Friday, July 31, 2015

Update On The New Camera

It's been around three months now since I decided to pursue this new hobby, and I have to say things have been progressing rather nicely in terms of my education on the basic points of digital SLR photography. You may recall back in April I bought myself a used entry-level camera--the Canon "Rebel" T5i, to be precise, with 18-55mm IS STM lens--for the purpose of teaching myself how to take better photos.

And it's been a whirlwind of discovery ever since! I've attended a couple of 3-hour entry level courses offered by Canon themselves, but for the most part I've been practicing all on my own, reading everything I can get my hands on and watching just about as many Youtube videos on various photo taking techniques as my brain can handle without melting. It's been crazy!

But slowly I feel that I'm starting to get the hang of things. Around 2 weeks after starting to use my DSLR cam, I switched from automatic settings to using semi-manual controls--what Canon calls its "Creative Zone." Around one week after that, I forced myself to venture into full manual mode, supposedly as the professionals do. Although, to be honest, I find that my favorite mode to sit on is "Aperture Priority," which allows you to fiddle with the lens opening on the fly, but lets the camera handle the shutter speed. I still manually select the light sensor sensitivity, though--aka, the ISO. I've been told to go ahead and leave that on auto, too, but I sometimes like to leave the sensitivity low even when there is not a lot of ambient light around. For artistic reasons and, frankly, because, the look this achieves is just my personal taste.

And, I actually had my first taste at being a photographer-in-demand, too! First, by shooting my best friend's student film in the capacity of "set photographer," which was a damn lot of fun! And secondly, being hired by a couple of local up-and-coming actors to shoot a portfolio of professional looking headshots for them. What I learned on both assignments HUGELY added to my skill set as a wannabe photographer. Especially when it comes to ambient light control and post-editing software. Yowsers!!!

You know what, though? I bet most of you reading this don't care a snot for all that techno mumbo-jumbo and what-not. You want to see some proof in the pudding, I'm guessing. Well I'm a little nervous about sharing these because, you see, I'm my own worst critic ... and also because I happen to be able to see all the mistakes I've made in these photos. Not one of them is "perfect" per se, nor even close to it. However, I guess you can say that this represents my 3 months so far trying to fake taking photos like a somewhat pro. In essence, the photos below are my favorites.

My own personal portfolio, if you will:

As per usual, feel free to click on the images to view larger versions.

And for those wondering, the two human people in the midst of all these landscape shots (can you tell I'm not a people person?) are my sweetheart, the lovely Cin---whom you might have seen hanging around in the comments section here on this blog---and, of course, a self portrait of moi thrown in there for good measure. I had just purchased a tripod and manual shutter release cord that day, and decided to test it out by taking an unnecessarily elaborate selfie!


  1. Good work, David! I like the way the bridge is framed between the buildings, and those night shots came out well, especially the reflections of lights on the water.

  2. I'm enjoying your pictures on FB! So glad for this new found hobby of yours. Perhaps it can turn into a new career? Hmmm? I think you have a knack for it and no, I'm not just saying it because you are so dear to me, but because I know talent when I see it.

  3. Wow David those are beautiful. My two favs are the bridge shot between the two buildings and the flower baskets. . .oh, not counting you and Cin of course ;D

  4. Ian--The bridge framed between the buildings is my favorite shot of them all. I took that while in a part of Brooklyn known as "DUMBO" -- which stands for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass." So, yup, you guessed it ... that's the Manhattan Bridge there in the backdrop. In the same area is where I also took the two shots--day and night--of the more famous of the bridges, the Brooklyn Bridge. The reflections on the water for the night shot was achieved with a tripod and an extremely long shutter exposure, 15 seconds.

    Yvonne--Aw, thanks so much! As always, you are too nice. :) I'm not so sure about making this a career, and yet at the same time I do want to cultivate a high level of skill in this area. And if I achieve it, might as well get paid, too. But who knows. I'm not thrilled about the idea of shooting weddings and family portraits, but I *do* want to learn how to shoot the best wedding photos and portraits possible, if that makes sense. Haha!

    Kim--Thanks! The flower baskets was the first "good" shot I took after switching from Auto mode on the camera to the more professional settings. So for me this was a big WIN that I was able to pull off such a nice, almost magazine-like photo. That shot means a lot to me, if for no other reason than it has bold coloring and a really nice "bokeh" effect (background blurring) that is so the rage in photography. Glad you liked them!


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