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A simple question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RvUsa, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. RvUsa


    Feb 15, 2008
    Darlington, Pa
    I absolutely love this place, but I sort of feel like I have been thrown in the deep end of the pool, and I can't swim well.

    Is there anything you guys could say or suggest to me to help me start to tread water? I have read tons of threads, and have a list of books to get as soon as I can. But is there a "kiddie" pool for Dslr's anywhere?

    Thanks guys, you all are so inspiring to me. I spend hours reading posts, and visiting your links to your sites. Thanks
  2. What exactly do you want to do? I mean, I am into bird photography and hardly ever look at landscapes, wanderlust and other forums.

    Do you own a Nikon? Which one? There are subforums for different Nikon cameras. Same with Apple and PCs.

    You can start by asking questions in the appropriate area - or just keep replying here as long as people answer. Some threads die, while others go on and on.
  3. Agreed, some more info on your interests, goals, and equipment help us with regards to guiding you in a direction.

    God Bless,
  4. rodneyr

    rodneyr Guest

    I feel your pain John. I recommend you start by gaining an understanding of exposure: how ISO, shutter speed, and aperture work together. That alone is a big jump for most folks. Read a bit on composition. Then as you are feeling your way along, post images for comment and ask specific questions on topics you need help on. Reading is great and helps, but there is no substitute for getting out there and using your camera. There is a classic "teddy bear" study that you can do related to depth of field. That might be a fun starting place. Good luck!
  5. ......what Allan said. Give a sense of what you looking for (specifics are best) and you'll get some suggestions.
  6. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    Allan makes two very valid points, what have you done so far and what do you want to acheieve?

    Like any other skill the best photography requires a great deal of experience and learning, hanging around here is certainly a good way to learn and see how others are progressing. However on the personal front there is no subsitute for actually getting out and shooting with your camera.
  7. RvUsa


    Feb 15, 2008
    Darlington, Pa
    Oops, sorry, I should have been more specific. I updated my siggy with my camera info as a start.

    I was into photography when I was younger, but drifted away for a while. I have owned a couple of older SLR's, and did have some classes in school, that's it for training.

    I am partially handicapped, I have severe osteoarthritis in my ankles, knees and hips, so my possibilities are a little limited due to mobility. But I love being outside, and taking pictures of landscapes, and architecture. I would also love to some day take portraits of family and friends etc. In this area, if you don't want you kids picture taken at walmart, you don't have a whole lot of choices. LOL

    So in general, I really just want to be better at taking pictures. I got the D60 for my 40th birthday last week, and have only been able to get out 1 time so far, and I was kinda disappointed with the results. But I was only using the presets on the camera and not getting to in depth.

    Thanks for you help, I really appreciate it.
  8. I think the place to start would be in the Nikon DSLR section of the Lighting and Flash, Cameras and gear section.
  9. One other spot that I obtained some useful pointers is www.bythom.com, specifically here: http://www.bythom.com/gettingbetter.htm
    This may generally go to your question.

    You mentioned you were disappointed in your results in your last outing.......why? Was it the image quality--so sharpness, contrast etc, or composition?

  10. If you have had some time behind the lens, some things will come back to you. It is like riding a bike. With time and practice, it will all come back. So here is where I'd start. Use the Aperture or Shutter (A or S) on your camera. The program mode is good but to fully start understanding what is going on, have a choice what you want to do. Otherwise, on the "P", the camera is deciding for you what is best. The books:
    Bryan Peterson - Understanding Exposure (revised edition)
    John Shaw's - Nature Photography and Landscape Photography

    should help your understanding of exposure, light, composition and seeing your subject. Like I wrote in the PM, practice as much as you can. Also, don't get trapped in the "I need a better lens/camera to get the shot". Master the camera and lens you have and allow your interests help dictate where you need to go for new equipment. You currently have an excellent body. Learn to work with the limitations of the kit lens and go from there. I hope this is a help for now. If you have any questions, ask by all means. We are all here to help.

    God Bless,
  11. RvUsa


    Feb 15, 2008
    Darlington, Pa
    Ted, it was pretty much all of the above.... LOL. I really need to just get out and practice practice practice.

    Thanks to everyone else for your suggestions, I will start checking out all this cool stuff right now. ;) 
  12. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Another good place to look is in the Galleries - look at pictures that are of subjects you would also like to shoot. Many times the photographers there will discuss HOW they got certain pictures. And of course, it's very inspiring to look at well made photos, and instructive to look at ones that have flaws.

  13. John,

    I'm not sure this is appropriate but this thread reads like you need a bit of encouragement.

    One step at a time or in your case, I shot at a time. The beauty of digital photography is no film or development time or expense. With the camera monitor, there's instant gratification.

    Get out and shoot, shoot, shoot. Don't be afraid, don't be embarrassed. Just do it baby!!

    Experiment with different settings, locales, subjects, & lighting conditions. For now, save everything you shoot.

    Do you have access to a computer to do Post Processing (PP)? Download the digital images and review them and look at the exif data. Practice simple processing, if it does not work, don't save the changes and start over. Start comparing exposure (ISO, SS, f-stop) and focus settings for the situation. Then go out again and try to improve from there.

    Once you get to this point, there are many here that can give you plenty of constructive, helpful & friendly advice to improve your shooting and PP technique. I've learned quite a bit my short time being a member of Nikon Cafe.

    Good luck and I look forward to your future postings...:smile:
  14. LAW2


    Oct 24, 2006
    Sounds as if getting out and shooting may be harder for you than others. May I recommend a series of drills or assignments in your home to practice? If you have a willing model thats great if not find a doll, teddy bear (with glass eyes) or something that has shape and shows reflections. Experiment with that object by a window.

    1. See how the light falls and where the shadows come in.
    2. Determine how differnt positions change your POV and lighting.
    3. Move the subject closer and further to you and to the light.
    4. Play around with your exposure settings.
    5. Wider apeture, smaller apeture, faster shutter and then slower and ISO.
    6. Play with depths of field (DOF) when experimenting with Apeture.
    7. Freeze water from the tap with a fast shutter or make it creamy soft with a slow SS.

    I still do stuff like this in house. I also find that the limited subject matter allows you to concentrate and set up compositions.
    Please share your samples we are all here to help.
  15. leahp26


    Apr 28, 2008
    Southern NH
    Hi John
    Don't let yourself get disheartened! I remember my first week with my new DSLR - I took the WORST pictures I have ever seen! And then I was thinking - wow, I should have just stuck to a point and shoot! I still have a loooooooong way to go but I can see an improvement after a few months.

    It sounds like you can't get out as much as you would like but maybe you can shoot inside using natural light (from north facing window especially!) - maybe challenge yourself to take at least 10 photos a day and then look through them to see which is your favourite and then try to figure out why.

    I read a BUNCH of books (and would say +1 for "Understanding Exposure") but the theory can get pretty confusing. It wasn't until I realised that all my blurry shots had shutter speeds of 1/20 or 1/8 that I started to understand some of the concepts.

    Same for aperture -

    But it sounds like you have some photography history so I'm sure it will all come back to you. MOst of all - remember that it's fun right?!

    I have learnt SO much from the cafe members. My interest is more in people/portraits so at first I just stuck to those galleries. Then I started to branch out into the flash forums when I got into off-camera flash. Don't feel you have to visit and read EVERY area.

    Good luck!
  16. Cima2oo7


    Aug 11, 2007
    Mountain Home, ID
    Try switching your camera out of the Auto modes and start expiramenting with M (full manual) A (Apeture priority) and S (Shutter priority). The A and S modes allow you to set the apeture and the camera will set the shutter speed (for A) and vice versa for S. This allows you to see how one affects the other. If you are doing longer exposure, a tripod is a must and will make the images much less blurry.
    I hope this helps!
  17. RvUsa


    Feb 15, 2008
    Darlington, Pa
    Wow, you guys are awesome! I am reading all this and trying to remember it all!!! I think I will make a cheat sheet.

    I sent my wife to the library for me with a list, I can't wait till she gets back to see what they had!!

    I am going to try a few of the exercises in the house, and post the results here.

    Thanks again.
  18. me too

    John, I'm right there in the kiddy pool with you. I want to shoot great photos of the grand kids, I want to learn manual and maybe even raw. Lighting exposure and compostion are hard enough but now I have to learn to use the buttons on the stange new camera. I did find "D40 for Dummies", its an easy read and so far has been very helpful. Other than that, I hope you don't mind me horning in on all the advice from the previous posters :) 
  19. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    I have not read all the responses...so I'll ask this question. What type of photography do you want to shoot?
  20. Shoot shoot shoot, if you have books, then try and duplicate some shots from the books, surely there is info included on how the image was made.
    If you have a mobility problem, then indoor micro and a light tent may be the way to go, a lot of fun can be had, and creativity stretched with these. I have some pics of a takedown PVC $15 light tent if you would like them.
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