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let the camera nerdiness commence!

June 23, 2010

When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me a $50 savings bond every year for my birthday. The seven-year old me politely said thank you and then silently bemoaned not getting Aerobics Barbie or whatever other trinket I was craving.

Well, now, twenty-five year old me says sincerely, “THANK YOU, GRANDPA!”

My mother handed me a fat envelope full of these bonds last week and after going online to look up each serial number, I realized they were worth nearly $600. I wanted to do something special with them, in honor of my grandpa. I thought about it for awhile and I realized exactly what I wanted to do:

I wanted to get myself a really good camera.


As I do more and more with my blog (and I have a few other projects in the works!), I knew I needed something better than my exhausted little point-and-shoot. I did a bunch of reading on a variety of different “entry level” DSLR cameras and settled upon the Canon Rebel XS.

So now here we are, experimenting by taking photos of everything in my apartment and doing some serious reading from both the manual and My Personal Hero. (I don’t expect to be the next Ree or Deb, but I’m really excited to learn more!)

To you seasoned photographers out there, food or otherwise, any tips you have for me as a fledgling beginner?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Kimpot permalink
    June 24, 2010 1:49 am

    My Godmother did the same for me. Unfortunately, I’ve just had to cash them in to pay student loan bills. I would’ve LOVED to have been able to buy a dslr. Have fun learning about your new toy!

  2. Caroline permalink*
    June 24, 2010 8:17 am

    @ Kimpot!

    I thought about doing that too and perhaps it would have been more “sensible.” But when it comes to stuff like this, I like having something concrete I can have and think of the person who gave it to me. I did the same thing with money from my grandparents on my dad’s side who had passed away — I got a Kitchen Aid mixer because my grandma had been such a good cook and would be glad to see that I was too. My grandpa who gave me the savings bonds has always been interested in photography and will be excited to hear that I got a new “toy.” πŸ™‚

  3. June 24, 2010 11:15 am

    What a sweet reminder of your grandfather! Also, what great pictures already… I’ve been toying with the idea of investing in a quality camera. Keep us posted on what you think of the Canon Rebel XS.

  4. Mom permalink
    June 24, 2010 4:31 pm

    Good choice! You better show your camera to Grandpa. I’m sure he will very excited at your new “toy”. Click away!!!

  5. Caroline permalink*
    June 24, 2010 6:07 pm

    @ Beth!

    I am having a blast with it, though I’m sure it will take me awhile to get used to using aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. I will let you know how it goes!

  6. Caroline permalink*
    June 24, 2010 6:08 pm

    @ Mom!

    I will definitely bring it to Ohio in August and Grandpa can see for himself — he always has liked “toys.” I knew he’d approve. πŸ™‚

  7. June 25, 2010 3:23 am

    Hi I ended up here from the Monkey Town Blog… I liked the fact that you had similar taste in music. I spent years doing album covers and magazine and media photography before starting to teach music. The Rebel is a great camera and you get a lot for your money. I spent years using Canon film cameras and years using their digital cameras and they’ve always been great. Make sure you kind of read through the manual because it has so many features it’s easy to miss some of them. A couple of tips… Check to make sure the part you really want to be the subject is in focus when you use autofocus… it’s easy for the camera to focus on the background. If you want to have a subject pop out of the photo use less depth of field… for example 3.5 will make more of the background out of focus and you’ll use a faster shutter speed that 22 which will make everything sharp. Avoid shooting people in bring sunlight… it will make them squint and the shadows will look harsh. If you shot the stuff at the top of the page you have a good eye.

  8. Caroline permalink*
    June 25, 2010 2:03 pm

    @ RawFaith!

    So glad you came my way and left me such great tips! I will make sure to take them into account as I am wading through all of this.

    If you’re referring to the photos used in my header, no I didn’t take those (those came from weheartit.com). I took the two photos in this post, but I am definitely still learning. πŸ™‚

  9. June 25, 2010 9:41 pm

    I was talking about the photos in the post. I like the weird angle in the top one and the way it’s focused. So much of being a good photographer (like producing any good art or writing) is taking something people have looked at a bunch of times and showing it a different way. One of the things that helped me the most when I started taking pictures was looking at some great art books and looking at composition. The great thing with digital (especially with photoshop) is that you can do so many different things and crop stuff so easily. I love technology.
    Linda B.

  10. June 26, 2010 11:28 am

    Caroline! This post makes me happy :o) You made a great choice with that camera…I work with Canon and love it. If you ever have any questions I’d be more than happy to help! And I look forward to seeing some awesome photos of all that is going on in your life. Cheers!

  11. Caroline permalink*
    June 26, 2010 2:52 pm

    @ Linda!

    Yes, I did take the photos in the post. I love looking at life through unusual angles and I can’t wait to see the world through this new lens. πŸ™‚ I also just ordered Photoshop and am excited to experiment.

  12. Caroline permalink*
    June 26, 2010 2:54 pm

    @ Clare!

    I thought you’d be excited about my newest purchase. πŸ™‚ I will definitely keep you as one of my number-one people to ask questions — you are such an artiste. πŸ™‚

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