Learning to Get Off Auto

Forest Falls
Getting off “Auto”

I have always used cameras that are set to “Auto” or those without the ability to make setting adjustments. Although some of my “Auto” pictures look great to me, I decided it was time I learned to get the most from my digital camera and use the numerous available settings on a dSLR. So this weekend I drove to a beautiful little waterfall at Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains to try out some different settings on my camera. It was the first time I had tried making changes to the shutter speed and aperture settings. After taking over one hundred shots, I downloaded the pictures and saw how difficult it really is to capture a beautiful image. I knew that if I really wanted to get off “Auto” I was going to need some help. I decided to sign up for the online photography course offered by Nomadic Matt on his website. The price is very reasonable and I think it will be a good start for me. I also found a great step-by-step book titled “The Beginner’s Photography Guide” written by Chris Gatcum. I am currently using a Nikon D3300 that came with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses but have ordered a Tamron 16-300mm lens that will replace these making it easier by not requiring lens changes. My goal someday is to be able to capture star trails using techniques in night photography. I will continue to use my GoPro and IPhone for taking pictures, but am excited to learn a new way to bring life to the joy of my outdoor escapes!

Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, Looking at Zambia side from ZimbabweWhen I found out my trip to South Africa would include a quick stop at Victoria Falls, I started looking for an adventure to do there. Of course I knew I would be seeing the largest flowing waterfall in the world but I wanted to do something in addition to seeing the falls. There are many excursions available around the falls including a swing zip line, bungee jumping, and whitewater rafting. Devil’s Pool caught my eye as many others on social media had listed it on their Bucket List. We made arrangements for the tour before departing on our trip so everything was set in place for the adventure of a lifetime when we arrived at Victoria Falls. We stayed on the Zimbabwe side of the falls so in the morning we took a short drive over the bridge to Zambia and the Royal Livingstone Hotel, where our tour departed from. The tour was limited to six people with three guides. We took a speed boat across the Zambezi River to Livingstone Island where the naturally formed pool sits at the edge of the waterfall. Our guides used our cameras to take pictures of us lying on our stomachs looking over the falls after we swam around in the pool. It was an amazing site! After our swim we were treated to a delicious brunch, beautifully seated right by the falls. Some things to keep in mind about Devil’s Pool is that it is only available to visit while the Zambezi river is low, usually around September to December. You will need a visa for both countries if you plan on viewing the falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Our tour was set up for us by Wenhau Safaris. Included was transportation to the Royal Livingstone Hotel and Devil’s Pool, an hour in the pool, brunch, towels, and great tour guides. Try to book this in advance because of the limited people allowed in Devil’s Pool each day.


Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe side