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Another Hobby, Another Tool Addiction

Another Hobby, Another Tool Addiction

July 29, 2011
Posted in: Totally Random | Reading Time: 5 minutes

I'm getting a lot of questions on the tools I use for the photography on this blog.  The above shot was taken with my new DSLR Canon Rebel T1i  with 18-55 ml lens.  This shot is straight out of the camera. No editing has been done on it other than cropping in on the bee.

Up until March of this year, I shot mainly with a CanonPowerShot SD3500 and occasionally with a Sony CyberShot DSC H50. The Sony had a proprietary memory card which made it hard to download photos so I used it less than the Canon. I abused my PowerShot SD3500 and eventually damaged the lens but continued to shoot with it. Around that time, Homer's mom planted the seed in my head to purchase a DSLR and TravelMarx had shown me how to maximize my PowerShot's color creative features.

Since Mr. Wild Dingo was no stranger to photography, he was dead set against a DSLR, knowing how much effort it took to carry all the lenses, cleaners and tripods. But he knew I needed a new camera so in March of this year I upgraded just my compact camera to a Canon PowerShot S95, one of their top of line compact cameras.  I thought about purchasing the PowerShot G12, their top line compact camera but it was a little too heavy for a dog walking pocket camera and I was still working on Mr. Wild Dingo for  a DSLR.

In short, I adore this camera. And I still do. It gives me room to do photos like this shot of the bee above from my Orange Crush post.  Almost exclusively "straight out of the camera" (I did very little in the post image processing) the camera provided a really decent depth of field. Admittedly, since the subject of the shot was death, I manipulated the shadows and highlights for a more dramatic, deep feel.  While the camera is pricey for a point and shoot, it did give me some time to experiment with functions typically found in DSLR, such as control over aperture, exposure, shutter speed and ISO so I could get a feel for my interest and capability of being able to understand the complexity of a good camera.

So from March of this year up until London's post yesterday, the Canon PowerShot S95 was the only camera I shot with. In processing the images, unless I'm doing something very creative, I touch up about 50% of my images in Photoshop or Lightroom using basic image tools like highlights and shadows, brightness and sharpening. But I try my best to get the shot right out of the camera as using Photoshop or Lightroom can too time consuming.

The shot above is from TravelMarx's Canon PowerShot. As you can see, it also has decent depth of field for a compact camera.

After months of researching and doing a ton with my little point-and-shoot, Mr. Wild Dingo, who also educated me on how to use light and metering, decided that this wasn't just a passing fancy and helped me zero in on what DSLR to purchase. I decided on the Canon Rebel T1i, which I used to shoot in London. I chose it because I'm as amateur as they get in this hobby so I didn't want to go hog wild in something super expensive.

What surprised me are the number of 11-year olds traipsing around London carrying a much better camera or lens than me. When I was young, we were taught that nice cameras were too expensive for us to handle which is probably why it took me so long to purchase one. One kid had a telephoto lens with hood that was twice the cost of mine. His parents had their own cameras, so it was all his. I would love to know how much of the camera's capabilities he used or understood.

While I miss the funky color creative modes in my point-and-shoot, the DSLR is hands down a much better camera and I love shooting with it. In automatic and creative modes, there's little control over the hideous pop up flash, so I'm learning very quickly how to shoot manually choosing aperture, shutter speed and ISO for the available lighting conditions.

I'm still a slow shooter. I've missed more shots and have thrown away more shots than I care to admit. I missed an awesome shot of a mounted bobby chasing down a man on a bike during the changing of the guards. All because I was fumbling with settings. Sigh. Now I have to work on Mr. Wild Dingo to pay for a few photography classes.

But the good news is, Mr. Wild Dingo also purchased me a decent 55-250 ml zoom telephoto lens, an off-camera flash, a tripod and a camera bag. Since he signed up to be my camera bag bitch on travel, I let him have his choice of bag.

I know, I'm just nice like that.

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5 comments on “Another Hobby, Another Tool Addiction”

  1. Very informative, Mrs. WD. Mr. RottRover got me a Canon Rebel T3 for my birthday in May, but without the camera bag bitch feature. Tightwad. I was frustrated the other day, when the automatic focus chose to focus on the glittery water behind my handsome Gizmo rather than on his sweet face; so I need to learn more about the manual settings as well, especially depth of field. So how'd you get the Northern Lights effect on the Tower pic above? The greens and bluees are beautiful. That's a little photoshop, right?

    Have a fun weekend!

  2. I was just eyeing the S95!
    My nikon d40 just died on me this week and Im torn over what to get next. the nikon d3100 (pretty much the same as the d40) or something smaller (Olympus PEN).
    But I think I'm going to stick with my Nikon.
    It's nice you have a camera bag bitch. I have a 55-200mm lens, but its HEAVY so I rarely carry it. Jason won't agree to be my bag bitch.

  3. Awesome! I'm jealous of those of you who have 'the eye' to be good photographers; my brother is one of you photographer people, and sees things (and has the knowledge to capture what he sees). I've got another friend who used to work for National Geographic (until he decided that eating was a priority, and while getting Super Cool pictures was fun, it didn't pay well, even at NatGeo) and now takes pictures for fun. Amazing stuff. But I don't have that eye - so I just stick with my little Canon S8100 that fits in my walking shorts/ski jacket/'dog pack' (pack that contains tennis balls, extra poop bags, treats, a spare leash, etc.). And I don't have the patience to learn about aperture settings, and F stops and stuff, so I'll just enjoy the pictures of those of you who know (or can fake) what you're doing! 😉 Oh yeah, and there's no way in hell I could get my husband to be a bag bitch, so I have to stick with a camera I can easily carry!

    -Dr. Liz

  4. None of you ladies have kids, right? Mama spent her childhood lugging around her dad's camera gear - not her choice, need we say? Back when mama was a kid, kids were free labor with no rights. She did finally get her own camera when she was 11 - a nice Brownie box camera 🙂

    Jed & Abby

  5. If you're an amateur I suck lol. I love your pictures. They are always so fantastic. I'm more of the type who takes a million pictures hoping for five good ones because I'm too lazy to learn the settings or to set up a good shot. I want to learn, but I feel a little overwhelmed trying to learn it by myself. So as soon as my husband is out of school and has a job again I'm going to take a photography class. 🙂 And when I decide to get a new camera I'm totally coming to you for advice lol!

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