The last blog I posted was in 2015, shortly after moving from SW Manitoba back to Winnipeg. At that time I underwent some things in my life and just didn’t seem to have the energy or desire to write a blog, or to deal with things I was going through. Now, fast forward to 2018 and I have decided it’s time to write again and share some of my photos and experiences in a blog. In June of 2016 I made a decision to change from an Olympus camera system to a Nikon camera system and chose a full frame body with a couple of lenses to get me started. I figured it would be pretty easy to learn a new camera. After all, I had been taking pictures with a DSLR for 9 years by this time, so how hard could it really be? Well, it was a lot harder than I thought. Sure, the basics are the same no matter which camera I use, but when you are trying to put a lens onto a body turning it the wrong way, because that’s what you’ve been doing for the last 9 years, you know you are in trouble. So now after close to 2 years working with the Nikon, I feel comfortable with it and know where most buttons and menu items are, but there are a few that I don’t use that often and still have to figure them out when I am shooting my normal, every day pictures.
One of my first photos taken with the Nikon D750 was this old railway trestle bridge along Pelican Lake
I like to think that my photos have improved over the years, but when you take a step backwards to learn a new system, sometimes the photographs that you take are not up to the standards that you have made for yourself. But as I began to learn the new camera, I thought that in general everything was better than before. After all, I had gone from what I now feel was a non-professional system to one that has most of the bells and whistles of a pro model camera. And with a lens that was faster and let in more light than my previous system, I was now on my way to getting that perfect shot. Another thing I found though, was that as I was able to capture better quality photos with the new camera, my standards for what I would keep and show others began to change too.
A few weeks later I took this photo on Canada Day, 2016 out at Grand Beach Provincial Park
I spent a lot of time getting to know my camera and felt that I was still just scratching the surface with my knowledge of this new system, and I had a long way to go. At the same time I decided I needed to learn my editing software better, in order that I could get the most out of a good photograph. With the help of a good friend, I began to learn how to use Lightroom in earnest. And here again, I was just scratching the surface with what this powerful software is capable of doing for me, not just as a photo editor, but as a catalogue that would make life much easier when trying to find that needle in a haystack. Now when I have pictures to import into Lightroom, I make sure to tag them all, so that when I am looking for a particular picture I have added the keywords that will narrow my search down to only a few photos versus 50,000+ photos.
This beautiful old stone house is located in Morden, Manitoba and has been well taken care of over the years
One of the first things I was taught when I got my first DSLR and wanted to become a good photographer was, practice practice practice. The same holds true when you decide to switch from one system to another, where all the buttons are in a different place and even the feel of the camera in your hands feels awkward. The menu in this new camera was daunting to say the least and took me a long time to learn how to find even the simplest item I wanted to make a change to. So in the beginning I learned how to set up a custom preset on my camera and took a lot of my photos with this. But being the kind of person I am, that just wasn’t good enough for me. I want to be able to fully control my camera in different situations where lighting and other factors play a large part as to how I want my picture to turn out. So through a lot of experimentation and a lot of photos that ended up being deleted, I am slowly beginning to work out where everything is and what works best for me as a photographer. It is nice with a digital camera that you can easily delete photos and don’t have to worry about the cost of each photo you take, so the learning curve is cheaper on the wallet.
One of the channels that ends up in the Winnipeg River system as it empties out of Lake of the Woods in Ontario
With a combination of getting to know my camera and being able to tweak my photos in Lightroom, I have begun to find a happy place in my photography these days. I will continue to learn as I go and plan on purchasing a second full frame body and a few more lenses in the near future, so will have to learn where everything is set up on this one when I get it, and then shoot with both bodies enough that I remember where everything is. I also need to finally take the time to learn how to use a tripod for my photos. I have been adamantly stubborn about not wanting to use a tripod unless I am taking night photos, but have decided that with a tripod, coupled with Image Stability that is built into the lenses I buy, I should be able to take my photographs to the next level and hopefully become more professional at what I am doing.
Molten Rails. The old rail line and grain elevator at Culross, Manitoba
Over time I hope to be able to share with you photographs that will make me look back on my past photos and know that I have achieved my goals of becoming a better photographer. And through my blogs, I hope that I can take you along on each of my journeys as I discover new and exciting places that constantly challenge my skills and my desire to do the best that I can as a photographer.
Help me, I’m stuck in the snow and can’t get out
I will leave you with this little tidbit and let you know that you will hear from me again before Spring and the snow has all melted.