For better “and” worse, we live in an era of high technology … a distinction of fleeting permanence if Moore’s Law has anything to say about it. As a result, advances in camera technology have revolutionized man’s ability to record and propagate images, a consequential nuisance to law enforcement and delight to new parents.
Any, I repeat, any “available” camera is worth its weight in gold when you want to capture a special moment, giving cell phone cameras a special place in today’s world. Likewise, inexpensive pocket cameras produce excellent photographs. On the other hand, a serious hobbyist, semi-pro, or professional photographer will easily spend $1500 on a camera body plus $1500 on a lens, and barely blink an eye. Have you ever considered why?
The answer is … because with training, you can get pictures with an “expensive” camera that are impossible to get with a convenience camera. Expensive cameras also have an AUTO setting. But in the hands of a trained photographer, they can produce jaw-dropping results and a personal joy from knowing one has created something special and uniquely beautiful.
So how does one get such training? Start by searching YOUTUBE. You will find tutorials on everything, including camera theory, composition, lighting, lens characteristics, equipment recommendations … you name it. Second, borrow or purchase a modest SLR (Single-Lens Reflex) and begin taking lots of pictures under various conditions. You’ll soon begin to understand the challenges and discover ways to overcome them on your way to getting those perfect shots. Third, take a lesson from the pro’s. Dan Evans, for example, is the Sentinel’s chief photographer. Notice how he makes good use of wide angle lenses. The next time you pick up a magazine, study the pictures. Look for how the photographer is telling a story. Look for how he (she) positioned himself, where the light was coming from, and try to guess what camera settings he may have used.
When you’re ready to purchase a better camera, you’ll know it. But remember, it’s really not the camera that gets the shot. Within its limits, a thoughtful photographer will get outstanding results from any camera. It’s just so much more fun and rewarding to have the right equipment and the skills to make them work for you. Last Saturday I spent the morning with my granddaughter. She asked me to take her senior photos. It was truly a JOY!
by Keith Colgan
Keith Colgan Photography