Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 1- And so it begins.

For Mother's Day this year, my husband asked me what I wanted. I've owned a film SLR camera for years, and it saw much use while my son, Aiden was a baby, but I just hadn't been using it with my daughter, relying instead on my little digital point and shoot. Which is fine and dandy, but, I have always wanted to learn more about photography and learn how to take better pictures. So, thinking the camera is what makes the pictures better (haha!), I told my husband that I would like a new digital SLR. Granted, this was also going to be my birthday present (and probably every holiday for about a year or two!).

So, on the hunt I went for a new camera. I owned a Nikon N65, which had traveled with me to Europe and taken many a beautiful picture (though, I'm afraid I probably never did it justice. Perhaps once I improve, I'll have to go back and apply my newfound skill to film?), so I figured I would start off looking at Nikon's. The D5000 caught my eye, and so, after hunting around for the best deal, my new camera body came home. Yeah, body. I didn't buy a lens, thinking I could just use the one from my film SLR. Yeah, not so much. The D5000 doesn't have an auto focus motor in the camera, as my N65 did, so, if I wanted to use that lens, I was stuck doing so manually. Yech. So, off to research and hunt again... and came up with the idea that a 55-200mm f4/5.6 AF-S VR would be a great lens. Which, it is. But apparently, not for what I want to take pictures of, which is my kids! So, now I'm on the hunt for another lens, and once I save up enough fundage for one, I will be getting something with a wider aperture. Until then, however, I will continue to practice with my current lens.

Enough of the technical stuff...
After owning the camera for about a month or so, I decided it was finally time to get my feet wet in learning how to properly use the thing. Enter my favorite time-wasting pasttime, The Bump. I had taken my daughter, Lily, out earlier that day to take pictures near my daylily bed- thinking what better setting for a Lily, but with the lillies? And, I got some cute shots, but, felt they could be improved upon. So, I posted one of them on The Bump's photography forum, asking for some constructive criticism. First question asked of me was, are you shooting in manual? **ducks head in shame** No, I've never shot in manual and have no idea what I'd be doing. The lovely ladies of this board then helped me to see how my photo's were underexposed (not getting enough light) and how they could be improved upon. They also gave me a link to a tutorial which breaks down how to use a SLR camera in manual mode, eventually resulting in better pictures (I hope!). I did get a compliment that I appear to have a good eye for composition, which is a good thing, seeing as how that's a harder thing to "learn", I feel, than the technical stuff.

This is one of the pictures I took that day.

I personally love her expression, and think she's just adorable. But, I did see what the ladies were talking about. She seemed kind of, well, dark. So, since this picture had already been taken, I went ahead and edited it just a bit. Now, I know next to nothing about editing photos, have nothing but the basic editing tools that are on Microsoft Photo Gallery to edit with, but I think even with those limited resources, the results were impressive:

One of the websites suggested for learning about things such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO was a 12 week tutorial (here!), in which you could take one aspect of photography and learn it per week, practicing and applying what you'd learned and building upon it. Well, seeing as how (gulp!) we're only 7 weeks away from Back to School Night (waaah!!!), 12 weeks isn't going to cut it. So I'm taking it about two weeks at a time. The next day, I tried shooting in aperture priority and shutter speed priority modes (seperately) to see what happened when I changed settings. I tried taking pictures of my son picking blueberries. Yeah, that didn't work so well- I had been fiddling with the white balance on my camera the night prior after having read about it, and forgot to reset it- when you use the white balance that has been set for indoors, under florescent lighting, your child turns blue. You're welcome in advance. Unfortunately, even playing around with them in editing still left a blue cast on parts of the photo that I don't think can be fixed.

So, since blueberry picking pictures were a failure, I took pictures of my freshly made blueberry jam. Which, with a mix of incandescent and florescent lighting, was interesting. I set the custom white balance, and went to town with the shutter speed and ISO. The settings on this picture are f/4.8, SS 1/80sec, ISO 1000, without a flash. 

This is the best of the lot- it took about 20 pictures before I could get the lids to look the silver they truly are, and the red to be close to the actual shade it is, rather than orangy or some other funky sort of color. So, far from perfect, but certainly an improvement from how I would have shot this just two days prior!

My goal for this blog is to document both my family, and my (hopefully) growing skill as an amature, hobby photographer. I've always had a love for photography- perhaps I'll post some of my old "favorites" from my film SLR in a post someday, and eventually laugh about how pitiful they are in place of my newfound skillz. But hopefully, I'll still love them anyway.


Post a Comment

Copyright © 365, A-Z
Blogger Theme by BloggerThemes | Theme designed by Jakothan Sponsored by Internet Entrepreneur