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On Friday I attended a course on how to use my new camera. It was fairly basic stuff: aperture, ISO, shutter speeds, what each of the preset modes do, the pros and cons of each setting, what you lose when you maximise one element over another, and what you gain when you focus on one element over another.

The teacher was clearly passionate about photography, he had some amazing examples of photos that he had taken. I was really inspired by what he showed me, about the control that I can get from the camera and about how changing a particular setting will allow me to get different effects in the photo.

He showed us some tricks to get the camera to behave the way I want it to – he gave insight into the default ways the camera treats the light it can see, and how to manipulate that to get a better shot. The take home message was for shots when the sun/light is behind you and it’s a bright clear summer’s afternoon the camera will be able to perform very well without help from the photographer but for all other situations it may need some encouragement in the desired direction.

I also now understand what a RAW file is and why I want to store it. I will need to get some editing software, the teacher recommended Lightroom, I don’t know who many of you use it but I would be interested in your thoughts?

After the class I bought myself a polarising filter, an additional memory card, and a tripod. I really hadn’t planned to buy anything but as the teacher mentioned a couple of times, photography is not a cheap hobby.

I hope that now that I have spent some time learning the functions of the DSLR* I can start using it more like an SLR photographer and less like a point and shoot photographer. I’m sure the more I learn about photography the more I will want to learn. There is a more advanced class which included stuff like white balance and lens selection, I am very keen to do that course too but I feel like I should let this stuff sink in for a while first. Baby steps eh?

My passions have stirred, hopefully to achieve new and better levels of art; more like what I see in my head. Stay tuned for more photos!


*DSLR is Digital Single Lens Reflex camera for those who are not familiar with the term.