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Reacquainting myself with Photography
Posted: 09 August 2012 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I decided to start this thread to coincide with my personal journey in rediscovering my love affair with photography - I thought I would chart my progress in learning to get the most out of a new camera. smile

But a brief [not so brief?] history of my life long love affair with cameras [even though I dread having my photo taken]  -

As a kid I had a compact - its origins shrouded in the mystery of time. My family was never flush with cash so I couldn’t afford to do much experimenting and I don’t have many photos from that time. But I loved looking at photos and enjoying the stories they depicted. One of my grandfathers was mad keen on photography too and had an SLR which seemed to be quite magical to me.

Anyway the years passed - I started working but never had enough to get my own SLR - I read numerous books and magazines on photography though and would often spend time discussing the subject with my grandfather. By then he had suffered a series of strokes which left him paralysed down one side so he no longer took photgraphs.

One day he gave me his SLR - an old Praktica LTL - I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. The inbuilt light meter didn’t work but that turned out to be a good thing as I became quite good at determining suitable f-stops and shutter speeds in my head. He also gave me his tripod and cable-release so that added even more potential to what I could try. I used that camera for close to two decades until it finally died completely. I would take my photos to my grandfather to get his opinions and sometimes he even said that some of my work was good - and he would tell me why so he taught me a lot. [Enough that I was good enough to be the photographer at my brother’s wedding.]

Other than a strange obsession with clouds I did all sorts of experiments and generally just enjoyed taking photos. When I could no longer coax the Praktica to work I bought an electonic SLR [Pentax] and continued on my merry photographic way. The Pentax was a great camera.

Then a number of years ago I abruptly stopped taking photographs - I not sure exactly why as the love was still there but I had become quite ill so it may have been the event that tipped the scales. So I went on hiatus. A couple of years later I thought getting a digital camera might inspire me to start up again as I would be able to experiment more. I couldn’t afford a DSLR so I saved up and bought an Olympus compact. Great photos but it drained the rechargables at a horrific rate so it became frustrating to use and I stopped again.

Which brings me to yesterday. I had been researching DSLR cameras off and on for ages and knew what I’d love to buy - and some people on these forums gave me some great advice too - but all the desirable options were well beyond my finances. However there are a few sales on at the moment and so, after doing some research and a lot of soul-searching, I went and bought a Nikon D3100 with twin lens. [18-55mm and 55-200mm]

So I thought I’d start this thread charting my progress as I relearn my photography skills and learn about this new camera. Hell, I might even end up taking some good photos. wink

Next post will be about my first impressions - complete with illustrations. wink

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Posted: 09 August 2012 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You will have so much fun! Congratulations on your new toy.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Ok, my first play with the camera. I am finding it very comfortable to hold even with my large arthritic hands [something I checked out before I bought it]

For my first test shooting, I left the camera on auto and just meandered around the yard with the 18-55mm lens on. Most of the photos I took were close-ups - an interesting exercise considering that I don’t have a macro lens - something I’ll be saving up for once I’ve paid the camera off.

Anyway was hanging around the manderin tree when I found the following spider - very tiny and active fellow so, despite my best efforts couldn’t get a decent shot of him. Still thought I’d post what I did get as he was so pretty.

Terrible DOF I know.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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barbult - 09 August 2012 10:33 AM

You will have so much fun! Congratulations on your new toy.



Thanks! I’m sure I will. LOL

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Posted: 09 August 2012 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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An unusual thing I’ve already discovered - and it may be due to the fact I have a UV filter on the camera which would be affecting the camera’s auto settings.

The following photos are of crucifix orchids - both are of flowers on the same plant. The first was taken in the early afternoon with a cloudless sky and the second was taken mid-morning with a cloudless sky. Both seem slightly washed out though the second photo is much closer to the true colour of the flower.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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While I was gadding about in the front garden I disturbed this fellow and nearly tripped over him. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a photo of him in the sun which is a pity as his scales are beautiful in the sunlight. But I did manage to get a photo before he escaped under the fence into the neighbours yard.

Blue-tongue lizards may look fat and slow but they can get quite a head of steam up.

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Posted: 09 August 2012 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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It looks like you are doing a lot of closeups right now. Try experimenting with the close up mode on your scene dial. It looks like a little flower. It doesn’t change the lens’s ability to focus any closer, but it changes some other settings that may help.  Don’t forget to change back when you switch to other subjects.
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d3100/features02.htm

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Posted: 09 August 2012 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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barbult - 09 August 2012 11:05 AM

It looks like you are doing a lot of closeups right now. Try experimenting with the close up mode on your scene dial. It looks like a little flower. It doesn’t change the lens’s ability to focus any closer, but it changes some other settings that may help.  Don’t forget to change back when you switch to other subjects.
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d3100/features02.htm


Thank you very much for the tip smile and the link - will be a big help. Though today I am hoping to try out the portrait setting as I am going to visit a friend and her baby is adorable so will make a great ‘test’ subject.

Actually I think it will be interesting to compare how the results of camera’s own auto shooting comapare with the results from using the camera’s pre-defined Portrait settings.

BTW - though the images I’ve been posting have been cropped from the camera’s jpg output, I do use the “jpg + Raw” image mode so I do have higher quality files if I ever manage to take any killer shots. cheese

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Posted: 13 August 2012 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Been a couple of days since the last post. My camera and I have been spending some time getting to know each other smile - have been trying out the different automatic settings but hope to switch to manual sooner rather than later.

Thought I’d share this image of one of my crucifix orchids as I found it interesting that one of the flowers decided that it didn’t want to be like all the other flowers on the orchid spike and came out red instead of pinky purple. I’ll be interested to see if this genetic mutation decides to manifest in any of the other flowers on that plant.

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Posted: 13 August 2012 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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And here’s a photo of my friend’s son. I actually got quite a few good photos of him and - thanks to the wonders of the digital era - it will be a simple matter for me to give my friend copies of the photos she likes.

I hadn’t deliberately set the camera on red-eye reduction but with the camera on the Auto Portrait setting it seems to kick in automatically. Either that, or I was just very lucky with the angles of light. LOL

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