Calling on my photog friends

Hi, remember me, who was going to post a photo a day in June in an attempt to force herself to learn to use the fabulous piece of metal she forked over big bucks for?

Yea, so, that failed.  Big surprise.

As I was thinking about why I have this unwillingness to haul out my camera every day, a few clear needs emerged.

I don’t know how to focus the darned thing. Last year when I started using a DSLR, I had a Nikon D40: three focus points.  With a few weeks of practice I got pretty good at using those three focus points although it felt awkward.  I moved to a Canon XS (five or six focus points) and stopped paying attention.  Now I’m back on a Nikon D90 with a billion focus points and super-spiffy options for auto-focusing when something is or isn’t moving, but I find myself hitting the shutter button halfway over and over trying to get the focus point I want.  ARGH.

Solution: Will any of you experienced photog-ish people volunteer to do a Q&A session with me on focusing? You start by emailing me your response to the paragraph above, I’ll respond with follow-up questions and clarifications, and when we’re done, I’ll post it here for everyone else!  {Alternate plan: respond in the comments… but then I don’t get to ask clarifying questions and people have to dig through comments.  But hey, still a great option!}  In my perfect world, we’d then come up with a few assignments for me (and anyone else who wants to join).

I don’t know how to show you what my eyes see. “Ooh, neat!” I’d think, then whip out my camera to snap a pic.  That’s what I got: a snapped pic.  With further awareness I’m realizing that my eyes are zooming (so to speak) into a detail or out to a wider view.  Now I need to learn how to shoot a photo in such a way that it’s clear to you what I was zooming in on.

Solution: Practice. Once the first challenge is addressed, I’ll move on to this one.

I lack the hard drive space to store all the photos I’m taking. I work primarily on my (*cough* work) laptop with it’s (relatively) tiny 40 GB hard drive. {Side note: remember when 1 GB was a lot? My first work computer had 512 MB and I was thrilled!}  I should move the stuff I’m ready to archive onto the home computer, but my expensive freaking external hard drive isn’t working/ hasn’t ever worked/ makes me want to throw it against a wall.

Solution: Contact technical support about the stupid hard drive (done).  Delete RAW pics if I’ve already converted a copy to JPG or PNG (done). Use a card or jump drive to move archive pictures to home pc (not done).


4 thoughts on “Calling on my photog friends

  1. So I read a lot of blogs and it seems that someone was selling they’re old DSLR and I think maybe it was you, if it was and its still available, I’d love to hear more about it, if it wasn’t I’m sorry I’m confused. =0)

    • @Sunny, Hi, Sunny, that was me — but I sold it that same weekend. Are you wanting to hear more about it anyway, or were you just thinking it might still be for sale?

      • @Marisa,

        Actually, I’d love to hear more about it because I would like to get a DSLR and I don’t know where to start, there are so many options out there! I’ve just got a point and shoot and don’t know a whole lot about the various cameras out there. If you wouldn’t care to tell me what you liked/disliked about it that would be great.

      • @Sunny, Certainly! (Although my camera choices — and opinions about them — are somewhat arbitrary. I also KNOW that it’s not the camera that makes the photograph, it’s the picture – and yet I still opted to trade cameras.)

        Nikon D40 – great reviews, simple to use, three focus points aren’t ultimately as limiting as one might thing. The auto-focus motor isn’t on the camera, so you have to buy lenses with the AF motor on them which might limit your choices if you’re trying to find cheap lenses. That said, with a prime lens and a decent zoom, you’d probably be set with lenses for a while anyway. I don’t think they sell them anymore so you’d have to look for one secondhand.

        Canon XS – I had this one for a year and took some great pics, but I moved to Nikon because I thought the colors were richer SOOC (I suspect with some tweaking and/ or more practice I’d have been happy with my Canon). The kit lens is eh, but I loved my (cheap!) 50mm prime lens. Loved. In my perfect world I’d have a whole slew of primes. This camera also lacks on on-camera AF motor – but even my cheap prime had an AF motor in it, so was never a big deal. Nice and lightweight (relatively) and Canon has fabulous customer service. Also, it was (relatively) inexpensive.

        Then I went looking for a better zoom lens, and marketing got the better of me. Well, not marketing, but the “as long as” syndrome. “As long as I’m spending $500 on a lens, should I consider a new body?” “As long as I’m considering a new body, should I consider a new system? ie: Nikon”

        Equivalent Nikon to the Canon XS is D3000, but for just a few hundred dollars more you can get the D5000 – and it has a spiffy wiffy swivel screen! Although at that price point, for a few hundred more you can get a D90 with a bigger sensor (same as the D30 that some pros use) and a better kit lens.

        There’s a review of my D90 out here on my blog. I love it – but it’s bigger than my others and FAR beyond my abilities at this point (and probably ever). Plus I wouldn’t spend $1000+ on my first DSLR (although Penny did, now that I think about it – maybe that’s smarter?).

        For my first I’d read reviews, try a few in the stores, and buy something secondhand. People say you should hold them so you’ll know which one “feels better” in your hands, but when you’re new to something, everything feels awkward so how do you know what “right” is? And I’d keep all of the paraphernalia (box, bags, manuals) so if you decide later to upgrade or switch, you can sell yours.

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