Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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. 

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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.   


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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. 


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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.


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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. 


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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. 


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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.