Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Refocus...or how I stopped stressing & snap the pictures anyways

Haha...  How do you like that (oh so horrible) play on movie title?  Anyways, as promised here's the story behind me picking up my dSLR again.  But let's start at the beginning, a very good place to start don't you think (yes I'm so bad :-P, I'll stop lol)....

From the time I was quite young I loved to take pictures & print them out to look at.  It wasn't so much the artistic view that I loved, just something satisfying about holding a moment in time forever.  The good moments don't have to end because you always have reminders of them.  This is especially true now with my highly complicated paternal family but not going there.  Of course way back in the early to mid-90's all we had was actual film - my kids still laugh at this concept *sigh* - it was expensive & we were far from rich so pictures had to reserved for special things/ times.  All of this resulted in my thinking that pictures were way too important to be put in some sticky album & just left there.  Scrapbooking was far from what it is today but my Grandma help me make my first one about my beloved childhood dog Sparky; a few choice excerpts (which Blogger has decided to load upside down, lovely!

See?  Far from what it is today but it reinforced the idea that pictures are worth not only protecting but showing off.  Of course that logic naturally flows into the camera is important.  Minor problem being that I was a child short on funds ;-).  My paternal grandparents were the type that loved to spoil (because they could easily), so in high school I asked for an entry level SLR but that was too much even for them :-(.  Instead though they gave me an APS point & shoot, it shoot photos in 3 sizes (ooooooh!) & was the height of point & shoot technology in '98 :-P.  The advantage of this camera is that it took panoramic shoots which made it easy to photograph my favorite subject - landscapes.

This was all well & good until a youth group trip to Niagara Falls a few years later & well lets just say that waterproof cameras have come along way.  My dad said this was proof I shouldn't have a SLR - ya know since I'm a "space cadet" - so he did the sensible thing and bought me my first laptop instead haha.  So I spent my Christmas money that year on a Canon Powershot that didn't take film, both parents said this was nonsense but then they said I'd be screwed in adult life without a landline too so there ya go... The Powershot was again advanced for it's time w/ "creative functions" that gave a bit more control then your standard point & shoot.  Again it satisfied me, for quite a long time in fact it's still around somewhere the kids play with it...

But of course I still really wanted a SLR (well dSLR by this point) but it was always way out of budget & besides since I never printed anything over 4x6 the Powershot worked perfectly fine.  So that brings us up to getting married & then having baby which spurred me to get into more modern scrapbooking.  At this time I belong to a birth group & drooled over the quality of pictures that other moms showed off taken with their dSLRs.  My wonderful husband - tired of hearing me sigh at my pathetic p & s prints - bought me my Canon Rebel xsi (over 6 years ago now).  I excitedly begin snapping pictures of my new favorite subject (baby of course!) & teaching myself how to use true manual functions.  I was quite pleased with my results & got some great feedback from other moms but then trouble started setting in.  I won't going fully into it but in a nutshell a (younger) cousin was take "proper" photography classes & was deemed the family photographer, when I tried to show my photos I was told to keep my day job (yeah).  The second problem is that about 2 years ago my dear Rebel took a bad fall due largely in part to an over excited toddler & wobbly baby.

Luckily the damage was minimal, broken lens cap & jammed kit lens which was easily fixed by my resident engineer.  But in combination with other aforementioned issues it scared me off for awhile, because this was an EXPENSIVE piece of equipment and we really couldn't afford to misuse it.  Plus with an always sick baby I had absolutely no time to scrapbook anyways.  So I licked my wounds & bought a drop-proof/ water-proof/ shock-proof Olympus Tough that had higher resolution then my Rebel & still had some manual functions.  This was great as I could enjoy snapping photos again without worrying about damaging an expensive camera & it is the one that has accompanied us on 2 Disney trips - going down Kali River Rapids, spinning in Mad Tea Cups & occasionally dropped by a small child or cast member all without a care.  This level of freedom was great but again as I got back into scrapbooking I found these prints a little lacking.

Discovering Pretty Paper, Pretty Things was just that final push I needed to push out my worrying & just start playing with photography again.  Then I discovered on A Journal of Curious Things that she largely uses a 50mm 1.8 lens which (again my darling husband) had given me just a few months before I stopped using it.  So I really never got a lot of practice or feel for how to use (again purely self-taught here).  But now I have taken the kids on two outings where I'd normally use the Tough but took the forgotten Rebel w/'new' lens instead.  I was afraid my skills had atrophied and yes they did but still not all bad I think.  Ready for photo overload? :-P

Very first shot with my Rebel in over 2 years (& entirely manual settings).  Not great but not horrible either I don't think.  And of course working juvenile subjects is always interesting, they were supposed to be holding onto the rail & leaning out (kinda like Dillon is) but Erin was more interested in the water pattern!

They both insisted I take a photo of the little whirlpools forming so I tried playing with the lighting & f-stop to try & catch it in motion.

I tried to focus on Dillon but majorly failed & got the fence line instead - LAME!

Better attempt focusing on Erin, except she turned away at the last minute leaving me with a rather uninteresting shot (see I tell you these juvenile subjects yeesh!)

See she was supposed to be looking like this :-P

I know that there are probably a hundred technical things wrong with this photo but sorry as Muma I find it completely awe-worthy.  I may need to get it blown up ;-)

Seeing as landscape/ nature used to be my favorite subjects to shoot, a trip out wouldn't be complete without a few (or several) but I'll spare you lol.  Again I'm sure there's quite a lot wrong with this but I like how you can see the individual leaves& ripples up close and then it fades into a soft effect. Except those leaves poking out of the bottom right is rather annoying!

yeah those last few were supposed to be in a grid, so I share the rest later when hopefully uploader is more friendly!  Anyways....I'm a fervant believer in the idea that hobbies are not just something to do to fill the time or even to have a finished product, they exist to teach us things & keep our minds sharp.  And not just technical "this is how you make a page from a sketch"  skills but also life lessons like; don't worry about what anyone else is doing, in time it won't matter & you won't care; do what makes you happy simply because it does [make you happy]; you can always can back what you lose with a little time & work (metaphorically of course I don't recommend turning the resurrection stone thrice)!  If you have remained with me through this rambling journey I thank you :-D...maybe, just maybe I'll even take the Rebel to Disney this year...

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