Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Camera Basics: Practice makes perfect, even with photography

If you want to progress with your photography, you must set aside time to use your camera and create
images.  In order to get better, you must practice, practice, practice.  Practice will allow you to better understand your equipment.  In the case of photography you will learn the limitations and capabilities of your camera, flash, tripod and with digital cameras, your photo editing software.  Once you learn the laws governing your equipment it will free your thoughts to be creative.  Learn the rules and forget them, your operation of the camera will become instinctive.  That will only happen through practice, because practice makes perfect.

Start with your camera.  Digital cameras are so complex you need to experiment with your camera and learn every aspect of its functions.  First read the instruction manual.  Read with camera in hand.  Stop after each paragraph and turn the dial, push the buttons and begin to become familiar with using our camera.

Begin with the seemingly simple tasks.  What source of power does the camera use?  Does it use a battery pack, disposable batteries, or is it rechargeable using a power cord?  Where is the battery compartment and door?  Charge the batteries for the recommended time and place the batteries/pack into the camera.

What type memory media does you camera use, CF, SD, SDHC...?  Where is the slot for the media?  How do you insert the card, extract the card?  How do you reformat the card?  Are you using the optimum media card for your camera for the way you use your camera?  Is a class 10 card enough or do you need a card with 30MB/s or maybe a 45 MB/s write rate?

This is only the beginning the simple tasks!  Take it one step at a time.  One step towards being comfortable using your camera.  One step towards using it instinctively.

Once you have a charged battery and a reformatted media card is in the camera, go capture some images with your camera.  For me, the most rewarding process in photography was in the darkroom watching the latent image appear on the surface of photo paper, just under the surface of the developer.  Once you see your image you will be rewarded and the learning process continues.

There is much more to learn about your camera, that will be followed by your other equipment.  Learning to become a better photographer will be a long journey.  As Lao-tzu (c 604-531 BC) said so many years ago, "A journey of a thousand miles began with a single step."   There is also an old English proverb, You must crawl before you walk.  So, start your journey by crawling then take your first step.  Please remember that practice makes perfect, even in photography.  Go forth and practice.


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