Posted October 19, 2005on:
I indulged myself to a D-SLR camera on a whim. I have had it now for approximately 10 months. Its reviews taut it to be a user-friendly but professional camera for the amateur photographer. It offers innumerable features. I was dreaming of quitting my day job and travelling to Madagascar for the National Geographic or for PBS on an eco-shoot already, when I bought it.
Well let me tell you : the reviews should have emphasized the amateur in amateur photographer because right now I can only claim to master the point and shoot feature. It’s about the only feature I really know how to use ! There was no reason to buy a D-SLR camera if it’s to be content using its blandest feature.
And so I delved into learning and gave myself the target of learning to use 50% of my camera’s features by the end of the year. I am also painstakingly familiarizing myself with all the technical words : WB, aperture, metering mode, shutter speed, noise, …Who knew taking pictures could be so complicated?
I am trying to remember what I learned from my long forgotten optical physics classes to understand why the aperture should be wide when I take portraits and narrow when I snap landscapes (or is it the other way around?). Or why if there’s more light I should use a higher ISO (or is it the contrary?). In short, I am an amateur, as the French would say.
I have bought a book to help me with the learning process. I am a long way from mastering the beast. And I am not about to produce Pierrot Men quality photographs anytime soon. Far from it.
I produce pictures that always disappoint me. I demand angrily : How come the sky which was so blue appears to be almost white on my picture? And I fixed or tried to fix the White Balance setting too! And how come the camera cannot reproduce the interesting play of shadow and light that was so beautiful ? Oh, why why why…
Typically I blame the camera. It’s the camera’s fault. It’s broken. It’s not worth the amount I paid for it. It’s the only explanation why the picture does not pay tribute to the bucolic landscape we just passed by.
At this point BandyKv usually remarks quietly that I have probably misadjusted one of the parameters. He is right of course. I’m sticking to my guns and learning one minuscule step at a time.
There’s always hope. And photography makes me a nice little hobby.
One thing I like is that I do not have to lament the “slowness” of the camera (the pros call it “shutter lag”) anymore when Zazakv does something interesting. It used to happen this way : Zazakv would do something marvelous. I’d run fetch the camera, spend a good five minutes coaxing and begging Zazakv into reproducing his exploit again ( “Oh please please, do it again !”) so I could immortalize it in a .JPEG file. Most of the time I would fail miserably to convince him. But sometimes Zazakv would deign to do it for his mommy again. But as quick as I was to shoot, my old camera still missed it. By the time it was ready, Zazakv’s moment had long vanished.
Now however, with my amateur-photographer camera, my new camera never misses any memorable moment of Zazakv! I hope I am not traumatizing him. He’s now constantly bombarded with flash.