Sunday, February 21, 2010

Playing with a new camera

After graduating from an SLR and various film pocket cameras over the years, we've made do for a while with a series of digital point-and-shoot cameras. They do a pretty good job for most of what we're doing, as long as we're not indoors or moving too quickly. With horses as my primary subject, however, the point-and-shoots can be a little frustrating--particularly shutter lag. I can't tell you how many pictures I've deleted of the rear end of a moving horse--even Lena's cute spot gets old after awhile. It's either that or shutter-lag anticipation added to misjudged lighting and timing result in a photo--like the one below--which is actually a frame before the one you wanted. Indoors, I also struggled with getting the camera to focus on the moving horse--not on the wall behind said horse--with limited success. Yes, there are fixes for most of these things, but mostly they require more patience and set-up than I can usually manage with my personality and my horses.

I've played with enough DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras to truly covet the clean, quick way they shoot, but we couldn't quite justify it over things the horses needed, things the house needed, cars, trucks--the list is endless. I could always make myself feel better by saying, "It would be too burdensome on the trail anyway," but the desire to point the camera, push the button, and have that shot--not the one a split second later--never quite let go.

Lucky for me (and believe me, I know how lucky I am), Steve does not believe in buying appliances for gifts.

My birthday is Tuesday and he had instructed me to studiously ignore the boxes showing up on the porch this week. Thankfully, he didn't torture me long--there were several decorative bags on the sofa when I got home from work Friday. When all was unpacked, a brand new, shiny Nikon D3000 was revealed. Oooo!!

It did not take me long to put it all together and start shooting, though waiting an hour for the battery to charge was sheer torture. The instantaneous reaction to pushing down on the shutter is heaven after having to plan and plot to get the shot you want. Of course, because I've become so accustomed to shutter-lag, I ended up with a few shots of the front half of a horse instead. Oh, well--I also ended up with some good action shots. This one has been blown up and cropped (okay, straightened, too) and still retains pretty decent resolution.

Here is a video made up of five shots of Steve and Lena at a canter--the camera just snapped them 1-2-3-4-5. Of course, at the end of an hour, I ended up with well over 100 photos--some not so great and some that were pretty good--but am overall absolutely thrilled.

In shooting Bar indoors, I started with the flash, and now wish I hadn't used it quite as much. Oh, so much to learn. Here is my glowing-eyed demon horse seemingly floating--and in focus--so I really can't complain about the camera much.

The flash close up washes out the background (yes, I know many photographers who have told me this before--NOW I get it). Luckily, his tongue still shows.

Standing still, at least, we didn't really need the flash and his colors still come out nicely. Neither of the two shots below have been retouched at all--I particularly love the one of his eye with the various hues of black and brown all showing up. I know I have to work some on lighting, especially with his dark-on-dark coloring, but I have a whole instruction manual to read.

And even with it's nice long lens, I can still take silly pictures of my horse and me. He's thrilled, can't you tell?

1 comment:

Dane Jane said...

Don't you love it? I've been playing with my new toy, too, and don't know how I've lived without it--especially that shutter lag thing. Talk about missing the moment!