Canon Practice

Last night I went to my first ever photography class to learn the basics of using my new Rebel T3i.  I find myself wanting to figure out how to approximate the feeling I had when I took pictures with my AE-1 film camera, so I’ve been experimenting with disabling automatic, computer-generated options.  It doesn’t always yield the best results, but I’m still learning.  I don’t want everything lighted evenly, nor do I want everything in sharp focus.  So, I’m learning how to tweak the white balance thingie and the depth of field.  It’s interesting that the viewfinder will not show you what the picture will look like, and the instructors knew that there was some way to view it, but they discouraged that, saying that the Canon representative hadn’t showed them how.  Well, I think I found something in Manual setting with Live View that approximates the final result.  But, hey, no film wasted, right?  Click and review.  So I’ve been fiddling around with it, using some of my favorite subjects.  Allow me to introduce them:

From my elephant collection

This guy was helpful with the monochrome, but he kept falling over on the bedspread.  He was an experiment in Manual Focus.

So I replaced him with a littler guy and worked on depth of field.

Then I pushed the ISO way up to see what kind of noise they’d make.

But this little guy just looks so special in his own portrait, all decked out like a museum jewel.

Anyway, I’m having a great time with my new toy.  The class was OK, but I didn’t appreciate the first 20 minutes where they tried to sell us on another truckload of accessories.  There is still so much I have to learn about the gizmos on the main piece of equipment!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend following your own bliss!  And honestly, don’t think you have to spend a nickel to do that.  At the end of a photo session, I put down my camera and marvel at the eyes I got for free.  






8 thoughts on “Canon Practice

  1. I don’t know if it’s any help, but I’d recommend picking a mode – A=Aperture – and sticking with that all the time until you become comfortable with what that does (exactly what would have happened with your AE-1). Then expand into the other modes. Personally, for the majority of my photography, I have my dslr on A all the time and have AWB selected for white balance.
    Set the aperture and the camera will take care of the shutter speed. I would also recommend you use a tripod with all still life work – it allows slow shutter speeds and therefore small apertures..
    If you don’t use a tripod and are using manual focussing, it’s sometimes difficult to focus, hold the camera, and compose, especially when working close to the subject – in these cases it’s worth considering getting an approximate focus and then gently swaying back and forth until the focus is accurate.
    If you’re doing a lot of still life, and are not using white light, it’s worth working through the manual white balance procedure, especially if you don’t have access to any image manipulation software.

    If all else fails, stick it on P, Autofocus, AWB and go back to enjoying your photography – I sometimes wonder if we make our photography more difficult than it needs to be, when today’s cameras are pretty clever things.

    • Thanks for the good advice, Stephen. It coincides with the instructor’s, but I couldn’t resist flipping to the back of the book, in a way, and trying out some of my other options. I do need to stick with something more consistent (and less time-consuming) on my travels next month!


      • I too find A very useful indeed.. especially for landscape when you want good depth of field right through the photo… I have never taken a class Scilla but really think it would help me to do so.. mine is all playing around and if I really like what I’m shooting I will take several versions with different settings. The problem with this is that you often end up with 3 or 4 equally good photos and then choosing is tough!
        I agree with Stephen about the tripod and this is especially true with close work.. if I can’t use one for some reason. I try to find a way of using whatever is already around ( wall etc) to steady my camera.
        whatever you do don’t get hung up about what setting and go with the joy 😀

      • Thanks for the tip; I think it’ll be mostly landscapes on my trip, so that’s good advice. And JOY is where I always want to go!


  2. I think you’re right. Playing and experimenting is the best way to get to know your camera, before you add dodads. The best thing about digital is that you can’t waste anything, you can shoot hundreds of different ways under different conditions and feel no waste guilt. Enjoy!

  3. I love the little eles! I collect little elephants like these and am now thinking it would be fun to photograph them… Sorry to be a copycat!

    As far as the pictures go, I think they look good! I have a Canon 60D and I am still always learning. My best advice is just keep taking pictures. Go out, take a walk, find the beauty in a wall or a pothole or dinner on your table. It’s a good way to figure out what you like to photograph and the more you like it, the more you will play around with it and become more skilled and versatile.

    Looking forward to more pics!

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