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6/08/2009

Why I love my Digital Camera

You know, of course, if you've been reading here any length of time, that I've been taking pictures for a long time. Almost three years ago, SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed, for those of you who might ask) bought me a Canon 30D for my September birthday. At the time, it was the best 'Pro-sumer' Canon camera. There were (and ARE) the Professional caliber cameras, of course, but they were (and ARE) way beyond our budget. Anyway, it became immediately apparent to me that a) the resolution, at 8 megapixels, was better than film and b) this was the best camera I had EVER had in my hands. I have learned more about photography, since I've been using this camera, than I had ever learned in the previous 38 years of taking pictures. Pure and simple.

The problem with film is the disconnect between what you've just done in taking the picture, and what you get back from the 1 hour (because nobody uses the photo labs anymore). Unless, of course, you're one of those detail oriented types who takes rigorous and copious notes with every shot. And I'm not. Digital teaches me instantly - like film never did.

And one of the things I've learned is that I want to take pictures of what I see, as I see it. That means I want to shoot WITHOUT flash as much as I can. It doesn't make any difference whether I'm in a cave or shooting pictures of butterflies. I want to shoot naturally lit shots - so that my pictures are what I saw.

So, with all of that said, I want to show you what I mean. I have never taken pictures of flowers before - at least, not outside, live, and in their natural environment. So, I took this first shot. And, by the way, you can click on any of the following shots to see them larger.

Nothing memorable here.

Then I decided to try fill flash (ugh!)


It looks nicer, but not what I'm after. I realized that the really good flower shots I'd seen on other blogs were closer. CLOSER!!


Much better! And no flash. I see the flower in the picture as it looks in real life.
Then I tried it on another Clematis. (I learned that Clamidia and Clematis are NOT the same.) And I think I'm learning.



Okay, now that is nice - and for the truly fanatical - I punched it up a bit in GIMP - sort of the free PhotoShop.



And I may as well start boring you with vacation shots ... now. Please note - the expressions on these people, in the picture below, are the result of feigned disdain for the soon-to-be-experienced Rainforest Full of Butterflies. Or, at least, the little piece of rainforest captured at the Butterfly Palace. They did like it, though. A lot.





Ndinombethe.

22 comments:

Jientje said...

I can see you had fun with that camera of yours!! I hate flashing too, I always try to use the natural light as much as possible. The purple Clematis looks great, but I think I prefer the slightly softer look in the first version?

Your travel companions seem a very impatient and demanding lot, aren't they? I mean, they did not let you blog,and now they're making faces because you're trying to make pictures ....tsk tsk! What's with them huh? LOL!

Zoeyjane said...

See, now my point and click? Takes HORRIBLE non-flash photos. They're always blurry and too dark, regardless of the lighting. I'm just going to have to get a pro camera, I guess. ;)

NicoleB said...

Grin - sometimes flowers drive me nuts.
And depending on the lens you have to crop so much to see a close up. I want a macro lens :)!

I like the popping colours in the last one, but did you maybe boost the contrast a tad too much?

Do you shoot RAW or jpeg?

Shadow said...

CLOSER is always better. with many many different things *wink*

moneythoughts said...

Thanks for sharing your photos. It is always interesting to see through another's eyes.

Patsy said...

I'm learning just reading what you have to say. Lovely shots of the flowers, but of course I'm all about the people. Love the familia posing for this one --- cute group.

Kim said...

I will do whatever I can do to shoot without my flash..if that means shooting at a 3200 ISO.. I will.. :)

I really need a macro lens.. I love the extremely close shots.. the family shot is just great.. expressions and all..

Cathy said...

i have a crappy camera, so i sort of make up for it with photo editing software--i crop my photos all the time.

Emily/Randomability said...

I am lusting for a better camera. I have a Nikkon point & shoot that I need to learn to use better.

Ree said...

I try to keep my flash off, too.

You did really well with those flower shots. I can't wait to see butterflies.

That Bread Lady said...

Hi LouCeeL! Nice photos and photo lessons. I can't afford a "professional" camera either, but I'm really amazed at the capabilities of the new inexpensive digitals. Now I take loads of shots, view them instantly, edit or re-shoot as needed, all without the expensive of film and prints. It's a wonderful time we live in!

Loraine said...

I'm still learning,too- never took a photography class but people seem to like what I do.

Tip: One thing that has really helped me is figuring out the White Balance- when the lighting sucks and you have to take a picture anyway, it's very useful. Can be a complete pain to figure out at first but there are articles and such that can be helpful.

I don't have photoshop and I haven't tried gimp... I'll check it out.

Employee No. 3699 said...

Of course you know Paul would totally agree with you about the difference between 35mm and digital. Me? I'm still learning...at...my...own...snail...pace.

Looking forward to more pictures from your vacation!

Joyce-Anne said...

Argh! Blogger ate my comment. In a nutshell, I once read an article written by a children's photographer. She said to get good shots, first: get close to your child/baby and then get CLOSER. I guess the same is true for other subject matter too.

Honeybell said...

I love my digital for that very reason. I can experiment all I want with instant (and free!) results.

That last pic is hilarious!

Momisodes said...

There really is nothing better than natural light. I don't have quite as fancy a camera, but I always find that the best photos are taken without flash and using plain sunlight :)

Love the group shot! Priceless.

Maggie's Mind said...

Beautiful shots! I've been using the same strategies of getting the shot I want without flash and playing with the macro settings. Love the results all around.

tiff said...

They are beautiful Lou. I love the purple flower. So gorgeous. Welcome home, by the way.

LceeL said...

Jientje: They had no idea what they were in for.

Zoeyjane: Some cameras will let you do more things than others - but any camera is better than no camera at all.

NicoleB: I have no macro lens - and those shots are as they came form the camera - except the last one - which I punched up in GIMP. I shoot RAW plus JPEG with each shot. I get TWO files.

Shadow: Oh, my. you are SO right.

Moneythoughts: No - thank YOU for looking.

Patsy: Yeah, they are cute, aren't they?

Kim: I have NO macro lens. Maybe someday. For n ow - I'll just get as close as the lens will allow.

Cathy: Inside EVERY 'crappy' snapshot photograph, is a better one. And cropping is how you find it.

Emily: It isn't always the camera - mostly - it's the eye behind the camera.

Ree: Soon, Ree. Very soon. And I'm glad you like the flowers.

That Bread Lady: It is that, ma'am.

Loraine: I need to learn white balance better, as well. And GIMP is great. Really.

Employee: They're coming, soon.

Joyce-Anne: Closer is better.

Honeybell: Thank you, ma'am.

Momisodes: Yeah - the group shot is a keeper.

Maggie's Mind: Thank you, Maggie.

Tiff: Thank you, ma;am. It's nice to be home. And I'm learning.

NicoleB said...

Question is, do you edit them in RAW format? Best with the software that came with your cam (if Canon does that).

M+B said...

I am glad you finally know the difference between chlamydia and clematis as that could have been an embarrassing mistake oneday!

I love the *shopped* purple clematis.

Hyphen Mama said...

Great pictures. I love the last one.