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Monst Dec 10, 2003 1:53 AM

First camera, one year later
Hi, I'm new to this board as a registered member but reading this site helped me choose my first camera, the Canon G2. It's been just over a year now and I was wondering if I could get some opinions on how best to progress in this hobby. I have had sooo much fun so far but the one down side is that I have spent almost no time learning anything about photography, I dont know how to read lens specs and although I play a great deal on Manual mode, I'm mostly just guessing. I've now come to the conclusion that the lens on my Canon G2 is too limiting so I want to invest in something new, I put together an online gallery to show what type of photography I enjoy doing and I'm hoping that I could get some feedback, both on the pictures and direction I should be looking when choosing my first dslr. What I'd like is to be able to fit much more into my frame without having to back so far away as to make my subject tiny. A perfect example of this is on page three of the following gallery link, the picture called "UBC Oak Tree". In that shot I would have loved to have fit the top of the tree and the outer branches into the frame without having to back so far away that the tree would be tiny. Any advice on what I need to do this and on the compisition of my photos would be very helpful.

Regards, Monst.

eric s Dec 10, 2003 12:58 PM

I could only take a quick look at the gallery, so I can't make lots comments. But here are a few:

I think you've got a great eye. Many of the shots show good balace and nice use of subjects. I always find landscapes harder because they don't have a specific subject. Often they have a mood or a grandure. Maybe it's just me, but I find that difficult to convey. You do it well.

One trend I see, though, is that you underexpose your pictures a fair amount. This might be an issue with your camera, but it could also just be you. As you said, you just mess around with it in manual mode some times. Having a better understand of what settings produce what picture (brightness/contrast/colors) is a very good thing. Because some of your pictures are very, very good. For example, this one:

it has great balance and well done night photography.
On the other hand, this one is under exposed and has a color cast to it (too much blue):

But I generally like the picture. It's not "amazing" or anything, but I like it.

As for a new camera. That is a very, very hard question to answer. You'll need to give more information.
How much are you willing to spend?
How much are you willing to carry?
How larger is too large? How small is too small?
Do you have any other equipment?

That is a good start. This is really a question for the general forum, though. This section is really just for talking about the pictures. Posting the gallery of your shots is a great idea to help get advice, though. Notice I didn't ask "how will you use it?" which is always on that list... but isn't because of your gallery.


bcoultry Dec 10, 2003 1:46 PM

Odd, unless this is a case of different monitor settings, because I saw only a few slightly underexposed photos. What I did see, however, was that you have a tremendous sense of composition. Learning the mechanics and techniques could launch a new career for you. That's how good I think your pictures are.

Monst Dec 10, 2003 2:04 PM

Hi Eric, thank you for your reply. You are right that I often have trouble with the G2 and low light shots however, I'm slowly learning to overcome this and have had better luck of late. The picture of the old houseboat was from before the days when I understood the advantages of shooting exclusively in raw mode. So often when a pic turns out a little too dark I am able to adjust it in the raw conversion however with all my earlier stuff... I was very limited in what I could do with the JPGs. It never ceases to amaze me what pictures people like as so often, everyone has different tastes. I get allot of feedback over the shot "Venus over Fishermen" which was simply a lucky shot but my personal favourite is this one though...

Although very few agree with me on this. I will take your advice to learn more about my camera settings to heart and see if I can find some new tricks to help with the lighting. Thanks again for your help.

Cheers, Monst.

P.S. Barbera, I think your words are the most encouraging feedback I've ever received. Thank you very much and although I know I've still much to learn about photography.... responses like yours give me the incentive I need to stick my nose in the books and learn. I bet all of us would love to have a career surrounding our hobbies and interests however someone once told me that even the best photographers die poor, is that true?

bcoultry Dec 10, 2003 2:27 PM

I don't know for sure, but I somehow doubt Ansel Adams died poor. And there are several National Geographic photographers who appear to be doing rather nicely. Yes, it's tough to make it in any of the arts, but people have done it, are doing it, and, I hope, will always be able to do it. A life without dreams, now that's an impoverished one.

Monst Dec 10, 2003 2:36 PM

Well spoken Barbera, I couldn't agree more. It's interesting that you mention Ansel Adams, his is the only framed picture I own and it sits on my living room wall, it's the snowy Oak tree photograph in poster size.

bcoultry Dec 10, 2003 3:52 PM

And the only book I own that's of just a single photographer's work is the one that I found buried beneath a heap of cheap paperbacks at a garage sale several years ago. It was Ansel Adams, My Camera in the National Parks, a huge, oversized book published in 1950 and filled with 30 high-quality engravings. I snatched it up for 50 cents, but not until I got home and opened the cover to the first page did I see that Adams himself had autographed it. A prize.

Ziggy Dec 11, 2003 6:57 PM

Excellent photographs Monst! I think you have an amazing eye for landscape and are fortunate enough to have such stunning scenery around you. It is quite obvious that Adams has been a strong influence in your photographic life. Keep taking & keep sharing.

Good job

Kanji Dec 16, 2003 2:58 PM

Re: First camera, one year later
Monst,I like your Venus shot the best. I like the way that you saw this picture. Excellent shot !

digcamfan Dec 16, 2003 7:18 PM

Hey Monst :)

I recognized several of your locales :D

You have captured them beautifully...hauntingly so!

Keep up the good work.

I agree...just selling photos can be a very humbling
and hungry existence, literally and financially.

If, however, you can blend words with your photos
to create a caption...then you begin to create
some motivational and/or whimsical posters which could resonate
in your viewers' souls.

Here is an example...the photo is from another forum
member which he posted on a thread on Steve's forum somewhere . (Sorry could not find the thread readily).
The caption (which I added to his photo) is mine.

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