5 THINGS I WISH I HAD KNOWN WHEN I FIRST STARTED PHOTOGRAPHY:
So, the first time I walked into a camera store, and decided I wanted to buy a camera, I wish I had done 5 things before I had purchased my first camera. I want to share with you those things now, and even maybe help those who have even been taking pictures for a while with decisions that will help them as well:
1- DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH FIRST ON THE DIFFERENT BRANDS
I will admit there are a lot of brands out there. Why doesn’t it come down to one or two? I guess it comes down to the same reason as why are there so many car manufactures. Right? Ask the same question about cars, and you will get the same answer about cameras. The reason some people like Ford over a Toyota, or Chrysler over a Kia, is they try it out, they like it, or they have had a friend try it and they said it is the car to buy, and they trust them, and so on and so forth. So, it is with the camera industry. Someone tried Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, Leica, etc, and they were amazed at the pictures, and the way it felt, and they were sold on it. So, if you don’t take any body’s opinion on it, then you must study it out for yourself. Go to unbiased magazines (where do you find them?) and get the reports of how these cameras stack up against each other. Learn about the different lenses and who makes the variety of lenses for your camera, and how easily it is to get the lenses for the camera you seem to be narrowing your decision to.
2- DON’T MAKE A DECISION UNTIL YOU HOLD ONE AND TRY IT.
Try holding the different cameras you have narrowed your list down to, and pick them up, feel how it is in your hands. Do the dials feel comfortable in your hands. How are the placement of the dials or buttons? Can you move the dials or buttons easily? Do they make sense compared to other cameras?
3- IF I BUY THIS CAMERA, HOW EASILY IS IT TO GET ACCESSORIES?
I have seen a few cameras where the accessories for the cameras were limited to the manufacture only. 3rd party accessories were very scarce. That just opens up the prices to be very expensive. That is like having a Rolls Royce car, and not being able to buy a part for it in your local auto parts store, but only from the Rolls Royce dealer. The price is outrageous, but, really, really good. If that is what you want, then there is no problem, but, you may also have to wait for parts too.
4- TRY TO DECIDE AHEAD OF TIME WHAT TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY YOU WANT TO DO, OR THAT INTERESTS YOU.
Decide ahead of time what type of photographer you want to be. A scenery or landscape photographer, a wedding photographer, a portrait photographer,
Photo courtesy of: Oleg-ti.com
There is many different types of photography to get into that you might enjoy. Decide what type of photography you want to do, and that will direct you to the type of lenses, the type of accessories and other equipment you will need to be looking at. Buying a serious camera will never stop with just a basic camera body and lens. If you are planning on getting serious, the extra equipment will need to be added sooner than later.
5- FIND A SOURCE TO LEARN FROM, TO HAVE A MENTOR, WHERE YOU CAN CONSTANTLY LEARN YOUR TRADE.
I had a doctor who I thought was really good. I also noticed that he was always studying and kept up to the new technologies that were coming out in the medicine field. And it is the same in the camera industry. Where can you go to learn all the new things out there. Well, I will be right up front with you: I am trying hard to provide good instruction for all types of photographers on this blog, and on my website. In fact, my website will expand into different subjects and even provide an email list soon in which you can subscribe to different topics. I am looking to really expand this website to help all my fellow photographers, and I am looking to have photographers who want to add their expertise to help on this site as well.
Good magazines are always a good source as well. They are constantly updating tools of the trade, as well as tips on how to do certain types of photography. You should never fail in photography with all the helpful things there are out there for you.
Aspens in Winter: by Lanny Cottrell
So, hopefully this will help you as you decide on your camera or equipment in the future. Don’t make your camera and equipment purchases without doing some research, and I hope you don’t take your friend or relative’s opinion in the decision process. You will feel better if you follow the above steps.
When you plan on going on a photo adventure, just for the fun of it, sometimes you will run into just nothing. I will explain. My wife and I just love to go on a photo trek or adventure together. We both have our own cameras, we both have ideas of what we want to take pictures of, and we both hope for some fantastic photos. Mostly we take scenery photos when we go out, and we look for the perfect shots.
Let me tell you the scenario yesterday, though. Maybe you have run into something like this: We are at a time of year when the scenery, in general, is quite ugly. Grey everywhere. Spring has not come yet, so no pretty foliage anywhere, dirty snow if any from all the left-over snow and plowed snow on the roads. Storm moving in, so no blue skies, so we had gray ground, gray skies, gray, dirty snow, gray foliage. If I wanted to calibrate my camera to the perfect 18% gray, I would have it yesterday.
Then we thought, maybe we could get a good sunset photo. NOPE, clouds to far down, and the sun was not going to get through. So, then we start looking around for something in the drive for something unique. That brings up the next point:
TAKE A PICTURE OF SOMETHING UNIQUE !
So, we are driving along in some very, very small remote town, and finally come across this:
Photo by: Lanny Cottrell
A church, burned down in 2002, just the shell remains, and left standing in some remote town. The church built in 1898 leaves a huge story behind. And actually what makes it unique for us, is that because it was cloudy, and overcast, we had no shadows to deter from the full splendor of the photo. I will probably work on this a bit on the computer and give it a blue sky, and make it more dramatic still. So, to me, what we thought was going to be a photo shoot with nothing turned out to be a winner. When you know you may not get the best in scenery, look for something in the small towns, or closeups:
Frost on the berries, by Lanny Cottrell
So, options are the town’s unique things, or even closeup items. Look for those things when the things you wanted to do, just didn’t work out, and you will make your photographic journey a success.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A NATIONAL PARK AND A NATIONAL MONUMENT?
This week’s Photos of the Week, focuses on the US’s
There are National Parks in the United States, such as Yellowstone National Park, Arches National Park,
And many others. So, what is the difference between a National Park vs. a National Monument?
There are a combination of reasons, but first and foremost in the United States is the legal way in which a national park and a national monument are established. National Parks are established through acts of Congress while National Monuments can be established by the President at his discretion.
I would like to put it in more easy to understand terms: A national monument, once designated by the President of the United States, is not necessarily a park, and thus, may not have the public access that a National Park has. And a lot of times the monuments may be established to protect the area from further development and roads into the area. Although the area may be just as beautiful as something you would see in a National Park, it may not ever have the access to it like a Park.
So, with that understanding, let’s take a look at some National Monuments that are maybe hard to get to, that are just amazingly beautiful areas, that you would not normally be able to see, because they are not easily accessible.
Secretary Jewell & Director of the Bureau of Land Management Neil Kornze Joins Nevadans to Celebrate Designation of Basin and Range National Monument Designation preserves stunning landscapes, ancient rock art; protects existing ranching, military and recreation uses
The Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado will protect a stunning section of Colorado’s upper Arkansas River Valley. Located in Chaffee County near the town of Salida, Colorado, the 21,586-acre monument features rugged granite cliffs, colorful rock outcroppings, and mountain vistas that are home to a diversity of plants and wildlife, including bighorn sheep and golden eagles. Members of Congress, local elected officials, conservation advocates, and community members have worked for more than a decade to protect the area, which hosts world-class recreational opportunities that attract visitors from around the globe for hiking, whitewater rafting, hunting and fishing. In addition to supporting this vibrant outdoor recreation economy, the designation will protect the critical watershed and honor existing water rights and uses, such as grazing and hunting. The monument will be cooperatively managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and USDA’s National Forest Service. Learn more: www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/rgfo/browns_canyon_national.html Photos by Bob Wick, BLM
islands and rocks of California Coastal National Monument: This monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings from the coast of California to a distance of 12 nautical miles (22 km), along the entire 840-mile (1,350 km) long California coastline.
By Edward S. Curtis – REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USACALL NUMBER: LOT 12311 [item] [P&P]REPRODUCTION NUMBER:LC-USZC4-11256 (color film copy transparency)LC-USZ62-116676 (b&w film copy neg.)LC-USZ62-54704 (b&w film copy neg. of photogravure)No known restrictions on publication.DIGITAL ID:(color film copy transparency) cph 3g11256 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g11256(b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c16676 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c16676(b&w film copy neg. of photogravure) cph 3b02607 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b02607NOTES:H52434 U.S. Copyright Office.Title devised by Library staff.Curtis no. 1013.Copyright 1904 by E.S. Curtis.Forms part of: Edward S. Curtis Collection (Library of Congress).Published in: The North American Indian / Edward S. Curtis. [Seattle, Wash.] : Edward S. Curtis, 1907-30, suppl. v. 1, pl. 28., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=179645
E. S. Curtis (1904): Canon de Chelly – Navajo. Seven riders on horseback and dog trek against background of canyon cliffs. Located within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation, it preserves the valleys and rims of the canyons of de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument, all of which are Navajo Tribal Trust Lands.
Located within the Tongass National Forest, Alaska, and called The Yosemite of the North for its similar geology, it also contains the Quartz Hill molybdenum deposit, possibly the largest such mineral deposit in the world. Throughout the monument is light-colored granite, about 50 to 70 million years old (Eocene Epoch to Cretaceous Period), that has been sculpted by glaciers that gouged deep U-shaped troughs.
Utah Rainbow Arch: Rainbow Bridge is one of the world’s largest natural bridges. It stands 290 feet (88 m) tall and spans 275 feet (84 m) wide; the top of the bridge is 42 feet (13 m) thick and 33 feet (10 m) wide. It was made from sandstone formed during the Triassic and the Jurassic periods.
The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a paleontological site and museum in Waco, Texas, United States where fossils of twenty-four Columbian mammoths (Mammuthus columbi) and other mammals from the Pleistocene Epoch have been uncovered. The site is the largest known concentration of a single herd of mammoths dying from the same event, which is believed to have been a flash flood. A local partnership developed around the site after the initial bone was discovered.
THIS IS JUST A SMALL SAMPLING OF SOME OF THE MANY US NATIONAL MONUMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED AS MONUMENTS. THESE ARE JUST SOME OF THE ONES THAT I FELT ARE JUST THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE STILL SOME I COULD ADD TO THIS PHOTOGRAPHIC LIST, FOR SURE. SO I WOULD REFER YOU TO:
HERE YOU WILL FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL THE MONUMENTS, WHERE THEY ARE LOCATED, AND WHEN THEY WERE DESIGNATED AS NATIONAL MONUMENTS. I WOULD SAY, HOWEVER, AT LEAST THE ONES I HAVE LISTED ABOVE, HAVE THE POTENTIAL OF BEING SOME OF THE BEST, MOST PHOTOGENIC OF THE NATIONAL MONUMENTS. SO, IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SOMEPLACE DIFFERENT TO TAKE PICTURES THIS YEAR, MAYBE LOOK INTO SOME OF THESE REMOTE NATIONAL MONUMENTS, INSTEAD OF THE NATIONAL PARKS FOR SOME BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHIC OPPURTUNITIES.