Learning Photography is Challenging but Very Satisfying!

I’ve had my Nikon D7000 for close to two months now, and I am no longer fumbling with it as I was when I first got it.  Main progress so far has been as follows:  I can easily put the camera into manual mode and get pleasing, properly exposed photos using adjustments to aperture & shutter speed at a given ISO setting.  It’s kind of neat to see my meter in my viewfinder, sometimes a little over or sometimes a little under exposure, and have my fingers know how to correct for it without taking the camera away from my face to see what I’m doing.   It’s nice because I’ve read and heard that many photographers — at least beginners — are very reluctant to use their camera in manual mode because it seems to be more difficult… so I’m happy about that!

The list of what I have to learn however is far longer than the list of what I have.  Although I am growing more comfortable with using the camera in manual mode, I’m clueless about so many other aspects.  For instance,  I’ve read that when the subject is moving quickly, the camera ought to be in Shutter Priority Mode, so the user can control the shutter speed to capture action while the camera takes care of the aperture automatically.  Fine.  But when I do, I get that ‘Brain Freeze’ when I need to be shooting and thinking quickly.  My mind stops and thinks, “OK, shutter speed… what shall I dial in for that?”  Meanwhile, shots are being missed by the score.  Same for Aperture Priority.  This is what makes me such a green recruit in the world of photography…. I have no grasp of what to do in situations which are moving quickly.  While seasoned photographers are clicking away, I’m staring at the buttons on my camera like a deer caught in the headlamps of a car.  If the event is important (say, a FIRST Robotics Competition) I throw the camera into fully automatic mode and click away… and look to all the world like a Pro, but I know I’m not.

I know that only practice and time will make the brain freeze go away.  The list of what I have to learn is so long, but I know the best approach is to have reasonable expectations of myself and what can be done in a given time frame.  In the very short run, I plan to tackle an item or two at a time because I think I will retain more that way.  In the very long run, I hope to look back on it all and say, “When I first got my camera I had no clue about how to begin… but now it’s no longer mystical… it’s simply a tool I’ve learned how to use to get what I want for my photos.”  

I purchased my camera because I need nice photos for my Places At Niagara project… that’s why I have it.  The Icing On the Cake is that I can learn how to use it for photography in general when I am not at Niagara Falls.  Of all the things I can do in this world, photography is really cool for me…. that’s what I think.  After all these years, I finally own a Nikon camera and can scarcely believe it.   When I hold it in my hands, I cannot believe the potential for what I can do… once I learn how!  Everything I want to do that’s beautiful in the world of megapixels is contained in that camera I now own.  Despite the inevitable frustrations which come with learning something new, I am truly loving it…  every step of the way!

As an update about my Niagara Falls project, my Free Trial period has expired on my website over at Squarespace.  I’ve paid my money and now I am officially committed to building a new and better Places At Niagara!  You can see what I’ve done so far (nothing to brag about, only one incomplete page as I write this) over at www.placesatniagara.squarespace.com    Like my photography, my list of what needs to be done is far longer than my list of what I have done so far… but in time it will be a jewel on the internet… I promise!

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~ by Greg Nold on May 14, 2011.

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