon I finally sucked it up and bought one. Now I just have to figure out how to use it. Which means that, for a while, I’m going to take a photo of everything I see.

Lesson here: autofocus doesn’t work very well on fires.

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  • Autofocus doesn’t work very well on anything. Manual focus rocks. So does Strobist.

  • Very nice shot. Now, if only we could get some new disk hooked up to put the photos on… :)

    Was that with the tripod of death with my old 28-85 (er, whatever it is)?


  • The only way to really learn is to get a decent camera bag and carry it everywhere you go.

    Don’t think twice about taking a shot. If you’ve thought twice, then you’ve probably missed the moment. Delete all the cruft when you get home.


  • Nice contrast in that shot. Do you have a flickr account?

  • Looks like the focus was dead on – you just got some nice blur in the fire due to the longer exposure.


  • Thanks guys. Matt, I do have a Flickr account but I don’t put very much stuff there (it’s just “plankers”). I’ve had my own installation of Gallery forever, but I’m seriously thinking about switching, though.

    Jared, I had to use the unsharp mask in Photoshop a little to sharpen it up. The focus was a little icky when you looked at the round holes in the grate.

  • The clarity of the metal and wood make a nice contrast with the upward movement of the fire.

    I’ve been thinking of moving away from Flickr and towards something like Gallery because I want ownership of my photos, to be able to manage my content now and not to wait while the Uploader chokes thanks to everyone in the queue. Don’t get me wrong, Flickr is very slick and convenient for $25 a year, but something about all of my photos labeled, tagged and organized on a space I don’t own bothers me.

  • Maitri, Bob> Have a look at Pixelpost [.org]

    If you don’t need a complete album-orientated gallery then PP is pretty slick and flexible. Much more so than Gallery.

    I run one myself at

  • I’m honored to have been present for the aforementioned “first decent shot”. Whee! And the shot is great. Good job.

  • That’s a great shot! The autofocus probably *did* work, but since it was pretty dark, the shutter was probably open for too long and then:

    1. The autofocus wasn’t focused specifically on the holes in the metal, and

    2. If you didn’t have a tripod and the shutter speed’s denominator was smaller than the focal length of the lens, it caught your hand jitter.

    I just recently learned that there’s a rule of thumb for this: you can safely shoot without a tripod (or support of some kind) as long as the denominator of the shutter speed is *greater* than the focal length of the lens. So if your lens is 125mm, your shutter speed needs to be 1/125 or faster (1/150, 1/200) to shoot without a tripod without risk of ‘jitter’.

    If you need to shoot in dark light and want a little faster shutter without losing light on a DSLR, consider up’ing the ISO. So, an ISO of 200 might require a shutter speed of 1/40, but you can take just about the same shot with an ISO of 800 and shutter speed of, say, 1/100. I’m throwing numbers around randomly here, and note that higher ISO means more graininess or ‘noise’ in the finished shot, I just wanted to share what I’d recently learned :-)

    I take pics of everything too. See my flickr site –>

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