The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

When in doubt, read the manual

Camera settingsI got a new camera back in May --- a Nikon Coolpix L810.  I've been very happy with the video and supermacro features, but for day-to-day use, the pictures have been disappointing.  Sure, it's been a pretty gray year, but the colors in my photos always felt washed out.  And when I scaled them down to put up on the blog, they always ended up subtly blurry.

Mark suggested playing with the exposure compensation, since his Nikon generally requires that to be downgraded a notch or two to get good-quality photos.  Following his lead helped a bit (middle photo), but not enough, so I resorted to what should have been my first step --- reading the manual from cover to cover.

There, I discovered the white balance menu option.  On "auto", everything looks gray and "daylight" fares a little better.  But "cloudy" (even on a rare sunny afternoon) was the winner, making colors really glow (especially when paired with downgrading the exposure compensation a bit).  Success!

So, what about the blurry resized images?  There, the issue appears to have been choosing an option that compresses the files more --- the difference between 16M* and 16M.  Or possibly it helped that I turned off vibration reduction and motion detection (although you would think those would have helped, not hurt, the issue).

All of the specifics aside, the moral is clear.  Knowing how to use your tools nets big dividends.  I wonder what else I've been using wrong?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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