As some of you know, I am totally and inescapably obsessed with my new DLSR camera (yes, yes, I know, I’m a little late joining this revolution, but in my opinion, a little late is better than never!). For the past few months, I’ve been promising to teach myself something new about photography every week, in the hopes that 1) I can learn the joys of photography on my own, and 2) that my paltry point-and-shoot photos can go from fun Facebook albums to actually publishable-quality prints. In reference to point #1, my curiosity to learn digital photography came out of the fact that I’ve been traveling with some a-ma-zing photographers lately and have been finding myself annoyingly glued to them and obsessed with the deft way they control all those buttons and accessories on their sleek black cameras. Secondly, as I am loathe to admit, I’ve been told by an editor that my photos just don’t make the publishable cut. And in this world, if you’re not a writer and a photographer, well, you’re a little bit out of luck (see my recent interview with media mogul Lisa Lubin on why a travel writer has to also be a photographer and videographer now). So, with both artistically curious and professional fires under me, I finally went out and purchased my first DSLR camera–a Nikon D3200–and a 55-200 telephoto lens. After all, if I was going to spend $700 on a camera body, I might as well just totally max out my credit card and get a nicer lens, too, right? (Downward purchasing spiral, anyone?)
To start my digital photo revolution, I took the camera on a few trips, playing around with the buttons and dials and just trying to keep my photos from being fuzzy, noisy, or just plain awful. I tooled around with Photoshop for a while, blindly clicking buttons and watching as weird things happened to my photos, and I put some on my blog to see what people thought about them. (Did you see my portraiture study from Colours of 1 Malaysia?)
And just this week, I decided to download a trial version of Lightroom, Photoshop’s companion software and excellent photo management and editing system. If you’re interested in finding out the major differences between the two programs (as my baffled self most certainly was), try reading this article, which I thought was a nice introduction to how these two powerful programs work. Now, don’t let me fool you–the only reason I downloaded Lightroom and not Photoshop at this point is purely financial: Lightroom has a thirty-day free trial before prompting you to spend the $79.00 while Photoshop is, like, hundreds of dollars. If I suddenly come in to some unexpected money, I might try Adobe’s new Creative Cloud service, which for students is $29.99/month, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. For now, I needed something quick, cheap, and easy. So Lightroom it was.
Since getting in to a discussion about the interface of the program is something for an entirely different post, today I wanted to start off my digital photo revolution with a weekly installment of the photos I’ve been working on. As I was visiting lovely San Diego last week, I thought I’d start with some lovely beach shots to start this series. I’m hoping, weeks, months, even years from now!, that I’ll be able to see what I’m learning through this visual archive. Come and join me–and let’s start a digital photo revolution of this beautiful planet we all live on.
This week’s top contenders:
Now, which one is your favorite?
Kristin, novice shutterbug maven