Photography: Film to Digital, Point and Shoot to Super Zoom

I may just be obsessed!

Even though I’ve always been one to take pictures, I’ve mostly done it for social reasons.  I’m the Documentress!  I document the parties, the tailgates, the trips.  Prior to having a digital camera (which I resisted!), I would shoot roll upon roll of film.  I came back from that 8 week trip out west (https://lifeonthebikeandotherfabthings.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/my-recipe-for-the-perfect-vacation/) with a gallon sized ziplock bag full of rolls of film.

Of course there were times that I shot an event and realized later that I did not have film in the camera.  Argh!  If for no other reason that that, buying a digital camera was beneficial!  Although as I write that, I remember that I’ve left the house with the camera in the bag and the SD card at home … in the laptop.

I upgraded to a digital “point and shoot” 5 years ago and happily photographed friends and scenery for years.  My little Canon PowerShot SD1000 went everywhere with me and even fit in my back pocket.  I have thousands of pictures downloaded on my lap top, and since suffering a hard drive crash a couple years ago and losing a year of photographs, saved on an external hard drive.  A year or so ago, I started to feel dissatisfied with my little camera and my ability to zoom.  I still wanted the ease of a point and shoot, but didn’t want to have to change lenses.   I wanted to shoot on the fly and from the saddle of my motorcycle.  My friend Tim, the man who knows everything about computers, all kinds of media, and especially cameras (he is an amazing photographer) encouraged me to look at a “superzoom”.

Canon PowerShot SD1000 

The superzooms, according to Digital Camera HQ, are also known as extended zooms, bridge cameras or mini-dSLRs (http://www.digitalcamera-hq.com/articles/superzooms-vs-dslrs-which-should-you-buy).  The dSLR is the digital single lens reflex camera that professionals use and allows for “much sharper and true to life images” than a point and shoot or superzoom camera.  But for me, a dSLR was too big, too expensive and too much for me at this point in my development as a photographer.  I wanted to be able to improve my shooting but also wanted to be able to carry the camera around all day with ease, wear it while riding the bike (with my” magic strap”, Gary), and still put it in my purse /saddlebag.

Enter the Canon SX40HS, a 12 Megapixel super-zoom camera with a 35x optical range, a birthday gift to myself. It’s more affordable than a dSLR, I can easily carry it in my saddle bag or in a very large purse, and using the amazing “magic strap”, can easily shoot from the stopped motorcycle.  It’s also light enough to carry around all day, which is what I did in Nashville (https://lifeonthebikeandotherfabthings.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/the-2012-bike-trip-tennessee-nashville/).

I love my new camera!  I took some time to read the  manual and I’ve already grown in my ability as a photographer.  Evidently though, I did not read the manual closely enough because I’ve already had to restore to default settings once and I’ve also called on Tim for help when all of a sudden I was stuck in a function I could not get out of.  I still don’t know near enough about aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and I’m on my third lens cap.

Canon SX40HS

I hear lots of good things about the pictures I take and while some have made the comment “your camera takes such good pictures” (hey, I’M the one taking the pictures), most people tell me I have a good eye.  Maybe so, but I find that my “eye” and my “skill level” are often not on the same page.  Taking 75 pictures to ultimately save 11, I understand (https://lifeonthebikeandotherfabthings.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/nothing-like-water-to-improve-the-mood/).  Not being able to figure out why a picture I worked fairly hard on did not turn out as expected is confusing.  This hobby takes practice, practice, practice … thank goodness I’m not buying rolls of film!!

So what about that “magic strap”?  It is the RS-7 Curve camera strap that Tim gave me as a birthday gift (to go along with my birthday camera).  Designed by Blackrapid (patent pending) the strap is worn across the chest and “when you’re ready to take the shot, the camera quickly glides up the strap into shooting position.  Just “Grab. Glide. Click.”  (http://www.blackrapid.com/product/camera-strap/rs-7/) I love it!  I can walk or ride all day and the camera sits on my hip or at the small of my back, hands free, but easily within reach for shooting at any time.

It earned the name “magic strap” when I was showing it off to friends in BTs (http://www.btsradford.com/) one night, so now that is what I call it too.

I’m all set!

So much to learn but I’m having fun while I’m at it.