1 September 2009

in which I discover the focus ring

lily

I wanted to talk about my new camera and the journey she and I are embarking upon together, but I figured that those of you who are interested in photography will know much more about the technical stuff than I do, and those of you who are not into photograpy, won't give two hoots.

palest pink tulip

So maybe you can just look at the pretty pictures instead?

Ah stuff it. I've had a glass of wine; I can't blog without rambling a little bit. But no techie 'tips and tricks' I promise. (Because I don't know any anyway, I'm just a fumbler).

I found the av button

In the olden days of film I had a lovelysimplefriendly Pentax K1000 (which I believe is now something of a cult camera). I loved that camera and when we were burgled and it was stolen I was heartbroken. (As heartbroken as I was when I realised the thief had taken the half-finished baby blanket I was making for the imminent arrival of Son #2, to wrap the breakable goods in). The insurance company sent me along to a camera shop to have it replaced (the camera, not the crocheted blanket which was IRREPLACEABLE and PRICELESS) and the salesman talked me into a whizzbang thing that had an LCD screen and many many buttons and automatic bits. I used it for a month without any joy and then returned it, asking to swap it back for a basic old Pentax K1000. The sales guy was aghast at my stupidity but I was insistent, and with the extra money (the whizzbang thing that the insurance co. had told me I could have was worth way more) I bought a zoom lens. Double bonus. I was happy for years with a K1000 in my hands again. I never used the auto settings, as I knew if I did, I would never learn how to take decent shots or understand the mechanics of shutter speeds and aperture settings. I became more competent, and photography became quite a significant interest of mine.

And then along came the exciting world of digital and with some frequent flyer points that were about to expire, I 'purchased' a little Canon pocket digital and I have not bought a roll of film since, nor paid to have my pictures developed, such a cheapskate am I. There followed three happy years of simple digital point n shoot photography.

But I have been hanging out for over a year now for an SLR again. And so when the opportunity came to buy a second hand digital Pentax SLR (Pentax! my old love!), I jumped at it. Also, the entire administration of the sale was orchestrated through Twitter, which tickled me.

Anyway, I loved the new Pentax, but I had to relearn everything (slowly, because I am old now and my neural pathways have ... what? what was I saying?), plus this Pentax came with Sigma lenses which didn't match the instructions in the manual, and also didn't accord with my memory of the K1000 settings. I wanted to be roolly roolly good at taking photos immediately, and that, of course, didn't happen. Frustrating.

Then one day I [re]learned about the av priority setting, and a week or so later I found the focus ring! (It was cunningly hidden right out there in the obvious position).

I know there are people on the Flickr forums who scoff at bokeh and the plethora of short depth of field shots, but I'm loving finding my feet again. Not to mention finding the teeny tiny stamens of a flower, the speckles on the surface of an egg, or the twinkle in a baby magpie's eye.

maggie magpie

Happy happy.

30 comments:

Stomper Girl said...

Well you may be, as you claim, a slow learner but you have learned well O Grasshopper. Stunning shots!

innercitygarden said...

The Bloke has gone off into a reverie about his K1000 and photography in the snow... I may be some time, don't send a search party etc.

Pavlov's Cat said...

My God, how did the Parents Magpie let you get that close? Or did you lose an eye immediately afterwards?

BabelBabe said...

love love LOVE the eggs.

I set the boys loose wit hmy little digi camera this morning so they could do a photo shoot with their new toy bears (courtesy of a GENEROUS aunt). they had so much fun I felt guilty for not letting them do it sooner.

kmkat said...

LOVE the egg photo.

Jen said...

Totally sailed over my head, but I like the pretty flowers. This summer, my BIL showed me how to change my shutter speed so my pictures would be less blurry.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

O.K. I've only just , after a year , discovered that I can , in theory , take indoor ( read dark-ish ) photos with my Canon . A simple camera for a beyond simple owner !
I'm always amazed by your photos and think there's slightly more involved than a zippy camera . If I went totally berserk and spent my life savings on a new one , I still wouldn't achieve the simple perfection of that egg photo .

pebbledash said...

And I'm very happy looking at your lovely pics!

Lesley said...

The new camera shots are just great — but there was nothing lacking about your previous photos.
My son has a fancy-schmancy big digital Nikon in his room that I'm itching to experiment with. I know where the manual is, too ...

katiecrackernuts said...

I HEART Pentax. Am saving and scrimping to buy a Pentax DSLR - with lithium battery, not the double AAs I was aghast to see the lower end of the market was still using. Does yours use double AA batteries? How many shots do you get?

Suse said...

Hi Katie. This is a very basic simple Pentax and it uses AA batteries. I bought a set of rechargeable ones and they last for yonks. I have no idea how many shots I get but it's heaps, and then I just recharge the batteries. Easy.

Suse said...

Pav, the baby magpie has adopted us. It runs toward us whenever we go out the front door, and jumps up on the picnic table to get a better look at whatever we're doing.

It happily takes a worm from your hand, although it turns up its beak at birdseed.

Janet said...

You might have to follow Mary's lead and get a card that says 'photographer' - beautiful photos

Uli said...

Being a photographic dunce, I will just note that those photos are absolutely beautiful.

Janet said...

What a fabulous story... and I love bokeh and short depth of field, phooey to photosnobs. Looking forward to hearing about your dishrag!

Mary said...

They are so beautiful Suse and I think a card saying "Photographer" is very appropriate.

And I adore shallow depth of field and bokeh - can't imagine flower macros without them!!

Kylie said...

Fabulous Photos. No need to do all the techie stuff - just fumble (you do it so well and love it that I am a fumbler to in the photo taking area LOL) Love the shots - they are fab!

kt said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Am working hard to have steady enough hands to use the macro setting on my digital jobbie. Got a few nice ones at the beach recently and surprised my withering flickr account by posting them!

You have a wunnerful eye.

sueeeus said...

gorgeous! For all the techy stuff I can wrap my head around, I don't know why I can't seem to grasp the whole f-stop, aperture, shutter speed thing. Well done, you.

Mookah said...

Wow! I hear you girl. I also had a 'good' camera (Nikon)until it got dropped in a crevice in New Zealand's Fox Glacier....and it was just never the same afterwards. My folks bought me a basic Kodak digital camera to get me through until I could afford another decent camera which was great of them, but it's just not the same. Look forward to being able to afford a 'decent' camera again. It's hard to go back isn't it? Maybe we get a bit spoilt?

Mookah said...

Forgot to say....love your pics, except the one of the oriental lily. Sorry but I was a Sales Manager for a Wholesale Cut Flower & Bulb Grower for way too many years, and I'm OVER THEM!

victoria said...

Oh that baby magpie.
p.s. craft weekend shots are gorgeous.

M said...

People who scoff at short-depth-of-field shots are just tiresome. They are always breathtaking and give you a warm feeling in the pit of your stomach.

Lovely photos.

But, do you miss film Maybe just a little? I'm a little over the whole 'shoot in RAW and then fix it up and crop the crap out' thing. I wonder are we losing our real photography skills or am I just Bah Humbug?

Annie said...

One word . . . "Fantastic!"

fifi said...

BEAUTIFUL!!!

You very clever girl.


Reuniting with a pentax looks enticing!

peppermintpatcher said...

More than impressive!

(although I must confess a little disappointment - the tab at the top of my internet browser shortened the name of this post to "in which I learn to disco...". I was hopeful of seeing you in spandex with pointed finger... with some dlightful bokeh behind you of course)

eurolush said...

I've always admired your photography...but now it seems to be at a completely new level.

LOVE the sparkle in the baby magpie's eye! LOVE the tiny stamens! LOVE the speckled eggs! They send flutters to my heart.

All of it is WONDERFUL!

And INSPIRING!

WOW!


Can't seem to stop using exclamation points!!!

zephyr said...

lovely, lovely, LOVELY!
that's all that matters.
I find all the photo critiques on Flickr amusing...who made them the arbiters of wonders and marvels?

You are gathering some true marvels with that precious Pentax! (and I's a teacher...yes, I is, of photo-graphy even)

Megan said...

Short depth of field is gorgeous, I don't care what anyone else says. Hoping to catch up with you, but I'm not sure I will in a hurry.

Meggie said...

I swear I commented on here, letting you know all the 'stuff in your head' is wonderful? I cannot find it now, so it is either Gommed or ....
Your posts are so delightful...XXX