I started editing photos a few years ago, and eventually created a photo editing website. I still do that in my spare time, but I have always wanted to get into actually taking photos, not just editing other people's. This page is my road from a novice picture taker to hopefully one day a decent amateur photographer. The photos will hopefully get better over time.
Canon Rebel EOS T2i
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM w/ Hoya UV filter
Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 EF-S USM w/ Hoya UV filter
Tiffen variable neutral density filter
Sunpak - PlatinumPlus 72" Tripod/Monopod
Sunpak- PlatinumPlus 6000PG 61" Tripod
Sept 1, 2011- I bought my first DSLR on Craigslist. I've always wanted a DSLR, but didn't have a clue about how to use one, so I Googled DSLRs for beginners and found that the Canon EOS Rebel XS sounded like the perfect one for me. I went to Craigslist and searched for it, and found a pretty good deal on one that had hardly been used. It came with the stock 18-55mm lens, and the Canon EF 75-300mm telephoto lens. All I had to do was buy a bag, and an SD card and I was ready to take some pretty bad photos. I went out in the woods behind my house and started taking pictures. I had no idea what most of the buttons did. I only knew what the Full Auto, Sports, Landscape, and Portrait buttons were for (only because I used to have an advanced point and shoot). I did know that the M was for manual, and figured this is what the pros use so I'll try it out. I turned it to the M, and all this nonsense popped up on the screen. I took a few shots, turned the dial, adjusted some settings and finally figured it out... I figured out I didn't have a clue what I was doing. From that point on, I took all my pictures in one of the automatic settings (which is actually when a lot of the photos were taken).
Sept 1, 2011 (about an hour after I took my first pictures)- This is when I found out what the IS on the lens (or lack of) stood for. I attached the telephoto lens to the body, and was all ready to go get some great shots of birds flying around the yard. A few were ok, but when I tried to zoom in on them they were just a blur. So, I then tried taking some photos of stationary objects while zooming in, and they were still not very clear... back to Google. I did some more research on lenses, and discovered Image Stabilization. I found out the giant telephoto lens I was so excited about didn't have it. I was a little discouraged, but I did find out what one of the buttons on the camera did.
Sept 3, 2011- I went and bought the Canon 55-250mm lens with IS. I also bought a monopod, that I don't know the whereabouts to since I have never used it once.
Oct 22, 2011- I decided I needed to learn what all these buttons did. I thought about going and buying a book, but I'm not much of a reader so I took the lazy way out and searched for apps on my phone. I actually found a few. I ended up getting one called Photo Trainer by Trailblazer Media. I think it was only a couple dollars. I flipped through the sections quickly, ignoring most of the writing as usual, just checking out the pictures. I came to a section called HDR (High Dynamic Range). I was amazed at the photos, and read this section a few times trying to understand it. Then I did something most men are too proud to do... I opened the user's manual for my camera. I wanted to see if my Canon had AEB, or Auto Exposure Bracketing. Apparently, this was very helpful for taking HDR images. It did, and I couldn't wait to try it out. Also, I learned that a tripod is pretty much a necessity for taking good HDR images, so off I went to buy one of those. As for my first HDR attempts; they actually turned out pretty good for my first time. I posted a few on Facebook, and got some nice comments. I already had Photoshop so this is what I processed them in at first. The more I read about HDR, I found that most people use Photomatix; a program made just for this purpose. So, another $100 for that program, but it was well worth it.
Nov 5, 2011- I had learned quite a bit from my little $2 app so far. I finally knew about aperture, and shutter speed, and ISO, but I needed more detail about when to use what in different settings. I finally broke down and bought Canon EOS Rebel XS for Dummies. I dreaded the thought of having to look at a bunch of words, and think about them. I hate reading, as you can tell. I skimmed through the book not really getting much out of it... then a miracle happened. The company I work for got an inspection job for the city, and I had to do that for a few days. My job was to arrive in the morning, write down the time that the workers started, and write down the time when they finished for the day. The other 8 hours was just me sitting there watching cars go by. I got so bored that on the second day I brought my book with me. I actually finished it in two days. Ok, not much of a miracle, but me finishing a book is pretty close. Finally, I had some clue as to what all those buttons did on my camera.
Nov 28, 2011- I started this blog. :)
Dec 10, 2011- I ordered a $1000 lens for my $400 camera. Yeah, I have my priorities straight. Now I'm just waiting on my Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens to get here.
Dec 21, 2011- Received my 24-105mm lens. It's raining so I'll have to wait to try it out.
Jan 13, 2012- I've been using the new lens for about 3 weeks now. Haven't taken a lot of photos, but I am starting to realize I'm going to need a sturdier tripod. I've noticed some camera shake when the wind is blowing. I guess the heavier lens is too much for my cheap tripod. I think the hood also catches some wind which doesn't help. I think I'm also going to order the T2i tomorrow. I looked at the T3i, but I don't shoot video and the vari-angle LCD isn't worth the extra $200.
Jan 18, 2012- My new T2i was delivered today. Just played with it for a few minutes, but I love how much faster it shoots the 3 bracketed photos for an HDR than the Rebel XS.
Jan 19, 2012- Just got my Lightscoop from the UPS guy. Took a few test shots. A huge difference compared to just using the pop-up flash. Well worth buying.
Feb 2, 2012- Received my Tiffen variable ND filter today. Went out to try and get some long exposure shots on some water running across rocks in a creek behind my house. I've seen photos like this and always wanted to try it. After bringing in the photos to my computer I noticed a lot of camera shake on some. I couldn't figure out why. I was using a tripod and a wireless remote. I've had this happen before, but thought it was maybe just the wind, but there was no wind today. I did some research and found it was probably caused by the mirror moving inside the camera when you take a shot (especially on long exposures). I figured out what mirror lockup is, so that's one more setting down.
Mar 14, 2012- Just got in my new Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lens from B&H Photo. I think it's defective; it has a very hard time auto focusing, and when it's in Live View mode it is almost impossible to get it to focus. Hopefully I'll be able to return it. I hate the "One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism". The focus ring is also how you switch from auto focus to manual focus. With HDR shots, many times I will lock focus on something, then turn the camera to the angle I want, and switch to manual focus. With this system, when you switch to manual focus, it's almost impossible not to change the focal point because you have to actually slide the focus ring backwards. If you turn the ring at all while doing so the subject is not in focus anymore.
Mar 15, 2012- I was able to return the lens back to B&H with no problem. Once I receive my refund I am going to go with the Canon 10-22mm.
Mar 20, 2012- I just launched my new website 48Layers.com. I've been quietly working on it for weeks, and have also redone every single photo since I recently recalibrated my monitor. I even went back and reprocessed most of the HDRs from the original shots after taking that online HDR class I posted about.
Mar 21, 2012- Made my first sale off my website. I was expecting one of the smaller cheap prints, but someone actually ordered the 20x30 Ready-to-Hang Mounted Print (Metallic).