Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oh D70, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Or rather, for the past 3 years.

My senior year was, for me, a very discouraging year, photographically. I had, what I thought, a great photography professor, and yet my photo skills were not increasing. I've just started to realize that all of my frustrations have stemmed from one simple problem:

I never bothered to learn how to take my camera off of automatic and actually BE the photographer. I always relied on my automatic settings, never forcing myself to learn how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all go together. It made for a sad, bleak world.

But then the other night at work, at approximately 3 am when absolutely NOTHING was going on, I 'snuck' onto Pioneer Woman's photography site and read through her tutorials. They managed to teach the basics of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO without being too overwhelmingly technical, yet without sounding like she was teaching a 5 year old.

So tonight, after my eyes started twitching from staring at the computer screen for too long, I dug out my Nikon D70 digital SLR and spent a good hour just fiddling with the controls. Oh my heck, it's like a whole new world has opened to me. I remember playing with my dad's old film SLR (I can still smell the film scent, Lordy how I miss that...where the heck is that camera Dad?) and always working on manual with that one because, well, it was old. And there was no such thing as an automatic SLR back then. Right Dad? But since receiving my Nikon N75 (film SLR, not old, automatic w/ manual option), I became lazy.

But never again! The closest I will ever come to putting this camera on manual will be the Aperture or Shutter Priority, which allows you to manually select the aperture and then automatically selects the 'best' shutter speed, or vice versa. But here's the thing that I've just learned...not all cameras are prefect. My camera, for example, shoots dark. So when I look at the exposure meter inside my view finder and adjust my shutter speed to match the aperture, the exposure is dark. So I have to adjust a couple of shutter speeds slower. Whew.

Let's just say I'm hooked again.

A week ago Sunday, I was watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (a weakness of mine) and the "hero" they were building a house for was a lady who did photography of preemies. She would go into the NICU and capture a family's moments with their preemie baby or babies, often times being there to share the child's only hours on earth. That spoke to me, having been through the fright of premature babies, yet I immediately dismissed it, not wanting it to be yet another thing that I become passionate about and then fizzle on in a matter of months. Plus there's the minor problems of a) we don't live anywhere near a NICU at the moment and b) I didn't think I had the skills necessary to take photos in the sometimes very dim light present in a NICU or hospital room setting.

But now...maybe...if we move somewhere with a NICU someday. Maybe this could be my way of giving back. Who knows. I guess we'll see.


Big Poppa said...

Did you see the pics of Quintin and Speedy? It really is a gift to be able to step in at a time like that and give the gift of memory.

Lindy said...

Yeah, I did see them. That was another thing that touched my heart in, I bawled. Multiple times. What an amazing blessing. I heard so many parents on that show say, "I can look at these photos and know that my baby was real, that I held him/her in my arms." Photographs are just so powerful.