I spent today on an intro to DSLR photography workshop in the ruins of an Abbey not too far from where I live, in an effort to be able to use the camera I cart around everywhere with me, (and use near enough every single day for one thing or another) without it being set to auto permanently.
I bought my camera for 2 reasons - it was pretty, and it wasn't bulky. A friend of mine had suggested it to me when I was looking for a decent DSLR that would take pretty decent photos and was aesthetically pleasing. I've had it for 2 years and although I've read the manual I've never had any idea how to do anything other than use the auto function, which works fine and I'm perfectly happy with for most of the time but all too often I see photos of quilts that are so amazing and I just wish I could get similar results.
Anyhoo. That was the aim of the day. Tom Poultney is a Leeds based photographer who runs all kinds of workshops. I had signed up for the basic of the basic workshop - 5 hours of running through everything the camera does that you will need for shooting outdoors. From aperture to using the flash outside (who'd have thunk it?) I wasn't really very excited about going, because it was cutting into valuable sewing time and it involved me being outside with people I'd never met, and I am a scaredy cat at the best of times outside my little community of quilty types (let's face it - we're all a bit odd, aren't we?)
I HAD SO MUCH FUN! I WANT TO GO BACK AND DO IT AGAIN! Needless to say everything I learned has fallen out of my ears in the way that it does if I don't write it down there and then, but hopefully if I have a play around next week I can figure out what I was told and maybe then I'll write it down so I remember (I'd meant to bring a notebook with me to makes notes - but I forgot).
This picture is the one that made me the most giddy - it was a lovely day, quite bright, but not ridiculously so and we used the flash to take portraits. I love how the grass is green, the sky is blue and the people all look human rather than weirdly vampire-ish.
I rely on picmonkey for my photos all of the time - to tighten up the colours and the exposure and so on, all of these (whilst hardly amazing pictures) are completely un-edited - they're just as they came off my camera. I'm pretty impressed. I still have a lot to learn, and I want to go back and learn more...maybe if I'm brave I'll bring a quilt with me to take some pictures of that and figure out how to make the most of photographing large bed coverings in public places (I bet he won't have been asked that question before).
edited to add - this is my camera. It's an olympus e-p2, which is not a compact, and not an SLR but something in between. I don't really understand what that means, but the flash is separate, the view finder is too, any extras for it are crazily expensive. Honestly I don't think I'll ever need much more than the one lens I have (maybe a second, maybe for close up stuff, maybe not). You can pick the E-P range up on amazon at a pretty good price these days. One thing I do love about it is that at quilt market everyone really struggles with their photos, and on auto I manage to get some pretty ok pics in that awful lighting and with the glare of the bright red carpet (always a hideous bright carpet. ALWAYS). And wherever I take it someone always asks what it is. Because it's pretty.
4 hours ago