Day 5- First photos as a DSLR user ๐Ÿ˜…

My 500 Words, photography

I mentioned in my “Day 3 Post” that I was learning photography using the internet and whatever other tutorials I could get my hands on. Today, I had some free time to delve into it and had some fun! Aaaand, I am terrible, but the beginning is a good place to start.

I found some great YouTube videos again and was surprised at the level of detail some of the tutorials provided. I will post some of these in my next photography post. Most of the videos I found were so helpful and helped to make the topics I explored 2 days ago much easier to digest. I still kept my focus on the 3 basics: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

After watching a video or two, I felt confident enough to give it a try with the DSLR, taking pictures within the apartment. This was much harder than I expected or hoped! Immediately upon turning on the camera, I forgot everything I had just learned. F-stop appeared as a foreign concept taunting me and ISO? What’s ISO? My mind went blank. Then, I reminded myself that this is normal. Application and conceptual learning are often very different processes. They are friends and, with hope, chat every now and agin about the topic at hand, but they are not the same. They shouldn’t be treated as such. Coming to terms with this reality, at least in regards to my own learning patterns, will make learning photography much less tumultuous.

In the videos, I learned again to keep the ISO as low as possible and that AV was the automated setting for a focus on the f-stop. Along with some painful time on “M” mode, I practiced today mostly using AV and adjusting the aperture to get a better feel for it and for how to adjust the depth of field. It was a challenge, but a fun one! I felt excited when I finally focused on a coffee mug while leaving the background blurry. It took me about 20 attempts, but I did it, damn it! There will be a lot of practice in my future, in AV mode and beyond. As a positive note, it was helpful for me to isolate the concepts and focus on f-stop while the shutter speed and ISO levels were automatic. I felt overwhelmed at the poor quality of my photos using the manual setting and trying to figure out what was making a photo blurry, or too dark, or too light. Perhaps the AV and TV modes (using a Canon) might get me through the awkward initial phase of knowing absolutely nothing!

Learning how to properly use a DSLR camera is proving to be a worthy challenge. I am excited for the challenge and for the opportunity to grow in knowledge, skill, and confidence. I think that many of us, speaking for myself, have a tendency to dream of doing without planning to do, and especially without the doing part. There is no time like the present, and I already wish I would have sat down to learn sooner.

Which brings me to my preacher/teacher moment of the evening. FRIENDS- no one is going to come into your life and care or know more about your happiness than you do. You need to prioritize your goals, personal accomplishments, and dreams before anyone else can. You need to believe in yourself, even if you are convinced no one else does. I am writing this to myself more than anyone else, but if it resonates, awesome. One foot in front of the other. Go on now, go!

Day 3: Learning Photography ๐Ÿฆนโ€โ™€๏ธ

My 500 Words, photography, Travel

This past month has led to the setting of some goals and planning for greater personal and professional growth. I had been focused for a long time on fitting myself into a mold, trying to find validation in my job or in the cocktail party summary of my life.ย  I probably still am, but I think I might be working my way through it. I am finally aware of it and taking steps to find things that make me happy, not just things that make me seem “together”.

Some of these goals have already been featured on my page, things like reading and writing more intentionally. I have also been thinking more about my health, fitness, and beauty routine. In addition to these pursuits, I have been craving another creative outlet, one I can combine with my other interests- writing, traveling, adventure, outdoor pursuits, and more. I want to learn and develop as a photographer, albeit a novice one. Photography and the ability to create meaningful, beautiful images with a portable device really appeals to me.

My boyfriend has a DSLR Camera laying around that I have started to fiddle with and hope to continue learning with. Does anyone else ever feel the compulsion to buy something new every time you want to start a new hobby? It is like you think that having a new thing will magically make you better. I spent an hour this morning looking up new cameras and pricing, trying to see which option would suddenly make me amazing and motivated. Luckily, before dropping thousands of dollars, I realized the folly in that line of thinking. I have a camera that I can use sitting right next to me. It is complicated and scary, and I have no idea where to start. And, that is okay!

What does DSLR stand for anyway? I realize that I should probably get some very basic concepts down before even discussing this hobby any further! DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Luckily, that is out of the way!

Next, I need to understand aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, as directed by my boyfriend and camera owner. Youtube is guiding my steps in answering these questions in a fun way. I have always heard that with a google search bar, you can learn enough to get started in almost any skill. Now, I guess we will put that theory to the test.

Aperture, also called F-stop, refers to the size of the opening where light enters to interact with the sensor. The smaller the F-stop, or aperture, the greater the opening will be for light. And, as a fun fact, the numbers that make up the range is a fraction, which explains why a smaller number translates to a greater opening. From what I understand, changing the aperture allows you to adjust the depth of field or the focal length. The depth of field refers to how much of the depth of your image will be in focus, in front of and behind the focal point. Shallow depth of field refers to an image in which the focal point is in focus (obviously) with the foreground and background blurry. A large depth of field refers to an image in which most of the image is in focus, both in front of and behind the focal point. The video recommends that if aperture is the priority, to set the DSLR camera to AV, which is aperture priority, and allows the camera to automatically adjust the other settings to match the aperture of your choice.

Shutter speed refers to the amount of time a sensor is exposed to light. Certain situations can influence whether you would want a long exposure versus a short exposure. You might want a long exposure, as the video explains, if the light is limited, such as at night or if you want a motion blur effect. Short exposures are for fast moving things, like wildlife. Short exposures need more light! Aperture and shutter speed are related, of course. And, there has to be a balance found between the two to avoid over or under exposure. If shutter speed is the priority, the TV mode is the go-to mode. You select the shutter speed and the camera chooses the best aperture! Super cool.

The ISO number refers to the sensitivity of the sensor. If it is getting dark, you might want to make the ISO number more sensitive to the available light, and vice versa. You can risk graininess if you made the ISO number too high. The goal is to set the ISO as low as possible given the other settings. The M mode setting refers to manual, and you can play around with the images using this mode!

This video was so informative and so awesome! It really helped to make these concepts digestible.

I am excited to let this information marinate and look forward to learning more as I put new information to practice!