Photo practice, and a lot about cameras that may be boring to you.

So. I’m thinking about getting a new camera. You may say to me, “Why, Lara, would you be shopping for a new camera when you haven’t even learned to use the very good camera that you have now?” And while I think that would be pretty mean of you to say, and pretty critical, you would still have a point, so I would answer you thusly: I’m helping my very good friend Shannon out with photos for our school yearbook, for which she is the sponsor. And I am completely useless when it comes to taking photos in the gym or hallways, where I take the majority of the photos. My Speedlight, while very helpful in smaller room situations, has no place to bounce off of in a gym, and, of course, is useless at outside ball games during dusk or night time. I love my D80, but I get extreme noise when I bump ISO even to 500 — which is why I ended up with almost no useable photos from the College Fair in October, which was held in our gym.

Rationalization? MAYBE. But I want a D700. From everything I’ve read, it is THE camera to have in a low light situation, which is about 80% of my photo situations. So I rented one this weekend from the lovely people  at Calumet Photo (whom I love for a lot of reasons but most of all because, no matter how stupid my questions are, and they are, frequently, VERY stupid, they always answer as though I just asked the wisest photographic question anyone has ever asked them). And I spent some of the time wandering around my house, taking photos of random objects in low light  just because I could.

These three photos were taken without any lights on at all, just using the ambient light coming in from our west-facing windows at around noon on a sunny day with some cloud cover. I think I had the ISO up around 1200. These are two of my favorite hats from my vintage hat collection that I’ve had for about twenty years now. I am thinking about calling it quits on this collection. I don’t know, I’m just bored by them, and they collect so much dust, it makes me anxious. Does anyone else do that, I wonder, give up on collections they’ve had for a very long time? And if you do, do you get rid of the collection all together? The photo in the middle was taken through the glass cabinet door, which accounts for the reflection. This is a little shrine to Mary that I bought from an estate sale that was run by the children of a man who had done a lot of wood work — this was made entirely out of materials from their church, which had been torn down when they got funds to build a new one. The little red and white checked linoleum that you can see on the bottom there was from the hallway of Catholic school they had all gone to.  I was so moved that he had so lovingly built this little reminder of the church that he and his family had gone to all of their lives. It reminded me of something my own Grandpa would have done. It’s one of my favorite all time purchases.

Again, both photos taken with no lights on, just ambient light from window. My matte white pottery collection is out of control, people. The photo on the left is of some vintage checkers pieces that I bought just so I could put them in my pottery to give me an excuse to put it on the coffee table. Good Lord, look at the dust on the dolphin vase. Great camera, messy apartment.

Another photo taken through the glass door. About seven or eight years ago, I started collecting photos of huge groups of people. Most of them are military photos, like this one, but then they started making me sad, especially the ones that were taken during wartime, so I tried to focus more on non-military groups. I am still kicking myself for not buying THE most awesome group photo I’ve ever seen — it was at the Edgewater Antique Mall a year, maybe two years ago, and it was of an entire town, stretched out along what must have been the main street of the town. There must have been 200 or 300 people — including AN ENTIRE MARCHING BAND, all decked out in their uniforms, carrying their instruments (very The Music Man). I think it was $175, which was not in my budget at the moment, and I watched it for a really long time, until I started feeling safe that I was the only one who wanted it and could therefore afford to wait and purchase it at a later date…until the fateful day I went to visit it AND IT WAS GONE. I KNOW you’ve had that experience before. Of course, as soon as I realized it was gone I was all DADGUM, I didn’t need electricity or food this month, why didn’t I just buy it and damn the consequences? But it was too late at that point. It will now live on in infamy as The One that Got Away (Part 32).

So…yeah. This camera? Pretty much rocks. Wonder if it will be going down in price any time soon. A girl can dream.

January 11, 2010 - 7:41 pm

janie hightower Even I, a total no-nothing when it comes to cameras and photos, can see that these photos are exceptional.

January 11, 2010 - 7:41 pm

janie hightower I meant a total know-nothing.

January 11, 2010 - 7:44 pm

Lara Jo Well, I’m sure your good opinion of my photos has nothing at all to do with the fact that you’re my mom, right?