Monthly Archives: November 2009

Who are you thankful for?

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With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many of us are starting to reflect on the things that we are most thankful for in this life. Naturally, we tend to gravitate towards things like family, friends, jobs, homes, and other material possessions (especially the camera gear!). Today, I want to focus on something more specific–as a photographer, who are you thankful for? Who is it in your life that encourages and inspires you as a photographer?

This idea wasn’t cooked up in my own brain, but inspired by a Facebook post by the Adorama Used Department, which I’m a fan of. BTW, if you comment, you’ll be eligible to win some Adorama gift certificates. 🙂 I’ve already made my comment there, not just in hopes of winning one of those gift certificates, but because there is a photographer that I’m especially thankful for. He’s not famous, he’s not even a professional, but he encourages and inspires me. While he is my favorite shooting buddy, the roots of this relationship go deeper than that, for he contributed his DNA to me. He is my dad. 🙂

I had been dabbling in photography off and on throughout my adult life when I finally bought my first DSLR in October 2007. Up until then, Dad had never shown any interest in photography to speak of–Mom took almost all of the pics of me and my sister when we were growing up. As I started sharing what I was learning about both my new gear and techniques, Dad started to get really interested. Finally, in May 2008, he took the plunge and picked up his first DSLR and started learning from scratch, with lots of help from me and another photographer friend of his. In the past year and a half, we’ve both attended a couple of nature photography workshops and have gone on our own photo outings whenever we’ve had a chance to get together, which isn’t often enough. Not only have we had a great time both shooting and learning, our personal relationship has grown as well. To me, that benefit alone makes it worth all of the thousands of dollars that we’ve spent between the two of us on camera gear and workshops. When I compare how much the relationship I have with Dad is worth in comparison to the money that I’ve spent on this hobby, I most definitely got a bargain. Lord willing, I’m looking forward to many more years of photo adventures with him. 😀

I also am thankful for Mom, who has been so supportive of us and our photography. She has gone on most of our photo outings with us and has let Dad spend tons of money on gear (not all spouses would be as supportive as she has been), not only for himself, but some for me, as well (they bought me the Canon 40D body that I’m currently using). Even with her little Kodak superzoom p&s, she is a good photographer in her own right. 🙂

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On a totally different note, I’ve been on vacation this week, so I’ve had time to make some changes to the blog page. I’ve done a little deleting, but I’ve added a good many new links. While I’ve added a section with links to Canon resources, I’ve opted to keep the Pentax links for those who find this blog via the link to it in the signature that appears on all of my posts to Pentax Forums. I’ve also added a button that will allow you to receive my postings via email, if you’d rather not keep up with them via the RSS feed.

Have a most blessed Thanksgiving! 🙂

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Which is better? Film or Digital?

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This entry was inspired by a response I made to a thread on PentaxForums.com titled: “Why is film still better than digital?” I’ll assume that the vast majority of you shoot digital exclusively, but if you actually click on the link and read the thread, it will definitely give you some food for thought.

Here’s my take on the issue…I guess it could be titled something to the effect of “Why digital photography is so great” or “Why the development of the DSLR is one of the best things since sliced bread.” 🙂

Yes, there definitely is a certain nostalgia when using film. Up until nearly 10 years ago, I used film exclusively until my then husband-to-be bought an Olympus 1.3MP p&s digital camera for around $300 to take with us on our honeymoon. On the honeymoon, he had the digital camera and I had his old cheap film p&s film camera. Looking back at those pics, there were some good ones between the 2 of us, but for many of the shots, the IQ left something to be desired. After that, I moved on up in film cameras, owning a series of both SLRs and P&Ss, with a few digital P&Ss thrown in for good measure. By the time I bought my first DSLR in October 2007, I was mainly using digital. Even since going digital, I’ve played around with film, but I’ve always relied on digital for the bulk of my photography for several reasons:

  1. Film (beyond consumer quality) is getting harder to find locally.
  2. Depending on how much you like to shoot, film and developing can become awfully expensive. Memory cards are reusable and decent image editing software can be had for free or inexpensively ($100 or less). Since you’re reading this, I’ll assume that you’ve already got a computer at your disposal that you can load image editing software on to.
  3. If I’m going to take a film camera on a trip with me, then I’ve got to make sure that I have enough film for the trip, otherwise I might run out and not be able to find my favorite film at my destination. My memory cards are always available; when I fill one up, I transfer the images to my PC and reformat. In a typical day’s shooting, I generally don’t run out of memory card space.
  4. Unless I send my negatives off to a specialized scanning service, I just can’t get the quality of scans that I desire from local developers and I don’t have the type of money to pick up a Nikon Coolscan for myself. The main reason that I would want to scan my film in the first place is to share it with people like you.
  5. Unless I send my film off to be developed, then that means having to make a special trip to the camera store to drop it off and then another trip to pick it up.
  6. If I rely on somebody else to develop your film, my prints may not come out like I want them. Doing my own film developing at home requires dedicated space, as well as special equipment and chemicals, which can get messy. I don’t have that type of space in my house and I don’t have an overwhelming desire to get involved in film developing on that level. OTOH, I can do many of the same things involved with film developing with my digital pics–dodging, burning, color adjustments, etc. with my computer, mouse, and Bamboo Fun tablet using Lightroom and PSE and I’m really enjoying the process of seeing what I can do with each image. As for printing, I generally rely on uploading and ordering prints from a printer like AdoramaPix, although eventually picking up my own photo-dedicated printer (think 9×13 print size) isn’t entirely out of the question.

Really, what it boils down to for me is convenience. With skill development (behind the camera) and practice, I can safely say that the results I’m getting from my DSLR are definitely on par with what I could do with a film camera.

If you feel the same way I do about digital, but would like to edit your images to mimic that film look, check out LifeInDigitalFilm. The author of this blog has developed LR and ACR presets that aim to emulate different types of film, both past and present. I have a good many of his LR presets and I use them pretty regularly when I’m editing in LR.

Yes–I am very thankful that DSLRs have become relatively affordable so that it is a lot easier for me and other people like you to experience the pleasure of photography. 🙂

Looking beyond the obvious

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fall photo workshop 09-1112

Originally uploaded by Heather’s Lightbox

This was one of the shots I got while I was at Lori Kincaid’s fall photography workshop last month. This post really isn’t so much about the picture itself as the experience involved in getting this picture to begin with.

Overall, the weather was not what any of us had anticipated. While we were expecting the cool temperatures, we weren’t expecting all of the rain and fog we got. At 4100 ft in the Pisgah National Forest, the fog did not lift all weekend–we did not get to see the spectacular view of the mountains from the back deck of our cabin at all. Believe me, it was most definitely a challenge to keep ourselves from getting too wet and muddy as well as keep our spirits up in spite of the fact that the weekend hadn’t turned out like we had hoped. In addition, I was also dealing with a head and chest “bug” that I had caught before I had left home.

Despite the cold and wet, we still made the best of it and managed to get some great shots like this one. I think most everybody else that I was with would agree with me in saying that in spite of everything, we were glad that we pushed ourselves past our normal limits and faced the challenges of the less-than-ideal weather we were presented with. After this experience, I can now say that I’ll be less likely to skip a photo opportunity simply because the weather isn’t ideal. As long as I and my gear are properly protected, I now know that I am capable of going out and shooting in almost any kind of weather. 🙂