I have been blogging for about 2 1/2 years now. In that time I have taken quite a lot of photos to use in my posts and have used a point and shoot camera up until about a month ago.
But as I have learned more about photography, I knew I wanted to upgrade and get a DSLR someday. If you look closely at the black camera you can tell I am a DIY blogger – telltale paint smudges.
My Nikon point and shoot took awesome shots and I was very happy with it, but it was pretty beat up. The battery door was duct taped on and I eventually made an angle iron and an old tripod screw into a way to keep it closed. It also got very hot and overheated. The real reason for getting a new one was that the LCD screen was only 1-inch square. I could not see if I got the shot or not until I put the photos into my computer.
I started to do a lot of research into cameras and asked many, many questions. I decided not to buy a DSLR as I wanted to wait to get the best I could afford, so I bought a Canon point and shoot and happily used it over the last year. It had a big 3” LCD screen so I could see instantly if the photo came out.
Over the last year whenever I saw a photo on a blog that I thought was great – vivid and clear, I asked the blogger what kind of camera they used and what lens. I kept a list – Canon vs. Nikon. After awhile I saw that the Canon side was winning – by a lot.
I know a good camera helps capture a great photo, but either brand was going to be good as it is truly the person behind the lens that makes the shot what it is. I also learned that good photography is also about the lens. I never quite understood why you would need so many different lenses, but now I do. I like photos that have the subject in focus and the background is blurry. You need a lens that has a range that goes down to a low number like 1.8 or 2.0. Most entry level DSLR cameras sold come with a kit lens that only goes down to 3.5 – 5.6. To get the blurry background you need the aperture to have a large opening – low number.
After researching and studying for the past year along with some financial assistance from my Dad, I finally made my choice last month and off I went to my local camera store. I picked out a Canon 60D. The guy at the camera store explained every camera to me and all the features. For the money I had the 60 D was going to be it. I bought it with the 18-135 mm kit lens, but also bought the very affordable 1.8 50mm lens for $150. This is the lens I am loving, but I am enjoying using both lenses.
Hopefully with practice and continued learning, I will be able to take a photo as well as Amanda Green Bottoms over at Kevin & Amanda.com does. I love this photo. It is so clear – as if you could reach your hand right into the photo to take a bite out of the cake.
All of Amanda’s photography is wonderful. Her camera is a Canon 7D. I have learned so much from her tutorial posts and was so excited when I got to meet her at the Blissdom Conference. I wanted to chat with her all day, but only got about 10 minutes.
If you are interested in learning more about photography and DSLR’s her post entitled: Photography Tutorial: A Quick Guide to Understanding Your DSLR Camera is a good place to start.
Another great resource where I have learned a lot about photography is from Heather Bullard. Her blog was the first blog I ever landed on and is what made me want to start blogging in the first place.
Her images are just beautiful. Her subjects, lighting, composition – everything. She doesn’t have tutorials on her site, but I have learned quite a bit just by studying her photos. They are so inspiring. She uses a Nikon D700.
Photo: Heather Bullard
I understood the “photography trio” to taking a great photo: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO separately, but putting them together is where things got a little fuzzy for me. I practiced and practiced, but was still having trouble – some shots would come out, others not so much. It was pure luck if I got a good shot.
FYI – using a DSLR does not guarantee good photos. If you think that as soon as you take it out of the box you are going to create beautiful shots –not going to happen unless you are a good photographer to begin with. The difference I did notice immediately though, was I could take a photo in a dim room and it looked like a bright sunny day, if I opened up the aperture. I could never have done that with my point and shoot without the photo looking grainy and fuzzy.
What made the “photography trio” – Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed equation click for me was after I took the Photography 101 course offered at the new Photography site Shoot Fly Shoot by Kevin Palmer and Josh Moates. They have a series of videos that visually explain everything you need to know on how to use your camera on the manual setting.
Since I am a visual learner, I figured this course would help me. I signed up the first day the site went live last week and went through all the videos. The video on metering was where I reached my Ahhh…ha moment. WOW! I get it now. No other blog or tutorial explained this part using so much visual detail – I was so excited – click click click – OMG! I got it. Josh and Kevin are so easy going and you feel like they are speaking to you alone. I cannot tell you how much this course helped me. They use Canon cameras, but in the course they show both Canon and Nikon cameras.
Now I have to put all my knowledge into play and practice, practice, and practice some more.
I like the way the shot of the top of my desk came out – with the blurry background. That is a first for me with a 50mm lens. Still need lots of practice, but hopefully if I keep taking photos and learning I will be able to take photos like – Amanda, Heather, Kevin, and Josh and all the other bloggers who take beautiful photos.
I was in Vermont over the weekend and did try out my newly learned skills and was pretty happy at how they turned out. Even while I was in a moving car I got a few decent shots of a frozen section of Lake Champlain.
See those black dots on the iced-over lake?
I zoomed in and those dots are ice fisherman! ARE THEY CRAZY? It was a nice sunny day in Vermont and the ice was melted on other parts of the lake. It must be very deep here, which is even more scary.
Passed this place – love the name, but didn’t have time to stop. Looks like it would be a fun place to browse and perhaps find an inexpensive treasure.
After toting my camera around all weekend, I realized I needed a better way to keep the camera close, but hands free. The strap that came with the camera was too short over my bulky coat. I went searching and found this one recommended by Amanda at KevinandAmanda.com. It is a Black Rapid Camera Sling. It has an extra long strap that has a screw on the end that gets screwed into the bottom of the camera where the tripod connects. I think I may be sporting one soon.