I took a few hours away from work and volunteer commitments this afternoon to celebrate my birthday with something that I love doing — going walkabout with my cameras.
It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer.
You can take great photos with a $100 point-and-shoot or a smartphone. You can take lousy photos with a $2,000 DSLR.
OK, before someone sporting a really nice DSLR gets into a huff here, relax, Paul’s Photo Tip 4, coming up in a few days, will be “It’s the Camera.” So the gear-obsessed need not fear, I’ll also argue the other side. There are good points for both.
But back to today’s premise that good photos can be taken with cheap gear.
Personal vision, creativity, skill, practice and more add up to great photos. I know folks who regularly post interesting photos to, say Facebook, that they take with their cell phones. And I mean truly creative shots.
To be honest, I’ve never shot a lot with any of my cell phones over the years, probably because 99% of the time I’m carrying a real camera, be it a pocket-size Elph, or a DSLR. But here are a couple of shots of Canada Place on the Vancouver waterfront taken with an Acer Liquid E (obsolete and no longer in use) back in 2011.
If you look at the history of photography, some of the pioneers took amazing, artistic photographs with very basic equipment, not much beyond a pinhole camera that a kid could make with a cardboard box.
Today we’ve gotten used to auto-everything cameras that produce decent shots most of the time without much thought on our part. But how many of those shots are great ones? Photos that you’d want to enlarge and put on the wall and live with them day after day? (Sorry, your baby or other family members don’t count : -).
The bottom line is, use whatever you have as best you can. Don’t wait until you have a “good” camera. That sort of attitude may have you sitting on the sidelines for a long time.
Think of it this way — how many blues guitar greats have you heard of who went out at the age of 12 and bought a $3,000 Gibson, practiced hard, and made it to the top? Yeah, right, none. They went to a pawn shop and for $25 they bought some beat up axe with an action so bad they could barely squeeze a chord out — and they played the hell out of it.
Go for it, with whatever you’ve got.
Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby was running milky today. All drains on streets and parking lots lead to local creeks!
I don’t know what the substance was, but local streamkeeper volunteers first shared the info just after 1:00 pm today, and as I walked the creek from 2:30 to 3:30 it was still running milky.
City of Burnaby staff were out trying to track the source through the storm system.
This is the second such event in a week! Last week the creek was running silty brown from what appeared to be construction-site silt.
Here are some shots of today’s event:
Learn Your Camera – Read the Manual
This is obvious to me, but it seems few people read manuals for anything.
Do you know what every button on your camera does? What all those menu items are?
I strongly encourage folks to read their manuals, and follow along and practice changing settings on the camera. Don’t worry that you may “screw something up.” More than likely there’s a single menu item to return everything to default settings.
Manufacturers put hours and hours into developing manuals. I occasionally get work editing manuals translated from, say, Japanese to English (I’m a freelance editor with some connections in Japan). I know how thorough and detailed the process is for developing manuals that are accurate, readable, and understandable.
I try to skim my camera manuals every year or two, and always find stuff I’ve forgotten, or have never tried. You might be surprised by features available on your camera that you may have not known existed! I keep the manuals out in a prominent spot in a bookshelf in my office, and delve into them from time to time.
If you find the manufacturer’s manual dry, publishers like RockyNook offer books on how to use, and get the most out of, popular camera models.
Of course digital cameras also come with software, and that software also has a manual. Yes, I’m going to advise reading that manual, too!
But I’m not going to get into the software side now.
Have fun reading!
What? You threw out your manual?
Go to your camera maker’s website and download it (they’re nearly always free to download even if you haven’t registered your camera).
Somebody was being naughty today, allowing sediment to flow into Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby.
Vigilant streamkeepers reported the ugly looking and potentially fish-killing pollution to the City of Burnaby. Thanks to the volunteers who keep “eyes on the creek” and immediately notify the City of any problems. And thanks to City staff who responded quickly.
It was obvious which storm pipe the sediment came from, as can be seen in the photos below.
If you were a fish, amphibian, aquatic insect, or any other animal, do you think you’d like to be swimming in that?
I was asked to be the event photographer for yesterday’s Edmonds City Fair & Car Show in SE Burnaby. It was a great event, with lots of activities for all ages. While it drizzled intermittently, with a real soaking for the last half hour or so, people had lots of fun, and stuck it out to the end with great spirit.
I focused on people and not so much the vehicles on display. You can view my Flickr album here.
I took a break from the din of the multiple commercial fans drying out the water damage in our townhouse, and headed down to Elgin Heritage Park. It’s one of my favourite places to photograph birds.