Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy July 4th!

Selective color effect focusing on red hues (which
apparently include reddish brown too)
It's the Fourth of July--Dave's favorite holiday--and tonight is the big family fireworks. Dave and I are going to sit for this one--I plan on taking lots of photos with the new Nikon DSLR camera I got last week. After six months of taking pictures everyday with my iPhone I decided it was time to upgrade my tech. I read the reviews, was honest with myself about my aspirations and limitations as a photographer, and  found a nice mid-range camera with a good bundle on Amazon. The bundle included the standard 18-55 mm lens as well as a 70-300 mm lens, a wide angle lens, a telephoto lens, and a filter kit--as well as host of little accessories and a bag. The camera is also red. Woot.

I have played around with it a bit--mostly in automatic mode--but I haven't spent a day on my own with it yet. We've driven into Missoula twice since I got it and both times I minimized the number of stops I made to take pictures. I need just me and the camera off in the Mini Cooper for a day--maybe with Gallifrey as my co-pilot--to really go in-depth. When Jessie bought her Canon DSLR (several years ago now) I bought her a book that walked her through the different features and functions and encouraged her to go through it with her camera so she could really learn it inside and out. That wasn't her learning style so it didn't happen, but she mostly figured it out in her own way.

Selective focus on yellow flowers also catches the highlights
 on the pine needles
Me, I like a structured, organized approach. I took a formal film photography class back in the dark ages of high school (even learning how to develop my own black and white film) so I have a basic working knowledge of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc. I've also done a quick read through the manual. Now I'm looking forward to making a blended list of all the features of the camera along with basic manual photography techniques that I'll use to plan photography days. One day might be repeated pictures of the same subject but shot with different apertures. I know the theory of what will happen, but it will be good to get the hand practice in of actually taking the shots. Other skills I want to brush up on include shutter-speed-focused pictures, macro photography, night shots, portraits, fast action, landscapes, nature, etc.). This camera also has some cool special features and there is one I particularly want to experiment with: selective color. I already had a bit of fun with that one and would like to go to a very color-saturated local (like the farmers market) and practice there.

Friday this week will be my first day of play and I'm going to start with a very forgiving subject: nature. Specifically I am going to take an early morning trip to the National Bison Range where in the past we have seen bison (duh), antelope, big horn sheep, and even bears--all of them close enough to get really good shots. Tonight, however (and here we get back to Fourth of July celebrations) will be my first night shooting. And, hey, what could be more forgiving than fireworks?

1 comment:

Bill said...

I thought that the timing makes it tough to shoot fireworks?