I broke my dslr at the end of September.
It was a beloved camera. The first (and only) dslr I’d ever purchased -- a purchase I might never have made if we hadn’t sold our little, black truck, and if Mike hadn’t said, “You like taking pictures. Why don’t you use some of the truck money and buy a nice camera?” (What if Mike had never made that suggestion?? Would it ever have occurred to me? It scares me to think not!)
He encouraged me to do my research before purchasing. But research was incredibly difficult when I had no idea what apertures and ISOs and the like were – nor if they mattered. Still, I fumbled my way through various reviews. And, as I did, paused to look up photography words. Eventually I came to realize that, if I wanted to really use my camera properly, I had to learn how to manage aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Eventually, I made a purchase. And I still marvel that I commenced to learn a fair amount about photography (when my nature is so nervous and hesitant when it comes to learning anything new). I never took a class, but I read things. And googled things. I spent an afternoon at my older sister Amy’s house having her show me how to shoot in aperture priority mode. She explained the value of using one focal point rather than letting the camera choose. And showed me how to bump my ISO up if my shutter speed got too low for a clear picture. Still, it was a slow process. Once in awhile I’d have a big a-hah moment – like the time I first bought a little lens with a really wide aperture and saw just how much “blurrier” I could make my backgrounds. And the time when I learned about overexposing my pictures and why I might want to do that and how I could do that. Occasionally I’d stumble on something I liked by accident – like that whole thing with the background falling dark when there is a more direct and close bit of light on your subject. It took me a long time before I even understood what focal lengths were and what a wide angle lens would allow and how to shoot in full manual mode if I wanted to. Even longer before I actually began playing with my white balance and changing my camera to Al Servo mode when trying to catch my kids on swings and trampolines. I still see images that I have no idea how to create. My editing knowledge is still minimal. But, that camera served me long and well, and allowed me to begin this hobby. And having it break was a sad loss.
But, deciding what to do was tricky. Fixing it would cost several hundred. That was still a fortune less than getting a new camera of the caliber I’d like. But it was an old camera, and putting any money into it at all seemed . . . a questionable investment. I knew the camera I’d want if I got a new one, of course. (Research was much simpler now that I knew the lingo.) I already knew the Canon 5D Mark III was the “it” camera for Canon users. But I also knew that, only being a hobbyist – and having no plans of anything further – that was a hard price to swallow. Luckily I chanced upon several reviews about the Canon 6D and saw immediately that for about half the price, I could absolutely have every feature I wanted. Still, we sat on it. And considered. And checked sales. And got sidetracked. And then, as the holidays drew close. I hoped that Mike might have a surprise up his sleave. Which, he did. And now, I have a new camera.
STILL, I must say, as excited as I am to have a camera where I can control so many things again, I have been rather pleased to discover the truth in the old saying, “the best camera is the one you have with you”. All those months with just my phone to shoot with still produced some pretty great images. And, while I do worry about their quality for printing or blowing up, I’m happy to have learned a thing or two about getting good shots without all the bells and whistles of a serious camera. And, because it is so handy and small, and available, I’m sure my cell phone pictures will continue to cover much of our day to day lives.
With that said. Here are just a few of my favorites taken with my phone this past year. (I really struggled to narrow it down.)
A niece and friend have recently asked me to share my tips for shooting with a cell phone – and then have probably immediately regretted it as I’ve hounded them with texts, but there is no secrecy to anything I’ve learned and I’m always overly happy to share should anyone ask. With dslrs too. But that’s much easier to do in person.