Digital Photography Blasphemy

I know this is going to sound like blasphemy to many digital photography fans out there (and to gadget geeks in general), but I have to say – it is very handy to have a no-frills point & shoot digital camera around sometimes.

Before you dismember me, let me explain.

First off, let me say I love my big camera – my Canon PowerShot S3 IS – and I love playing with it and taking photos with it. But the fact is, it’s… well, big! Carrying around all that stuff (the “kit”) can be a bit of a pain sometimes.

As an example, I was in New York City this weekend, just walking around, looking for some interesting places to eat. I could have lugged my camera bag with me – but I wasn’t intending to take photos, I just wanted to have a camera handy in case something interesting showed up. (I could use a camera phone, but I have one of the early RAZR phones with the less-than-one-megapixel crappy cameras, so I’m out of luck there.)

As a compromise, I took along my old semi-broken Fuji Finepix A330. It is semi-broken in the fact that the up/down switch is broken – you can only scroll up. So you can’t change modes (from say, automatic to “portrait” or anything else) – unless you’re willing to STAY in that mode for the rest of the time you use the camera. (Unfortunately, the menu doesn’t “wrap around.”)

Still, it works for taking pictures, I just leave it in “auto” mode all the time. And it’s small enough to fit in a pocket, unlike my Canon.

It may not be much of a revelation – I’m sure I’m not the first one to note this. But it was a bit of an epiphany to me – the fact that I do not, in fact, have to lug my big camera bag around with me whenever I want to take photos. A small camera, at times, is often “good enough.”

More on Photography

Just 2 quick little tips on digital photography: using the self-timer, and the photo-management software “Picasa.”

So just the other night, I was watching the Discovery Science Channel, and there was a show on about Digital Photography! Although aimed at real “beginners,” there was one very useful tip that I gleaned from it: when taking long exposures (i.e. at night), use the self-timer button so that you don’t get any camera shake from your hand pushing the shutter release. A very useful tip, especially since my camera doesn’t even have the option for a remote shutter button.

Another useful bit of information I gleaned from this show was about Picasa. I had heard of it long ago, but hadn’t found it to be very good at the time, and had subsequently ignored it. Apparently, however, they were bought out by Google and the tool has since become very, very good. I’m now using it to import & manage all of my photos, and it does it a fair sight better than the crappy tools that typically come with a digital camera (and half the time they don’t work anyway).

I’m also finding that the Flickr community it quite vibrant, and I must say – there are a lot of good photographers out there, taking lots of really good photos! I hope to someday be able to count myself among those people. 😉

There’s just so much that can be done once you have a good camera and some time to devote to it… I can’t tell you how excited I am! Just the fact that I have a photo gallery sidebar-thing makes me just ever so happy.

Onwards, digital photography!

Digital Photography Tips from John’s Adventures

From the very same person who brought us that wonderful, simple, elegant John’s Background Switcher comes John’s Photography Tips. Let me just say, these are good tips.

From the very same person who brought us that wonderful, simple, elegant John’s Background Switcher comes John’s Photography Tips. Let me just say, these are good tips. Example:

“As I mentioned when I talked about ND Grad Filters, the human eye can capture huge differences in brightness from the reflection of the sun on a rain-soaked road to the darkness of the ground under the shadow of a tree – and all at the same time. A camera is nowhere near as good, only being able to resolve a few stops of light (remember that a one-stop increase in exposure equates to double the amount of light, so 2 stops is 4 times the light, 3 stops is 8 times and so on). This means that the brightest and darkest things in your picture don’t want to be more than a few stops apart. “

I don’t know about you, but that explains a lot to me about why my photos never seemed to come out quite right, and why they almost never come out the way I see them myself.

Trust me on this one, it’s a great guide, and I highly recommend you read it if you have any interest at all in exploring digital photography (even if you aren’t using a Digital SLR camera, like he is).

Mastering Wide-Angle

A most interesting discussion on wide-angle photography. Not that my camera has any capability to do such things, but still…

Mastering Wide-Angle

A most interesting discussion on wide-angle photography. Not that my camera has any capability to do such things, but still…