Friday, August 6, 2010

Because a {Good} Photo is Worth a Thousand Words

This baby is my brand new Digital SLR Canon EOS Rebel XS.

This is another dream come true for me. A goal, I guess, more than a dream, really. I've always had a love of photography. I appreciate great shots and I'm critical of bad ones ;). While I don't (yet) have the technical skills and knowledge of exposure and "noise" (aka, grain in the world of film), I have an eye for photography.

I've always wanted to improve my photography skills and expand my knowledge of the technical aspects of photography. When I was 12 my best friend and I would do photo shoots. And that was a gazillion years ago and we didn't even own a real camera so we used disposables. Pretty sure digital cameras with an LCD screen allowing instant viewing of photos didn't even exist at that time. It certainly wasn't available to amateur photographers. So, during these cheaply and ill-equipped photo shoots, I was always much happier behind the camera than in front of it.

In high-school I took a media course (which was pretty cutting edge at the time, nowadays, many schools offer classes with high-tech equipment, but at the time that certainly wasn't the norm). My favorite section of the class was the photography section, but again, that was such a long time ago, most of what I learned is forgotten.

When I started scrapbooking, my love of photography and my desire to take good quality photos continued to grow. Since we've been married, my husband and I have always had decent, current point and shoot digital cameras. I've always had fun focusing on photo composition and getting great shots. There is a lot you can do with a good point and shoot digital camera, and they've come down in price drastically since they first came onto the market. Currently, we own a Canon Powershot S70. It has served us well over the years and I think I'll always remember we took Taylor's baby photos with that camera.

But, recently, I've realized I've outgrown our point and shoot. I find myself admiring shots on other blogs or in print and when I try to recreate those same effects, I'm consistently left disappointed because there is only so much you can do with a point and shoot and the basic modes it provides you. I'm also constantly disappointed by the lag time of my point and shoot and with an extremely fast moving preschooler, I can't wait for my camera to catch up to snap the perfect shot that I saw when I pushed the button! By the time my camera catches up, the moment has past and the shot is lost.

So, after much research, much discussion and a lot of shopping around, I finally bought my Canon Rebel XS last night! It was part of a package with the kit lens that's 18mm-55mm and a second lens that is a 75mm - 300mm which allows for shooting images at a distance (with a zoom that I'd never be able to achieve with my point and shoot). The package also came with a "manly" camera bag and I'll soon be making my own, more girly, more compact bag for everyday use. It also came with a tutorial DVD which I am loving. It reviews the basic features of the camera and how to take great photos in the creative modes that are offered.

Going with a Canon was an easy choice for me. As I said, we've owned our Canon point and shoot for years and have never had any problems with it (except the times (yes timeS) hubby has dropped it in water but I've teased him enough about that, so I won't elaborate about that here!). I should clarify, though, that the water damage killed the camera and we replaced it with another Canon Powershot S70. We've been happy with the quality of photos our Canon Powershot gives us, and we'll certainly continue to use it (read - the SLR is mostly MY camera and hubby can use the point and shoot and take the risk of breaking it ;) ) The Canon gets great reviews. I've talked to some people "in the know" and all of them recommended Canon and said "I've never heard anything bad about Canons".

So, I'm certainly a happy girl, today! I'm taking the plunge and diving into the world of photography. I've got a lot to learn, but I was recently reminded that everyone was a beginner once. Oh, and I have to add that I went to the bookstore to look at photography books and the guide for my camera shown in the picture above was on clearance. It's regularly $19.99 and I got it for $2.18. Woo Hoo!

Since I have so much to learn, I want to ask you a few questions:

Do you own a DSLR camera?

What do you love the most about it?

Do you have any great sources of inspiration? Photography blogs or books?

OK, gotta go learn how to use this thing!


Carin said...

Yippee! It's been a dream (or goal, as you quite rightly say) of mine for a long time too and hope to get one this autumn, so fully get your elation. Can't offer you any help though, so all I'll say is good luck :)

Michelle Whitlow said...

Ooh, I just bought the XSi (don't know what the difference between yours and mine is) and I looooove it. I've always used the cheapie point and shoot and this is my first 'good' camera. Now when a picture doesn't turn out I can only blame myself and not the camera! hehe But love it. I'm planning on taking a photography class at the local college in the fall. I learn much better in a hands on environment rather than reading from a book. But it's amazing the difference in photo quality. Have fun playing with your new toy!!

Crafty Mom said...

@ Carin - I'm totally in love with this camera already! Thanks for sharing my excitement!

@ Michelle - I think the main difference between the XS and the XSi is that the XSi is 12.2 MGP (vs mine at 10.1) and the XSi LCD is 3" (vs mine at 2.5"). I was thinking of taking a class at our local college, too. :)