Overcoming Camera Shyness

Gordon_at_PetraI’m camera shy. Not the kind where I don’t like to be in photos. (Have you seen my web site?! I’m an A-#1 Ham.)

I’m talking about operating a camera. In my mind, it’s just this side of techy. Ugh. I mean, I was still using a throw away camera 2 years ago.

Before my Trans-Siberian trip, I upgraded to the Canon Cyber-Shot. Just your basic point and shoot, but I love it. But it’s time to upgrade again.  

See, I have this great opportunity. A friend of mine is a photo editor and nationally renowned photographer for National Geographic.

And she’s going to give me an afternoon of free advice. (We’re swapping lunch for lessons because the 3-day $1,400 workshop she’s hosting is sold-out 4 months in advance.) Correction: She’s a very good friend of mine.

Camera Basics

So I figure, if I’m going to learn from the best, I should use the best equipment. Hence, my foray into the world of grown-up cameras. Here’s some of what I found out:

•  Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex):  SLR uses a mirror positioned behind the camera lens to direct light toward the viewfinder, using a prism so the image flips and you view it right-side up. Um, OK. I’m told this is very important.

•  Image Stabilization: A mechanism in the lens detects and counteracts camera shake, reducing blur in handheld shots at slower shutter speeds. Right, I get this.

•  Ultrasonic Focusing: Virtually silent motors provide the best focusing speed and responsiveness. I trust this is true.

•  Apochromatic Correction: Special–and expensive–glass is used in one or several of the lens to improve image sharpness and color bleed. All for it!

Cameras to Buy

That’s more than enough of that. I’m fairly confused now, so I just go to CNET’s review to narrow my focus to 2 models. Have an opinion? Write in and share it with me!

Option A: Nikon D90: First-rate performance; solid, well-constructed body with nice viewfinder; video capture capability; great photo quality.

Option B: Canon EOS 7D: Very fast; excellent photo quality; flexible autofocus system; big, bright viewfinder; streamlined interface; adds wireless flash control.


And here’s what I’m going to do with all new-found knowledge. On my next trip, I’m going to volunteer with PhotoPhilanthropy, a nonprofit organization that promotes and connects photographers with non-profit organizations around the world to tell the stories that drive action for social change. Cool, huh?!

They work with 197 non-profits representing 67 countries, and you can be an amateur or a professional photographer. Be sure and check out their site – the photos are gorgeous! If only I could take one photo as good as these…

I’m inspired to not only fork over the dough, but to pay attention and learn how to use the darn thing correctly — Let the lesson begin!

This entry was posted on Monday, September 13th, 2010 and is filed under On the Road.

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