Sunday, March 14, 2010

You've come a long way, baby...

Its no secret that I love taking pictures.

My love for photography came about by two very different events in my life. 
I started taking my camera to music concerts convinced that I could get clear shots of my idolized rock star crushes to blow up into poster-sized images of them. 
I knew nothing about film speeds, or shooting in low lighting conditions, or proper use of flash, or how to shoot without flash, or what a zoom lens was, or anything about Image Stabilizing. 
It won't be surprising to tell you that I didn't get a single good shot of any members of my favorite bands from 1997-2001. 10 years later, I'm left with a box full of crappy grainy flash filled pictures where the image of Jonathan Gray's head is smaller than a pea, which you can barely make out because there are so many people in the way.

In 2001, all that changed. 
That was the year I discovered the joy of scrapbooking with my friend Monica (who was actually my professor at the time). 
I was drawn to the scrapbook pages of so many crafty ladies that year. And the ones that stood out the most were not the pages with cool layouts, but the ones that contained great photos. Photos that were cropped well, photos that told a story in a single image, photos with that professional looking blurry background. 
*I* wanted photos like that in my scrapbooks! 

So, when my dear dad asked me what kind of college graduation present I wanted, I immediately said "A nice camera". And that's what I got :)

I started off with a Canon EOS Rebel 2000 SLR 35mm camera. And I didn't know how to use it at all. But I couldn't WAIT to try it out with some 1,000 ISO film at the next Jump, Little Children concert. 
Do you know that my Canon Rebel never did make it to a single concert? Instead, I met my dear husband and had a baby. In an instant, my priorities changed. And the focus of my photography interest truly was born. 

But I still didn't know how to use my camera.
I didn't know anything about outdoor lighting, shadows, cropping, angles, posing, unposing, exposure, or composition.
But I knew enough to know that I did not like how my pictures looked. Oh, my kids were certainly cute enough subjects! That sure wasn't the problem :)

When Jayce was a baby, we bought a mid-range Canon Powershot to replace his old (and I mean, OLD!) Sony Mavica. Yeah, the pixels were higher, but I noticed my photos didn't look any better. Maybe because its the photographer that makes the picture, not the camera?

After that very bright light bulb went off in my head, I stopped wishing for a newer and better camera and decided I'd better learn the one I got first. 

So, I did something novel. Something that a lot of my readers probably haven't done.

I got my camera manual out and I read it from cover to cover.

And I want to challenge YOU to do the same!

Now, I certainly have a lot to learn. Do I only take great photos now? Certainly not! Its still a lot of trial and error, I'm afraid. 
(what on earth was I trying to focus on here? Jayce is certainly not in focus, Jaina's head is cropped in a less than fashionable way, I didn't capture great expressions, and the sidelight thing I had going on was not the backlit look I was going for. )

But that doesn't stop me from taking more pictures. And more pictures. And more. 'Cause one day I'm going to get it "right" and I'll be so proud of myself! 

And then, maybe, I can convince Brian to get me one of these:

and if I ever decide to open my own photography business, I can get me one of these babies:

A girl can dream, right?

8 comments:

  1. Love your photos. I think you have a natural eye that can't be taught no matter what camera you use or how much you know about PhotoShop. I too would love the 50D!

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  2. I love the last one! The expression on Jayce's face is great!

    I have a Canon SLR and I've read the book. Even bought extra books on photography as I'd love to do it professionally. But I just need more practice. I can't find any models other than my sister, so that doesn't help. Granted I haven't looked that hard...I really should start building a portfolio.

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  3. I seriously always love your pictures - you are incredibly talented! That first one took my breath away!

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  4. You take amazing pictures... You have serious talent!

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  5. You are SOOOO talented!! You capture amazing moments..and such depth and beautiful composition! Well done!

    Blessings-
    Amanda

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  6. Isn't fun to look back at photos you took whay back when you 'thought' you were getting pretty good? I laugh pretty hard at the editing I did on some oldies, that, at the time, I thought was great. It's always nice to come a long way, and while I haven't seen your old stuff, I sure do like you new stuff.

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  7. you take great pictures! My love of photography was amplified after I had my first daughter. Now, it is an obsession :) I actually haven't even read my manual. ooops! I agree with you..practice, practice, practice!

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  8. Great post! It always interesting to see the method of growth and the steps you have to take to get better... I read my manual cover to cover... I do it about once a month in fact.. and pick up something new every time...

    I think your next step up, you should go ahead and get the 7d... I had a chance to play with one for a few days, and I'd take the 7d over the 50d hands down...

    As always, a pleasure seeing your pictures.

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Thanks for commenting!