Saturday, January 19, 2008

22. Camera Envy

At some point over the past few years, my mind has begun to function in images rather than words. Or rather, I used to use words to communicate the images in my head, but somewhere along the way I lost my ability to translate one to the other. Photography has sort of taken the place of poetry for me, as far as a creative outlet goes. I still try to write, but this blog is the perfect example of my losing struggle to collect random nonsensical images and make them into something that someone else can look at and understand. I tend to be scatter-brained and disconnected inside, and finding the right medium to focus those thoughts into something linear has been quite difficult for me.

I have decided my next technological purchase should be a new camera. I am considering going digital, but I don't know. I've been very happy with my manual, but I find more and more that I am limited in when and where I can photo because I don't have adequate lighting. Built in flashes are always awful, but with my AE-1, the after-market flash I can purchase is even worse. It requires you to calculate the exposure for your shot, then recalculate for the flash, then shoot. This makes candid photography particularly difficult. Portraits are hard enough to accomplish as it is, and I certainly can't imagine trying to shoot already flighty animals.

"Yes, please hold still, would you? Just a few minutes more."

I may as well be shooting portraits of saloon girls and cowboys in 1862.

This week my friend Chris came to visit with his cute little digi which is far more advanced than mine. We were both shooting on automatic at the aquarium, yet every one of his photos came out clear and beautiful and displaying vivid color. Mine were blurry, dark or over-exposed depending on whether I used the flash or not, and overall, generally disappointing.

During her visit over Thanksgiving, Janelle let me play around with her high end Canon digital, which cost something like $1800 I think. I liked it, but at the same time it felt like a little much for me to handle. It seemed overwhelmingly large and complicated. Which has me leaning back toward sticking to manual for my art photos and just getting an upgraded digital for the fun stuff. But I'd really like to start being able to just shoot people and places whenever the urge to strikes me. I need something I can easily carry with me, and preferably something I can use indoors as well as out. I'm not sure that exists yet.

I don't have the money for anything at the moment anyway. The best thing to do I suppose, is get out and shoot what I can with what I've got. If it would just stop fucking could have been the perfect day to wander and shoot, and it's pouring. Growlies.


Françoise de Fleur said...

I liked my ghetto porno digital and I like the new one I gots. What I decided to do with my camera situation is pretty much 35mm manual for any "really artistic" (read: pretend artistic) shit I feel the urge to do and pocket-sized digital (with high res options) for the daily random shit. I usually keep the digital in my purse and pull it out whenever I get a chance. The manual stays at home more often than not, but it's really nice to have that option when you go on trips and stuffs. I don't know if the digital I now have is even close to what you'd want, but you're always welcome to play 'round with it when we hang.

meg's thoughts return said...

I'm with ayako on this one, I have the combo of my canon rebel 35 mm and my little digi canon powershot. The one problem is my 35mm in all it's glory is now collecting dust. You are probably a little more motivated/artistic with the photography so you probably won't have this problem (read- overal your photos are way better than mine). I just found that once I got the digital cam (the pictures are much worse) I stopped carying the other. I used to lug around a freaking huge purse to have the other with me at all times. If you're going with a digital SLR though, those have bodies/weights equal to a regular 35 mm, but take freaking amazing pictures.

I guess in retrospect I'd recommend doing what Ayako did if you have faith that you wouldn't totally ditch the 35 mm... as I said you are less lazy and more talented than I. Just don't buy a canon powershot... it's ok, but I could have spent less money on a higher quality camera if all I am doing is candid shots.

Ok that's my two cents, good luck with the camera hunting!

Janieac said...

I say, all things considered, for what you want you'd be best off getting the newest Canon SD Powershot or Nikon Coolpix. The SD Powershots in particular take amazingly quality photos. Brian and I both have the Coolpix (his the L12, mine the L6), and they're both very reliable point-and-shoots; and considerably less expensive than the Canons. After all, the Powershots have come a loooooong way from the A75 (I think?) that you have. They have better shake control, more shooting options, higher resolution, etc.

If it's a DSLR you're after, you'll find that you learn a lot more about photography on the fly the more you have it in your possession. I've learned far more about the affects of ISO, shutter speed, and lighting all has on an image in under a year of using the DSLR than I have my whole life. Granted, I have more of an interest in it now.

I say stick with the AE-1 and continue to study its use as much as you can. I'm sure there are external flashes available for it that aren't as harsh as the one for my X-370 is. I actually just got a better one, after rifling through my friend's basement; you can adjust the angle of the flash as well as the fire, etc. Only problem is it comes with a lithium battery that weighs a ton and doesn't attach to the body.

Oh yeah, and I have a darkroom now too. I hope to get it set up by the time you visit so we can playyyy!!!

Dexter Obvious said...

NICE! I'd play dood, fo' sho!

My digi is the Powershot A70. Read OOOOOOLLLLLLDDDDDD...shitty quality basically. Yeah.