Monday, June 1, 2009

My passions: horses, art and photography

They have been my passion since before I even knew what the word meant! Photography can be art just as much as drawing or braiding or painting can be. I just love it.

I've been on a camera kick lately as you might have read from my last post I just bought a new Nikon D60 camera and a few lenses. However I am not new to cameras. My aunt is a professional photographer and even though it was a few years ago I did go to some photography classes with her. Mostly I listened and became the model for all the other people taking the class. I guess they thought I was some sort of cute kid or something.

Heres some stuff that all you avid photographers might appreciate. A beginners summary of some primary lens things. I guess you can use it for point and shoot too, especially if you are shopping for one and know what you shoot often.

First of all cameras can be put into 2 categories:

Compact camera: The lens is perminantly attached and cannot be altered or changed. Most digital cameras in wal mart or other stores are compact cameras and they can be good.

Single lens reflex (SLR): You can use different lenses by attaching them to the camera for the type of photo shoot you are doing. Most SLR's are digital so they would be called DSLR's. It's sad, the dark room was pretty cool but digital is just so much easier and cheaper in the long run. You only print whats needed and you can alter them on the computer, especially if you shoot in RAW (i'll get to that later).

Lens: A camera is only as good as it's lenses. The lens is like the eye of the camera. Imagine being partially blind and trying to see a gorgeous landscape. It would be blurry, possibly not even look like a landscape. That is what crappy lenses do to your camera, they are like bad eyeballs. It's worth the money for the good brand name lenses.

If you look at the front of your lens (the part pointing at your subject) you will see some numbers written along it. I'll use the lens I got an 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 Lens. 18-55mm is the focal length range. 18 is the shortest distance the lens can focus at and 55 the longest.
A short focal length allows a wider scene or wide angle view and zooming in on a subject is a narrow angle view.
Lenses for short focal lengths are called wide angle lenses. Lenses for long focal lengths are called telephoto lenses. Wide angle lenses make things look further apart and telephoto makes subjects look closer.
The other number f/3.5-5.6 is the aperture. Aperture is a hole in the lens kind of like your retina. It's also commonly known as an F-stop.
It allows light to hit the film or in a digitals case, the sensor. Aperture is like your eye. If you are in a bright situation your pupil is smaller to allow less light in, if you are in the dark your pupil is larger to allow more light to help you try and see. A higher number lets less light in and a lower number lets more in. Apeture I find is important in night scenes where you are trying to get as much light as possible. You want a low aperture for those shots.

RAW-They are images but they are "raw" just like a sirloin they need to be spiced and cooked before they turn into an edible steak. Shooting in RAW is like a digital negative. It preserves an image 100% to what you saw through the lens than another format. It's very useful but very time consuming. You need to edit a RAW image into something viewable using a program capable of editing RAW images. Photoshop comes with one and I know theres a few other very popular ones out there.

The camera is only as good as the person behind it.
I admit I got a nicer camera with more options. My point and shoot Kodak as I have expressed has a very slow shutter speed. I would see a great shot, click and...miss. Especially when shooting horses I end up with lots of butts, blurs of manes, random eyeballs. Even on the sports setting it has a very hard time catching anything that does more than a standstill. When it does catch something it's horribly grainy. The ISO goes pretty high though. It has this horrible autofocus that I can't for the life of me or the life of the manual be able to shut off. It tries to pick out the subject and focus on it but often times it zones in on something completely irrelevant to the subject, like a bush in the background.
It has taken some very good pictures though. It catches colour with amazing clarity when in natural light. It's also idiot proof. My dad can use it. My dad can't even use the dvd player.

I'm most excited to be able to shoot in RAW. If you haven't read a lot of my old posts you might have missed it but I am kind of a computer nerd. I have done web design for the past 6 years now, mostly for friends but a few small businesses fell in there. I also fix and build computers. I've had many, many computers. I have the very first version of photoshop. I also have every version in between the first and the latest that I am using right now.

This is gonna be fun.
Have I mentioned I can't wait to go to my uncles and get my new camera?
As I was coming home about quarter to 10 there was the COOLEST fork lightning. I drove down to the lake and sat in the car at the top of the hill pouting because I didn't have a camera.
In a nutshell here is what I missed today:
A pack of wild turkeys. They are so cool. They just re-introduced them to the area about 15 years ago. Three years ago I seen my first one around here. Now I see on average 15-25 of them at a time.
I also seen a bald eagle being attacked by some crows. It was cool.
My friends cat was being cute and cuddled right up to me for scritches. Of course I had black on. I was instantly furred but who can't be in love with 20 pounds of purring, rubbing, kneading, happy cat? I love to take pictures of cats. I make them sticks with feathers and dangly things on them then take pictures of them. Oh heres a picture taken with the Kodak that my friend absolutely loves.
I printed it for her and she framed it. His name is Kitten. He will forever be one.

More on cameras later. I just can't wait!


Pony Girl said...

Great camera information, thanks! I bet you are excited to pick up your new toy and see what it can do! :) Have fun!

Sydney said...

I can't wait!

I really hope it's in by Thursday. it's only gotta go from Newyork to Michigan

Jo said...

Kitten is sooo big! But he's a sweetheart.

Andrea said...

Oh, new cameras are so much fun!! I have the Nikon D40. You are going to love the D60!! So much fun!! And yes, it's so wonderful to finally get the shots you want and how you want them to look!! I can't wait to see your pictures!

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