Saturday, August 4, 2012

New Camera

I am now the proud owner of a Canon EOS Digital SRL T3 camera. My little Olympus point-and-shoot takes very good pictures for what it is, and fits handily in a pocket or purse. It has its limits however. It is useless in low-light situations, and sometimes I'm frustrated by trying to photograph moving objects or landscapes.

Well now I have a camera that can do it all, but when I took it out of its box (it was a birthday present) I realized very quickly that I had a lot of learning to do. I could read the manual and the instruction book that Lee bought me, but the whys and wherefores of the many, many possible settings were beyond me. How did anyone ever learn to use one of these cameras? Was I too old to learn something this new and complicated? I felt a little discouraged, and a LOT intimidated!

This wildflower was waving in the wind. I was surprised and pleased at how  well the camera froze the flower's motion!

But I wasn't ready to give up yet. I decided to sign up for an Introduction to DSLR Cameras class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Ed. I've just finished the third class and I'm feeling a little better about this new piece of equipment I own. I understand a little about ISO, aperture and shutter speed, and I think with some practice my pictures will really improve. I have a new appreciation for things like depth of field and freezing and blurring of motion. But I think I'm at the point where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

A few leaves up here are starting to change, probably because its been a bit dry for New England. Notice the nice blurry background.

This is what I've learned:
ISO is sensitivity to light. If you are in a low-light situation, you can make the ISO higher to get better pictures without using the flash. If the ISO is higher, you can use a faster shutter speed, because if you use a slower shutter speed you might need to use a tripod, otherwise you might get camera shake and blur things you didn't want to blur.

You can also use a wider aperture, which is the opening through which your camera takes a picture. A wider aperture will also let in more light.

Then there is the matter of where you focus and the size of your lens. If you focus up close things in the background may be blurry. This may or may not be what you want. If you stand back farther even if you focus on something up close, the background will be less blurry. Or something like that...all these things interact and can change your pictures a lot. These new DSLR cameras are very smart and even in the various manual modes will show you what the best combination of ISO, shutter speed and aperture should be. Then you can stick with what the camera suggests, or modify it to change your photo.

The camera focused beautifully on the berries, but the leaf in the foreground caused a distracting green blur.

Now that the class is over, the challenge for me is going to be to continue to practice what I have learned. The camera takes great pictures in full automatic mode, and I know I'm going to be tempted sometimes to put it in auto and leave it there. But if I do that I might as well have bought a high-end point-and-shoot!

Notice how the Nill Westie sign is a bit blurry. I think I had the focus on the post instead of the sign!

The other day I took the camera with me when I took Harper for our daily walk along the lake. At this point I had taken two classes, and wanted to see what the camera would do. I am pleased with some of the pictures, but my mind's eye and the camera eye are still pretty far apart sometimes!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Lynn for the lovely pictures. You have a great eye. I remember the first photography course I took in college. It was quite a challenge.

    Aunt Ray



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