read the {manual}...

When I first opened my upgraded camera equipment in early December 2009, I was excited, overwhelmed and completely thankful. I had truly outgrown my last camera body and was ready to plunge in and get to know the ins and outs of something new. Switching from Nikon to Canon was a bit trickier than I imagined. The camera was much heavier and the controls were in different spots. But, I wasn't worried because I still had a full month to learn it all before our firstborn's scheduled arrival. In that month I would have Christmas and two weeks of maternity leave to practice and work through the manual.

All the time in the world! (the universe laughs)

George had other plans and arrived early. Before Christmas. Before maternity leave. Before I had taken even ten test shots. Before I had figured out how to change the focal point, resulting in many out of focus hospital shots.

In the beginning, my favored lens was the Tamron 28-75, until I put on the 50mm. And with the first snap, I was a goner. Sharp, fast, dreamy. Loved. Still love. Perfect for my captive subject inside our home and wherever else we went.

Then, George started moving. Who gave him permission to do that anyway? I put the Tamron back on my camera, after a several month break, because I needed the flexibility to zoom in and out to keep up with the little man. And, I just wasn't thrilled with what I was getting out of the lens. No clue why. Drat. Back in the bag it went.

In January I made a commitment to myself. After over a year of holding this camera, it was time to venture into the unknown. Time to dig out the manual, take the advice of the fabulous photographer who shot our family portraits last year and do it.

Shoot in manual.

And, so I did.  I turned the dial to "M", adjusted the ISO, checked the exposure meter and held my breath for many hundreds of shots as I figured out what the heck I was doing.  Then, one day, it just clicked.  My hands learned to change the settings, I learned to better read the light (this is still a work in progress and, from what I understand, likely always will be) and was SO much happier with my photos. 

Getting over my fear. 

Reading the manual. 

Teaching myself. 

To get shots like this...

Taken with the lens I was initially disappointed in and now adore.  Of the guys I adore. Hype understood.  There was no quality issue with the lens.  The issue was with the user. 

I am giddy with the anticipation of capturing our vacation. 

In manual.

----> Do you have a dSLR that you are using in auto or creative modes?  I challenge you to pull out your manual.  Read through the settings and learn how to get so much more out of your camera.  Take the challenge, then link me up to some of the images and your (what is sure to be) new found love of your own equipment.  Just do it!

I shoot with a Canon 50D, Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 and Canon 50mm f/1.4 and Canon 430II ex speedlite.  The speedlite is still in it's case.  Until I read the manual.


Kristi said...

I ahve been shooting with a Nikon DSLR for 16 months now. I have come a long way and have a long way to go! I almost always use my 50mm 1.4 but I always bring my 18-55mm lens with when doing restaurant reviews because I need the wider angle....
I always set my custom white balance and shoot in Aperture mode.

Lynn said...

oooooooooooo awesome jen. i knew you rocked the camera....i have the canon t2i and love it. just my speed really. and just went manual. i have the tamron 18-270 lens and its an AWESOME ALL AROUND lens. you may wanna put it on your list for santa. i follow this blog http://thecareyadventures.com/blog/ for tips, tricks and inspo!!!!

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