Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Through a Different Lens: Introducing My Camera

I'm an admitted photo junkie. Take me to a restaurant with old photos on the wall, and the server has to hunt me down to take my order. I'm off gazing, in a reverie, at the images of days past, of what once was- a moment frozen in time. I'm hooked.
Many of my favorite memories are triggered by photographs that are burned into my brain.When I take my last breath, I imagine scenes from my life will pass in front of my eyes, in a rapid-fire slideshow of  moments I've captured through a lens- moments that have been taped to my locker, framed on the mantle, set as my screensavers and tucked inside my wallet.
Saw this gorgeous grasshopper this weekend. It's wonderful to really SEE him!
So I take pictures...countless pictures to help me remember to look twice at some of the moments I never want to forget.

The time had come. Enough of this point-and-shoot biz. With two lil' beauties who change so much every day, and my inner ar-teeeeeest beckoning, we decided it was time to take the plunge and invest in a snazzy SLR camera.
I think I'm asking for picture frames for Christmas this year.
Now, we're a frugal family and don't make major purchases without serious research. Fortunately, we have a camera-savvy buddy who owns a Nikon that takes SLAMMIN' pics. He guided us toward the Nikon D-5100. My husband found the best price at B&H Photo, we took the bait and, well---bliss. Just bliss.

So here she is. Ain't she purdy? Total bummer I couldn't use THIS camera to take pics of, um, THIS camera. It's almost painful for me to use anything else to shoot photos at this point.

She's so lovely.
But before you get too enamored, there are three, only three, downsides to owning one of these babies. 

1. Unless you're fortunate enough to make me jealous, the cost of a Nikon D-5100 is no joke. Don't get me wrong, it is undoubtedly worth every penny, but you probably shouldn't consider a camera like this unless you're serious about photography, about challenging yourself to experiment with settings and aperture, and about taking very good care of your things. This is not a camera for someone who is accident prone. I mean, we're dealing with a seriously impressive piece of equipment here, so it needs to be treated with care. No tossing it across the room so your buddy can take a quick shot of Justin Beiber, you know?

2. If you're used to using a small, portable, point-and-shoot camera or your cell phone's camera to capture your memories, you might have a hard time adjusting to a beast like this. This camera is divine, but it is heavy and bulky. I carry this beautiful baby with me whenever I feel a photo op is in the air, but it can definitely be cumbersome and awkward on long hikes or if I'm trying to multitask. Also, when I have the strap around my neck with the camera dangling around my belly, if I lean over and one of my kids or my beastly dog is in the way, well...momentum takes over and plows the cam into their heads. Ish. Remember to always keep your lens cap on when not shooting photos or you might end up with nose prints on the glass.
Our Beast-Dog, lookin' sharp.
3. You will NEVER be able to stomach using any other camera again. Every time you see something inspiring, you'll die a little inside if you don't have access to this equipment. 
Here you can see the lens the camera came with
Our Nikon D-5100 came with an adjustable AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5 lens, which is great if you're used to zooming in on your subjects. If I'm trying to shoot a far off bird's nest, for example, I'd use this lens. It's a perfect "standard" for the camera.
AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5 lens
But we learned about the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens and decided to up the ante. I'm so glad we did.
Camera with no lens. She's waiting for the 50mm. She's no fool. 
Shooting with this lens is SO. MUCH. FUN! There are countless effects I never knew were possible before I gained access to such an impressive mechanism. Right now, I am particularly enjoying the ability to experiment with aperture; you can really guide and control the focal point of each frame. Awesome!
AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G 

Nikon D-5100
Ready to go.
The controls are relatively easy to use, but of course, if you crave a camera like this, you should be willing to put in some time to learn about all it can do. I believe I will ALWAYS be learning about the possibilities now.
Easy to use the controls with a little practice
This sublime creation can also take HD video, so it's no problem switching back and forth from photo to video at birthday parties, sporting events or whatever wonder you wish to remember. It's also incredibly easy to save your data. I simply pop the memory card out of the camera and slip it right into my laptop. Boom. Pics are uploaded in an instant. Prepare yourselves though. You. Will. Take. A. LOT. Of. Photos. Make sure you have enough storage space available.
And what scintillating photographs you will take...
Who knew the flowers on our deck could be so intriguing!
Owning this camera will change the way you see the world. It has really made me appreciate the art that is in EVERYTHING.
This sneaky seagull was scoping out my daughter's pizza. Look at the curvature in that wing. Man.
Suddenly every expression stands out in the most inspiring way.

Because I use the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G for 95% of my shots, I had to get used to physically moving my body to get the frame I desired. I had been accustomed to using zoom to close in on focal points, but with a little practice, it's a smooth transition.
Check out THAT dude. Gads.
Seriously, it's hard to get a BAD shot with this camera.

Typically, when I'm snapping pics, I use the "no flash" setting or, if it's not too bright, I play with the aperture to create striking visual effect with a close subject. 
Now I'm a DOG person, but I love this shot, too. Notice how the background is blurred. Here, I was playing with the camera's aperture in the "A" setting on the control panel. 
If you love the art of photography and want to make the move to open yourself up to learning more about what SLR cameras can do, then start doing your research today. I'm kicking myself that I didn't invest in one of these cameras years ago.
This camera makes even my boring BREAKFAST look amazing! 
If you have any questions about this camera or these lenses...then shoot! Oh, don't you just love a good pun? Also, don't hesitate to put me on assignment. I'm inspired to learn more about this camera every day, and it's so refreshing to see the world through a different lens.

Happy shopping! Christmas is right around the corner. I hope you've been REALLY good…
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YES!!! I want one. I tend to lose push-and-shoots but this looks bulky enough that I won't be able to lose it. Thanks for sharing! - Summer