There must be a name for this scenario: you get a gift for someone and it so excites you that you, as the gifter, use it more than the giftee.
For Christmas, I got my wife a Canon EOS T2 digital SLR because we were sick of low quality, poorly lit shots produced by pocket digital cameras. Being the technically gifted gentleman I am, I volunteered to check it out with the promise of a tutorial once I had it under control.
My first step was to totally avoid the Automatic feature because to me, the whole beauty of a high quality DSLR is the control you have over how the image is captured.
That was my first mistake. The Automatic feature is adequate for over 97% of the shots that we will be taking at family birthday parties, kid events, etc. I was clearly going beyond the scope of the mission.
My second mistake was reading a photography 101 blog (wish I still had the link) and learning all the technicalities of shutter speed, F stops and ISO speed, because then I was forced to feed the obsession by experimenting. Now I’m hooked.
In the 1+ month since the holidays, I have figured out how to do exposure bracketing for HDR shots, to take night shots of the moon, stars and airplanes, to create ghost images and to generally annoy the crap out of my wife with all of my ‘artsy fartsy’ fotos (I even have an Artsy Fartsy folder in iPhoto). And I’ve also killed all of the free disk space on the Mac.
So now, not only do I need to buy a tripod and UV filters, I also need a large external hard drive to store all the pictures – or a new Mac. Hmmm, those new MacAirs look really sweet.
Well, Valentines Day is coming. Would it be romantic to buy my wife a zoom lens and a remote control? It’s all so expensive, but that’s OK. I don’t really need anything for Valentine’s Day, anyway.
Seriously, I love photography because it is an accepted way to express yourself and ask people for feedback in a way that doesn’t make them uncomfortable – or require a lot of time from them. For example, when you want to share a poem, people get uneasy and wonder if you’ve written it for them and if metaphorically you’re trying to tell them something about a deep connection that they just haven’t realized – and they’ll never tell you what they really think about it. A novel or even short story is too much of a time commitment. People barely have enough time to read a 140 character tweet. A song? (see poem above). A tattoo? OK, but there is only a limited canvas there and you can’t really experiment.
For some reason, people seem to be more comfortable giving constructive criticism of a photograph. There must be some psychological disconnect that the critic perceives (or imagines to perceive) between the photograph and the photographer that makes them feel their criticism is less likely to hurt your feelings:
Critic: “Exposure’s a little low, no?” or “You could have framed that up a little better.”
To me, those comments would be equally devastating as:
“Your alliteration in that phrase doesn’t resonate” or “what were you thinking doing that solo in that spot?”
But from I’ve seen, the photo critiques come much more easily and honestly.
Here’s a shot in the dark: maybe I’m just too sensitive. Nah, I’m rock confident in my abilities. By the way, only positive comments to this post, please…
Here’s a sample of my first month of shots. Click on the image for a larger view: