Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Buh-Bye Point & Shoot

I finally did it. After a 5 year delay, I put away my old, trusty point & shoot camera (aka The Crutch), and decided to learn how to use my DSLR. Cold turkey. In manual; Pshht... none of that automatic stuff.  :)

It was a hard thing to do-- especially since I've grown rather attached to the point & shoot that I've been using for the past 7 years. But it was necessary. And by god... It was TIME!  So, with the help of the University of Google and this user-friendly book, I was able to figure out a few basic things. I won't attempt to explain things in detail because, trust me... you don't want that. But I did want to share some of the things I was able to do with my limited knowledge.

If there are any remotely professional photographers out there reading this, you probably want to look away at this point. :)  However, if there are any newbies like me that want to switch it out of automatic into the wild world of manual... Read on! If I can do it, anyone can. I won't say that my photos are magically perfect, but they are so much better than before.

ISO-- aka high ISO = more grain/noise. If you want a straight-up photo and are not going for artistic, try to keep ISO low (100-200). I don't have a great example, but there's one here. BTW, Click it Up a Notch is a great resource for photography novices like myself.

Aperture-- aka, make the subject sharp and the background blurry by using a lens with a large aperture (low f stop). To get a photo where everything is in focus, use a smaller aperture (high f stop). Here's a good layman's description of aperture.

not bad considering the lighting was not very good and i  had the ISO pretty high (800).
aperture: f/1.8

again... bad lighting. actually really bad lighting. i increased the f stop so that the entire bunny is in focus. I tried a lower f stop and the only thing in focus was his face. Could be sharper but.. meh, trial and error folks! 
aperture: f/5

Shutter Speed-- aka, capture fast moving creatures kids by increasing shutter speed. use slower shutter speed to capture movement... good example here.

these were all taken at 1/1000 shutter speed

I know it doesn't seem like much, and I'm not striving to be a professional photographer... But seriously? I'm just amazed and happy that I got the camera to work! 

Camera equipment is expensive and still foreign to me, so I'm thankful that my dad loaned me his zoom lens. It's so much better than the kit lens that came with the camera... or at least it seems that way to this newbie. I also bought a 50 mm f/1.8 lens (a mother's day present to myself), which I  used to photograph the "aperture" shots above. Since I usually shoot my blog project photos indoors, I figure it'll really come in handy. Evidently I need a tripod and probably another lens or two to be fully functional, but I feel so much better that I'm using this camera that was gifted to me so many years ago! It's ridiculous that this awesome tool was gathering dust in our closet.

Obviously I still have a lot to learn, but it's a START! I hope to shoot my next project with the "new" camera. Which, uh,  means, I need to start on my next project... whatever that may be. Wish me luck!