Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Your Camera is not Exercise Equipment

What does exercise equipment such as a treadmill have to do with a camera?  How many treadmills are either gathering dust or being used as a great place to hang clothes? 

Kestrel's Poised Pose
Nikon 7100,  Nikon 70 - 300mm, IS) 400, f/8, 1/640 sec
Many of us have had or have intentions of getting in to photography.  We think about it, talk about it and buy our first 'real' camera.  The cameras that have dials, buttons, lots of features and capabilities.  

We take it out of the box and start reading the manual.  

Impatient to get through the details, we grab the camera, go outside and start taking pictures.  One of a squirrel, a couple of the kids, the dog and maybe a flower or two.  

We go back inside to find that the picture on the screen looks so....tiny, blurred, washed out, etc.  Definitely not the vision of what we thought our work would look like. 

This is it!  This is where many cameras are gently tossed back to their box to be used another day.  Instead, it gathers dust and takes up precious closet space.  

Why?  Pick one or all of the following or add your own to the list: 

Summer's Color
Nikon 5100, Nikon 105mm, ISO 250, f/5, 1/200 sec  
Not enough reading.  

Not as easy as we thought it would be.  

Not enough time.

No one to ask questions.

No plan.

Here are some simple recommendations to getting started and progressing as a photographer:
  1. Talk to another photographer or your local camera dealer to understand the time commitment, what it takes to learn what you want to do.  It could be a simple as an hour or two.  Or depending of your goals, could require extensive practice.
  2. Have a general idea of what you'll enjoy taking pictures of behind the camera before you make your purchase.
  3. Buy a good camera (I use Nikon) from your local camera dealer and take it out of the box. 
  4. Commit to a few hours of reading the manual, a how-to-use the camera book and an easy to follow photography book.  Refer to blog "Finding the Photographer Within Us" for examples of each.
  5. Explore other's images on Google, Facebook (Facebook page example: Sheen's Nature Photography), Flickr, etc. to inspire your own style.
  6. Get out there and take many pictures. Close up, far away, looking down, looking up, different settings.
  7. Google 'how to' photography tips for your specific interest
  8. Recognize that you will only really be thrilled with a small percentage of your images - that's normal.  
  9. Don't take yourself too seriously. You will evolve with experience. If you're having fun, it will be reflected in your work.

Egret in Reflection
Nikon 7100, Nikon 70 - 300mm, ISO 320, f/6.3, 1/1000 sec