Before I start on my long-winded tangent, have you seen the great news over at My Minivan Rocks (http://myminivanrocks.wordpress.com/)? If not go check it out and give Tracy and Christian a huge Congrats! I'm so happy for them!!! He's gorgeous, you guys!
Anyway- I would someday like to get a *real,* big-girl camera (not today, but someday as in "God only knows when."), but the choosing/purchasing a better camera has me stumped. I don't even know where to begin, because all the photography talk is gibberish to me- i.e.: aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focal length, blah blah blah. In other words, if you give me advice, take my stupidity into consideration, please. Talk to me like a little kid. One that eats paste.
This is the camera that haunts my dreams and makes me stalk Amazon.com. It is a Nikon D80. It's way more camera than I need, but I figure if you're going to wish for something, wish BIG or forget it. If only I could afford it and/or knew how to work it:
I would be perfectly happy with a D40, considering I will be just as clueless trying to operate that one, too.
And, unfortunately, this is the camera I have- a Casio Exilim EX-Z60 6MP digital with 3x optical zoom. It was designed and manufactured by the Anti-Christ:
It helps me capture the awesomest shots, like these:
Some are caused by me trying to get the picture with the sun in the wrong place. I have figured out through much experimentation that this happens most often because I'm an idiot.
Too light (and blurry. And if you're wondering what this is a shot of...
click here for the explanation. Yes, it is a squirrel.)
But the saddest thing is that most of my pictures look like this... Staged. Still. Posed. Frozen smiles. Fake:This happens because it's so hard to get my camera to take a picture that isn't blurry. Everyone has to stand verrrry still, making any kind of action shot- or real life pictures- almost impossible.
Even when I try to catch a spontaneous moment, my kids have been brainwashed into giving the dreaded, frozen "Picture Face." It never fails when they see a camera come out, they stop whatever cute thing they're doing and give me this: The pictures themselves aren't that terrible, and the subject is cute, but these were not the expressions I was hoping to capture in those moments.
There is also a little bit of a delay between pushing the button and getting the shot. So, I either have to anticipate the exact moment that something fun and spontaneous will occur, and be ready to push the button one second before it happens, OR- I wind up with shots that were taken one second after the fun and spontaneous moment- which means I get a lot of the backs of kids' heads, or blurry profiles, like this:Some of you are amazing picture-takers. In fact, some of you don't just take pictures- you take photographs. So, I'm hoping I can get some advice from the photographers out there.
Just a few of the bloggers with the skills I so desperately desire can be seen at: With Arms Wide Open , Pho For Five, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Ladybugs and Dragonflies, and of course, Nicki at Stepping On Legos and Stepping on Legos: Behind the Lens, who is ridiculously talented and both inspires me to become better and makes me hang my head in shame at the same time. I also love the tutorials at Pioneer Woman Photography, although I don't understand what they mean most of the time. They show a lot of stuff that can be done with Photoshop, which is awesome, but I don't have the full-blown version of Photoshop. I do have Photoshop Elements, but don't have that figured out either. Why does this hobby have to be so complicated?
If you're a lurker who happens to take great pictures, now is your chance to come out of hiding. Speak up! Basically, tell me everything you know that made you good, so I can become good, too- :P. Is that asking for too much? If you would PLEASE leave me a comment with your suggestions, advice, or condolences (I'll take whatever ya got), or direct me to your own posts where you've already discussed similar things, I would hugely appreciate it.
I'd love to hear suggestions from any and all of you (if you're even still reading by now) on what cameras you love, hate, what to buy, what not to buy, etc. I'm also interested in your opinions on how much of your picture-taking success is natural talent (as in- it's something that can't be learned- you either have the artistic talent, or you don't), how much is a learned skill, and how much of it is equipment (a really good camera, lenses, etc.). Have you taken photography classes, and did you feel they were helpful? One of my other questions for you would be: What one item, other than your camera, do you feel is a must-have for getting good pictures (i.e.- Photoshop, a certain lens, etc.)? I'm tired of missing all the precious moments in my kids' lives. Help me. Please.