Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

Almost exactly five years ago, I bought myself a digital camera.

I've always had a camera since I was in my teens - little point and shoot 35mm thingies that I'd gotten for Christmas and/or birthdays. But when affordable digital technology came along, I quickly abandoned film - I've never been a purist when it comes to my own limited picture-taking abilities - for the instant gratification of digital.

The camera I bought - a Canon PowerShot A520 - is a nice, middle-of-the-road, point and shoot. But I haven't used it much, frankly. I got out of the habit of taking pictures long ago and so I forget I've even got it. And when I bought it, I was in a hurry to take some pictures (long story) and so I perused the owner's manual just long enough to figure out how to operate the basics and then set the manual aside and didn't look at it again.

Now, I love love love photography! I cannot stress this enough. If there is a photography exhibition, I want to know about it and I want to go. I've loved photography since I was 10 and fortunate to stumble upon an André Kertész exhibit at the Denver Museum of Art.

The art in my house is nearly all photography - mostly gifted to me by the talented photographers in my life...Dr. Matt, Asphodel, Mr. Chick, DanielK. I have a couple of prints by Linda Butler whose work I adore. And the art books I have - the few I have - are all books of photography.

But I rarely take a decent picture myself as this blog has proven.

And that bothers me. Because I do love the art form and because I do have this blog and want to take interesting, funny, thoughtful pictures and post them here for you (and for me). However, every time I've gone to take a picture, I couldn't get anything decent out of my camera (or so I thought) - mostly just blurry, over-lit, crap. Frankly, I've been using the camera on my smartphone more often than I've used the Canon.

I had a realization about this the other day though. I was looking at my camera and was struck by the fact that it had all these buttons and dials and gadgets on it and I had no idea what any of them did.



Owner's manual anyone?

So yesterday, even though I was feverish, I couldn't sleep anymore and had no real ability to string more than a couple of coherent sentences together so I downloaded the owner's manual for my camera and I learned a few things. Like...

Did you know this thing has a video camera built in?! What the hell, people?

It also has black and white settings, sepia settings, special scene settings for night, fast shutter, florescent lighting adjustments, a macro setting for taking up close photos of things like flowers and foliage. This thing can practically do the dishes for me!

And then I remembered why I bought this particular camera. For most of my life, I'd had these point and shoot cameras which are decent enough for just capturing candids at parties or whatever. But when I bought this camera, I bought it because it did have zoom capabilities and some control over shutter speed and aperture at a reasonable price so that I could start investigating just what I could do with a halfway decent camera.

And then I remembered how, two years ago, at Christmas with the Drs. Matt and Jenni, I'd said then how I wanted to be a better photographer and Dr. Matt gifted me a min-tripod for my camera.


Sometimes I am completely and utterly goal-challenged.

Even in my weakened state yesterday, I did try some things out with the camera. Since I'm limited to what's inside the Grotto right now (going outside with a fever was not going to happen), I took a few pictures of Vinny - the only moving thing in the house or, at least, the only thing that moves willing (or unable to totally resist) to let the camera take his picture.

Remember: this is just me trying to get a sense of the camera's various settings, K? Thanks.

Stalking Vinny - black & white + night setting (there was only one string of xmas lights on in this room)

Sleeping Sepia Vinny

Vinny Tired of Mama's Camera - portrait + moving pet setting

So now my question is which one of you is going to take me out and show me how this thing is done?

1 comment:

Matt said...

I'd love to go on specific photowalks with you! Also, it sounds like I need to print a couple of my favorite prints for the grotto. ;)