Sunday, June 8, 2008

New Gadget, Day One

The new camera has arrived -- a giant mass of buttons, dials, menus, and switches. I wasn't prepared for the size of this monster. If my old film SLR was a Honda Civic, this thing feels like a Suburban in my hand. Not as heavy as it looks, but bulky as can be.

I took it to a baseball game last night to began to get my feet wet learning the new gadget. Getting to capture a stadium with a fisheye lens was too much to resist. I have wanted a fisheye lens for more than 25 years -- I'm thrilled to finally have one in hand.

How did it go? Fair. I still have a lot to learn. I had read that on the "auto" settings this camera will overexpose shots -- I found that to be true. But if set on Aperture Priority it seemed to do much better. Many of my shots were blue, but who knows what light setting my camera is set on by default. I have yet to make it that far in the manual!

The telephoto performed better than I thought it would. I can't get over how fast the shutter release (80ms) and autofocus are. I was able to capture the ball still in fame after a hit. I never could have accomplished that with my pocket-sized point & shoot digital cameras.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I've missed "that person"

Anyone who has known me for a long while knows that I used to be an avid photographer. I never went anywhere without my trusty Minolta x-body camera in hand. I probably saw my friends more often through my viewfinder with my camera between us than without. I was "that person" -- the one never in the photos, but always taking them of everyone else.

Apparently, this trait is hereditary; my father was a similar shutter bug. As we were trying to pull together photos for his funeral service, it was almost comical how few photos he was in compared to the thousands of shots he had taken.

As film became less popular, and the world was going digital, I was just never quite ready to invest in a digital SLR. I stopped shooting film about seven years ago, and made do with an assortment of small digital cameras. On a sunny day in a pretty place, those small cameras could capture some decent images -- and I have been (occasionally) selling those shots over the past few years.

About a year ago, I took a trip to the southwest. I love, love, love the desert and hadn't been there in more than 10 years. The desert sun was more than the little cameras could take; my photos were overexposed, and the colors were just horrid. I knew I could capture stunning photos of the desert on film -- an earlier trip to Sedona had proven that -- but this trip was a photographic disaster.

Six months later: a return trip to New Mexico. More lousy photos. I resolved then to get myself a decent camera before I took another vacation.

Well, it's on its way. A mid-level digital SLR of my own. I look forward to being "that person" again.

Ahhh, Space

I recently splurged and added a "real" jeweler's bench to my work space. By "real" I mean the least expensive hardwood (no particle board) bench I could find. It seems surprisingly sturdy for the price, and it is nice to have the drawers and shelves within arm's reach as I work.
Yes, it looks clean now, but that's only because most of my tools are still packed up from a weekend workshop. Give it another couple days and it will be covered in more customary clutter.