The Camera Tutorial, From Someone Who Has No Clue What They're Talking About

So I have this camera, and I love it like it's my 5th child. In fact, I've referred to it as such on many occasions. Some days, it's my favorite child. That would be the days that it does a stellar job of capturing photographical moments in time of my other 4 kids. It's good at this, most of the time. See what it's given me just this past month:

Oh, wait. That's not one of my kids. Try this one:

See? Good job in the Freezing Time department. Love it. Except when it does something like this instead:

Cutest photo ever, except that the camera chose to focus on Micah's right ear. It's perfectly in focus while his face (WHICH IS FRONT AND CENTER IN THE VIEWFINDER) is a wee bit blurry. Not so happy about that. I have dozens and dozens of such examples that I could show you, but I won't. I tend to blame the camera and made up the fact that the center focusing dots are not working. This may or may not be true. It very well may be user error. But still, one should have the main focus of the picture, well, in focus.

And then there's this problem, which is the biggest of all.

No, not my son. Josh is a good kid and we're kinda proud to call him ours. The fact that he's gritty isn't from dirt, it's lack of charged battery. While that's not the camera's fault, I do get frustrated. Especially when I charge and replace batteries on average of every 2-3 days. That can't be right. I bought new batteries less than a year ago, so that can't be right either. Hint to other camera owners: keep charged batteries on hand, and be sure to get good ones when you buy.

The ISO range is something that I'm quickly learning could be improved upon in my outdated model. The ISO is the light metering adjuster thingymajigger. When set correctly, you'll get great shots. When it's not, you won't. Mine doesn't have a very high ISO range, so indoor shots aren't the best. See this:

That was with flash, which makes things all yellow, and shadowy, and washed out. Just downright yucky. I don't like flash that well. If you have your ISO set correctly, you can take photos without flash, even in darker settings. It's way fun.

Also, my daughter probably didn't want that photo pasted all over the internet. Huh. Well, it's too late for that now.

This is the photo taken 30 seconds later with no flash.

See what I mean? The too-low ISO range on my camera just isn't enough power to make indoor shots happen. ISO is a good thing to know about. It's done a lot to the quality of my photos in the past year. In a nutshell, you'll want a higher ISO for darker settings, and a lower one for bright daylight.

And here's a great piece of advice. When taking photos of fireworks, you might want to stand well away from everyone else. The key to getting good photos of fireworks (or any other bright light kind of thing in a dark background) is to allow the shutter to be open longer than the split second it needs to take a photo. This also means that you'll need a steady hand or a tripod, depending on how long that shutter will be open. I can normally get decent shots on our nation's birthday of the after-dark fun, but this year I positioned myself too close to the daughter who whined that she'd rather be home taking a shower (teenager much?) while simultaneously jostling my arm and saying "did you get a picture of THAT one?" I did. See:

We call that our Jellyfish Fireworks. While it's nothing that the naked eye was able to pick up, the camera did. I'd like to thank my daughter for poking and prodding me into getting that unusual sighting.



Karen Deborah said...

My camera has an auto setting and an easy setting. I am that dumb which makes you uber smart. I might switch from portrait to scenery but otherwise I just don't have a whole lot of know how. I also don't have the "kind" of great camera to really get good shots. I use a little Canon power shot A2000.

I do wonder sometimes when the windows are focusing how it chooses.

Teresa Dawn said...

I'm learning. I've had my camera for about 6 years now. It's a Canon 10D. I just finally picked up the instruction manual a few days ago haha.

Karen said...

Teresa - I couldn't make heads or tails of the book so I enrolled in a photography class. I'm still rather incompetent.

Roger said...

I think you are a little hard on yourself and think that your photos are very good. Better than most of mine, which is why Jenni is usually in charge of the camera. :)I occasionally get a decent shot, and even had one published in a book - granted it was a book that my MIL made for my FIL's ordination, but still, it is in a book. :)

I always love playing with the ISO thingamajig as well, and you can get some pretty creative shots just by playing with the lighting, at least that's what I tell Jenni when she wonders what the heck I took a picture of.