Photography has always been something that other people were good at. Some photographers have affinity for finding the perfect angle, or the unsuspecting expression. Other photographers have a knack for capturing every life moments and elevating them to the surreal. The anthesis of skilled, I happily snapped away with my smartphone (since I rarely remember to pack my point and shoot)…happy to take a picture that I could upload and improve thanks to the magic of filers on Instagram or PicMonkey. I looked longingly at the images that friends or family took with their DSLR cameras thanks to their incredible zoom, but resigned to my status as an iphone photographer.
Except that at some point over the last year, a nagging desire started to blossom…to learn….and to own my very own DSLR camera. I remember the feeling of gravitas when I held my friend’s professional camera in my hands in Jacmel last January. There was just something about the weight of the camera in my hand that made me feel…like even I could take a decent picture.
So I started paying attention to cameras. Thinking about them. There was research, online and in person. Nikon- Canon…Canon-Nikon. Back and forth. More and more research…until finally, I became the owner of my very own DSLR camera.
Uh-Oh…Now What do I do?
You know when you are SO excited about something and then it happens and you think, “What did I get myself into???” Yes…that. That is how I felt the minute that I opened the box for my new Canon EOS Rebel T4i . I went from thinking about owning my first DSLR, to actually owning one faster than should be allowed. Piece after piece, little word after little word in the Canon manual….I began to panic. I started wondering why mere mortals were even allowed to buy these cameras without having to take, at the very least, a photographers license test saying that you were somewhat qualified to hold this piece of machinery. It occurs to me that I am not even sure what DSLR stands for…and then of course there is…
I may have had an aptitude for foreign languages when I was young…but this was above and beyond any complicated Russian verb conjugation that I ever studied. I called it a victory when I figured out how to adjust the “dioptric adjustment” so that I could actually see out of the viewfinder on my own.
The realization that I had NO idea what I was doing became ever so apparent as I started happily snapping pictures, in automatic mode, around my kitchen Apparently I missed the memo that shooting in automatic is just plain silly when you own a mega powerful DSLR. Which alright, I knew…but I didn’t really “know.”
I quickly learned that owning your first DSLR is not for the faint of heart.
Deciding to take pity on me, a professional photographer friend emailed me recommended settings since I was going to attempt to capture the words and inspiration of the First Lady of the United States in a dark auditorium the next day. I may have laughed out loud when I took my camera out of my bag and one of the event people started briefing me as there as a photographer.
First Steps with Your New DSLR
I quickly realized that I was going to need to study….quickly since part of the reason I got the camera when I did was that our trip to Sedona is getting closer and closer..and really…what could be a better landscape than the Red Rocks of Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Surely I cannot screw those shots up, right?
Realizing that neither wine nor dark chocolate covered pretzels would make the manufacturer’s manual helpful, I found videos on line….and books like Canon EOS Rebel T4i / 650D: From Snapshots to Great Shots to order.
After a morning of using the Canon strap that came with the camera, I realized that my second accessory purchase would be a new camera strap. You would have thought that finding perfect camera strap for comfort…and well, style would be easy. It wasn’t. There are a LOT of choices out there. I finally settled on the Capturing Couture Boho Collection 2.0″ Camera Strap (Harmony).
Thinking that I will learn enough to know what to do with my Canon EOS Rebel T4i before we leave for Arizona is probably a stretch. But I am going to give it a shot anyway.
What about you? Have you ever taught yourself something from scratch? Or better yet….do you have cheat sheet you for me to use this thing?
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