05 December 2009

New Toy

Before I started this blog, I took a lot of photos. Most of them I took for the normal reasons, but there were a lot that I took so that I could paint them. When taking reference photos for painting, it’s the form and the colors and the light that are important; focus, depth of field, composition, etc are less important, because you can change all that when you paint the scene. Photography skills aren't very important. My camera stayed on "auto".

When I started this blog, I began to see the need for better photos. So I dusted off my old photography books and bought some new (i.e., digital) ones. I took the camera off “auto” and began to re-learn about f-stops and white balance and depth of field. I knew that one day I’d trade in my trusty 5-year-old Fuji bridge camera for a DSLR. First, though, I decided to learn all I could with the Fuji and to keep it till I had learned enough to need more than the Fuji could do.

Last week I decided that the time had come. I had done a lot of research, decided what I wanted, and VOILA!

It's a Nikon D90. I have to note that I’ve had a really hard time taking a good photo of it with the Fuji. I’m trying hard to ignore the nagging thought that the Fuji is jealous of the Nikon. My early training as a Psychologist is not serving me well here, I’m thinking.

Needless to say, I’ve spent all my free time snapping away, trying to learn how to transfer what I learned from the Fuji to the Nikon. LOL, it reminds me of when I was younger and got the chance to drive a Lambourghini from one side of town to another. I got in it, put it in gear, and popped the clutch. YOWZA! I was not prepared for that kind of power....

The Nikon is a little bit like that. It can do amazing things, if only I knew how. So I’ve been taking photos of everything in sight. I thought I’d share some of them with you. Kind of like vacation photos, but I never left home.

This is our friend Etienne. He’s a photographer who lives in Paris. He spent a day here with Dan taking photos. (Did I tell you that Dan is a sometime model? Maybe I didn’t.)

I spent some time with them, learning what I could from Etienne, who was very generous with his time and expertise. While he was taking photos of Dan, I was taking photos of him, playing with the settings on the new camera and trying to learn how to change them quickly to capture what I wanted. Needless to say, I’m having to upgrade my photoshop skills at the same time. My head is spinning. But in a good way.

Here are a few of the several hundred that I took. No, let me re-phrase that--here are the few that are presentable out of the several hundred that I took:

Here's Etienne looking at his camera--I love the expression in this one.

Here they're working on the terrace of an old chateau:

This is my favorite one of Etienne, directing a shot:

Finally, here’s my sweetie, looking pensive:

And here he is looking at me.


La Table De Nana said...

I thought your husband looked "debonair" in photos:) And he looks nice too!

Congratulations on the camera..and you paint?


The photos are so nice Kate..I'll be watching..

Meanwhile..Celebrate!!What fun..I think I love photography:)

Patty said...

Have fun with your new "toy"!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I've been thinking of getting a digital SLR to step up from my point and shoot. This may be the year. Thanks for doing the research.

Kate said...

Wow! What a cool new toy! You will really enjoy it. I know that since I have started blogging I have realized the need for a little up-grade! You are going to have so much fun playing and learning...lucky!

Barbara said...

Kate: I need a new camera too! So I read your post with interest. Keep us posted on your progress. (You can do the research and we'll reap the results!)

Jill said...

WOW!! What a fantastic new camera!! How exciting!! :) I can't wait to see all the pictures you take with it!

Carol at Serendipity said...

I have a Nikon and a smaller Leica. Love them both. I cut back on pictures a bit because I'm fearing that I have become a nuisance.

Have fun with your new toy.


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

I am soooooo envious Kate - I want want want a DSLR and that Nikon is on my list. Can't wait to follow your adventures with your new toy!

Sasha said...

Oh, I am so jealous! Enjoy the camera : D

zurin said...

Your husband looks so good in that dark hat n coat!! a model indeed !:)congrats on the new toy...not only is your fuji jealous but so am I :)

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I love Sean Connery....your husband looks like Sean Connery....and this is not a syllogism so I won't end on so i love your husband.

Congratulations on the know my diapers and milk plight but soon.....

Well done

Kitchen Butterfly said...

And I completely agree with ALL your comments on keeping your P&S and using it as training. You have to read just to see how alike we are. Please!

The Gypsy Chef said...

Congrats on your new toy Kate! You will master it in no time. I also upgraded my point and shoot to a Canon Rebel EOS XSI. I am taking a course this winter. Enough struggling!
Your husband is handsome indeed! You make a lovely couple. I agree with kitchbutterfly, he looks like Sean Connery! Pam

Maggie B said...

I recently got a new camera too but it's a more modest model that this baby!
Is your husband a model subject too, my DH hates having his photo taken!
Have a great week

food with style said...

what a great post, somehow i didn't see this one... you must have had a ball all playing with the camera, VERY FUN!

2 Stews said...

Wow Kate...congrats on the camera! When I upgraded to a DSLR it turned a page for me. I also used to take pics to paint from. That was before digital seems so retro now.

Love the pic of your husband...and may I "borrow" Etienne ;-))

Have fun with your camera...Diane

ParisMaddy said...

Your blog is wonderful! In my mind you picked a great camera but I am a faithful Nikon owner. I'm looking for a new digital so I'd love to hear how you get on with your D90. My daughter is headed to Europe right now with that same camera.

P.S. I wish you much and continued good luck with living in Europe. You are living my dream!

Junglefrog said...

Congratulations on your new Nikon Kate! I am sure you will have lots of fun with it! Ofcourse... being a canon user myself... why did you buy a nikon?? Just kidding ofcourse!!
I love the photos you took sofar and am looking forward to seeing more beauties!

Kathy said...

Etienne...Yeowzer!!!!! Excuse me while I fan myself! Lol...Your going to LOVE the new camera... My daughter has on and I think It has attached itself to her hip, she's never without it. Loves it by the way. The black and white husband shot is exceptional...congratulations on increasing your learning curve!!!!
xoxo~Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Kate at Serendipity said...

Monique, Dan IS pretty debonair. He looks elegant most of the time without trying. Not fair, I'm thinking, but then I'm the one who gets to look at him! What' s most important to me is that he's the kindest person I know. I love living with him. I love photography too! Yep, I paint too. My avatar is a self portrait I did a couple of years ago...

Patty, Thanks!

Linda, most of the sources I found recommended this one very highly. When I went to my local photo shop, he said the same things. I was sold.

Kate, isn't it awful how one thing leads to another? Next I'll need a new computer... (only joking)

Barbara, I'll keep you posted. So far I'm still trying to figure out how to get the white balance and the depth of field I want. It goes up to ISO 3200, though, so I haven't used a flash at all.

Jill, Mardi, Sasha thanks!

Carol, I know what you mean--sometimes I decide to just NOT take photos. Sometimes I want to experience something directly...!

Zurin, Dan's getting a big head from all the comments here!

Oz, your diapers are an investment in the future, don't forget. And the photos you posted recently are veryvery nice!

Pam, I'll be interested in whatever tips you pick up in your class. Sean Connery, eh?

Maggie, Dan LOVES to have his picture taken! He's always willing to be my model. I'm very lucky.

Jain, so far I've taken 500 photos. In two weeks. Now I have to process them...!

Diane, LOL, about Etienne. Next time you're in Paris... He speaks very good English, but of course with a French accent. 'Nuff said. Do you have a link to your paintings?

Maddy, thanks! I'll look forward to hearing about your daughter's experiences with it. Living in Europe was always our dream too. It's a very different life here, and we love it. If it's your dream I hope you get to do it too.

Simone, welcome back! I missed you.

Kate at Serendipity said...

Kathy, we cross-posted. I'm laughing at your fanning yourself. You're TOO funny! I'm enjoying the camera so far--I LOVE learning new stuff.

~~louise~~ said...

YOU actually drove a Lambourghini!!!! How cool.

Learning how to "play" with a camera; any camera, is absolutely one of the many tasks on my someday list. Perhaps, you won't mind if I too reap the benefits of your "in depth" research and glorious photos. Now, does that camera of yours do any more tricks? I would LOVE to see the results of both you and your husband in the same pic:) Thanks for sharing, Kate, It sure is GREAT to be back!!!

Hungry Dog said...

Have fun with your new toy--you've earned it!! And I agree with the other ladies...your husband is very handsome!

lostpastremembered said...

I found you through Gypsy Chef... great post! I've only been at this a month and realize that I must get a new camera! Pioneer Woman recommends the same model... and her pictures are spectacular (as are her generous lessons...and those of the white on rice couple!). I look forward to seeing the products of the new machine... handsome men are good!

Juliana said...

Nice toy...look forward to see your pictures :-)

Dorice Watercolours said...

A new toy, and a professional model to practice with. What could be better! Enjoy, Kate!

Claudia said...

Some girls are luckier than others, hum?

They just seem to find themselves surrounded by some very handsome boys, playing with some amazing new toy and serving everybody luxurious chocolate truffles (I refer to the ones from the other post...). We are here to envy you today, in a good way of course!!!!


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Kate, Neil just presented me with a Nikon D40 with a macro lens for my food photography. Certainly not as new as yours but a solid camera for my purposes. I have had it less than 24 hours and am in love! I don't even know how to use it properly. That's what Friday's plane ride will be for - reading the manual. Eventually I will get a telephoto zoom lens for photography other than food but for now I will be still bringing my amazing Lumix Point and Shoot with me as well. It has served me well and has awesome zoon. We can compare tricks on Dec 22!