Saturday, April 03, 2010

Land of Peeves!

Well, here we are again. After months of wallowing in hibernation I have reemerged from my slumber to once again bring you photography goodness. It isn't that I haven't been taking pictures, mind you, it's that I haven't been taking any pictures that I feel are of any interest. I've actually been spending time getting my gear bag all set for the coming spring/summer season. I got a 2nd camera and have been diligently trying to learn how to use it. The challenge is that it is so different from my main camera that sometimes I try to do certain things out of habit only to be greeted with a button that isn't there or something similar. Ok, let's move onto the rant section of this entry.

I've been spending hours reading other blogs, group postings on various sites, and reviews for a lot of gear. I'm finding some trends that quite frankly annoy me to no end! I'll list my musings in bullet form:

  • A point and shoot camera, regardless of how expensive it is, is NOT a DSLR! Yes, I received the Canon S90 point and shoot camera for Christmas. It is a fabulous little camera and the coveted control ring is a wonderful addition and certainly makes things ever so much easier. But expecting this little camera to replace your DSLR is just asinine! And going into group discussions and/or posting "reviews" blasting it and whining how it isn't as good as your Nikon D90 just makes you look like an idiot!
  • It's great that you are researching before your purchase but going into every group you can get into and asking "which lens/camera should I buy?" should be immediate grounds for expulsion from said groups. Of all the lame and unintelligent sounding questions to ask this has to be the worst! Rather than asking that stupid question (yes, there are stupid questions) perhaps you could try something like this . . . "I'm in the market for a new lens/camera and I would appreciate some opinions on which one to get. I'm not a professional by any stretch and I've only been using an old Casio point and shoot digital camera. I'm looking to take pictures of flowers/kids/sporting events/birds/concerts/etc. I'm looking to spend around $500-$1000 and just want to maximize my purchase with the best all around gear I can get for that amount. Thanks!" Everyone that reads this can give you an intelligent opinion because you've now told us your skill level, what you intend to take pictures of, and your budget.
  • You should immediately smack yourself if you've uttered any version of this phrase . . . "I've heard that the XX takes soft pictures so I don't think I should buy it." Whether you're talking about a lens or a camera at some point in time you will take soft pictures. Is it because the lens/camera takes soft pictures? Possibly. Is it because you don't know how to use your gear? More than likely! If all it took to take a great picture was to buy the most expensive gear then 90% of people buying DSLR cameras and professional lenses would be making millions. Or, people using their camera phones or point and shoots or bargain DSLR cameras would be shooting pictures that look like sludge on paper. Guess what? This just isn't the case! I usually walk around with my Canon 40D complete with a grip and a 70-200 f/2.8L lens with the hood. I'm usually wearing a Cotton Carrier harness and a Think Tank waist pack. My wife is usually right next to me with a Canon Rebel XSi with a 50 f/1.8 lens with a cute strap she bought from Etsy. Pretty much 10 out of 10 times anyone approaches us they comment to ME, "Wow, that's a heckuva camera you got there. You must take good pictures." My wife rolls her eyes and I just sort of mutter something that passes for nice and we carry on with our business. I can guarantee you that my wife takes amazing pictures with her gear and I can also guarantee you that I can take some really crappy pictures with my gear. It's not the gear, it's how you use it.
  • This is perhaps my biggest peeve! Most cameras being bought these days are 1.6 crop factor cameras rather than the much more expensive full frame cameras. The simple explanation is if you put a 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera you get 50mm. If you put a 50mm lens on a 1.6 crop camera you get 80mm. If you put a 50mm lens on a full frame digital camera you get 50mm. Now, keep in mind I said that MOST of the cameras being bought are 1.6 crops so this is a general statement not a hard and fast law! Most people that are buying these 1.6 crop cameras have never shot a film camera and will probably never be able to afford a full frame digital camera. Right now the Canon 5D MkII is $2500 for the body only and the Nikon D700 is approximately the same price. And those 2 cameras are currently the cheapest full frame cameras on the market. So you get my point. Most people are buying Canon Rebels and Nikon D3000/5000s for under $700. So, my peeve is this . . . when you are buying/using a lens inevitably some yahoo will come up to you and say something like, "oh, a 50mm, but it's really an 80mm on your camera." GAH!!! I've never shot a 35 film camera. I've been using DSLR 1.6 crop factor cameras since I started shooting. To me, a 50mm lens is a freaking 50mm lens because that's the only way I've ever used it and the only way I've ever seen it! So when I'm going to be doing a shoot I know which lens I'm going to have to use because I know what my 50mm lens can do or what my 70-200 lens is going to do. I don't give a damn what that lens can do on a 35mm film camera! I'm not shooting a 35mm film camera!
So there you have it! The 4 biggest peeves in my world of photography. Remember kids, if you bought a digital camera and you want to take good pictures you need to spend time playing with your camera. You need to press every button, look at every menu, shoot a picture in every mode and heaven forbid buy a 3rd party book about how to use your camera. And be sure to actually read the book and try out the suggestions it gives! Keep shooting!

Until we meet again!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A New Year Brings New Adventures!

Welcome to the new year! Yes, I've been a bad blogger. I've taken thousand of pictures but I haven't blogged in quite some time. I promise to be better this year!

That said, I've acquired some new gear (thanks Santa) and it's forced me to go back to the basics. I've been reading my Magic Lantern Guide and it's had me thinking about ISO, white balance, aperture, etc. Any good coach will tell you that you have to master the basics to become one of the greats. I'm afraid that this past year I've strayed from the fundamentals and I've ended up pretty frustrated on a regular basis. I've stood there whining to my wife cursing the gods and asking why my pictures were so crappy when I was doing what I've always done. Recently, I've realized that by doing what I've always done my photographic growth has been stunted. That's why this year I will be studying my fundamental photography lessons and pushing myself to stray from my comfortable path and venture into the great unknown or at least the great untried!

Until we meet again!