Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am the Decider

So, it is done... I have purchased a new DSLR camera.  I got the Nikon D90, and I am really very happy with it.  I have already taken several hundreds of photos with it and I am still learning how to use it. While the percentage of really high quality photos that I have taken with it is quite low so far, I know that this is my fault rather than the camera's fault.  I see the potential of this camera and I am excited to get those percentages of winners up! I suspect (and hope) that I will continue on the learning curve for some time to come.

Here is a photo taken with the new camera.  I hope you like...

Monday, July 18, 2011

This vs. That (part 2)

Today's photo: Ladybug and chain.  I have mixed feelings about this one - I really, really like the simple composition, but there are a couple of things that I would tweak.  But, the lady bug has moved on so I guess that I should too...

The question I left off with last time was: Canon or Nikon – which DSLR camera should I buy?  There are, of course, other brands of cameras, but I narrowed it down to these two largely because of the availability of these cameras and shops to service them in my region.  As with any decision, there are pros and cons to each option and consequences regardless of which I pick.  With the seemingly decreasing quality of the photos produced by the point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot over the last year (or perhaps my more discerning eye and /or demands on the camera), it became more and more clear that if I was going to continue with the kind of photography that I enjoy I would need to get a DSLR.  I love the Canon 35mm camera that I had used for years, and the couple of lenses that I have should fit the DSLR cameras.  Being able to use those lenses and not buy new ones would be a major advantage.  That was a big plus for Canons. I was strongly leaning toward the T2i after looking at the specs and reading the reviews, but I looked at the demo T3i.  I really liked it.  However, my aunt has never been able to use the lenses from her 35mm Canon SLR on her newer DSLR… a distinct negative.   I am NOT going to drop this kind of money on a camera that I am not sure will work, do what I want it to do, and accommodate my growth as I (hopefully) get better and more skilled at photography.  That same day I looked at the T3i, I also looked at the Nikon D3000.  It was less expensive, and produced good quality images.  But I wasn’t convinced it was what I wanted, nor did it “feel right” in my hands.  Not sure why, but it didn’t.  So I went back to scouring the reviews and the specs on various models of each brand.  I returned to the shop on another day, with the lenses in-hand to test them on the T3i to make sure they were compatible… but they were sold out of them at the store.  Consequently, I tried the Nikon D90 and loved the way it felt and the pictures it took.  Loved it.  Back to reviewing the specs, reviews, prices, etc.  I came to the conclusion that they are both (T3i and D90) quality cameras and that I was going to like either one.  This was supported by the fact that while I was there at the shop, an older married couple came in and the person that was helping me told me that they used different cameras – one was a die-hard Nikon fan and the other was a Canon person to the core.  They both loved their cameras, and good-naturedly teased each other about which was better.  Their overall message – buy what you like.  After obsessing over which to choose, I decided on the Nikon D90.  When I went to the store to buy it, they didn’t have any left.  Ughhhhh!!!!  So now I am waiting to see what comes in.  They called me today to say that some cameras came in, so maybe I will have something… anything… tomorrow.  I will keep you updated.

Monday, July 11, 2011

This vs. That

Today's photo, entitled Internalization,  is of a building in the city of Utica, NY.

The classic question - what camera should I buy?  I have been pondering this one, and waffling back and forth between a couple of choices.

I have been interested in photography for a quite some time - long enough to be measured in decades - and so I of course learned using film.  The first camera that I remember as being mine was a Polaroid.  It was great.  You put in these big cartridges (I also vaguely remember linear flash bulbs but that could have been another camera) and took the shot, and you could have the photo within minutes!  For a kid, that was much more satisfying than taking film in to the store be developed, which took several days at the very least.  However, it must be said that going to the store to pick them up was always fun.  I distinctly remember going with my mom to two different camera stores to pick up the developed photos.  I liked seeing the photos and I also liked looking around at the different camera equipment... dinosaurs by today's standards.  There were stands and lights and cameras and lenses and chemicals and paper and ever-so-much-more.

Flash forward a few years and I remember receiving my grandfather's Pentax Spotmatic 35mm SLR with a few lenses.  I still have it.  It changed the way I thought about photography because I needed to think about how to take the picture... not just fire away.  I came to learn about film ISO,and slide film versus negatives. I learned about F-stops and shutter speeds, and came to understand light and depth-of-field.  Jump ahead a few more years, and my aunt gave me her Canon EOS Elan II along with a few lenses.  I still have that, too.  That camera took me from the world of fully manual into the world of auto focus.  The camera automatically did many of the things that were essential using the Pentax.  Both of them were (and still are) wonderful cameras.

Then things changed.  My life got busier and I stopped taking pictures as often as I had before.  And cameras went digital.  Of course, many people (or, at least, I assume many people) have discussed how digital cameras changed photography.  For me, it did two things.  First, it was discouraging from my point of view because 1) film certainly resulted in better image quality than the early digital cameras, and 2) there was no way I could afford a digital camera.  They were astronomically expensive.  The second thing it did to me, once I was able to use digital cameras during graduate school, was make me photographically lazy.  I could point-and-shoot away at will without having to think about much about how to set up the camera, and there were few consequences to taking bad photos or experimenting with shots that just shouldn't (and didn't) work.  But, without the costs of film and printing, who cares?  Don't like it - delete it.

A few years ago, my interests in photography were renewed (the subject of some future post). The family received a point-and shoot digital camera (Canon PowerShot A590) as a gift (largely to document a vacation), and I started getting more serious about taking good pictures again.  I still am generally lazy and/or try taking crazy photos that the camera just doesn't have the capability to do and I have no business trying, but I try anyway.  This has also been a great camera and I have taken many, many  thousands of pictures with it.  But, the quality of the images is not quite what it used to be; I don't think the camera ever fully recovered from a trip to an oppressively hot and humid location a year ago.  Water / humidity and electronics just don't play well together.  Additionally, I feel like I have 'run out of camera' in the sense that I am trying to push the camera beyond what it is able to do.  So, now it is time for a new camera; a DSLR.  So, again I ask myself, what camera should I buy?  The main contenders: Canon vs. Nikon.
More on that next time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011



Welcome to my first blog post, and thanks for checking it out.  My plan, such as it is, for this blog is to discuss the various aspects of my adventures in photography.  I will talk about what I am up to, post some recent photos for you to examine, ramble on about my development (or not) as a photographer, list and discuss some art events, and outwardly ponder what is or is not working for me in my quixotic photographic quests.

I have been told by the powers-that-be (i.e. my relatives, mostly) that I should have a website, and I have been thinking about doing this for a while now.  These factors, combined with recent events of the last year or so, both photo-related and non-photo-related, have trigger me to actually do it.  Why not?  So, here it is.

In my next post, the first issue I will discuss will be my pursuit of a new camera... that seems like a good place to start.

And since I am posting photos...

Kinked Tree