Jul 04 2013

Happy 4th of July

Today I spent most of the day learning about my new canon camera. It was fun meeting new people, taking 370 pictures and trying to understand what all the setting are on the camera.

I find the hole subject of photography just fascinating. I used to take LOTS of pictures when I first joined the navy (in my teens). It was a time when 35mm film cameras and slides were the big thing. A fun weekend night was to gather a group of friends, drink till you were crazy, listen to Pink Floyd and watch slide shows of ones travels. Now we call it a Power Point presentation, use the Apple iTV to view the pictures on the big screen or just share your life on FaceBook. Probably healthier than what I remember doing

Over time, true 35 mm film cameras went out of vogue and were replaced by canister camera, disk cameras, 1.2 mp digital cameras eventually good quality “Point and Shoot” digital cameras and the iPhone 4S. I have always felt the picture output of these cameras was ok but have never really been pleased with the photos. I missed the ability to see through the lens, adjust aperture, focus, speed of film and just being creative.

That brings us to the affordable DSLR (digital single lens reflex cameras) of today. The technology has radically changed and sensors, lenses an processors can now give the same experience as film cameras of the past.

Frank (my aerial photographer friend) reawakened an interest in photography. In the world of iPhones and cheap cameras, I sort of lost focus on real photography. Mainly I was documenting events in my life… just taking pictures.
A snapshot in time. After spending time shooting with Franks equipment I also knew I needed something more capable than my cell phone and point and shoot camera if I really wanted to get into this hobby again.

Photography It is much harder than one would think. As started I studying the subject I found I starting to develop an eye for great photos and it is easier to see why some work and others don’t. Some of the great photographers are really amazing at conveying an idea, an image, a look which is inspiring. I have come to the realization:

  1. The optics of the lens, the type of sensors and processors of the cameras, lighting and flash is surprisingly technical. The choices in equipment, camera manufacturers and suppliers is boggling. Lots of research needs to be done to make a informed choice before buying.
  2. Operation of the equipment is highly technical. I have 2 DVD’s a number of books just to learn how to use the features of this Canon camera. It is not easy to master, but worth the time.
  3. Learning how to post edit the photo in different software packages.
  4. Just learning how to focus has been a challenge. This camera is crazy good at focusing, but the key to a good photograph is managing the camera so it focuses on what you want.
  5. Determining out what area of photography you WANT to be good at. So many areas to specialize in: portraits, sports, wild life, night, stars, weddings, groups shots, flash photograph, studio photography, pets, etc. The list goes on and on. Each interest requires a different skill, different equipment, different lenses and knowledge of the subject to take a good photograph.
  6. Framing/positioning subjects alone is an art. Sometimes it is chance which makes a great photo, sometime is just dumb luck. Mainly it takes the skilled eye of the photographer to bring out the best of a subject.

My first attempt was buying a Sony NEX7 from amazon and subsequently returning it. It had amazing color but the focusing and clarity just didn’t seem to be spot on for me. I would say at least 50% of my shots were clear, but not sharp! I had been spoiled by the clarity of my old Minolta 35mm film camera.

After some further research I found the Canon 7D. It had fantastic specifications/focusing/clarity review and it was the model I was seriously looking. My only reservation was the weight (it is heavy). When Frank found one on Craig’s list (a very good deal) I made a lowball offer and it was accepted! Such a deal, I couldn’t refuse!. Boy, I am glad I returned the Sony. The clarity and focusing ability of the 7D is phenomenal. It did a lot of test shots, and the Canon blows the Sony out of the water. Besides, it looks like a serious camera and subjects are more likely to agree to getting their picture taken if you look like know what you are doing ( a real stretch in my case).

I decided the first area I want to focus on is people. Portraits, kids, weddings, events, that sort of thing. It is my experience that not many people have really good pictures of themselves. Most cameras just don’t have the right size sensor or lens to really take a great photograph. I enjoy meeting people, talking them into taking their picture, and sending them the results. I give them a treasure they can share and keep, and they give me a good memory and lots of practice.

Today, it was off to White Point Gardens (the Charleston Battery) to learn how to make the best use of my new len.

Father and daughter

Medical student and girlfriend visiting CHS from Alabama for the 4th

Just having fun.

I ended up going to Isle of Palms on the beach to take shots of fireworks due to the absence of city lights. Normally, I don’t have much interest in fireworks, but now I have a reason to enjoy the experience.

These shots used a tripod, ES-50mm f1.4 lens using the self timer as my wired camera shutter release hasn’t arrived from Amazon yet. Still a lot to learn about preparation and staging. I forgot my flashlight and lost lens cap. I also need a wider angle lens.

Most were shot at ISO 100, f5 for 10-30 seconds. The longer the shutter is open, the more of the ground becomes visible due to the bursts of the shells.

What I like is the reflection off the water, and how the sand takes on the color of the fireworks burst.





This is my favorite!

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment