Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good photography...it's not about the camera

Could you tell that I like to take pictures? I’m not sure why, but I always have. This little hobby started wayyyy back in the seventies, when my high school newspaper needed a photographer. “Pick me! Pick me!” They did. I even majored in photography in college. I bought my first real camera in 1972, the year before my freshman year at the Rochester Institute of Technology - this Nikon F2.

I love this camera, and I will keep it forever (watch for us on Antiques Roadshow in another couple of years). It has been in the shop exactly once, for a $75 tune-up in 2002, and has never failed to deliver the images I was picturing in my mind.

Dropping off film to be processed isn’t too practical when you live in the middle of nowhere, so just before I moved to the 7MSN, I abandoned my Amish ways and went digital. This Canon S60 point-and-shoot has helped me capture my adventures for the past three years and is responsible for all the pictures on this blog.

I’ve never loved my point-and-shoot the way I loved my Nikon SLR. I can’t see through the viewfinder, so I never really know what I’m taking pictures of, and the dust and wind out here wreak havoc on the moving parts. I’m always arguing with it and miss half the shots I want to take because the lens door thingamajig closes at the most inopportune moments. Still, I’ve taken some good pictures with it. Because good photographs are not about the camera.

So why did I just buy a new one?? Because I want to enjoy taking pictures and I'm sick of arguing with that silly lens door. Yikes. I’m reeling from buyer’s remorse and it’s only been 10 minutes since I hit the “continue with purchase” button (I’m supposed to be reseating that leaky toilet today but noooo...I’ve been procrastinating and shopping instead.)

I’m not looking forward to figuring out how to use it. I yearn for simpler days when all you had to worry about was f:stops and shutter speeds. But I hope I will learn to love it just as much as old faithful up there.

14 comments:

  1. IamRockinhorse6/29/08, 11:15 AM

    I've been camera shopping for some time now. My first camera was an Olympus OM10 and I loved it. I think I wore it out. Then we bought an Olympus Camedia digital when they first came out a few years back. It's a small point and shoot and works sometimes, but it eats batteries like candy and usually locks up right when you want to take a "special" picture. So, I've decided it's time to get a new one. Now, the problem is, which one?

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  2. *drooling over your beautiful camera*

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  3. I never really paid attention to cameras, and their different variations, until the past couple of months. I just have a little cheapie (about $180) camera, and it does NOT take good photos of anything that is moving...so why did I buy it, with kids and horses??? Anyway, I plan on investing in one that better fits my needs, within the next couple of months. Congrats on your new purchase!

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  4. Oh, new camera, I could use one of those, I think my cannon POS just died. Can't wait to hear how life with this new one goes for you.

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  5. I AM SO JEALOUS!!
    What model of Nikon did you end up with, and why?? (There are so many to chose from.)
    I can't wait to see you on the antiques roadshow, LOL!

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  6. Pony Girl, I went with the D80, with the 18-135mm zoom Nikkor lens. I wanted a Nikon because my F2 has been so reliable, and the D80 seemed like a camera I wouldn't grow out of but not more than I need. I hope I'm right - it should arrive in about a week. If you guys can't tell the difference, I'll be really bummed!

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  7. I was going to come and ask if it was a Nikon D80...beat me to it haha!
    I don't think you'll be disappointed. I started with a Kodak Z740 about 3 or 4 years ago, and it was a good point and shoot camera, helped me to learn a lot about photography. It's a medium size and I was sick of missing lots of photos so I went and bought a AU$100 Sony Cybershot to keep in my handbag for those unexpected shots. I hate it. It takes ages to focus, often doesn't focus on what you want, and like you said, I'm lways arguing with it. But it does what it should for the purpose I bought it for, and it even fits in my jeans pocket! So I'm happy about that.
    A few months ago my Kodak fully packed it in. It had been playing up for a litting while, it wouldn't let me use manual (PSAM I think it is?) mode, it'd skip back between the others. That was fine, but then it refused to take the shot 4/5 times. So, I decided not to buy another point and shoot, and went all out and bought a DSLR. It was a toss up between the Nikon D80 and the Canon 40D. I got the Canon and I'm in love. I was shocked at how big it is in real life when I first saw it, but after a few months it seems like a normal size. I just can't wait to take it out to events, its soo quick and takes sooo many photos on burst.

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  8. Thanks for the tips on Cameras! I hate my Olympus. Always wants the flash on, red eye is the worst!! no action photos, and eats batteries 4 at a time! I must take time to read the book that comes with the next one--maybe I would like mine better if I knew what the available settings meant.
    Can't wait to see the new photos.

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  9. For all us photography geeks out here, I found this website when looking for DSLR info - this guy posts camera reviews, how-tos, you name it about digital photography, and his site is very searchable.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com

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  10. I've been using the Canon EOS Rebel, it's easy to use, it's hard to put my thumb in the picture, it's a point and shoot, because that's how good of a photographer I am and it's what I can handle.I'm sure you will be taking great pics with this as soon as it gets there.

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  11. You'll love what you got....It just takes practice to learn how to coax the photo you see in your mind out of the camera. Just bought a new Sony H50 myself and after 2 days am still happy I jumped from the Olympus SW (underwater p&s) which I still love. I've decided no matter what you choose, you can get the photos you want and then some...

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  12. Thanks for your pix and tales.
    My evolution: Argus C3, Minolta(?), Pentax SpotMatic SLR, Nikon 8008 SLR, Nikon D50 body on which my 8008 lenses function with a 1.5x factor.
    John

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  13. 7msn: thanks for the scoop. I have been eyeing the D-80 but think it's a little out of my price range, but, like you said, better to get something that I won't outgrow. I have also heard good things about the Canon Rebels. I guess I will have to do some more extensive consumer research. Although photographers are probably like MAC and PC users, very opinonated about their preferences! ;)

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  14. I've been looking back at your posts about photography and cameras. My Canon PowerShot seems to have gotten some dirt in the viewfinder and the shutter seems to stick or something. So I'm trying to figure out what to do to find durable, portable, rapid-fire all in one camera. Thanks for mentioning Rockwells site. It looks helpful. Photography class might be a good idea too...

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